It took me the weekend to devour and fully appreciate the Maple Leafs Annual, after receiving it late last week. So many different perspectives and writing styles between pieces don’t flatter the sheer magnitude of what’s actually been accomplished here and how much I believe Leafs fans will love the entire publication.
Part of my contribution included writing up the Leafs players profiles. With the constant flux of incoming/outgoing players, some were written up but never made print. I thought I’d give you an example of what the player writeups look like in text, which doesn’t do justice for the finished product. Coupled with the contributions of Gabriel Desjardins, from www.behindthenet.ca the profiles are a breakthrough in profile analysis in print, with scouting notes surrounded by unique leading statistical analysis.
Here’s an indication of the type of statistics Behindthenet.ca provides. Below, you will see a profile of a now departed blueliner that didn’t make it into the magazine as an example of what you’ll see with your favorite players.
The only other Leaf player (Ponikarovsky) to dress in all 82 games, including his 700th of career, the first time since signing as an unrestricted free agent in 2006-07. Led the Buds in playing time (over 1800 minutes) amidst multiple trade rumors just like countryman, Kaberle, leading up to the draft. Indicated his willingness to waive his no trade clause should a deal be presented to him by GM Brian Burke, which never materialized. It was the second straight trade deadline that passed without the 6-foot-4, 244-pound rearguard donning another teamâ€™s silks, and he enters the 2009-10 season as his last on his existing contract before hitting unrestricted free agency. The Czech tied his career high in points (82-14-26-40) – with 200th assist and 300th NHL point – three goals shy of career high 17. Four goals were game-winners. In fact, of 37 post lockout goals, 12 were game-winners, for an NHL best 32.4% percentage of total goals. A hulking, reliable, two-way defender with an excellent first pass, and heavy, accurate shot from the point. Can play in every situation, even-strength and special teams, but lacks foot speed and elite skating ability, having to rely on positioning and veteran savvy to take away space while covering the defensive zone, yet still prone to brain cramps when scrambling under pressure. Fearless and willing to block shots (138 ranked second on team). Was a coachâ€™s favorite prior to the season starting and grew into the most reliable of the Buds blueliners. Likely dealt if unable to be signed to a contract extension, or if the Leafs are not in contention for a playoff spot.
That one died on the table. Have fun in Atlanta (who by the way, is a dark horse playoff team with the addition of Kubina and Antropov).
What amazes me most about the entire magazine is the fact that it’s written by a cadre of talented individuals, each bringing their own unique voice into the project. The sheer accomplishment was how this wasn’t written with the mainstream in mind. It was put together by the Barilkosphere. It was a unification of the Leafs tribes and slapped between 128 stunning pages. This is a one-of-a-kind publication, a first, a flagship venture into hockey that will likely be a catalyst for other markets.
I wanted to thank Alec for letting me be a part of this crew. It was an honor to be included in this venture and to help in any way possible. It was tough getting everything accomplished with the constant changes, but when looking at the finished product, I can see that it was entirely worth the blood sweat and tears.