Thursday Morning Leafs Roundtable: A New Era for The Battle of Ontario

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Let’s have a moment of silence for Daniel Alfredsson’s reputation in Ottawa…

As ‘sad’ as it is to see him go, given all the moves that Ottawa has made and the departure of Alfie, it seems we will be entering a new era in the Battle of Ontario next Fall. The departure of Alfie may partly take away the thrill of attending a Leafs game in Ottawa and showering boos on the home captain, but with the additions of Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan the  provincial battle certainly won’t be lacking in storylines.

MacArthur was a healthy scratch numerous times under Carlyle, and much like Grabovski, probably feels some vindictiveness towards the coach for his falling out of favour in Toronto.

Bobby Ryan, the newest and shiniest acquisition by the Senators, also knows what it’s like to harbour ill-will for  Carlyle. He was having a terrible season and was demoted to the third line just before Carlyle’s dismissal in Anaheim, said to have had a poor relationship with his ex-coach. Remember, Ryan was all over the rumour mill before Carlyle’s dismissal and was promptly announced as “off the trading block” once Carlyle was fired.

Ryan figures to feature on a line with Spezza and Michalek. Combine that with a back-to-health Erik Karlsson and a supporting cast that stepped up big time in wake of all the injuries last season; not since the days of Chara, Redden, Hossa, and Havlat have the Leafs seen an offense like what Ottawa is going to throw our way next season.

With the additions of Clarkson and Bolland, the Leafs will be countering with a little more grit to go along with the speed game that defeated the Senators handily in the season series.

On paper it looks to be an interprovincial battle of two clubs on the up and up after surprise playoff berths last season. No matter your current opinion of the Leafs, you must agree that the Battle of Ontario has the potential to take on a different but intriguing flavour in the near future.

And with Detroit joining the division there’s still plenty of opportunity to boo Alfredsson next season.

With Free Agency almost a week old, time has allowed the dust to settle somewhat and the emotion to drip off our words (for some).  The Leafs are currently in a period of negotiation with their outstanding RFAs.  Meanwhile, their prized prospects are being put through their paces at development camp, a.k.a. dream camp.

Here are some of our writers’ thoughts on what transpired following Free Agency Frenzy and what the fallout means for the division’s competitive landscape.

– –

Which team got more competitive in our division?

“For me the choice of most improved team improvement comes down to Detroit and Ottawa. In terms of roster players, Ottawa lost Alfredsson and Silfverberg but brought in Ryan and MacArthur. That’s a pretty big boost to Ottawa’s anemic offense that saw them score the fourth fewest goals in the league last season. Detroit lost Filppula, is trying to bring back Cleary and will likely not bring back Brunner or White. They brought in Alfredsson and Weiss. It’s tough to say how that will shake out in Detroit because Weiss might produce more with better line mates (though his production and possession statistics right now are seemingly slightly worse than Filppulas over the past few seasons) and Alfredsson will (most likely) be an upgrade on Brunner. So I’m going to give the edge to Ottawa on this one, great goaltending and solid defence get more support up front with two good offensive players. Honourable mention to the Bruins for brining in Iginla and Eriksson (despite losing Seguin). ” –Taylor Wright (@Taylor_Wright)

“It’s pretty clear that Ottawa has upgraded significantly with replacing Alfredsson with MacArthur then hugely upgrading their top six by adding Bobby Ryan. Detroit made some sound moves, though a 40 year and an injury prone centre are not magical upgrades that fix their blueline or stop Zetterberg and Datsyuk from aging. Briere is a decent add for Montreal, and Eriksson and Iginla are sound moves for Boston which more than make up for who they lost. Tampa adding Filppula I don’t like too much but they also drafted that Drouin guy. I’m not certain the Lightning will be more competitive but they’ll be in a battle to the death with the Leafs for the meaningless 5th in the Flortheast title.” –Jon Steitzer (@YakovMironov)

“Gotta go with the Sens on this one.  Sure, they lost their captain and longest-serving player in Daniel Alfredsson, but his offensive game has been on the decline and will continue this way.  But GM Bryan Murray pulled the trade of the offseason when he acquired Bobby Ryan on July 5.  Ryan, a four-time 30-goal scorer, comes to the nation’s capital cheaply, and still has two years left on his contract.  He’ll instantly replace Alfredsson’s offense on the top line, and will likely skate with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek to form one of the more formidable trios in the league.” –Michael Stephens (@MLHS_Mike)

” I would say the Ottawa Senators.  They lost Alfredsson, but gained back Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur.  Of note: Alfredsson’s been in decline for awhile — quite the captain in Ottawa and a big part of their history, but Ryan has the potential to break open games with his skill set… I think the Leafs made the biggest ‘gains’ as far as their top six wings are concerned.  Quite easily the best in the division and maybe the entire league.  Deep, skilled, fast, and highly intelligent.  Their defense remains a work in progress, but I’m convinced after hearing Loiselle speak on Rielly and Granberg that management has designs in promoting one of the kids this year.  Bet on that kid being Rielly at this stage.” –(@mORRganRielly)

Which team got less competitive?

“Losing Stephen Weiss and adding Joey Crabb seems pretty awful. Barkov should be ready to play this season for the Panthers, but in the short term they’ve definitely downgraded. Buffalo (both the city and the team) remain a flaming garbage pile and could still be selling off pieces to make them even worse. It’s likely that if Stafford, Miller or Vanek move it won’t be for an immediate impact player. Viva Darcy Regier!” –Jon

“You’ve got the think that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be the worst team in the division this coming year.  For the Bolts, it’s not just a matter of a losing the overpriced-but-effective Vincent Lecavalier, team captain and franchise leader in just about every category.  The Lightning have seven players earning over $4-million a season for the next two years, and only two (Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman) could be considered anything other than depreciating assets…Add to that the fact that they haven’t adequately addressed their middling goaltending situation, and it’s a fair bet to say that it’s going to be a long winter in Tampa.” –Michael

” I guess we can add Florida to that list since they just joined the division.  They are a very young team rich in prospects with major upside in Huberdeau, Bjugstad, Barkov, Gudbranson, Kulikov, Markstrom.  They just aren’t ready to compete yet.  It’ll take them some time before they can start pushing for a playoff spot.” –(@mORRganRielly)

“Well, as much as I’ve disagreed with the moves Nonis has made this offseason I don’t think the Leafs are the worst of the bunch. Buffalo will have to go the full season without Pominville, and Florida has lost a big piece of their team in Weiss. Both teams are in different stages of a rebuild but I don’t think either team has improved relative to the gains made by teams like Detroit, Boston (bringing in Iginla and Eriksson) or Ottawa. ” –Taylor

Which team stands to benefit the most from a falling cap?

“I’ll go off the board and select the New York Islanders.  Under GM Garth Snow, the Islanders have slowly and steadily locked up a lot of their young talent to reasonable deals, finding a way to keep their overhead low while acquiring an embarrassment of skilled players through the draft.  The Isles already have a young core signed through the next half-decade, and still have over $20-million in cap space to play with.  With the shrunken cap lowering free agents salary demands, and a terrifyingly skilled top six, I’d expect them to be able to sign a couple key depth pieces on the cheap while still being able to integrate their promising bevy of prospects as needed.” –Michael

” Definitely Florida.  They will save a lot of money and work their way back to competitiveness.  They have a long way to go, but they have given themselves a bright future with no cap issues.  They also have roughly 7M per spot available, which works out to three spots.  That money will inevitably go towards the core over time. ” –(@mORRganRielly)

“This is a tough question for me to answer because I’m not yet well versed with each team’s financial situation (internal budget v.s. cap team, etc.). But I think I’m going to go ahead and say that the St. Louis Blues benefit from the falling cap, Chicago had to get rid of some useful pieces and then overpaid (in my opinion) for Bickell. Based on the moves Dallas (Seguin and Horcoff) made, plus a full season of Pominville and hopefully a bounce-back season out of Backstrom in Minnesota, St. Louis benefits from those moves made by Chicago because of the cap. ” –Taylor

“At a glance Ottawa is doing nicely with cap management and if Melnyk figures out his finances they could add a ton to an already good team when the trade deadline comes around. The Alberta teams both have money to burn as well. Pretty much any team that didn’t burn a buyout on their top centre then lock up two players with third line talent long term for $9.5 million a season seem to be doing okay. Good teams like St. Louis should be interesting to watch at the cap as well.” –Jon

Is the above-mentioned cap advantage short-lived because of the anticipated increase in cap space?

” I guess Florida and Tampa Bay will struggle generating revenue with a rising floor, but Tampa Bay has already committed a lot of dollars to their cap — it seems as if Florida’s set to build towards contending in a few years, so as the youth grows, so will the salary they will pay out.  Hopefully for Florida they will be able to meet the floor and generate revenues without accessing the revenue sharing program.” –(@mORRganRielly)

“It won’t be short lived because a competent GM who can build a team with space to spare will always give you an advantage over teams throwing big money at middling players. If the Leafs want to make up for not having this advantage they should start locking up all their 2014 free agents now before there are too many horrible contract precedents and certainty about how much cap space teams will have to work with. It’s also likely that with the increases to the cap next season that every team that wants to sign their free agents will be able to, so expect an even worse group of free agents.” –Jon

“In the Islanders case, not particularly.  The team is set to move to Brooklyn, and with the move will come a vast increase to the team’s coffers, especially if they continue their ascent in East standings.  The Islanders have always been a cap floor team, but that will soon change.  Beyond that, they still have five more seasons of Jonathan Tavares’ at an insanely reasonable $5.5-million salary, as well as at least three seasons with Grabner, Okposo, Nielsen and Clutterbuck all earning $3-million or less.  These prudent, frugal deals and the pending financial windfall coming with the move, and the Islanders will be well positioned both financially and competitively as the cap increases.  They’ll have both the ability to hold onto their homegrown talent, and acquire the pieces (goaltending) they need. ” –Michael

“Based on the contracts handed out during free agency I’m going to have to say that teams firmly believe the cap advantage (if they believe there’s one) gained by teams will be short lived. I’m fairly certain St. Louis is an internal budget team and that there is much speculation that ownership is willing to spend while they are contenders but only while results are there. So once St. Louis doesn’t have the cap inhibiting them from the other teams in their division they might be worse off.” –Taylor

Fondest memory of and/or parting words for Daniel Afredsson?

“You’re still playing for a division rival so I can still despise you, which was really considerate.  You just picked the wrong team in red and white to sign with.  Enjoy your ultimately fruitless cup chase with Hank and Pavel in the Murder City, Danny boy; hope the extra couple million will be worth your own dubious reputation being tarnished in the only city to have ever embraced you. *drops mic*” –Michael

“Being a Leafs fan in Ottawa, I’m going to miss booing him in his own rink. But seriously I think the rivalry is worse off having him leave the Sens. The mocking of Mats, the hit on Tucker, the beating them in the playoffs after they tore up the regular season… many fond memories. ” –Taylor

“Alfredsson’s tantrum and benching during the 2012 playoffs were pretty great. I really hoped that would be what lead him into retirement, but at least we were able to watch him fall apart in the playoffs again this year and then slap Ottawa in the face. I look forward to him playing on a line with Todd Bertuzzi so there won’t be any debate about what the scummiest line in the NHL is. So I guess to answer the original question – my favourite moment is either when Mark Bell murdered him or the day he decided he wanted to look like a homeless Ronald McDonald.” –Jon

“No fond memories other than that he’s a clown and I will miss booing him in the Leafs’ practice arena.”  –(@mORRganRielly)

– – –

Morning Links

VLM: If I’m James Reimer… – Michael lays out his thoughts on the Bernier trade and what he thinks it does for the Leafs’ goaltending situation

BCP: A Look at David Clarkson’s Contract BCP with an analysis of DC’s recently signed hella-long contract with the Leafs

Backhand Shelf: Fighting in hockey isn’t always pointless, and it isn’t always good, it just is – …

Hockey Analysis (David Johnson): Standardizing Advanced Stats Nomenclature – About time.

Forbes: 2012 NHL Team Values (Ottawa Senators) – For your amusement

Somebody call a pest exterminator already for Jeremy Jacobs.

– – –

Aaron Chan (@MLHS_Aaron)

  • MaxwellHowe

    I do fear the Ottawa Senators are gonna be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.  Solid goaltending tandem, underrated defence, a good mixture of speed, skill, size and truculence at forward.  Well coached.  And now it looks to be Spezza’s team.  If they stay healthy, look out…

    • Dink

      MaxwellHowe Ottawa played a system with their limited offence last season. Can they still play that way this season?

      • MaxwellHowe

        @Dink MaxwellHowe They certainly have options this year

  • Burtonboy

    Fuck Ottawa and fuck all the rest of those teams . The Leafs are getting underrated again as per normal. We finished 5 th in our conference and drove the Bruins to the brink of elimination. We’ve improved and maybe a lot more then people think . A full camp to continue implementing  Carlyle’s style with players better suited to play it will be a big plus . Young players will get better and you can beat your ass that loss will be a huge motivator . But I digress. Don’t mind being the underdog because it will be super sweet to say I told you so.

    • Bernier_The_Boats

      Burtonboy I couldn’t have said it any better than that BB….

    • Aaron Chan

      Morning gents.Someone is on fire today eh?!

      • Burtonboy

        Aaron Chan Now I will be quiet and go away to my little corner lol

    • darthNihilus

      Burtonboy I still think our toughest competition will be Detroit and Boston. Ottawa added some offence but they are nothing special unless they get stellar goaltending again. And like you said-screw the senaturds!

      • MaxwellHowe

        darthNihilus Burtonboy You guys need to get your heads out of the sand.  The Leafs had their way last year with the Seantors, yes.  A Senators team without Spezza, Karlsson and Bobby Ryan.

        • Burtonboy

          MaxwellHowe darthNihilus Burtonboy Lets see how Spezza and Ryan make out against Bolland ,McClement and Kulie . That will be interesting.

        • darthNihilus

          MaxwellHowe darthNihilus Burtonboy They had Spezza and Karlsson before (Karlsson great at scoring goals not so great at preventing them). Sorry but Bobby Ryan and ClarkyMark do not scare me.

        • Tommy Cat

          MaxwellHowe darthNihilus Burtonboy Let’s see how much of the season Spezza can get through.

        • MaxwellHowe

          Tommy Cat MaxwellHowe Fair enough, but every team can be brought down by injuries.  We have to hope Lupul and JVR keep off the disabled list.

        • Tommy Cat

          MaxwellHowe Tommy Cat Yeah, some guys are a bit more beat up and injury prone than others (like Spezza).  But I have concerns with Lupul as well.  Hope he can put together a full season.

      • Burtonboy

        darthNihilus Burtonboy Hard to say for sure but its a good bet . To be honest I think Boston has made some huge changes and it remains to be seen how that works out . Is Weiss good enough to really make that big a difference to Detroit . Alfie is old as the hills. Detroits are very deep prospect wise and if some of them pan out they will be a force.If they don’t I’m not sure how it turns out for them . I think the Islanders are the team we really need to keep an eye in the Conference

        • KingTon

          Burtonboy darthNihilus I laugh at how Wiess is mentioned at making an improvement in Detroit, yet tons of people were bitching that Wiess coming here would be no benefit at all.

        • Dink

          KingTon Burtonboy darthNihilus I still see Nyquist on Detroit unsigned…..

        • Burtonboy

          @Dink KingTon Burtonboy darthNihilus Really? Hell of a prospect that guy

        • Dink

          Burtonboy KingTon darthNihilus I know, wish Nonis could get him somehow…

        • Bobsyouruncle

          KingTon Burtonboy darthNihilus That was before we found our own “no benefit” plan, Bozak.

        • KingTon

          Bobsyouruncle KingTon Burtonboy darthNihilus Bozak or not it doesn’t remove the fact everyone considered Weiss a parallel upgrade for the leafs but for old aging Detroit he makes them better

    • Mind Bomb

      Burtonboy  Haha you think they would have learned after last years predictions for the Playoffs BB :)

    • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

      Burtonboy Leafs we average in the regular season the powerplay. I expect a full year of Grabovski not on the PP will help production in the way of Kadri running the 2nd PP and actually doing something. And goaltending was upgraded, which can’t be underscored enough. All hail Reimer, but goaltending was upgraded.

  • Dink

    I dunno about Ottawa, but I don’t see Boston as better. They will still have problems with speedier teams.
    As for Detroit, maybe, maybe not…

  • darthNihilus

    I, for one, am glad the spotlight will be on ottawa, boston and others. I want all the other teams to underestimate and not consider us (like the PPPers) as a threat. That way when we kick their ass they’ll be like “whoa, where did these leafs come from…?”

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/FAN590
    https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leafs&src=hash centre https://twitter.com/Bozie42 joins https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BradyAndLang&src=hash at 8:00 to talk about his new contract and how happy he is to be a https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leaf&src=hash.

  • Tommy Cat

    Good to here from Canucksnaphook at the prospects camp about how good Leivo and Granberg are doing.  That’s good scouting from the Leafs getting guys like these in the later rounds.

  • KurtWhite

    its funny we all still talk about almost beating boston last playoffs as if its  good thing and other teams make fun of us for it being same old leafs

    • Tommy Cat

      KurtWhite I think the Leafs gained a whole lot of new respect last season and into the playoffs.  Its shitty how the last game went but that didn’t totally define the season.  Many didn’t even predict us to be there.  Even the writers on this board (most anyway).  Lets see how they handle this next year.  Some good vet presence added up front now as well.  Something we needed.

  • http://twitter.com/jmckelvie RielledUp

    “I’ve always been knocked for being small my whole life” – Tyler Bozak aka baby carrot

  • Burtonboy

    David Broll shows Leafs he can do more than just fight :
    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2013/07/11/david-broll-shows-leafs-he-can-do-more-than-just-fight/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    • Mitch_S2

      Burtonboy Definitely moving back towards the leafs teams that I remember. Big tough and fast.

      • Burtonboy

        TheCanucksnaphook Mitch_S2 Burtonboy Brolldozer is my kind of tough guy . At least he can play ( hopefully)

      • Mitch_S2

        Burtonboy TheCanucksnaphook Mitch_S2  
        I personally think one of Broll, Biggs or Leivo will suprise at camp, and end up playing a few games with the big club. 
        Leivo is intriguing for me.

      • Burtonboy

        Mitch_S2 Burtonboy TheCanucksnaphook Getting rave reviews for sure

      • Knights2Leafs

        Mitch_S2
        Are there any exceptions for roster spots (more than 23) or cap for the first 10 games because if not we will have no roster spots available and no cap room for those guys.

      • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

        Burtonboy TheCanucksnaphook Mitch_S2 Two equally skilled players — I take the one with more toughness 7 days from Sunday. I’d love our goons to be able to take a regular shift.

      • playoff nut

        Mitch_S2BurtonboyGood write up imo,Indeed, Broll took a step towards being more like David Clarkson,Cant wait to see if this happens

  • Tommy Cat

    TheCanucksnaphook Good stuff.

  • Burtonboy

    TheCanucksnaphook Hope he shits the bed completely . Fuckin turd

    • Mitch_S2

      Burtonboy TheCanucksnaphook Bit of a whiner eh. And kessel gets a hard time for being a yanky…

  • Mind Bomb

    TheCanucksnaphook Morning guys, someone who does not have a NMC :)

  • Wilbur

    Interesting that Alfredsson and SIlfverberg scored 20 goals between them last year and Ryan and MacArthur scored 20 goals between them last year. No doubt moving forward you’d rather have Ryan than Alfdredsson and Silvferberg than MacArthur.

  • Mitch_S2

    Nice seeing Brendan Smith filled for arbitration. He’s definitely a guy I’d love to see the leafs add. Big mean and talented.

  • KingTon

    TheCanucksnaphook We’ll see.  The sens have what, 2 years left on his contract?  Will be interesting to see if they can keep him after that.

    • Wilbur

      KingTon TheCanucksnaphook He’s one step closer to Philly…

      • Wilbur

        TheCanucksnaphook Wilbur KingTon We’ll see how OTT fans feel two years down the road about giving up a 1st, Silfverberg and prospect for 2 years of Ryan…

  • KingTon

    This seemed like a rather snarly remark towards the leafs by Jon in the article above: “Pretty much any team that didn’t burn a buyout on their top centre then lock up two players with third line talent long term for $9.5 million a season seem to be doing okay.”  The articles on here lately … brutally negative.

    • Burtonboy

      KingTon Need to cut them some slack KT. Lots of Grabo fans are pissed off just like I would be if we bought out Kessel or traded Kadri

      • KingTon

        Burtonboy KingTon I understand and I’m not trying to be rude because I love this site.  Best leafs site period.  Just a little frustrated with some of the bashing lately.

        • Burtonboy

          KingTon Burtonboy Winning will change a lot of that but I agree its frustrating

        • hockey_rules

          KingTon Burtonboy I agree. This site is for Leafs fans. We get enough negativity in the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.
          Not to mention, we’re coming off our first playoff appearance in 9 years.

    • Mitch_S2

      KingTon Grabovski wasn’t our top center.. Maybe he was the most talented but the bottom line is that this is a results based business. Grabovski was put in a position to play the toughest assignments and still produce and he couldn’t do it.

    • Mind Bomb

      KingTon   Nonis Started it P

      :)

    • Wendelbuiltmyhotrod

      KingTon I couldn’t agree with you more

    • dlb eh

      KingTon 
      i like that the writers here tell us what they thing, and that they tend to think differently often.
      i don’t hate the negative so much, because we all spend so much time down here where we can spin it into whatever we want.

      • KingTon

        dlb eh KingTon Yes but it’s been the same crap for a week.  Time to move on, no?

  • hockey_rules

    I don’t think Ottawa got that much better. I’d say MacArthur is only an improvement on Jakub Silfverberg in name-only. If Silfverberg didn’t put up the points he did last season, Ottawa would literally have had nobody.  Of course, it’s impossible to deny that Bobby Ryan is an upgrade on Alfredsson, but Ryan never really separated himself as “the” star in Anaheim. He was always under Perry and Getzlaf’s shadow, as Anaheim’s second tier star.
    As much as I hate the money Nonis dished out, and disagreed with the buyout on Grabovski, he has improved our team this summer. The defence stays the same. Questionable. But our goaltending is much more secure. Clarkson is a huge improvement on MacArthur for our bottom-6. Bolland is a huge improvement on Grabovski down the middle. Maybe we lost some offense there, sure, but offense wasn’t our problem last season. I’d say the Leafs made the most improvements for next season–but they simultaneously shot themselves in the foot in the long term.

    • MaxwellHowe

      hockey_rules Not sure why you believe the Leafs shot themselves in the foot long term.  Traded two 2nd round picks and a 4th rounder.  And Matt Frattin.  Clarkson is on a longer term deal, but the significance of the $ involved will diminish with time.  But the Leafs didn’t trade away any young players or prospects.

      • hockey_rules

        MaxwellHowe hockey_rules I say shot themselves in the foot longterm because of Clarkson’s 7 year deal. By year 6 and 7, we’re going to have a 3rd or 4th liner at a $5.25 million cap hit. It may be useful because in actual $$’s its frontloaded (we could trade him to a poor team looking to reach the cap floor), but generally speaking, we may be forced to devote serious cap space to a 4th line grinder. Also, I think they shot themselves in the foot long term with the Grabo buyout. Grabo had his worst season of the year last year. Typical case of buy high, sell low. I think if they waited on him in addition to the cap going up to a projected 70-million next year, they would have been able to trade him for something equivalent of a 2nd round pick.

        • hockey_rules

          MaxwellHowe hockey_rules And by shot themselves in the foot I mean they essentially made the cap situation difficult 5 years down the road, not that theyve killed themselves and that Clarkson will in anyway stop them from being successful.

    • Knights2Leafs

      hockey_rules 
      Respectfully disagree on the defense.  By the end of the year out top 4 were Phaneuf, Gunnar (hopefully injury recovered) Gardiner and Franson.  IMO that is a huge improvement over what we started the year with and can compete with just about every top 4 D in the league. 
      I’m not sure how they shot themselves in the foot long term. They now have 2 quality goalies, either one of which should bring good value in a trade down the road and Clarkson’s contact is structured so that he is moveable after 4 or 5 years.
      On top of all of that Kadri’s development may continue upward to towards being a 1C.  He is unlikely to regress.  
      This team is different than last year’s but seems to me to be an improvement.

      • dlb eh

        Knights2Leafs hockey_rules 
        he said it was questionable.  i have to agree.  lots of potential.  unproven.
        as Cretian used to say “a proof is a proof..”  and so on

    • dlb eh

      hockey_rules 
      i think Clarkson IS a big upgrade over Mac in the bottom 6.  i also think Clarkson can play on any of the lines he’s put on, so i wouldn’t have said it quite the way you did there.
      the defense IS still questionable, i can’t argue that.  however, there is hope from within still.  Fraser might have been the only guy last year to actually play to his highest level all year.  the rest showed moments of good and bad, but judging by their age and experience and seeing the improvements made to the other parts of the roster, plus the new competition nipping at their heels, we could see improvement, or consistancy, from all 6 D positions this year. 
      Phaneuf gets a pass from me since he was working with amateurs all year :-)

  • GeorgeCastanza

    Over the last 4 seasons specifically, I endured the criticisms and mockery from other fan bases and media about Leafs players being junk and nobody’s. But everytime a Leaf leaves to go to another team via trade or free agency, they are all of a sudden great players to these same idiots. Well now Clarkson and Bolland are junk to these same idiots again and the same broken record just keeps on turning.

    • Knights2Leafs

      GeorgeCastanza 
      it’s not as if Bolland scored a cup winning goal or anything.

  • Burtonboy

    Loiselle is on TSN radio right now

    • Mitch_S2

      Burtonboy He likes Cameranesi eh. That kid is definitely a boom or bust type player.I definitely see a Parise type player there.

  • dlb eh

    TheCanucksnaphook 
    what a great 1st comment to read (for me this morning)
    i was bummed i couldn’t get it to crop properly in this new livefyre t’ing

  • mcloki

    Who cares what the other guys have done. We’ll beat them all. Bring it on mother fuckers.
    Morning gents. And it is a beautiful sun shiny morning in Toronto. The sky is a beautiful blue.

    • Mind Bomb

      mcloki  morning MC thats right, we will beat them all

      Morning

  • 2minutes

    How was the Leafs playoff berth a surprise?

  • B_Leaf

    I love our top five D. They are young but not too young. We have size, brawn, speed, and skill…I really am expecting big things from Gardiner, and hopefully Gunnar is 100%. Franson is emerging as a poor man’s Pronger but who knows how good he can be. With better support look for Dion to also look better with less TOI. Fraser adds a toughness factor that is vital as well.
    I think Gardiner projects to be one of the top dozen PMD’s in the league. Karlson, Suban, Letang, Keith, Markov, Leddy, Suter, Voynov, Yandle, Pietrangelo, Ekman-Larsson, and Doughty are probably the top dozen…but I think Gardiner steps into that group.
    I am not sure you call Franson a PMD, but he brings considerable offense and will likely be in top ten in D points. 
    Our 6 and 7 guys may not get a lot of ice time until injuries happen…but I tend to think we have enough guys vying for those spots that at least one or two will emerge. If not early in the year than at least by the midway point.

    • Bobsyouruncle

      B_Leaf Again with the Pronger nonsense? Can’t wait until Franson is inducted into The Poor Man’s Hall of Fame.   lol

      • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

        Bobsyouruncle B_Leaf I’d like to visit it, but I can’t afford a ticket.

  • Marlies Man

    Anyone listen to Bozak on the Fan this morning and have a quick rundown of the conversation?

    • Burtonboy

      Marlies Man You can listen here if you like 
      http://www.sportsnet.ca/590/

      • Marlies Man

        Burtonboy Marlies Man Right-o, thanks. Didn’t think it would be up so soon.

  • B_Leaf

    I think the issue with this years Leafs so far is the lack of depth outside the top nine. Last year we had Frattin, MacArthur, and Komarov who could move up in the lineup. This year we have Colborne, D’Amigo, and maybe Leivo who are providing depth. 
    If the Leafs could somehow trade Liles, sign their RFA’s, and get Komarov signed back from Russia I would feel better about our depth. 
    A line-up like 
    JVR Bozie Kess
    Lupul Naz Clarkson
    Komarov Bolland Kulemin
    D’Amigo McClement Orr
    would make me feel better

    • Mind Bomb

      B_Leaf  True B_leaf, but the opposite end, we now have room for some marlies to make the jump. We still have Koro and Frattin, then D’amigo and Carter AShton do not get a look

      • playoff nut

        Mind Bomb B_Leaf Hates it when he s right ,groan lol jjk

        • Mind Bomb

          playoff nut Mind Bomb B_Leaf hahah Nuter.

    • B_Leaf

      hoolihan B_Leaf 
      Well they offered him significantly more money…but if we came close he basicly has said he would love to come back…he’s an asset who is still getting better. He would help our depth.

      • Tommy Cat

        hoolihan B_Leaf That’s a bit harsh.

      • Tommy Cat

        hoolihan Tommy Cat B_Leaf The overseas players are not NAs.  They are more employees.  He was probably a teenager before he ever heard of the Leafs.  He didn’t think the contract was to his liking so stayed overseas.  I won’t string him up for that.

      • Tommy Cat

        hoolihan Tommy Cat B_Leaf Part of me agrees with that.  Not all of me but part of me.

      • Tommy Cat

        hoolihan Tommy Cat B_Leaf And its not being racist or anything like that.  Its no difference than the “adjacency principal” in mega-projects.  Those who live close by gets first crack at the jobs.  But the other side of the coin is that if signing a guy from where ever makes us even 1% better than that other part of me says do it.

    • peterbleafs

      B_Leaf Sorry but we have lots of depth in our lineup.  Just because its young does not mean it is insufficient.  Many teams bring up 21, 22 year olds throughout the year.  Leafs are fine everywhere now.

      • peterbleafs

        B_Leaf Getting Colborne at 600k is huge for us!  He should center or wing the 3rd line with Bolland and Kulemin this year.  Talent, size, speed and grit all on one line.

        • Tommy Cat

          peterbleafs B_Leaf Yeah that was a real good signing.  You need a few cheapies to offset the overs for sure.

  • mcloki

    Why  is everyone looking for problems in the lineup. Take a moment and realistically look at our current lineup and see what we have.  There’s not too much to complain about.  The only quibble I have is with Bozak and I just want him to shoot more, learn that JVR is also on the line and score a few more goals. Bozak scoring 25-30 would settle this teams critics right down. 
    We literally don’t have a scapegoat on the team anymore. To the point that we have to scapegoat, Kessel, Pha9, and Bozak. Get used to it people we have a good team and I can’t wait for them to start playing

    • Tommy Cat

      mcloki Oh there’ll be a whipping boy alright.  Always is.  I hate that.  You win as a team or lose as a team.  Blaming some depth defenceman making 1.5 mil per year for all your problems is not looking at the real issues.

      • B_Leaf

        Tommy Cat mcloki 
        I don’t think this team had any passengers last year.

    • Mind Bomb

      mcloki  Maybe they just dont remember this line up from 4 or 5 years ago

      • mcloki

        Mind Bomb mcloki Or from the 80’s

        • Mind Bomb

          mcloki Mind Bomb Exactly

    • Dink

      mcloki If team defense and goaltending both improve as they should, the defensemen will look very good.

      • mcloki

        @Dink mcloki see and i thought it was the  other way around last year. The D improved the goaltending. The D kept the opposition to the outside and Reimer was the most protected guy on the ice. And gee whiz for some reason the oppostiion didn’t cause a lot of shit after the whistle when Fraser just looked at the guys. Holzer did the same early on.

  • mcloki

    MapleLeafs
    This just happened at #Leafs Hockey School powered by Rogers: Clarkson + Clark: http://t.co/lfyuiyA9UJ
    https://twitter.com/mapleleafs/status/355319062529724416
    Odds are that Clarkson wears 17.

    • wendelsfist

      mcloki Why is there a shark logo in the upper top left corner

      • Tommy Cat

        wendelsfist mcloki Est 1953??!?!?  Those San Jose fuckers stole it!!!!

      • mcloki

        wendelsfist mcloki I don’t know which rink they are in. I don’t think it’s MCC

      • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

        wendelsfist mcloki I believe it’s Malvern Arena, Scarborough Sharks women’s hockey program.

        • ConnorCrisp

          ingy56 wendelsfist mcloki Ted Reeves?

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          ConnorCrisp ingy56 wendelsfist mcloki Yes, could very well be there too.

    • Leafbites

      mcloki Love Clarky wearing the work gloves!
      I wonder if Wendel read somewhere this morning that Ottawa is the most improved team in our division with the addition of MacArthur. LOL.

      • Tommy Cat

        Leafbites mcloki Hahaha I didn’t that!  Cool.  I want a pair!!!

        • .JVR.

          I have a pair :-)

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    https://twitter.com/canucksnaphookhttps://twitter.com/canucksnaphook/status/355325340463296512
    Arrived http://t.co/EDFyEVlUIb

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    https://twitter.com/DavidAlter590https://twitter.com/DavidAlter590/status/355327656994152449
    Fabrice Herzong leaves the ice in the 2nd scrimmage. Yesterday’s lone goal scorer. No sign of Matt Finn who was injured yesterday.

    • DJBrianBurke

      ingy56 Poor guy, can’t seem to catch a break.

      • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

        DJBrianBurke ingy56 He’s limping, blocked a shot yesterday maybe?

        • DJBrianBurke

          ingy56 DJBrianBurke I think it came from a hit yesterday (Finn I mean). I watched the coverage on LeafsTV and they show him before the scrimmage talking about how he’s now healthy and feeling 100%… Dude jinx himself.

        • MaxwellHowe

          ingy56 DJBrianBurke I understood he got in the path of David Broll.

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          MaxwellHowe ingy56 DJBrianBurke Ahhh, that explains it, thanks.

        • DJBrianBurke

          MaxwellHowe ingy56 DJBrianBurke That’s it. I couldn’t remember who hit him. I like Finn, I just hope he’s not made of wet paper.

        • MaxwellHowe

          ingy56 MaxwellHowe DJBrianBurke I get the sense Broll is going to be terrorizing opposing defencemen in a few years.  Nice weapon to have a for a long playoff series.

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          MaxwellHowe ingy56 DJBrianBurke Shit yeah, defencemen will bail on the puck knowing he’s coming.

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/DavidAlter590
    Matt Bellerive chips one in past Charlie Millen and Blue has a 1-0 lead over white. His goal was very ‘Frabrice Herzog’ like.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    https://twitter.com/si_vaulthttps://twitter.com/si_vault/status/355330321941671936
    The Maple Leafs and Blackhawks mix it up during a 1966 game at Maple Leaf Gardens: http://t.co/Aa4eesHYf3

    • DJBrianBurke

      ingy56 What a great photo! The HD broadcast signal must have hated those low lights.

      • Aaron Chan

        DJBrianBurke ingy56 Awesome photo!

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          Aaron Chan DJBrianBurke ingy56 If you watch the classic games from that era there were actually photographers on the ice during these scraps. I don’t think that’s the case here though.

      • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

        DJBrianBurke ingy56 May have been in the first period when the games were on radio only back then.

        • DJBrianBurke

          ingy56 DJBrianBurke lol

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          DJBrianBurke ingy56 It’s true, the games came on TV late in the first period or at the intermission. Had to listen to the first period with Foster Hewitt and a radio.

        • DJBrianBurke

          ingy56 DJBrianBurke I thought you were cracking a joke at my crappy HD joke.

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          DJBrianBurke ingy56 Nope, I can remember a game where the Leafs played the Bruins, who were the perennial doormats of the league. I believe it was 6-0 Boston after the first. We couldn’t wait until the TV coverage came on because we couldn’t believe it was true. It was, final score 11-0 Bruins.

        • Dink

          ingy56 DJBrianBurke was it preceded by Tommy Commons or Tommy Hunter?
          lol

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          @Dink ingy56 DJBrianBurke It was Tommy Hunter or Don Messer’s Jubilee if I remember right. I was listening to the radio, a little kid doesn’t go for the fiddle music.

        • Dink

          ingy56 DJBrianBurke Charlie, Meg and Don could have been rock stars if Meg showed more cleavage…

    • MaxwellHowe

      ingy56 Placed is packed by people who appear to be dressed for church.  Christ, things have changed.

      • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

        MaxwellHowe ingy56 Smythe had a dress code for the lower levels (Reds). I could just imagine him going after the Platinum crowd of today for not being in their seats. He’d take their seasons passes away.

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/canucksnaphook
    Biggs much more effective today. Using size and speed very well. https://twitter.com/search?q=%23whew&src=hash

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/canucksnaphook
    Leivo continues to impress all levels of this team. According to an inside source.

  • Ratzshite

    The following players have filed for arbitration…
    Detroit Red Wings
    Brendan Smith
    Edmonton Oilers
    Sam Gagner
    Los Angeles Kings
    Trevor Lewis
    Alec Martinez
    Jake Muzzin
    Jordan Nolan
    Montreal Canadiens
    Ryan White
    Nashville Predators
    Nick Spaling
    New York Islanders
    Josh Bailey
    New York Rangers
    Mats Zuccarello
    Ottawa Senators
    Eric Condra
    Pittsburgh Penguins
    Robert Bortuzzo
    St. Louis Blues
    Chris Stewart
    Toronto Maple Leafs
    Mark Fraser
    Carl Gunnarsson
    Vancouver Canucks
    Dale Weise
    Winnipeg Jets
    Zach Bogosian
    Bryan Little
    Paul Postma
    Eric Tangradi
    Blake Wheeler

    • Black_Hawk

      Ratzshite WPG got fucked

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/canucksnaphook
    Most improved skater. Leivo. Most upside. Gauthier.

  • WatsonB

    “As ‘sad’ as it is to see him go, given all the moves that Ottawa has made and the departure of Alfie”
    Sad? Who here was sad to see him go? If he wouldve moved out of the division it would have been a terrific day…. unfortunately we still have to stare at his Krusty the Clown looking face in Detroit as well…

    • Aaron Chan

      WatsonB ‘sad’ =/= sad

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      WatsonB I can’t wait to hear Krusty get booed by 100,000 fans at the Winter Classic.

      • wiski

        ingy56 WatsonB 60 thousand anyway 😉

        • mcloki

          wiski ingy56 WatsonB Why do you keep saying that?
           A world record crowd for an ice hockey game could attend the 2014 event, surpassing the 104,173 people attending the game between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University at Michigan Stadium in 2010.

        • wiski

          mcloki wiski ingy56 WatsonB I kinda figured that there would be a few red wing fans there to. 😉

        • mcloki

          wiski mcloki ingy56 WatsonB after a few months of Alfies play they will boo along with us. 😉

      • WatsonB

        Well considering its taking place in Detriot, I think there will be more fans of him there than not, but yes, that would be very entertaining.

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          WatsonB Haha…we’ll see.

      • mcloki

        ingy56 WatsonB Will be booing from home.

    • DJBrianBurke

      WatsonB It’s ok, being in Detroit is the last step to retirement. Jagr should sign there too, then they can have a portrait of Chelios, Jarg and the Clown immortalize in the Joe.

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/sunhornby
    Carter Verhaeghe, the Mad Belgian, strikes for White to tie it.

    • wiski

      Burtonboy LOL mad Belgian

      • Burtonboy

        wiski Burtonboy Have no idea where he got that

  • Aaron Chan

    What do you guys think about Troy Bodie? Serviceable 4th liner? He’s a beast of a man but can’t do much else but fight, and lose for that matter. Here is a video of him fighting Clarkson:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BYexfvamHKE

    • Ratzshite

      Aaron Chan it’s the start of an arms race hockey style.

    • wiski

      Aaron Chan I thought they got him for the marlies

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      Aaron Chan Looks like they got him to protect the young Marlies.

    • playoff nut

      Aaron Chan nice but watching Clarkson bean Chris Neal of the nose was better.Yea lol,I like this

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/canucksnaphook
    Doumas can flat out wheel

    • Tommy Cat

      Burtonboy Who’s he?

      • Dink

        Tommy Cat Burtonboy Anyone got a list of all the prospects there?

        • Burtonboy

          @Dink Tommy Cat Burtonboy
          http://mapleleafs.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=676573

        • Dink

          Burtonboy Tommy Cat ty

      • Burtonboy

        Tommy Cat Burtonboy No clue …don’t see him on the list

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          Burtonboy Tommy Cat I think it’s Goumas

        • Burtonboy

          ingy56 Burtonboy Tommy Cat Oh could be . Phook fucked up lol

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          Burtonboy ingy56 Tommy Cat …and he want’s to be a journalist.

        • mcloki

          ingy56 Burtonboy Tommy Cat Hey don’t be too tough on our guy. One mistake and you Pha9 the guy. lol

        • Burtonboy

          mcloki ingy56 Burtonboy Tommy Cat Pick on Phook day

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          mcloki ingy56 Burtonboy Tommy Cat We have high standards….not.

        • mcloki

          Burtonboy mcloki ingy56 Tommy Cat OH I love “Pick on Phaneuf Day” It’s the happiest day fo the year. Next to Christmas. and my Birthday. And Opening Day. And Payday…

  • Nailer

    Gilbey93 they bought out the older Schultz didn’t they?

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/DavidAlter590
    Penalty shot for Loov and he fakes out Sparks on the shot, then goes 5-hole.

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/sunhornby
    Verhaege with a second goal, short-handed, ties it 2-2. Nice pass from Tom Nilsson.

  • Jay_Berg

    Sounds like Leivo will be our callup when Lupul gets injured in the first month.

    • Reimocerous

      Jay_Berg unlike

      • Jay_Berg

        The truth hurts lol

    • playoff nut

      Jay_Berg Yea for Lievo but booo hiss for loops comment ,Go Leafs

  • vji67

    Are we just assuming Rielly is amazing or is he not getting mentioned as much b/c he’s not standing out?

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      vji67 He may not be playing in this game.

      • vji67

        ingy56 vji67 ahhh ok, makes sense.

        • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

          vji67 ingy56 I’m not 100% sure, but I think they have four squads.

        • vji67

          ingy56 vji67 sweet, thanks for clarifying. Almost got worried about Rielly for a sec :)

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/canucksnaphook
    St. Croix and I agree Bibeau has a solid glove after excellent save

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/sunhornby
    Carter Verhaeghe scores on penalty shot to complete his hat trick

    Mad Belgian eh .

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    https://twitter.com/sunhornbyhttps://twitter.com/sunhornby/status/355344015098527744
    Carter Verhaeghe scores on penalty shot to complete his hat trick.
    Kid sounds pretty good, lots of haters on Twitter about that pick…we know who they are.

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      Gilbey93 ingy56 Ding Ding!!!!

  • Burtonboy

    Gilbey93 No . Loiselle said this morning Nilsson will be returning to the SEL for another yr.

    • Burtonboy

      Gilbey93 Burtonboy Played last yr . I think he ‘s still 19 so he should be

    • Burtonboy

      Gilbey93 Burtonboy Not sure TBH

    • Burtonboy

      Gilbey93 Burtonboy Yes he did 

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petter_Granberg

    • DJBrianBurke

      Won gold, also won gold in the world and silver at the U18.

    • Burtonboy

      Gilbey93 DJBrianBurke Lower right hand corner on his wiki page

    • DJBrianBurke

      Gilbey93DJBrianBurkeYou can read more about it here: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/petter_granberg/

    • DJBrianBurke

      Gilbey93 DJBrianBurke They rattled off his trophy case swag yesterday, quite impressive.

  • Jay_Berg

    19. Carter Verhaeghe – Forward – Niagara IceDogs
    Easily one of the most underrated prospects available from the OHL. Verhaeghe is just a solid all around player. For most of the season, he served as Niagara’s 2nd line center and did a very admirable job. He’s a very hard worker in all three zones who knows how to play without the puck. He’s aggressive on the forecheck, effective along the boards and works hard on the backcheck. He’s also a cerebral centerman who is adept at finding linemates off the rush or below the hash marks. He’s smart with the puck on his stick and has great vision. He’s also got good size and I think profiles well as an aggressive two-way centerman at the NHL level (think Windsor’s Brady Vail). He was the final add to the Canadian Under 18 team this year and I thought he did a fantastic job given the depth role he received. He killed penalties well for Canada and was a factor in outworking opposing defenses. Next year, Niagara will need a new captain and I believe he’s a serious candidate for that position. Verhaeghe is just a solid meat and potatoes guy who I think plays in the NHL in the future.

    • Tommy Cat

      Jay_Berg Sounds real good.

    • Black_Hawk

      Jay_Berg hope he pans out

  • Xxxxxnew

    Article comparing Leivo to Lupul.
    http://www.torontosun.com/2013/07/10/maple-leafs-see-similarities-between-josh-leivo-and-joffrey-lupul

    • DJBrianBurke

      Xxxxxnew It’s the Sun, so reason number one: they both start with the letter “L”.

      • Dink

        DJBrianBurke Xxxxxnew yeah J L