You know that dreadful time of the year known jointly as summer and hockey’s offseason is nearing it’s end when you’re able to preorder the latest edition of the Maple Leafs Annual. Â Many fine writers have put forth an inordinate amount of quality hockey material in the 2011-2012 MLA, be sure to read more about the details from the architect of the masterpiece himself, Alec Brownscombe.
In other news, Brian Burke loathes the shootout and so do I. Â In a classic Burke stance (what does he not have a strong opinion on?), the man spits vitriol concerning the circus act that currently follows overtime in the regular season, but insists that he’ll continue to vote for it. Â Why? “The fans” that love it, of course. Â He also has a valid point in that other options (such as an extended 3-on-3 OT) would add more wear and tear to the players and would likely result in the odd injury. Â Whatever, here’s one fan who would be more excited if the shootout was left for filthy trick shots during all star games, allowing teams to fight for those extra points as a collective entity.
Other Leafs Links
- Michael Cuttell takes a fantastic look at the inner competition Burke has strove to create coming to fruition, as there will be many personnel battling for positioning come training camp. Â Mike begins a multi-piece series by looking at this situation as it pertains to the Toronto goaltenders.
- The Hockey Writers identify some games on the newly released schedule toÂ look forward to. Â I’d have to personally add our first date with Tomas Kaberle in a Canes uniform (weird) and the same with a Flyers team sans Richards or Carter (weirder).
- nhlcheapshot at PPP establishes some goal predictions for this Toronto roster based largely on TOI and shot metrics (over each player’s career).
- On the other hand, the Bleacher Report takes a look at five Leafs players they believe are poised for a breakout season . Â This is included to stimulate conversation, as BR has the usual cumbersome slideshow supported by writing and analysis that usually dissapoints. Â Spoiler: they peg Kessel for 40 goals this season. Â For once, I’d have to agree. Â While it’s typical for the knowledgeable Toronto supporter to hold back on their optimism, for fear of looking like “a homer Leafs fan”, the truth is that some players will exceed expectations this year. Â Some will fail to meet them. Â That’s just hockey. Â I see a 23 year-old world class sniper that is only becoming more comfortable with his city, teammates, and organization as a whole (Connolly and Lupul, etc. etc.). Â I fearlessly predict that Kessel will post 41 goals and 37 assists in 80 games. Â Don’t hold back, who is your breakout player and how will they fare?
- Chris Drury has decided to call it quits on a splendid career, ending the hopes of those one or two special souls that honestly desired to see this man on the current edition of the Leafs. Â Let it be known that Drury never held anything back, but his reputation as a player took a hit in light of the mammoth contract he secured with the Rangers. Â It’s a phenomenon that nobody has mastered quite like the Broadway buffoons in recent years, and for goodness’ sake, let’s hope it ended with Drury (and Redden…and Gomez). Â Somewhere the newest mega-money Rangers pivot is repeating this mantra nightly.
- Nail Yakupov’s stock continues to rise as he dazzles at the R+D camp.
- Can Greg Jamison (really?) save the Phoenix Coyotes? Â Put down the pipe Sherlock, the answer is no. Â Just get them out of there already.
- Jonas Hiller seems prepared to make his return to the Ducks. Â An elite goalie when he’s on his game, this may allow Corey Perry to divert some of his superhuman abilities towards ending war in Libya and finding a cure for cancer.