I came across an interesting Leafs article from a few days ago. Â This article was in the sports section of a popular mainstream newspaper, best known for areas other than hockey but with well-known and established reporters that should know their way around a rink. Â Now, if the writer of this article was Toronto-based you would be virtually guaranteed that it would feature one (or more) of the following: biting sarcasm, mockery, painfully awful attempts at humour (at the expense of the Leafs of course) or sheer factual inaccuracy. Â Blissfully, this article was written by George Popalis of the Sports Network, whose articles are featured outside of the demented fishbowl that is Toronto (and Canada at large) and thus requiring genuine attempts at realistically assessing this franchise.
In this article, the author cogently identifies Toronto’s growing strengths with respect to prospects, displaying some actual knowledge of the most promising youngsters in the organization. Â Moreover, he reinforces what most of us here know in that Burke’s relatively quiet expedition into the FA market this summer (Connolly) was the correct decision for the organization. Â Indeed, I might say that this is almost on level with the quality of hockey discussion that occurs daily among our very fine readers here at MLHS. Â After all, he did make the usual (slightly) exaggerated backhand reference to Toronto’s “20 years” of signing “grizzled veterans and expensive free agents”. Â But hey, nobody (in the media) is perfect.
- Michael Cuttell continues his in-depth look at the impending training camp battles.
- Wade Belak. Â Starring in this season of the Battle of the Blades. Â I could end this mashup right here and be a happy man.
- That being said, I had the good fortune of being in the Air Canada Centre on the 5th of December, 2007. Â When the aforementioned “legendary brawler” Belak broke a 143 game goalless streak. Â Yes, I was in on that “BELAK!” chant. Â The shift after he came right back out, laid a massive hit (causing more raucous celebration), and swaggered back to the bench. Â This would be the last goal of Wade’s NHL career. Â Who said enforcers were not relevant?
- Also featured in this season’s BotB: Boyd Devereaux. Â Knowing Boyd, he’ll be working hard in the background for most of the season, until the very last episode. Then he’ll spontaneously explode into the figure skating equivalent of a hat trick, ruining the outcome that everyone was hoping for (probably by taking away the crown from King Belak).
- Dave Scatchard retires from the NHL. Â Get better Dave, damn those concussions. Â But, seriously? Â Scatchard hasn’t been relevant for at least four seasons now. Â That’s hockey news in the summer folks.
- On that note, here’s more talk about a delay in Sidney Crosby’s return to hockey.
- Lou Lamoriello, who clearly takes a great deal of enjoyment in confusing the hockey world, signed 12 AHL players yesterday.