Saturday, May 22, 2010


I’ve been experimenting with Tumblr over the past couple months and, shockingly, I actually post there! So for now on this blog is officially located at . Check it out!

You’ll notice that at the very left hand side (after my stunningly beautiful picture ;)) is a link that says Bring Back Potvin. That will take you directly to all hockey related posts. Or, if you’re too lazy for that, you can just click this link: .

Monday, June 29, 2009

lol no

Amanda   says:
do you think justin pogge will ever be a starting goaltender in the NHL?
Dave!!! says:


Some fuckin’ people, man.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Someone, at some point, owned the house I now live in and decided to build an in-law suite as an addition. The grandparents-living-with-the-kids thing is somewhat popular in this city. When my mom bought this house in 2004, the addition was her ‘wing’ of the house. Eventually it became its own separate apartment and sometime after that it ended up falling into my hands. Now I’m in here by myself, two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living room. I’ve got my video games all over there in several stacks, my DVDs more or less beside them. I’ve got my leather furniture and my fireplace and my posters. I’m a college-aged male so it’s pretty dirty. I don’t mean like “the DVDs are just laying everywhere” (because I keep them neatly organized), I mean like “will someone please dust that kid’s fucking house”. Just me and my cat here, and right on the other side of the door is the rest of my family in case I completely run out of food or company (hey, college-aged male, give me a break).

A few months ago my little sister got a cat of her own, except as he’s grown he’s started to look more and more like a squirrel. His tail is simply gigantic and he’s hilarious to watch. He loves coming next door to play with me and my cat. Anytime I open the door to go to the other side, you can hear him (and the dog, too, let’s not forget about her) come running from wherever in the house they are to see me and maybe, just maybe, get that golden ticket to come next door when I go back.

He’s a real little fucker too, a big fan of hopping up onto my speakers and diving behind them to play with the wires. If my house ever burned down, he’d definitely be the first reason I’d think of, and that’s WITH gas stoves. One thing he hates is being told no. No, you can’t eat my cat’s food. No, you can’t chew through my electrical cords. No, you can’t kick box my cat. No, you can’t claw the couch. No, you can’t go through that door just because it’s closed. I mean he probably hates being told no because he just has to wait for me to fall asleep and he can do it all he wants without any real repercussions, but still, you have to teach him rules. He’s an animal dammit. Today he was chasing my cat all over the apartment (my cat likes playing but he’s turning eight this summer, not always in the mood for full force fighting, he takes after me like that) and my cat ran under my bed. I decided I was going to step in and pick Momo (that’s the squirrel cat) and move him next door. He didn’t like that. I have two big gashes on my right arm near the wrist (another two months of people thinking I’m one of those chic cutters, fantastic), another big one on the back of my hand, and several small ones in between to show for my troubles.

I didn’t really like this anymore than he likes being told no, so I shoved him right back, then picked him up angrily and threw him next door. I slammed the door and as he looked back, just before it closed, he looked kind of sad, that kind of sad where he doesn’t think he did anything wrong but he knows he upset someone and that doesn’t make him happy. But God dammit I was trying to play some NBA 2K5 and now I had to wrap my hand in a t-shirt because I was bleeding pretty decently for some cat scratches. I wasn’t in the mood to make up with a fucking cat. I knew he’d be back. He always comes back.

So I found a dirty t-shirt (I’m not so good with the laundry either) and wrapped my hand up tight in it and hit the ol’ internet to entertain me until I was confident that I wouldn’t drip blood onto my PS2 controller while playing. Eventually I came across something, a news item, and it really upset me and I kind of stopped what I was doing and just sat there and thought for a while. I wasn’t bleeding anymore, so I went next door and tried to find Momo. No one had any idea where he was. I ended up in the basement and found him, by himself, off on a corner couch curled up and asleep. I felt bad when I threw him out earlier but I felt really bad seeing him all alone so I pet him and he woke up and I apologized for being an asshole. Why do I talk to my cats? They’re cats. Whatever. I walked back upstairs and told my mom what I had read on the internet, that Peter Zezel was dying in a hospital of a rare blood disorder and had been taken off life support. We talked about it for a few minutes and then I came back next door.

A few minutes later there was a soft pawing at my door. Momo wanted to come in. So I let him. And he came over to me and Minion (that’s my cat, by the way) on the couch and sat with us and was a nice boy. And it was nice, and I’m glad it happened. Death has a way of making you appreciate smaller, nicer things in life.

And Peter Zezel died today.


Back in grade twelve I was your perfect grade twelve student. This meant that when we had research time (what the fuck did we need to research? It was grade twelve. Anyone who is reading something on the internet did grade twelve with their eyes closed. The people who had problems in high school are over on YouTube laughing like hyenas over people falling while skateboarding) I was on checking fantasy football stats or something along those lines. One day my law teacher, who was subbing for our business teacher (it was a business class, we were always on the damn computers in business class because what the fuck do you need to learn in grade twelve business?), his name was D’Arcy McCardle though I’m almost positive I’m spelling that wrong, called me out in class. I quickly hid ESPN and spun around and he asked me to come with him, and I was like “oh shit”, and then he said it had something to do with the site I had just been on, and I was like “OH SHIT”.

Luckily McCardle was an awesome teacher and an even better guy and as soon as he got me out of the classroom he told me that he was just fucking with me. We were going down to the office, but that’s because Peter Zezel was coming to our school and they wanted me to ask him a question because they knew I knew a lot about hockey. Sure enough, the next day Peter Zezel was at our annual awards assembly. He gave a speech about effort and trying and success and whatnot. Then they called out a bunch of students in the stands to stand up and ask questions. And of course these were predominantly the best students and whatnot, and they asked questions about trying hard for your goals and stuff. I wasn’t like that, God dammit I was a hockey fan and I was going to ask a hockey question. So when it was my turn I stood up, and I don’t remember the exact wording, but I had looked at his career stats the night before, so I asked him what it was like to get so close to the Stanley Cup in both 1987 and 1993 only to be foiled by Wayne Gretzky’s teams.

I should have looked closer. He came close in 1985, too.

Anyway he kind of smiled and chuckled and I had a huge smile on my face and he tried to tie it back into the general message of success. The head office at the school looked like they were going to have their heads explode. Later McCardle told me that the staff was very impressed with how much I knew about hockey and translated the question to our law class for those of us who didn’t follow hockey or hadn’t been to the assembly. McCardle laughed about it. Jared, who used to write for this blog (and that’s a funny joke, because all three of us USED to write for this blog and none of us really do now), was one of the ones who skipped the assembly. Jared was always a huge fan of the 92-93 Leafs, like everyone on God’s green earth is, and he was massively bummed. We got to meet Peter Zezel, and he didn’t.

We joked about it for months afterward but now Jared will never get to meet Peter Zezel, because Peter Zezel is gone.

Some girl asked why Zezel looked so big, because he looked like he had ballooned, and McCardle tried to tell us about his disorder and how it made him carry extra weight or something. I guess none of us really knew what he was talking about, or didn’t listen, or something. I don’t remember anything about a rare blood disease being brought up. Or that it was potentially fatal. I was blindsided today. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t. Peter Zezel. 44! Fuck. 44.

Age is a funny thing, because the older you get, you’re really playing a twisted game of chicken with your body. The twist is that no matter what you do, how determined you are to win, you will always lose. In the end, you lose. Your body will fail and turn on you at the drop of the hat, seemingly at random, the percentages lining up against you the older you get. I’m 21. I’m 21 and my right shoulder grinds and cracks when I move it and I have no idea why. I’m 21 and sometimes I will wake up in a bed next to someone and my back will hurt so much that I’ll have to spend the day walking on an angle, like a fuzzy, Canadian Quasimodo. I can crack every major joint in my body like it was my pinky knuckle, and I’m 21. Today my sister’s cat clawed open my arm and hand. The bloody scratches are still there. And I’m thankful. I’m thankful even though my shoulder sounds like a meat grinder and my back gives me fits and my joints pop like firecrackers when I tell them to and I have streaks of blood on my hands. I’m thankful even though I’m 21 and my body is certainly older than I am.

At least I don’t have haemolytic anaemia. I can’t even say that. Do you know what that is? If you had asked me yesterday I wouldn’t have known. I know now, though I still can’t say it.. TSN tells me that it killed Peter Zezel. I have no reason not to believe them (…for once). Haemolytic anaemia is a disorder where your body kills your red blood cells. It kills them faster than it can reproduce them. I guess this means that you run out eventually. You run out and die. Peter Zezel died. I have cuts all over my arm and hand, cuts is really a better word than scratches in terms of giving you a visual of what I see right now, and I can see the blood, and I am fucking THANKFUL that my body doesn’t hate me enough to kill off my red blood cells faster than it can reproduce them. That’s a horrible thought. A horrible thought. I know I’m going to pass on when my body decides that it’s had enough, good show old boy but I’m tired and want to go home now, you’ve had your fun. I don’t like thinking about it because it could come in any number of ways. But killing off my own blood cells? That terrifies me more than I’m comfortable thinking about. It happened to Peter. And he’s gone now and I guess all we have left are sad, confused ramblings. And memories.

I was young when Zezel was here in Toronto. Like five, six. To me, and many others, those teams live on through the magic of video tape (somewhere, Jack Horner is disgusted). One such tape was “The Passion Returns”, a tape my dad had that covered the 92-93 Leafs. Peter was featured prominently on the tape and I loved him. I loved everyone on the team because at seven years old you don’t dislike someone on your favourite hockey team in a puff video piece. But you also don’t know what a puff video piece is. You’re just watching a fascinating movie about the best hockey team ever. And you’re falling in love with the sport and each and every player on that tape. Gilmour. Potvin. Clark. Gill. Ellett. Andreychuk (hey, he even has the same first name as me! How cool is that?). Zezel. Foligno. Macoun. Everyone. As I grew older and started devouring everything about hockey that my young eyes could find, I’d always run into players from that tape. That tape and the 94 Leafs and the 95 Leafs when they came back from the lockout and I actually watched and the 96 Leafs which was the year Gretzky got traded to the Blues and then we played them in the first round and they beat us. Those motherfuckers, they beat us. And then Colorado won the Cup and because I was young and they had a cool logo I decided I was an Avalanche fan. I wasn’t actually because, though I didn’t know it at the time, I was bound by blood to the Leafs. Still, my mom later told me she had been planning on ordering me some Leafs’ clothes and when I announced I was an Avalanche fan she decided not to. I’ve actually regretted that every single time I’ve thought about this since I was told I could have had Leafs’ clothes. No one has ever known that.

But I’d run into Gilmour, who was still in Toronto, though not for long at this point, and Potvin who was here for a little longer, and Clark who was gone but holy crap we traded for him again that is AWESOME! And Zezel. The first year I have conscious memories of watching hockey was the 95 season and it was a game against Dallas. Mike Torchia was in net. Peter Zezel was on Dallas. I had no idea why. And we had some buffoon named Mike Craig on our team. I liked everyone on the Leafs’ back then. I even liked Matt Martin. I didn’t like Mike Craig. Later when I was old enough to find individual stat sheets and player histories I’d find out Zezel was basically traded for Mike Craig (restricted free agent compensation, oh pre-Bettman NHL rules). Damn did that ever piss me off. Damian Cox will have you believe that trading the draft pick that ended up being Roberto Luongo was the worst Leafs’ asset mismanagement under Cliff Fletcher but Zezel-for-Craig was pretty fucking awful and I’m not just saying that because of certain events. Like with everyone else from those teams, though, I was always happy to read a team report and come across Peter Zezel’s name and hopefully see him doing well. I remember the year he got traded to Anaheim only for him to not report because he was staying home with his dying niece. That was heartbreaking.

And like that he was gone from my life, the guy with the Z-name from the video, the guy who was given up for Mike Craig, the man who chose family over money. I certainly thought about Peter Zezel after that. Talked about him, with Jared I’m sure. But he didn’t cross my eyesight anymore, until the day that I was pulled aside and was told to come up with a question to ask him. The best I came up with was asking what it was like to lose to Gretzky. Fuck. I could have done better.

I guess at least I didn’t ask what it was like to be traded for Mike Craig.

Still, all day I’ve felt bad that Peter Zezel was lying on his deathbed, removed from life support, a hockey player I adored when I was a little boy, and when I met him a decade later and was actually solicited for being someone who would have something of value to say… I didn’t have anything. Maybe I impressed people with what I knew about hockey that day. But in the end I feel bad and unlike today when I felt bad that I had hurt a cat’s feelings I won’t ever get to talk to Peter again and express my admiration. To fix things. Hopefully he’s somewhere where he’s fixing things now. And kicking the puck to the wing off the draw, naturally.

Goodbye, Peter. I’ll miss you. We all will.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Trade Center '09, live from the Palace of Wisdom

So, the deal here is that I haven't watched or followed hockey as best I could for the past several months. The NHL has pretty much done one thing after another to massively piss me off since the lockout, and Mats Sundin signing with Vancouver, coupled with Sean Avery's suspension for having a mind of his own, became the straw(s) that broke my back. I gave up, didn't look back, found other new things to pass the time. However, today is the NHL's trade deadline, and fuck me if that doesn't get even my cold-to-hockey blood a little warm. Hence the live blog, featuring a few friends of mine, my cat, and TSN's shitty analysts, right here from the Palace of Wisdom (which I have decided to call my house). LIVE BLOG, BITCHES~

10:00: My alarm goes off, and I crawl out of bed. This strikes me as a bad idea already, because I'm way too tired to deal with any of this right now. There are plenty of preparations to be made before I actually turn the television on. Of course, I sit on the couch and stare off into space anyway.

10:20: Still haven't moved. Really wish I was playing Gran Turismo 3 instead of doing this. Fuck.

10:35: Snapping awake, I throw stacks of dirty plates into the dishwasher and drag another coffee table out into the living room to build a large trade desk. Jared (Jared Dreger) will be here soon, have to get ready. Besides, hearing Smackles (Geoff Sanderson) tell me all about what the TSN idiots are saying is making me bloodthirsty. I have to see for myself and I refuse to allow it until I'm ready to go.

10:43: TSN is on. Good to see that they've shuttled off James 'Retard' Duthie with the people who can't hold a job in hockey. Jay Feaster starts on about how the Antoine Vermette for Pascal Leclaire and a 2nd deal is great for both teams, noting that Leclaire has injury problems and needs to return to form. Return to form? He's had one good season with Ken Hitchcock as a coach. One! I usually like/defend Feaster, but what the fuck was that?

10:47: Tim Connolly has signed a two year deal for $4.5 million per, which is hilarious to me because the over/under on games played during that contract is probably 45.

10:51: You know, if I was a drinker, TSN's trade coverage would make a spectacular drinking game. Drink every time someone says something incomprehensibly retarded...

10:54: TSN is using as a resource for salary numbers. I use that site. Why is a fucking sports network using the same free resources as I am? Don't you get some sort of crazy exclusive sources given that you work in fucking sportscasting?

10:55: Holy fuck, TSN's depth chart had Phaneuf on the second pairing. That's AWESOME. Pierre McGuire must be having a meltdown. Duthie is back on what I guess is the main panel. The stupidity here rates higher than the stupid panel. Incredible.

10:59: McGuire is trying to tell me that Miikka Kiprusoff is a top goalie in the league, and that it's 'not even close' as to which you'd rather have than Cristobal Huet. Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Good to see Pierre didn't get any smarter in my exile. Darren Pang also hasn't grown any balls in that time and piggybacks on Pierre's opinion so that he doesn't get yelled at.

11:01: Oh good, Dave Hodge! That's who I'm playing today! Here's the *real* idiot squad. Fuck TSN sucks.

11:02: ...did Steve Simmons just say something smart? Something about Phaneuf not being the elite defenseman that he's supposed to be? Holy SHIT. That's incredible. And he is definitely going to get a flying axe kick to the face soon from the French man.

11:08: Darren Dutchensyn, who's name I will never bother to learn how to spell, says that a lot of people like the Leclaire trade FOR THE SENS. WHO?! WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?! Pierre McGuire? Motherfuck Pierre McGuire. Oh my God, he actually CITED McGuire saying that Leclaire is the best Senators goalie in history. Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow.

11:12: Yeah, Pierre is totally right. You cannot win a Cup without an experienced goalie who has won a Cup. I mean, nevermind that they have to get that experience SOMEHOW. Nevermind that one of the examples you cited was NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN, who has WON a Stanley Cup. Nevermind that you just ate out Kiprusoff's asshole, who's never won shit. But no, you're right Pierre. Boston really needs to shitcan on Tim Thomas and pick up, say, Chris Osgood. I mean fuck, Osgood's won, right?

11:15: Ahahahaha Pierre dumps on Washington. Wonder which side of the Crosby/Ovechkin 'debate' he's on. "Too cool for school"? Man, fuck you.

11:20: Zack (Zack McKenzie) wakes up and joins me in the living room.

11:27: Keith Jones goes on and on about how Florida has sucked the last few years because Olli Jokinen 'made it suck'. Well, at least... no there's really nothing redeemable to that. Yes Keith, the thing holding Florida back the last several years was their 35 goal scorer. I mean, everyone *but* me always thought that team looked like shit, but no, you're right, it was Jokinen.

11:30: Apparently TSN is poorer than me and can't get anyone's mic working.

11:40: Jordan Leopold to Calgary. Everyone's "great analysis" is that Leopold has played in Calgary before. I wish I was playing GT3.

11:45: Jared (Mr. Dreger) calls me, causing me to miss something really stupid that Pierre says while standing on Dutchensyn's shoes. Not too worried about. Smackles (Mr. Sanderson) on McGuire:

Geoff Sanderson? says:
....jesus guys have to live with him every day
Geoff Sanderson? says:
i only got to put up with him here and draft day

11:51: Official trade is Leopold for Lawrence Nycholat, Ryan Wilson, and a 2nd round pick.

12:01: Just as I was about to say that The Reporters weren't as bone jarringly stupid as they usually are, Damien Cox opens his mouth and defecates on their fancy desk. Simmons is bringing it today, though. I'm pretty amazed.

12:01: Mikael Tellqvist to Buffalo, LOL.

12:02: Martin Gerber to Toronto... what the fuck? Why? :(

12:07: Gerber and Pogge as the goalie tandem for the rest of the season in Toronto makes me glad I hit eject on the NHL.

12:19: I can confirm that I am, indeed, ballin'.

12:40: Well, TSN is reporting that Olli Jokinen for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust, and a 1st is a done deal, though they're also saying it's not actually completed yet because of financial issues. I have no idea why we're getting ahead of ourselves with this, but fuck it. I can blame them if this gets pulled.

12:41: Keith Jones just said there isn't much difference between Shane Doan and JAROME IGINLA. Fuck Keith Jones.

12:51: I'm bored so I'm going to post something else Mr. Sanderson said earlier:

Geoff Sanderson? says:
can you call into this show
Geoff Sanderson? says:
ask Pierre how Cherepanov is doing

12:58: Amanda, our official caterer, gets here.

1:07: Bob McKenzie reports that the phone lines are burning up with offers for Colby Armstrong. Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

1:10: Matthew Barnaby reports that Olli Jokinen is a 'cancer'. Somewhere, Jason Blake becomes very upset.

1:12: From the group chat:

&alexandra; says:
did u hear about how i thought the mighty ducks were from mighty?
Dave Hodge. | F CK FEAR says:
I did
Dave Hodge. | F CK FEAR says:
Like an hour ago
Geoff Sanderson? says:
Geoff Sanderson? says:

1:15: Amanda is incredibly loud and I can barely hear TSN. Not sure if that's a bad thing. It's pretty unnerving when your caterer is demanding butter.

1:23: Pierre says that we don't know how good Bouwmeester is now, but we will after the Olympics in 2010. What?

1:37: God damn I love the smell of bacon.

1:43: God damn I love the taste of bacon.

1:52: Peter Forsberg is expected to retire tonight.... :(

2:15: Our caterer cut herself and bled onto the food. What the fuck?

2:22: Unless we get a flurry of fun stuff in the next hour, this deadline sucks.

2:38: I'm gonna go to the store or some shit, I'm thirsty. Not only is TSN not providing interesting trades, but they aren't providing me with raspberry lemonade.

2:39: I just realized I missed trades for Guerin, Recchi, and probably some other people. It's been that kind of day.

3:24: Didn't end up going to the store. Still thirsty. Some stuff has happened, namely Nik Antropov to the Rangers, Dominic Moore to the Sabres, and Derek Morris to the Rangers. For the Leafs, this is pretty rad, I guess - neither guy was coming back and you get some picks in the 40 range for them. You'd always like to get better, and the odds that the second rounders will end up being anything are fairly slim, but hey, assets are assets. I think I'm actually going to miss Antropov, as he's been a part of my life for eleven years now. I couldn't care less about Moore.

3:37: More trades are trickling through, Kyle McLaren to Philly and Sammy Pahlsson to Chicago featuring players I like, and thus being more important than whatever the fuck Shittsburgh did today.

3:40: We're up to 17 trades now. About an hour ago I predicted to Mr. Dreger that we'd see 18. Apparently Carolina and Edmonton have a trade coming down the pipe, not necessarily with each other, so I guess we'll get at least that. Yay me!

4:03: Holy FUCK Pierre breaks out some late stupidity. Some bizarre three-way/double trade with Erik Cole to Carolina, Patrick O'Sullivan to Edmonton, Justin Williams to Los Angeles breaks, and Pierre jumps on the 'Edmonton are idiots' bandwagon. Now, Edmonton is pretty dumb. I'll always give everyone that. But his reasoning is because they gave up Cole AND Joni Pitkanen for O'Sullivan. Pitkanen got traded to Carolina in the summer for Cole, and now Cole was traded back, so that doesn't even fucking make sense. If you're involving Pitkanen, then you can't involve Cole because Pitkanen was traded FOR Cole, so you are trading Pitkanen for O'Sullivan. If you're involving Cole, then you can't involve Pitkanen because you wouldn't have picked up Pitkanen without Cole. Make sense you French fuck.

4:10: Brian Burke's press conference is on, and just as he's saying that some players have played so well lately that they may be kept around long term, Zack says 'please don't say Jason Blake'. Burke says Jason Blake.


4:43: God damn does the old CBC song ever sound wrong coming from TSN.

4:45: Dave Hodge makes a really shitty joke about Richard Petiot. I think I'm done now.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Steve Simmons, you can kiss my ass

What a great night. Everyone who we've been covering in the Stamkos Standings won last night, except for the best of them all: Toronto. We're four points out of last. We can win two straight games and probably still be in the bottom five. We're in second place and have a three point cushion between us and fourth. This is absolutely wonderful. The Kings look more reachable this morning than they ever have.

1.  LAK 59 GP, 24 W, 51 PTS, -27 DIFF
2.  TOR 59 GP, 23 W, 55 PTS, -29 DIFF
3.  TBL 58 GP, 25 W, 56 PTS, -21 DIFF
4.  FLA 59 GP, 26 W, 58 PTS, -9 DIFF
5.  CHI 57 GP, 26 W, 58 PTS,  EV DIFF
6.  NYI 58 GP, 26 W, 59 PTS, -28 DIFF
7.  EDM 59 GP, 27 W, 59 PTS, -16 DIFF
8.  ATL 59 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -28 DIFF
9.  WSH 58 GP, 27 W, 60 PTS, -13 DIFF
10. STL 56 GP, 26 W, 60 PTS, -14 DIFF
11. CLB 59 GP, 26 W, 61 PTS, -12 DIFF
12. PHO 58 GP, 29 W, 62 PTS, -1 DIFF
13. NYR 59 GP, 28 W, 63 PTS, -3 DIFF

The only addition is Washington (courtesy of another Carolina win), and while there are some key developments, like a reshuffling of the top five and just regular position jockeying, none of it is nearly as important to us as moving into second.

I was so excited this morning when I woke up. Sure, my neck hurt like hell for some reason, and I barely got any sleep, and my cat had left me a Valentine's shit on my couch, but we were in second place. My hand STILL stings from high-fiving everyone in sight. And then I hit Kukla's Korner to see what was going on in the NHL today, and I saw a Steve "Fuckdick" Simmons article up there. I used to like Simmons, be it from the back pages of those Hometown Hockey magazines they'd send everyone who had been registered for minor hockey in Ontario, or from his Toronto Sun columns that were always had a fun format and didn't take any real thought to them.

Little did I know how little thought.

Ordinarily I'd wait for Cox Bloc to handle it, as I don't do press criticism anywhere near as well as those guys (or the masters at Fire Joe Morgan, for that matter), but I'm sorry, but he ruined my fucking day and now I'm pissed off. Very pissed off. Fuckdick's 'thoughts' will be in what passes for bold here, so if you find it hard to read, well, I'll be the one saying 'fuck' every other word.

Mats holds key to Leafs' future

By Steve Simmons

If Mats Sundin is to be taken at his word, that he truly bleeds blue and white, then in the best interests of the Maple Leafs he must act accordingly.

I whole-heartedly agree. He should invent a time machine, go back to 2003, name himself GM of the Maple Leafs (while still playing, mind you), pass on the Owen Nolan trade, re-sign Brian Leetch for cheap coming out of the lockout, trade Bryan McCabe and Alex Steen to Edmonton for Chris Pronger, keep Tuuka Rask over Justin Pogge, re-sign Ed Belfour on a cheap one year deal instead of bringing in Raycroft, pass on Jason Blake, not assume that a bunch of young, homegrown defensemen will actually form a good defensive core, not sign like 30 of the same Chad Kilger-type player, um, let's see, what else... basically just pretend John Ferguson never touched the team. That's what he must do. But I bet that's not what you're about to suggest, is it, Fuckdick?

He must waive the no-trade clause in his contract and allow Cliff Fletcher to trade him at the Feb. 26 deadline.

Didn't think so.

Look, I know that sportswriters are... dumb. I know you guys can't come up with any new angles on your own and play the same story over and over and over again until the new one comes along. But: seriously? Trading Sundin is the literal definition of a quick fix. We've all been over how we don't need a quick fix.

That way, he can impact the next decade of the Leafs, just as he impacted the past decade.

This is a lie. Look at the best possible trade any of us can think for involving Sundin that might actually happen - Bobby Ryan and Edmonton's first pick. Bobby Ryan will never be a Mats Sundin. The draft pick will likely yield a defenseman and will likely never come close to the impact Sundin has had on this franchise. If someone was dangling the next Mats Sundin in exchange for 1971's Mats Sundin, maybe you'd have an argument here. But they aren't, and you don't.

That way, he can enable the Leafs to build for next season and beyond

Smart management would do this. Clearing off some of the more than $40 million already committed to next year's cap would do this. Trading Sundin for, at best, a draft pick who won't make an impact next year and a future top six forward (but more realistically a less significant return than that)? Not so much.

Why does everyone lock onto Sundin and think he is the only thing that should be changed from this losing equation? The Leafs have made the playoffs with Mats Sundin. They have not made the playoffs with Andrew Raycroft, or Jason Blake, or Pavel Kubina, or Hal Gill, or Ian White. They won't make the playoffs as long as they have nearly $9 million of the salary cap tied up in Bryan "Fucking" McCabe and Darcy "Shayne Corson" Tucker. These are the problems you target. Why the fuck do you target the ONE player who is actually a positive for the franchise? Stupid writing, that's why.

if he chooses to return as a free agent in July, then he returns to a team that has a Steven Stamkos or a Drew Doughty, a team with fresher, younger legs, a team he can resume his captaincy and leadership of, while surrounded with a better cast and crew.

We might very well end up with a Stamkos or a Doughty. Finishing last in the Eastern Conference would be a pretty good place to start if we want one of those two. So yeah, you've convinced me, Fuckdick, we need to trade Sundin so we can finish lower in the standings. I'm sorry, what's that? We're already in last in the East? Oh. So we're on track to get Stamkos/Doughty/whomever with or without Sundin? But I don't understand, Fuckdick, you were so adamant that we need to trade Mats in order to get one of those two. How can this be?

Not to mention: the team's legs will be 'fresher' at the start of next seasons regardless and the team won't be any younger or better if the other players on the team, you know, the non-Sundin ones who actually NEED to be traded but we don't hear about in the papers because everyone writing for a newspaper is fucking retarded, get moved.

He must allow the Leafs to do what they haven't been able to do since the lockout ended -- and that is compete in the top half, not the bottom half, of the National Hockey League.

This would be a good argument is Sundin was preventing the team from being in the top half of the league. As opposed to trading the top goalie prospect in the league for Andrew Raycroft. Or giving $9 million to Tucker and McCabe. Or giving $4 million to Jason Blake. Or $2.5 million to Mark Bell. Or letting Andy Wozniewski play ever. But that is not the case; it is those players who are preventing Toronto from being a better team, and Sundin is the only reason any of us even bother watching the games. Sundin is to this team what Curtis Joseph was in 1999, or Dominik Hasek was to the Buffalo Sabres of the late-90s: a player who can win a game by himself.

Look at the Detroit game last week. The second goal went in the net because Sundin decided that he was going to score a fucking goal. But no, you're right, Fuckdick, the only way to improve is to trade that. Who the FUCK wants a game changer on your team? Not this guy.

Sundin can bring that kind of price, make that kind of difference. No one else on the roster else can, especially no one with an expiring contract.

Bobby Ryan and an 18-year-old defenseman is not going to get Toronto into the top half of the league next year. If anyone is, it will be Mats Sundin. As for the second sentence, well no shit. But that doesn't mean you don't try to move them anyway. Build a fucking team instead of trying to get a quick fix. But that's no fun to write about, is it, Fuckdick?

Sundin is a perfect fit for a San Jose team that plays the down low game he has come to specialize in -- and it has no shortage of admirable prospects.

More things San Jose has no shortage of: expensive, top-flight centers. Sundin is not waiving his contractual right to stay put to go play the wing or the third line somewhere. If we want to dangle someone to San Jose, why not McCabe? They need another defenseman.

Recently, I asked two of Sundin's closest friends whether they believed Sundin would waive his no-trade clause. One said yes. One said no. Neither seemed certain they had the right answer.

So what you're saying is: he might waive his no-trade clause, or he might not. Thank you for clearing that up.

Oh, and nice name drop. Fuckdick knows some of Sundin's closest friends. He's BIG TIME~!


With Sundin, answers are always a bit of a mystery.

No! No they are not! He has been saying FOR YEARS that he does not want to play for another NHL franchise, that he wants to stay in Toronto and retire here. FOR YEARS. WHAT THE FUCK. Answers have never been a mystery with Mats Sundin. You fucking newspaper idiots write things like this because you aren't getting the answer you want out of him. That is an entirely fucking different thing. This is literally the equivalent of everyone asking Sundin what colour the sky is, and even though he keeps saying 'blue', a bunch of idiots with a journalism degree and a public forum want him to say 'red', so they write that no one can get a straight answer from him. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.

Sundin has never been made like other NHL players. He isn't Ray Bourque or Lanny McDonald nearing the finish line, thinking ring. Sundin won his gold medal, captaining Sweden, at the 2006 Winter Olympics. That was his Stanley Cup. That was the dream of his youth. His smile lit up the sky that night in Turin. That was as good as it gets.

YES. THANK YOU. European players tend to value the Olympics and World Championship higher than the Stanley Cup because it is a bigger deal there. Do you think that Sundin doesn't want to win a Stanley Cup? Of course it does, it's the one thing he hasn't done yet. But I doubt he's losing much sleep over it. He's had a hell of a career, accomplished just about everything you could ever ask for, and won the two most significant championships to him. You clearly are able to grasp this here, but you seem to want to condemn him for it. A couple of paragraphs earlier, Fuckdick rips him for being 'not terribly frustrated' that the team doesn't make the playoffs anymore. What the fuck?

First, it's clear by just watching and listening to Sundin that yes, he is frustrated by it, but he, as a mature individual who understands the nature of pro sport, realizes he can't do it by himself and that the cast that surrounds him has as much to do with making the playoffs as he does. You, as an immature joke of a sportswriter, do not. That is not a slight on Mats Sundin. That is a slight on YOU. Second, you also brought up that he's not the only one on the team like that. WHY THE FUCK AREN'T YOU CRUCIFYING THEM, THEN?

Fletcher's job is reaching crunch time. He has two weeks to accomplish two difficult goals. One is to strengthen the Leafs roster with younger players, draft picks or prospects. Two is to somehow reduce the $40-million-plus US the Leafs have tied up in salaries for next season. Reaching either place will be challenging, to say the least.

Yes. This is correct. The Maple Leafs will have a high draft choice this year, so that really helps for the first part, as would selling off a bunch of the other junk laying around. The second part is helped by selling off the other junk, because they are the ones tied to expensive, long-term deals. Sundin, an unrestricted free agent, cannot help free up cap space for next season at the moment because he does not go towards the cap. So the entire article was pretty much pointless. But hey, in the end, Fuckdick realized that the problems facing this team going into the future are not related to Mats Sundin. This is the guy that suggested Kevin Lowe would be a good choice for GM of the Leafs (because he somehow has a better track record than Ferguson for giving big contracts to not-very-good defenseman or third line forwards or players who scored a bunch of goals the year prior...), so that's saying a lot. I'm proud of Steve.

This is how Mats Sundin can help build the Leafs for the future. If he's about the Leafs -- and not necessarily about himself.



Kiss my ass, Simmons.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


My hand is literally red from high-fiving everyone in my general vicinity. I slapped someone's hand into someone else's face. I am so happy right now. Second place, fuckers!

#59 - vs. Islanders

In before the puck drops? God I hope so.

A loss tonight and a Tampa win puts us in second. Here's hoping. Go Islanders.


Jared tells me that we played well tonight, despite the 1-0 loss, which is fine and dandy with me. I'll take a quality game of hockey from the team with a loss every night the rest of the way. And not just because 55 points would be a guaranteed 30th overall. Well... mostly.

1.  LAK 59 GP, 24 W, 51 PTS, -27 DIFF
2.  TBL 57 GP, 24 W, 54 PTS, -23 DIFF
3.  TOR 58 GP, 23 W, 55 PTS, -28 DIFF
4.  CHI 56 GP, 25 W, 56 PTS, -5 DIFF
5.  EDM 58 GP, 26 W, 57 PTS, -17 DIFF
6.  NYI 57 GP, 25 W, 57 PTS, -29 DIFF
7.  FLA 59 GP, 26 W, 58 PTS, -9 DIFF
8.  STL 55 GP, 25 W, 58 PTS, -17 DIFF
9.  ATL 59 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -28 DIFF
10. CAR 59 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -17 DIFF
11. PHO 57 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -4 DIFF
12. CLB 59 GP, 26 W, 61 PTS, -12 DIFF
13. NYR 59 GP, 28 W, 63 PTS, -3 DIFF

Key Developments:

Chicago's win, combined with our loss, moved us back into third (as I mentioned it would earlier in the day). Other than that we had some jockeying for position, which is only really significant because it created more space between Toronto and some of the other teams here. We can win another game and still be in the top five. That's not a very big cushion, but with this much hockey to play, it's still a nice one.


Boston (by winning) and Washington (by losing in overtime) ended their one night stays with us by moving back into playoff spots. Carolina returns by virtue of having an off-night and Washington flip-flopping with them yet again. Atlanta's win means that there is a three-way tie for first in that division right now, and the Panthers are only two points back.

The Rangers also make their first appearance here. Both Boston and Buffalo won, moving them up a spot; the Rangers were the victims of this. They also happen to be playing sub-.550 hockey, so: welcome! At least they got Lundqvist's name on a nice deal.


After looking at Darcy Tucker's relative value in the NHL trading world a couple of nights ago, I've been asking a couple of my friends who are fans of other teams what they'd give up in a deal for Bryan McCabe. This one is a little trickier, since we still only have the one trade (Commodore-for-Corvo) to use as a market-setter for defensemen, and that's not going to be the kind of trade that McCabe would be involved in. It would be really nice if we didn't have to try to pinpoint McCabe's perceived value to other NHL teams and he was just... you know... traded... but oh well. I imagine that I'll look at this again when another defenseman gets traded.

Anyway. I brought up three teams (Blackhawks, Islanders, and Avalanche) to these two and here are some deals that were deemed in-range for McCabe, according to them:

From Chicago: Tuomo Ruutu, Rene Bourque, and a 2nd round pick in 2008 (don't shoot either me or my friends; the one who okayed this is a Hawks fan). I don't know what to say about this other than 'hell fucking yes'. The second rounder should be in the top 40, Bourque is a decent young guy, but Ruutu is the real value pick here. His stock has fallen in Chicago, but there's a lot of talent there, and I'd like to think he could get back on track in Toronto.

From Colorado: Brad Richardson, Karlis Skrastins, and a mid-round draft pick (from the Avs fan). Skrastins basically helps clear a declining body and cap room for McCabe; with an expiring contract after next season, I said I'd have no problem taking him. Cody gave me a nice scouting report on Richardson, who I haven't seen play but always confuse with Cody McCormick. I guess he's a speedy young center with an untapped offensive game but a solid defensive one. He's stuck outside of the top six in Colorado for the foreseeable future, so he's expendable to them, and he would be the kind of player we need here. The pick is just another asset.

From New York: Chris Campoli, Jeff Tambellini, and this year's first rounder for McCabe and Kyle Wellwood (both said they'd have to think about this one long and hard from the Isles side). The pick should be somewhere in the 8-12 range, I'd think. That puts it just out of reach of the very best players in the draft, but it'll still be a good pick. Campoli is a smallish offensive defenseman (TSN's scouting report has his career potential listed as "powerplay quarterback"), Tambellini is a small, quick forward who's scoring a lot of goals at the AHL level this year. I wanted to discuss this as a trade possibility last night but didn't get around to it; I brought it up to my friends today and they said that it was close. Campoli and Tambellini would effectively replace McCabe and Wellwood, while getting younger, cheaper, and, hopefully, better in the long run. New York gets McCabe back to lead their defense, Wellwood gets a fresh start (and as a more established player at this point, the Isles would probably value him over Tambellini), and we get their pick because we're dealing with Garth Snow.

Now, none of these trades are rumoured and probably haven't been discussed outside of the confines of my crazy thought process. I think it's actually probably more likely we'll move McCabe closer to the draft than at the deadline, but these all still apply there. I think all this exercise really shows is that we can get something substantial in a McCabe deal, which is all I really wanted to show. Why dump him for crap when we can get something good, right?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

#58 - in Buffalo

I can't watch the game tonight because I have work, but here's the game day post nonetheless. Hopefully no one gets their throat cut this time.

Buffalo needs a win to leapfrog the Rangers into seventh place and are 7-1-2 in their last ten, so hopefully we get our asses kicked. Hopefully Chicago wins tonight, too, so that we can move up into third place.

Ponikarovsky is probably back tonight. Line combinations from Tuesday's practice, courtesy of TSN's Ice Chips:

Tlusty - Sundin - Antropov
Tucker - Stajan - Blake
Ponikarovsky - Wellwood - Steen
Earl - Moore - Devereaux

I'll be back later with tonight's Stamkos update.

Standings Update

I am a fuck. It turns out that Vancouver wasn't even eligible for the standings yesterday or the day before, because their winning percentage was above .550. I also didn't change LA's point totals two nights ago for whatever reason despite having the rest of the numbers bang on.

Lots of games tonight, including some important ones, none more important than the Los Angeles-St. Louis game that should have ended in a Kings OT win if this was a just world. It wasn't, so the worst option of the possibilities, St. Louis winning clean (in regulation) happened. Oh well. Updated Stamkos Standings:

1.  LAK 59 GP, 24 W, 51 PTS, -27 DIFF
2.  TBL 57 GP, 24 W, 54 PTS, -23 DIFF
3.  CHI 55 GP, 24 W, 54 PTS, -10 DIFF
4.  TOR 57 GP, 23 W, 55 PTS, -27 DIFF
5.  EDM 58 GP, 26 W, 57 PTS, -17 DIFF
6.  FLA 58 GP, 26 W, 57 PTS, -8 DIFF
7.  NYI 57 GP, 25 W, 57 PTS, -29 DIFF
8.  ATL 58 GP, 27 W, 58 PTS, -29 DIFF
9.  STL 55 GP, 25 W, 58 PTS, -17 DIFF
10. WSH 57 GP, 27 W, 59 PTS, -12 DIFF
11. PHO 57 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -4 DIFF
12. CLB 58 GP, 26 W, 61 PTS, -7 DIFF
13. BOS 56 GP, 28 W, 61 PTS, -6 DIFF

The bold wasn't really showing up before, so the separator is now a line.

Key developments:

Tampa won tonight, which is not only fun because it was a third straight loss for Montreal, but also because they're left only one point in front of Toronto for second place. Of the three teams in front of the Leafs, Tampa Bay and Chicago are both only one point ahead - Tampa in the same amount of games, but with more wins and a better goal differential, and Chicago in two less games as well as more wins and a better DIFF. That's good news. LA is definitely peskier, being four points ahead and having already played two extra games.

New York, Edmonton, and St. Louis also won tonight, creating more separation between Toronto's fourth place and the less sexy fifth (or worse) places.


Carolina and Washington have flip-flopped once again, making my life hell by having to add a new set of numbers almost daily. Vancouver has left us because, as noted above, I am an idiot. Buffalo also passed Boston for eighth place tonight, eliminated themselves from contention, and Boston has made their first Stamkos Standings appearance of the year. Welcome, Bruins!

I had something for the rest of this post, but I am way too damn tired right now. I'm going to go to bed, wake up, and write again tomorrow. Sorry, duty calls.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Outdoor Game in Toronto ... ?

Apparently Toronto is exploring the possibility of having an outdoor game at the Dome some time in the future. Link

I would absolutely love this. Sure tickets would probably cost an arm and a leg, but there would be 30,000 + more tickets available than there would be for any given game at the ACC. Not to mention I simply love seeing the Dome turned into another type of venue. I've seen so many live baseball games there, but seeing another sport or event is just extremely exciting. Here's to hoping they get it done.

Considering the popularity of hockey in Southern Ontario, it probably shouldn't be that difficult to sell to the NHL. The only issues that are involved are the functionality of the Skydome.

Here is the full article from the Toronto Sun

What does the Cory Stillman trade mean for Toronto?

Only one game in the league tonight so there wasn't going to much to update here anyway, but Phoenix lost to Dallas by a goal, so literally nothing changes except for me adjusting two numbers slightly. Convenient, but boring.

1.  LAK 58 GP, 24 W, 49 PTS, -25 DIFF
2.  TBL 56 GP, 23 W, 52 PTS, -24 DIFF
3.  CHI 55 GP, 24 W, 54 PTS, -10 DIFF
4.  TOR 57 GP, 23 W, 55 PTS, -27 DIFF
5.  EDM 57 GP, 25 W, 55 PTS, -19 DIFF
6.  NYI 56 GP, 24 W, 55 PTS, -30 DIFF
7.  STL 54 GP, 24 W, 56 PTS, -19 DIFF
8.  FLA 58 GP, 26 W, 57 PTS, -8 DIFF
9.  ATL 58 GP, 27 W, 58 PTS, -29 DIFF
10. CAR 58 GP, 27 W, 58 PTS, -17 DIFF
11. PHO 57 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -4 DIFF
12. BUF 55 GP, 26 W, 60 PTS, +9 DIFF
13. CLB 58 GP, 26 W, 61 PTS, -7 DIFF
14. VAN 57 GP, 28 W, 63 PTS, +7 DIFF

But we value-add here at Bring Back Potvin, so you're going to get a bleary-eyed, number-filled blog. Never say I don't give you what you pay for.

Jared called me at work today and informed me that the first trade of this year's deadline season had taken place: Ottawa sending Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves to the Hurricanes for Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore. I have taken the liberty of breaking that up into two separate trades: Commodore for Corvo (a defensive defenseman from a team that needs an offensive defenseman for an offensive defenseman from a team that needs a defensive defenseman) and Stillman for Eaves. The second one is the part that is of more interest here; ideally, the Leafs aren't going to be affected by the trade itself in terms of on-ice impact because they're going to start losing more games, and soon. Ideally.

Anyway... Cory Stillman. Nice player, albeit aging and broken down. The last time he played 45 or more games and didn't score 20+ goals was 96-97. He's working on a cheap contract ($1.75 million) and can walk in the summer as a free agent. At age 34, he's breaking down, and can barely skate at this point, but he's still piling up traditional counting stats and might finally crack the 30 goal mark this season. He has two Stanley Cups rings and will add a valuable secondary scoring presence to the Senators.

Stillman has become very important to the entire NHL today, but especially to the Leafs (maybe not especially, but for our intents and purposes it is, and that's what counts). That's because the market is always set with the first few trades of any given deadline season. If another big deal goes down tomorrow, the market is adjusted; but for now everything is based off of Cory Stillman (for forwards, anyway... although I'm not really sure how Commodore-for-Corvo sets the market for defensemen, other than you have to give quality to get quality at that position... but this is a unique situation where both teams had something the other needed that was of roughly equal value, so that swap meshed well. I can't imagine you're going to see many contending teams add extra defensive depth by giving up an equal defender). As of today, the market for a player like Cory Stillman (mid-30s, good offensive numbers, small cap hit, free agent at the end of the summer) is set at Patrick Eaves: a young forward who is two years removed from a 20 goal rookie season and was picked at the end of the vaunted 2003 draft's first round. This is a nice precedent to me, because I want to trade Darcy Tucker.

If you can think of someone who is more firmly on the 'trade Tucker' bandwagon than me, I'll be shocked. I like him but he's never been one of my favourites, and to get him, we had to trade Mike Johnson, who WAS one of my favourites. He was always a fun guy to have around, but when his contract came up last year, it was time: he, like Bryan McCabe, should have been sent out of town long before a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract was thrown his way. With a no-trade clause, no less. But here Tucker remains, and here the team circles the drain. The time to trade Darcy Tucker was last season, but that doesn't mean we can't do it this year, anyway. And I think we should start looking for a return comparable to Patrick Eaves.

At first glance, Tucker doesn't really seem to match up with Stillman, so there isn't much relevance to this comparison. They're roughly the same age (Tucker is a year and change younger), both seem like a pretty good bet to score 20 goals for you, but they don't really play the same style of hockey. Stillman is a deceptive scorer (so deceptive, in fact, that when asking around for people's thoughts on the trade and Stillman in general, I got a lot of "I have no idea how Stillman gets so many points, he's so slow and bad and never seems to be anywhere near the play"); Tucker is an agitator. Tucker is also not having a very good year, and Stillman's stats dwarf his (21G/25A/46P for Stillman, 9/8/17 for Tucker in six less games). Tucker has another three years and $9 million left on his contract, taking him to the age of 36. When today's trade first broke, I figured "well hey, maybe we'll get something better for Tucker than I was hoping", but I expected that an Eaves-type player would be a high ceiling on any type of Tucker return. I mean, he's not Cory Stillman.

Where it gets interesting is when you bring up Behind the Net stats. Looking at even-strength numbers (in a select few categories, because I know not everyone knows/uses/understands these stats, and I am only beginning to myself, so...) they're actually a lot more comparable than I thought:

TOI/60: Stillman 14.01, Tucker 11.61

GFON/60: Stillman 2.49, Tucker 2.21

GAON/60: Tucker 2.42, Stillman 2.65

Goals/60: Tucker 0.74, Stillman 0.70

First Assists/60: Tucker 0.63, Stillman 0.62

Second Assists/60: Stillman 0.70, Tucker 0.11

Some thoughts here: Stillman isn't NEARLY as productive as it looks based on his G/A/P numbers. You'd expect his GFON/GAON numbers to be higher than that, and he is actually getting less goals and first assists per 60 minutes of even-strength play than Tucker is (in 2.40 less minutes of EV ice-time, no less). Where Stillman kills Tucker is in secondary assists, which would seem to match up with my low-rent scouting reports of Stillman being a player who gets points despite being invisible.

Stillman also racks up a lot more points on the powerplay than Tucker. Stillman gets more ice time on the PP, and Tucker has been a PP bust this year, despite being pretty dependable in the past. Obviously, they're not the exact same player, but at least in terms of EV play, it's not really as far as you'd think. Plus, Tucker brings the bump-and-grind style that playoff teams (especially after the Ducks last year) covet, and he's under contract for another three seasons. If you're going to give up a recent first rounder for a player, wouldn't it be nice if you could actually keep him around for more than 20 games plus playoffs?

So maybe Stillman is a decent comp for Tucker, and maybe we can get a nice return on him yet. You'd have to think Tucker would fit on teams like Detroit, Dallas, and Vancouver, teams that need more offensive depth and are hoping for lengthy playoff runs AND have spare cap room for next year. I'm not sure, I haven't really looked into it. But our players aren't as worthless as we might think.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Here With My Two Cents ...

Sorry to be pushing the Standings down the page already, but I really couldn't help give a "rebuttle" to what Dave had said in the the previous post.

Cheering for losses is fucking difficult.

Common sense (brain) says this is what we need, this will help us in the future. It "should" give us stability for years to come. Even if we don't finish 1st and get the best shot at Stamkos, we should still be losing so that we can get a top pick; something we've been desperately lacking for years now.

Emotion (heart) says the complete opposite. The Heart wants the Leafs to win. The Heart is secretly hiding deep down, waiting to jump out and cheer the Leafs on to another 9th place finish. I'll be damned if it isn't doing it again this year.

How Dave was feeling during that Detroit game ... exactly how I felt too. Before the game I tell everyone how we need to lose, and that because we are playing a top flight team we WILL lose. Moments later the game starts and I find myself rooting for the Leafs to win ... and I feel dirty.

I know what's best for the franchise (and so do you) but does that stop us from cheering these god-forsaken pieces of shit on to victory? Of course it doesn't. Why? Because we're fans ... and true fans never give up, regardless of how dire the situation is. Out front we may suggest that we want the Leafs to lose, but deep down we want them to win, we want them to make the playoffs.

It's like watching TV, finding nothing, and finally settling on a movie that you've seen hundreds of times. For some reason you watch it anyway. You still get excited, you still yell for your favourite character to escape the situation ... even though all along you know what will happen. All that yelling and excitement didn't change anything did it?

Nope the character made an honourable effort, but still fell short of 8th in the East by a single point. You sit there feeling cheated, wondering whether that mad dash to the finish was worth it. You look back on the wins that slipped away, if only something would have changed along the way to gain that final point.

Now you look forward to next year, disheartened, lonely, and upset. Upset that management cheated you yet again. They didn't trade away Sundin. They didn't dump terrible contracts to someone willing to accept them. No, they, like you, saw the light in those meager wins in February, and decided that - just maybe - this team could do it. Just maybe they could make the playoffs, you know, where anything could happen.

But they never do. And year after year you're sitting right where you are now. "Cheering" for loses because that will signal a change, a rebuild. But secretly we all want wins, and the excitement of that race for 8th.

We are Leafs fans. Disappointment is what we are made of. Why would we settle for anything less?

Stamkos Standings, Feb. 11

1.  LAK 58 GP, 24 W, 49 PTS, -25 DIFF
2.  TBL 56 GP, 23 W, 52 PTS, -24 DIFF
3.  CHI 55 GP, 24 W, 54 PTS, -10 DIFF
4.  TOR 57 GP, 23 W, 55 PTS, -27 DIFF
5.  EDM 57 GP, 25 W, 55 PTS, -19 DIFF

6.  NYI 56 GP, 24 W, 55 PTS, -30 DIFF
7.  STL 54 GP, 24 W, 56 PTS, -19 DIFF
8.  FLA 58 GP, 26 W, 57 PTS, -8 DIFF
9.  ATL 58 GP, 27 W, 58 PTS, -29 DIFF
10. CAR 58 GP, 27 W, 58 PTS, -17 DIFF
11. PHO 56 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -3 DIFF
12. BUF 55 GP, 26 W, 60 PTS, +9 DIFF
13. CLB 58 GP, 26 W, 61 PTS, -7 DIFF
14. VAN 57 GP, 28 W, 63 PTS, +7 DIFF

New, fun twist: the teams who have a shot at the number one pick are now in BOLD~!


The only addition tonight is Carolina, because Washington won to take over the division lead again. Those silly SouthLeasterners. That would also subtract Washington from the list, logically.

Steve wondered why I hadn't included Vancouver originally: they were playing above .550. Now they are below again. Out of the playoffs + sub-.550 = on the list.

I realized a significant flaw in the "for the love of all that is holy, lose every damn game" plan while watching Toronto play Detroit on Saturday. I don't actually WANT to see Detroit beat Toronto. I want the end result of a Toronto loss, a Tucker trade, a Maurice firing, a Stamkos pick, but when I actually try to watch it happen... something inside of me clicks off the logical part of the brain. I cheered for the overtime winner, before saying "FUCK" real loud.

I bring this up because I know I'm not the only one who thinks these things. I'm not the only one who looks at the standings and thinks "well... at least if they start their run now, they might actually make the playoffs...", dejectedly as it may be. And don't get me wrong - I don't want them to go on that run. The only run I want is a run of high profile losses that will bring change. But then, I was bitching to people about how McCabe needed to be traded and the team needed to tank in 2006 before getting sucked up in the rush for the playoffs at the end. I pulled the same thing in 2007, demanding a Tucker trade, a new GM, a way for McCabe to get off the team, and a top draft pick. I didn't get any of those. What I got was a run at the playoffs that had me on the edge of my seat every game.

We missed by one point. Again.

So once again, the logical thing to do is throw a bundle of money in a barn somewhere, lure the deadweight (be it skill-wise or contract-wise) into said barn, and set the thing on fire. That's the logical thing. But as we all know, this is the Toronto Maple Leafs we're dealing with, not a logical organization. As Jason commented yesterday, it will take a few more wins before the higher-ups realize that there is still a chance to make the playoffs, however disastrous that would be for the franchise, and push Fletcher to trade for a Marian Hossa instead of trade away a Mats Sundin. Someone is going to look at this team, see that right now they are six points out of a share for eighth with 25 games left, and decide that things should be dealt with one game at a time.

All year I've been saying to anyone that will listen that this team sucks ass but will find a way to end up ninth or tenth. It looks like that might very well happen.

The morale of this story, in two forms:

1) It is very important that Fletcher dumps someone THIS week. Preferably before the next game. I know it won't happen, but make the statement that you are going forward for the future. I could live with making a run at the playoffs if we still dump who needs to be dumped and don't sacrifice the few kids we have. But really, John Ferguson didn't get fired so that the Leafs could make the playoffs in 2008. So let's get something done sooner than later before the tone around here changes, shall we?

2) The tone will almost definitely change soon. I can't help myself. They're going to make a run this month. I pray to God they don't. I pray that they keep up this "kill good teams but fold against bad teams" gimmick they've been working, given that we draw Ottawa once more and no one else in a top seven seed at the moment all month, and we end up with an abysmal record and four or more trades come the deadline. But fuck, honestly: three wins in their last four, all above three of the best teams in the league, 5-4-1 in the last ten, and two of their better players just game back. The momentum is swinging. This is going to be a bad month for the long-term future of this organization. I hope I will be wrong, but I doubt it.

So I'm just giving everyone a warning that if I start openly rooting for the Leafs to make the playoffs... don't be surprised.

(P.S. at least we didn't lose much ground in the Stamkos slide this weekend)

(P.P.S. fuck Chicago for not being able to close the deal, seal up that second point, and let us have third place back)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Stamkos Standings

What are the Leafs doing? Winners of their last 2, and 3 of 4 ... this is not helping out in the Standings, especially when teams ahead of us are losing. Stupid Leafs beating stupid Detroit ... hopefully Sundin accidentally got on the Wings team bus at the end of the game and is on his way back to Detroit right now (of course we'll want something in return once we realize he's gone). That'll slow the winning streak down.

Anyway here are the updated Standings to include all of Saturday's action.

1. LAK 57 GP, 23 W, 49 PTS, -26 DIFF
2. TBL 56 GP, 23 W, 52 PTS, -24 DIFF
3. CHI 54 GP, 24 W, 53 PTS, -9 DIFF
4. TOR 57 GP, 23 W, 55 PTS, -27 DIFF
5. EDM 57 GP, 25 W, 55 PTS, -19 DIFF
6. NYI 56 GP, 24 W, 55 PTS, -30 DIFF
7. STL 53 GP, 24 W, 55 PTS, -17 DIFF
8. FLA 57 GP, 26 W, 57 PTS, -6 DIFF
9. WAS 56 GP, 26 W, 57 PTS, -13 DIFF
10. ATL 58 GP, 27 W, 58 PTS, -29 DIFF
11. BUF 54 GP, 25 W, 58 PTS, +7 DIFF
12. CLB 57 GP, 26 W, 60 PTS, -6 DIFF
13. PHO 55 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, 0 DIFF
14. VAN 56 GP, 27 W, 61 PTS, +6 DIFF

The 3-2 OT win this afternoon certainly did not help the Leafs chances very much. We now find ourselves in the middle of a very crowded 55 point pack. With another win, we could find ourselves vaulting all the way down to 9th (I'm not sure you can "vault" down, but whatever). Not to mention, the current leaders (the Kings) lost to the Penguins 4-2, and the Lightning got a pity point (for losing in OT to ATL). Chicago, the other team ahead of us, was inactive today.

This is not what the Leafs need to be doing right now ... no, no, no!

Stamkos Standings

Oh dear Dave, won't you just be shocked to come home and find out that your brainchild has been updated even without you? Why am I doing this you ask? Well it's quite simple actually; 1) Dave has been coming up with a lot of good ideas lately (the Game Day previews, now this) and we struggle to commit to them. 2) With real commitment, and consistant posts, I think we could pull off quite an excellent blog. 3) I'm pretty bored and I've had enough of my history for the evening.

So enough of my ramblings, here's what you really want ...

1. LAK 56 GP, 23 W, 49 PTS, -24 DIFF
2. TBL 55 GP, 23 W, 51 PTS, -23 DIFF
3. TOR 56 GP, 22 W, 53 PTS, -28 DIFF
4. CHI 54 GP, 24 W, 53 PTS, -9 DIFF
5. NYI 55 GP, 24 W, 54 PTS, -29 DIFF
6. EDM 56 GP, 25 W, 55 PTS, -16 DIFF
7. FLA 56 GP, 25 W, 55 PTS, -9 DIFF
8. STL 52 GP, 24 W, 55 PTS, -14 DIFF
9. ATL 57 GP, 26 W, 56 PTS, -30 DIFF
10. WAS 56 GP, 26 W, 57 PTS, -13 DIFF
11. BUF 54 GP, 25 W, 58 PTS, +7 DIFF
12. CLB 57 GP, 26 W, 60 PTS, -6 DIFF
13. PHO 55 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, 0 DIFF
14. VAN 55 GP, 27 W, 61 PTS, +10 DIFF

These standings have been updated to include Friday Nights action which worked out fairly well. CLB lost in OT, BOS beat BUF in a shootout, and CAR leap frogged WAS. The only other game was Ducks win over the Devils but doesn't have any bearing on our standings.

New Additions

Canucks - Not sure why Dave didn't include them in the first place (seeing as though Phoenix made the cut), but there they are at the bottom of our standings. I chose to include them because it puts all 14 teams who are currently out of the playoffs on the board.

Capitals - Having lost the Atlantic Division lead by losing to Carolina on Friday the Capitals make their first apperance on our board. They're only out a point though so don't be surprised to see them jumping in and out over the next little while.


Hurricanes - With their win they moved out of 10th and off our board.

24 of the 30 teams are in action tomorrow, so it should be a busy day in the Stamkos Standings, we'll let you know how things shape up (hopefully).

#57 - vs Detroit (3:00pm start time)

I have to be honest, I really don't know what I'm doing. But Dave asked me to do this because he won't be around a computer this weekend. I'll do my best.

The Wings have been unstoppable this season (minus Thursday's loss to the Kings). I mean year in and year out they are always one of the better teams in the league, but did everyone else just get really shitty, or did Detroit get even better? They are 15 points clear of ANYONE else in the ENTIRE NHL. They're 24 up on Nashville for their division. They could pack it in now, and still win the conference. Hopefully for us Leafs fans they don't give up (I'm on the "cheering for loses because loses are good" side of the fence too).

The Leafs are coming off a very spirited win against the Canadiens Thursday. It was a pretty physical game that turned out to be quite entertaining (I actually watched the whole game). Unfortunately the Leafs were on the winning end of a 4-2 score. I thought the Earl - Sundin - Tlusty line looked fantastic. If I could come up with just one reason to keep Sundin it would be so he could center a line with these two youngsters for the rest of the season. Sundin has got to have a positive impact on their development, no?

The NHL has screwed with the time though (assumingly to accomodate the battle atop the Northeast), so if you're planning to watch the game, notice the 3:00pm start time.

(PS. If Dave is going to overlabel, I will try to underlabel).