Thanksgiving Mashup: 5 Things to be Thankful For

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Editor’s Note: Please welcome Tim Bayer to the MLHS writing staff. Tim contributes at Editor in Leaf and can be followed on Twitter @tj_bayer. He’ll be contributing some Sunday mashups for us here at MLHS.

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. How many days during the year are you encouraged to eat food, watch sports and hang out with family and friends all day? As the weather is starting to cool down (although it’s been absolutely beautiful here in Southern Ontario this weekend), the NHL season is just warming up, and Thanksgiving is even more enjoyable when the Leafs are winning. I like to take some time during this great holiday weekend to reflect on the many blessings I enjoy that I usually take for granted. On that note, here are some NHL- and Leafs-related things I’m thankful for:


1. A full 82-game season

Thanksgiving was great last year, but even during all the festivities, something was missing. There was no Leafs hockey on my television set. As we know all too well, the league was locked out for a few dumb and boring reasons involving HRR and escrow and Jeremy Jacobs last season. During those difficult three months, I was forced to do other things like interact with my family and watch the Toronto Raptors (shudder). Mercifully, the NHL started in time this fall, and it’s been glorious.

2. Phil Kessel

Need I say more? I probably don’t, but I will anyway. Kessel was signed just before the start of the season to an eight-year, $64-million contract, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Some people thought the Leafs were crazy to give that kind of term and money to one of the best goal-scorers alive. I’ll politely remind those people to stop forgetting to take their meds in the morning.

3. NHL Centre Ice free previews

I usually enjoy free stuff, and the Centre Ice preview graciously provided by the NHL and Bell ExpressVu is no exception. I thought long and hard about purchasing Centre Ice or GameCentre Live, but ended up deciding against it. I have to admit though; enjoying access to all these games during the preview has really made that decision difficult. Since the start of the season, I’ve noticed a few trends from around the league. For example, a lot of teams started their backup goaltenders on Friday night. The Pittsburgh Penguins started some guy named Jeff Zatkoff, and he wasn’t very good and they lost to the Florida Panthers. The New York Islanders started another guy I’ve never heard of before named Kevin Poulin, and unsurprisingly, they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks themselves started a 40-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin who looked shaky at times and gave up two goals on only 19 shots. This brings me to the next thing I’m thankful for…

4. Good goaltending

During the Vesa Toskala, Andrew Raycroft and Jonas Gustavsson years, good goaltending was as elusive to the Leafs as a Tasmanian tiger. James Reimer put an end to the dark years last season, and newly acquired Jonathan Bernier is off to a blazing start this year. A lot of media types like to talk about how the Leafs have a “goaltending controversy” on their hands because they have two good goalies, but as Anthony Petrielli mentioned a few days ago, it’s really only a controversy if both goalies struggle. Right now, Bernier has been phenomenal, and if he struggles, I believe in the capabilities of Reimer. Choosing between two starting-caliber goalies on the roster is a pretty convenient problem to have.

5. Paul Holmgren

Holmgren is the Philadelphia Flyers’ general manager who gifted the Leafs with van Riemsdyk in exchange for Luke Schenn, a defenseman who unnamed Flyers sources recently dumped on by way of Darren Dreger. Yikes. The Flyers have all kinds of issues right now so I won’t pile on them too much, but JvR has been as important to the Leafs’ success as just about anybody. The big, 24-year-old left-winger is ferocious down low, using his size to box out defenders and create space. He also has some wickedly soft hands and terrifyingly quick wheels. With his range and skill down low, he looks like he’ll benefit from the shallower net implementation as well. He has a lot of tools in his offensive arsenal and has meshed extremely well on the top line with Kessel, so for the 7,898th time: Thank you, Holmgren.

But enough from me, what are YOU thankful for this holiday weekend?

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Two beautiful images for your Thanksgiving day:
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Full Leafs player statistics.

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Turkey Links:

Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jonathan Bernier holding edge in goalie battle with James Reimer – for now
I have no doubt Reimer will be ready when the opportunity comes. From Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post.

HAHAHAHAHAH OILERS
J.P. Nikota has the recap and a not-so-subtle dig at Oilers fans. From Pension Plan Puppets.


Leafs POSTGAME – Lupul’s heroics set stage for Bolland’s OT clincher

What a wild and entertaining ice hockey game that was last night. From Cam Charron of The Leafs Nation.

Hotstove Tonight: Why Leafs feel need to sign Phaneuf
Will Phaneuf be willing to take a bit of a paycut to stay in Toronto? Video from Hockey Night In Canada.

  • mORRganRielly

    Thankful for hockey in October.

  • Burtonboy

    WelCome aboard Tim. I’m very thankful we have MLHS ,warts and all its still the best Leaf site going

  • Great Dane

    We should be thanksful to Nonis:

    1)  He got us Bernier
    2)  He signed Raymond for a ridiculous 1 million.
    3)  He got us Clarkson, how we haven’t seen on the ice yet.
    4)  He got us Bolland that is really helping to close the games in our favor.

    5)  We are 5-1 and not even playing well.

    Happy Thanksgiving and Tim keep them coming.

  • Komas Taberle

    Welcome aboard Tim, nice article!
    I am thankful for my family,my friends, our health, the Leafs and MLHS the best leafs site ever.

  • Burtonboy

    TheCanucksnaphook MacA  clocked him …had his head down …clean hit

  • Jordan29

    I wonder if we could take Schenn back for cheap? I was joking earlier but if its or nothing I would take him. Hes only got 2 years left if hes terrible

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    TheCanucksnaphook Just curious why you think he is a clown?

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/burtonboy12https://twitter.com/burtonboy12/status/389425425199284224
    https://twitter.com/Xterratu I hope you will be back to MLHS with an article or two this yr. Mislav . Miss your input
    https://twitter.com/Xterratuhttps://twitter.com/Xterratu/status/389425614484041728
    https://twitter.com/burtonboy12 I will, promise that. Around the new year with some 24/7 stuff and maybe even a Game In 10 for the Winter Classic

  • Optimustic

    TheCanucksnaphookhttp://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=686564&navid=nhl:topheads

  • Xxxxxnew

    Thankful to be watching my 53rd NHL season. And still playing pickup hockey.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    TheCanucksnaphook Radar O’Rielly Yet when Mason tried some shenanigans in the shootout, sure in pre-season, but we were ecstatic.

  • Optimustic

    TheCanucksnaphook Optimustic N.P.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    TheCanucksnaphook Radar O’Rielly I think I meant Rangers kick the stick play. Mixed up.  But at least you are consistent.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    Thankful for my family, turkey and all the fixings, and of course blue pills 😀

  • newkb

    Great Dane And to Burke before that…..

  • newkb

    mORRganRielly And in June!

  • Optimustic

    -Keon- No,I didn’t think so either.  Could have been that he was bent over so much that caused whatever injury.It seems he was off ballance just before the hit happened.

  • Shafty

    Sucks to be the Devils. 2 pts out of last and they have to forfeit their pick.

  • newkb

    TheCanucksnaphook I am thankful you said that….

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    -Keon- Stick with Joe Thornton, he will give you gravy when he scores 4 goals in 1 game 😛

  • newkb

    -Keon- And bacon.  No reason other than….it’s bacon.

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    As big of a Rielly fan as I am, I’m not so sure I agree with the MSM that he deserves to stay up with the team. Clearly he can skate with anyone, but I haven’t been impressed with his hands so much.
    By game #9 I’ll have hoped to see more production offensively from him, or at least an end to the minuses he’s been racking up alongside Franson.
    Still, with all of that said, I am more excited about this kid’s future with the club, than any draft pick we’ve had in my lifetime not named “Wendel Clark”.

  • LeafsForLife

    Im thankful for my 3 kids, not so young anymore, of which two are Leafs fans and cheer just as loud or louder than me. The 3rd dont care but she cheers with us when shes around.
    Im thankful for licorice too!

  • Optimustic

    -Keon- Should have gave away the pick the year they made it to the finals.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    -Keon- mmm and hp sauce

  • newkb

    -Keon- So you are siding with Radar….

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- Wrap your sausage in bacon :)))))))

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    Shafty Can they trade that pick?

  • Shafty

    Radar O’Rielly Shafty No, pretty sure it just means there are only 29 picks in the first round.

  • Great Dane

    newkb Great Dane And to Burkie too

  • newkb

    Burtonboy -Keon- My wife would love that!  Oooops.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    newkb Burtonboy -Keon- Can we go top shelf on her?

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    TheCanucksnaphook leafersutherland 
    It’s not really about mistakes for me. I just think the kid could use the extra time to work on his shooting.

  • newkb

    Radar O’Rielly newkb Burtonboy -Keon- I go 5-hole or back door….

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    -Keon- 
    Tough to get him another partner and still give him top 4 minutes in the process.

  • LeafsForLife

    Great Dane Not so sure we need another winger. Seems we need a ROR type that can play both ends of the rink and win faceoffs.

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    TheCanucksnaphook leafersutherland 
    I don’t get the joke. You don’t think he can improve on his shooting with another year in the WHL?

  • Dan39

    Great Dane Was thinking that all game: they need a Reimer plus a Liles, badly.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    Shafty But they have a pick in the McDavid sweeps.

  • rockydundas

    Great Dane Came up with virtually the same deal a couple of days ago to a friend at work. Yea, not sure we need a winger but how could you say no to that talent?

  • newkb

    mORRganRielly Make that “Leaf hockey this upcoming June”.

  • LeafsForLife

    -Keon- LOL no i am thankful im still around to enjoy being with them. It was kind of more fun to watch them grow. Now theyre grown and dont see them so much.

  • Armchair GM

    I saw Ranger take the body a few times last night… and maybe Broll and Ashton… anyone else?  Watching games like that is bad for my blood pressure…

  • Dan39

    TheCanucksnaphook rockydundas Great Dane Maybe we can get Brown back as part of the package. Imagine a 4th line of Mclaren-Orr-Brown? We can dream.

  • LeafsForLife

    Armchair GM It looked like that goal that Kadri scored, Dubnyk kind of tried to duck and the puck hit the top of his shoulder and went in.

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    TheCanucksnaphook leafersutherland Who said I was concerned? All I am saying is that I’m not so easily swayed and going gaga with the MSM over a kid that can skate but has a single secondary assist to his game in what… 4 or 5 games? This while receiving top 4 minutes and sharing secondary PP time.

    The last thing I am concerned with, is Morgan Rielly. Still doesn’t mean he’s a given keeper just yet.

  • Dan39

    Armchair GM I know, I posted about it in the last thread. Need the guys like Broll – much as I liked his game last night and against NSH – he’s really got to set an example with the physical play. If he isn’t getting challenged by one othe Oilers, he isn’t playing hard enough. Orr got at least one crushing hit in.

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

    Great Dane What the hell would we do with Dubnyk? (Yakupov was a healthy scratch too)…pass.

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

    TheCanucksnaphook ingy56 Great Dane When he feels like it.

  • Dan39

    TheCanucksnaphook Dan39 rockydundas Great Dane True, he really came on with the Oilers more than he did with the Leafs. But, having said that, you remember the Newbury fight? That was terrific. I just miss his contribution is all.