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The New Era

October 9, 2008 @ 14:08

The 2008-009 NHL season begins in North America tonight, and the Toronto Maple Leafs kick it off in Detroit.

If playing the best team in the NHL isn't tough enough for the Leafs, it just so happens they're the opposition on the night the Red Wings will raise the Stanley Cup banner to the rafters.

But as new Leaf coach Ron Wilson says, that's probably a good thing. It will let his young and talentless team get a taste of what glory is all about, even if it's on the outside looking in.

Tonight represent a new era for the Leafs and probably the best thing about it is that Mats Sundin has appeared to have moved on. To have Sundin on the ice tonight would make the Leafs marginally better, but it would also mean they were stuck in the same lousy situation that's gotten them nowhere over the past several years.

Sundin would represent the status-quo, the same old same old, the face of a team that loves to be middle of the pack.

Without Sundin, the Leafs give the impression of a team that's turned the corner. A team full of young wankers who can't go anywhere but down. But that's good. We want them to go down.

We want them to bottom out and be the worst they can possibly be, and without Sundin in the lineup they have a much better chance of going that way.

When the Leafs take to the ice in Detroit tonight, having no Sundin in the lineup will be my favourite part of the night. It will represent re-birth to me.

It will represent a new era of "stink" that ironically will take us in a better direction.

The only thing that could make today even better would be to get word that Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky have been traded for three mouth-guards.

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Wilson Nails It

September 5, 2008 @ 08:34

Yea, he sure did.

When Ron Wilson opened up to reporters yesterday, he had the balls to say what so many others have been afraid to say - Mats Sundin was not a very good leader.

Wilson used a little diplomacy by generalizing, but the message was clear, a lot of what was wrong with the Maple Leafs over the past three of four years can rest on the shoulders of the captain who should have never been captain.

If you read this blog often, you know how I feel about Mats Sundin, in fact you're probably tired of hearing it. But here it goes again.

Mats Sundin is a marvelous hockey player, but he's not a captain, he didn't mean nearly as much to the Leafs as too many give him credit for, and this franchise will take giant leap forward if he decides to retire or play elsewhere.

That's not to say they will make the playoffs, or even have a winning season. It means they'll turn a corner and head in a different direction which they desperately need to do.

The Mats Sundin era should be over, and hopefully, what Ron Wilson said yesterday will put the final nail in the coffin.

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Gold Medal Comedy

August 22, 2008 @ 07:50

Michael Phelps returns to his to his tank at Seaworld. Click!

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A Gift To Mats

August 18, 2008 @ 08:56

The latest to come out of the indecisive world of Mats Sundin is that he's leaning towards the New York Rangers.

It's being denied by Sundin's agent J.P. Barry, but that's predictable, agents are supposed to deny everything before it happens.

But apparently Mats is attracted to the bright lights of Broadway, and lets face it, he proved last spring he doesn't care about winning a Stanley Cup so his choice to go there is not necessarily to win. It's probably more a lifestyle thing.

I hope this story is true. Actually, I hope any story about Sundin going anywhere but the Leafs is true.

I've stated many times before on this site how I feel about Mats Sundin. He's a wonderful hockey player, but he's also over-rated and has been way too much credit for his contribution to the Leafs.

I know, call me crazy but that's the way I feel. He's not nearly the leader he's promoted to be.

Anyway, here's the deal. I just happen to have a whack of "Aeroplan" points, if there's any way I can expedite Sundin's departure out of Toronto and into New York, I'd be willing cough up a few thousand points to get his ass on a plane so he can go cut a deal once and for all.

It may sound crazy, but I know what athletes are like. Even though they make millions, they don't like to pay for anything. They don't expect to pay for anything because everything is handed to them.

So if Mats is sitting somewhere wondering who's going to pay for his plane ticket to New York, and if for some whacked out reason the Rangers won't spread their cheeks, I'll give him some Aeroplan points.

I'm willing to do this for all concerned, but mostly for Maple Leaf fans, who don't realize it, but the Leafs will be much better off without this guy.

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Leif Petterson - 1950-2008

August 1, 2008 @ 13:25

Like most people who knew him, or knew of him, I was floored yesterday when I heard about the passing of former CFL player Leif Petterson.

I never got to know Leif personally, but over the years I interviewed several times when he played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 1980's, and I talked to him several times over the years while he worked for TSN.

He was also a fellow honourary director with the Pat Marsden Foundation.

A nice guy, but not only a nice guy, a striking man.

Tall, good looking, well spoken and the type of guy who made everyone feel at ease.

It's another one of those head-shakers. When people die of a heart attack at 57 years of age, we expect them to overweight, out of shape and under unbearable stress.

Petterson was obviously in marvelous shape, giving the impression of a man 37 instead of 57, and from all accounts, he did not take life seriously. In other words, to look at the guy you'd rank him extremely low in candidates for a massive coronary.

But you can never tell, and you never know what's around the corner.

On Tuesday, Leif Petterson was a thriving middle aged man with apparently a good portion of his life still ahead of him.

On Wednesday he was dead.

Savour every minute.

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Another Maple Leaf Snow Job

July 17, 2008 @ 09:16

I find the older I get, the less interested I am in the Toronto Maple Leafs. That's because the older I get, the longer I've been around to see how this organization screws with its fans.

The latest pile of bullshit if the so-called free game they announced yesterday.

A September 22nd pre-season game against the Buffalo Sabres will be free, totally free. Any fan lucky enough to get a ticket through some kind of a lottery, won’t have to pay.

On the surface, that’s pretty cool because there are a lot of fans in the GTA who don’t have a hope in hell of ever going to an over-priced Leaf game to see a crappy team.

What bothered me about yesterday’s announcement is the way it was presented, like it was a gift from the Leafs to the fans for all their years of undying support.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. All the tickets were purchased by Coca-Cola as part of a promotion, so it won’t cost the Leafs a goddamn nickel. If anything, the Leafs are going to make even more dough off this thing.

This is an “extra” pre-season game, so MLSE has already tucked away all the dough for those games. This “extra” game won’t bring in any ticket revenue, but it won’t cost them anything either thanks to Coca-Cola.

However, you can bet your ass the concession stands will be open that day, and on any given night with a full house the Leafs scoop about 300 thousand dollars out of their faithful fans pockets for ten dollar roast beef sandwiches and 12 dollar beer.

So in reality, this so-called “gift to their fans” is nothing more than an attempt to look good and give back while actually making an extra three hundred grand through the back door.

If the Leafs really wanted to impress somebody, they’d offer to give all concession money to a charity, or slash the price of their expensive substandard food for this game.

Don’t hold your breath.

Even In its purest form this entire exercise is bullshit, because even if the Leafs were actually eating the cost of the tickets, presenting it as a gift to their fans is totally inaccurate.

It's more like servicing a debt.

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I'll Say It Again

July 3, 2008 @ 10:49

I notice that Toronto Mike, because of Mats Sundin, has mentioned me on his blog again.

I take a pounding every time I write about Mats Sundin, because I have the audacity to have the opinion that I don’t think he’s the big wonderful hockey package that everyone else does.

The one thing that keeps coming up is the comparison of Sundin against Dougie, Darryl and Wendel.

Granted, at the end of the day I realize that Dougie, Darryl and Wendel didn’t bring a Stanley Cup to Toronto either, but to compare these three great Leafs to Mats Sundin when the money was on the line is insulting.

When Dougie, Darryl and Wendel were on the ice during playoff runs, during those times when we silly Leaf fans actually thought we had a chance, they were dominant players.

They gave their blood and guts.

No, they didn’t take up to the promised land, but when there was even an inkling of glory before them, they performed like Mats Sundin never could.

Sundin never carried the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs. He never delivered in the crunch, it was always somebody else.

Mats Sundin, no doubt, is a great hockey player. But he was far from the greatest Leaf and its time to move on.

And I don’t care what anyone says, twenty million dollars over two years for this guy is complete and utter insanity.

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Who Is This Guy

July 2, 2008 @ 09:03

If the Jersey Devils had done it, if the Detroit Red Wings had done it, or even if the Carolina Hurricanes had done it, you might be impressed.

If a team with a history of good, solid management had signed somebody like Jeff Finger to a four-year contract worth over 14 million dollars, you’d assume they’d done their due diligence and the reason for giving such an unknown player so much money would make sense eventually.

But when the Leafs do it, the flags go up and the alarms go off.

Jeff Finger is 28 years old and he’s played less than 100 games in the NHL. Last year in the playoffs he was a healthy scratch in five of the Colorado Avalanche’s ten playoff games.

First of all, you have to wonder how the offer got so high, because it’s hard to image any other team even considering giving him so much money. Who were the Leafs bidding against?

But more pressing is this question. How could anyone, including new head coach Ron Wilson be that impressed with somebody who’s played so little, that they’d give him a 700 percent raise over last year.

Wilson and Cliff Fletcher can say all they want, they can pump this guy up to be the second coming of Bobby Orr, but as Leaf fans we’re reduced to scratching our heads again.

Again, if it were the Red Wings or Devils who made a signing like this, you might actually be impressed.

Because it’s the Leafs, you know its just the beginning of another disaster.

What I can’t understand is the Brian Burke angle. Last week I was convinced he was sitting in the weeds calling the shots for the Leafs, now I’m not so sure.

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Too Much For Too Little

July 2, 2008 @ 09:02

As crazy as the Finger signing is, there's something else that could happen in the NHL in the next few days that could be considered even more ridiculous.

The Vancouver Canucks have offered Mats Sundin twenty million dollars over two years.

I've got to say, if this happens, from my perspective it will be the biggest waste of money in NHL history.

Ten million dollars a season for a 38 year old player who's not sure he really wants to play anymore.

Even in his prime, Mats Sundin never really accomplished much in Toronto, so an offer of twenty million dollars over two years, actually makes the Finger signing look better.

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The Plan Unfolds

June 25, 2008 @ 11:45

It’s become quite obvious, Brian Burke wants the Leafs to clean house before he gets to Toronto within the next year or so.

Having picked Ron Wilson as coach, who has a reputation for working well with young players, Burke has obviously directed Cliff Fletcher to get rid of the baggage and that’s why they tied the can to three players yesterday.

Andrew Raycroft and Kyle Wellwood were put on waivers, while the buy out of Darcy Tucker was initiated.

You can’t change history so there’s no use obsessing over the disastrous moves that were Raycroft and Tucker.

Tucker was signed to a long term deal by John Ferguson Jr. just as it became apparent he could no longer do the things that warranted the contract, and Raycroft came here at a huge price – goaltending prospect Tuukka Rask who went to the Boston Bruins.

The only pressing move remaining for the Leafs now, is to finally cut the ties to Mats Sundin. Apparently if he doesn’t sign elsewhere, there’s a seven million dollar contract waiting for him with the Leafs, but that would be ridiculous.

It’s time to move on from Sundin, even if they don’t get anything in return.

To my mind, the Leafs should forget about Sundin, go into the season with Marlies as fillers, stay way below the salary cap, have a horrible season, another good draft and then start spending some money.

Traditionally it’s not what they do, but this is a good time to do it, and I think on the heels of three bad seasons, Leaf fans are ready for something radical as long as there seems to be a point to it all.

Burke seems to have a plan.

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