Morning Mashup: Return of the Alumni

Morning Mashup: Return of the Alumni

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Cujo!
"I said yes to the Alumni game in about 15 seconds. For the next 30 minutes of the call, we talked about the NHL starting job."

Apologies in advance for the rushed mashup, due primarily to two things: A) The distinct lack of summertime topics means we need to spread whatever discussion we can think of as thinly as possible over about 12 weeks, and B) the fact that I spent a generous portion of the night with a friend in the ER, post-rec league hockey, dealing with what I believe is a severely sprained shoulder on his part. A heartbreaking 1-0 loss in our first (and last) playoff game, too. I told him the waves of pain he was feeling made him look incredibly badass, even in defeat. He just wheezed, and didn’t seem to care. I think he was trying to say he wanted water. They got him some water.

Anywho, two major items of newsworthiness happened in Leafland yesterday, and I can’t decide which one makes for a better Mashup topic, so here they both are.

As mentioned in yesterday’s MLHS post, the Leafs named the first batch of confirmed players for their New Year’s Alumni game roster vs. the Detroit Red Wing, including “Hockey Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler; 50-goal scorer Rick Vaive; fan favorites Darcy Tucker, Felix Potvin, Mike Palmateer and Kevin Maguire; Stanley Cup champions Dave Andreychuk and Doug Gilmour; rough and tumble winger Wendel Clark; 454- win goaltender Curtis Joseph; and Maple Leafs® legends Johnny Bower, Ron Ellis and Jim McKenny“, according to this convenient and thorough announcement on mapleleafs.com. I would have loved to have been there for the PR writers’ likely hours-long debate over including Wendel Clark as part of the ‘fan favourites’ list versus giving him his own category of ‘rough and tumble.’

Regardless, it’s an impressive group. And all for the collective 2012-2013 cap hit of $1 million!

BREAKING: I’ve changed my mind since I started writing the post. Item #2 was going to be JVR’s first meeting with the Toronto media and apparent enthusiasm for an audition as #1 centre, including my own thoughts on the gamble approach. But it might become a long, ranting diatribe that inflates this Mashup to a point that’s just unpleasant for you. So let’s save it for next week.

Thursday morning links!

-The aformentioned ‘JVR meets Toronto!’ story, via the Star. He’s, uh, totally willing and ready for the challenge of being the Leafs’ top centre. He says all the right things, seems to be taking the best possible (Carlyle-influenced) approach, and he’s certainly got the makeup for it. Hell, it might work. I hope it does. But if it doesn’t, then “Skyfall” won’t just be the name of the 50th anniversary 007 film they’re releasing in early November.

-Via the Leafs Nation, Cam Charron writes about Nikolai Kulemin and shooter regression. From a purely subjective standpoint that I have no way of statistically backing up, I will say this: it seemed to me that he hit a boatload of posts last year. Like, comically so.

-The Washington Capitals signed Wojtek Wolski to a 1-year, $600,000 deal Wednesday. SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. He’s a player that’s been traded an awful lot in a short time, which might be telling, but he’s also big, 26, and had a 23 goal / 65 point season two years ago. He now makes less money than Mike Brown. And Colton Orr. I mean, Rickard Wallin made $800,000 in one year as a Leaf. Someone needs a new agent.

-Today in “former Leaf” news: Timmy Stapleton is headed for the KHL, and Garnet Exelby has signed with the Bruins. On a two-way deal, worth $600,000 at the NHL level. I’d make another Wolski joke here, but I can’t stop laughing long enough to think of or type one.

-Derek Roy had some shoulder surgery and won’t debut for the Dallas Stars until November. So take that, Dallas Stars’ October.