Saturday, May 23, 2015
Authors Posts by Ryan Fancey

Ryan Fancey

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    While the rest of the folks in Leafs Nation go on pulling their hair out trying to figure out how the team will land another offensive forward, there’s probably a bigger item on Brian Burke’s to-do list: negotiating Luke Schenn’s new contract.

    It’s inevitable that this deal will get done, but much like the dealings with Nik Kulemin last summer, the price is still up in the air. Putting a cap on a player’s value is tough, and even more so when it’s a young player with barrels of potential like Schenn. But Jon S of has done just that, and he’s done a pretty good job;

    Ryan Suter’s contract of $3.5 million a season is the contract of a team’s number two defenseman, and player that can be counted on in all situations. Presently this is not Luke Schenn, though it could very well be as soon as next season.

    It’s hard to disagree with this statement. Schenn could well be on his way to becoming a defenseman that logs more powerplay time and develops a minor offensive role from the blue line. Currently he isn’t there, but he’s showing strides to getting there, and you have to wonder how much that will play into his contract negotiations.

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    "S'all good"

    We’ve only just entered a crucial time of playoff hockey in the past week or so, but for a lot of fans of teams left on the outside, October can’t get here any quicker. And for Ron Wilson, I think the situation is probably similar.

    The Toronto Maple Leafs have been a failure for all of Wilson’s tenure thus far. But, as if out of some superhero movie, Ron was recently saved by the one they call “Optimus Reim” down the stretch.

    When Leafs fans called for Wilson’s head in the early part of this past season, I sort of held my tongue. It was easy to recognize that things weren’t looking up for the guy, but I really had no idea as to what was the right move.

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    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    By now we’ve all jostled with the idea of the Leafs landing Brad Richards in some way or other. These things tend to happen when it’s basically been talked about for over a year prior to his upcoming free agency period.

    Much like Rick Nash in the past, Leafs fans have plotted their potential line combinations with Richards’ name embedded on the top unit for some time now.

    For me, the Richards idea sort of fell by the wayside a while ago as I came to grips with the fact that he’d likely become a Ranger in the off-season. Returning to the free agency list, a few people began to throw around Brooks Laich’s name – which, I think, is a great thing. But the Richards situation has sort of resurfaced for me over the past week or so, and I think I’ve had a change of heart (or hope).

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      It’s a tough pill to swallow, watching from the outside as sixteen teams that aren’t the Leafs battle it out for the Stanley Cup. But it’s something I’ve grown used to in recent years, considering I haven’t actually been able to watch a Leafs playoff game since my high school graduating year.

      Like many of you, I’m a die-hard fan of the blue and white, but I’m also a die-hard fan of the game of hockey in general. And this will become quite evident to those around me as I literally paste myself to the couch for the coming weeks and watch game upon game.

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      (Photo credit: Matthew Ingram/Toronto Marlies)

      It’s all over now but the crying. Except there won’t be any tears shed on my behalf.

      Tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs will ice a team that looks like something out of 2013, with Matt Frattin and Joe Colborne both making their debuts.

      The team will host the arch-rival Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre, and will be playing for some more pride after their elimination from playoff contention earlier this week.

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      AP Photo/Kathy Willens

      With the Leafs looking to stay within distance of the eighth and final playoff spot, tonight sees the team hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts have given the Leafs all kinds of headaches this year, as they look to close out the season series with a 4-0 sweep.

      While the Lightning’s slight struggles recently make this is a very winnable game for the home-side, it’s also a crucial must win regardless – the ground made up by the Leafs on Saturday night was quickly taken away in the form of a Sabres win yesterday.

      Right now the Leafs sit six points behind both Buffalo and New York, while holding a game in hand on the Rangers.

      Toronto simply cannot allow the Rangers or Sabres an opportunity to put eight points between them and the postseason at this point.

      Photo Credit: Reuters

      With another trade deadline behind us, the NHL season truly enters “crunch time” as rosters are set (for the most part) and the push for the Cup gets underway.

      Most teams, including the Leafs, chose not to ripple any waters on February 28th – save for a few minor deals and an even smaller amount of major transactions.

      While some media outlets will suggest that the teams surrounding the Leafs in the playoff race added key components while Brian Burke sat on his hands, this simply isn’t true.

      If Toronto fail to make the postseason, it won’t be due to the fact that the Hurricanes and Thrashers added Bryan Allen and Radek Dvorak, respectively. Nor will it be because Brad Boyes is now a Buffalo Sabre.

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        Hobbies: Winning hockey games

        Another night, another game where James Reimer puts on a show for Leafs fans. On Tuesday night the Toronto Maple Leafs moved to 7-2-2 in the month of February with an enormous win against the visiting New York Islanders.

        While Isles’ goaltender Al Montoya had a solid outing of his own, the focus had to be shifted to Reimer as he turned away 28 of 29 shots and nailed down two very important points for the home side.

        Early in the game, Toronto looked solid, generating scoring chances but failing to capitalize outside of a Clarke MacArthur goal at 10:13 of the first frame. From there the game essentially went back and forth while both goaltenders held steady.

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          Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

          In what has to be considered to be a fairly monumental win for the Leafs in Buffalo (their first in eight games), it was fitting that Joey Crabb tallied his first goal as a Leaf and helped lead the club to a hard-earned 2-1 victory.

          On a nationally televised tilt against the Sabres, the Leafs went in to Buffalo and took two points from a game that they truly deserved to win. That isn’t to say I wasn’t yelling at the television a few times in the dying moments.

          Toronto played as good a road game as you could ask for, and after J.S. Giguere was forced to leave the game after only twenty minutes, James Reimer came in and played great in relief (as if we would come to expect anything less).

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          "Talk to ya later, Toronto"

          Of course Brian Burke would pull off a substantial trade on the eve of a midterm. Such was the case last night when I was trying to study, but had my eyes glued on Twitter for anything about the Leafs and what had transpired. And after zillions of characters typed and an equal amount of opinion being thrown around, I’m ready to discuss the Versteeg departure.

          Upon first reading about the deal, I was a little angry. Why? Because Versteeg has 50 point capability and it seems counterproductive to let him go at such a young age. And after a night’s sleep and some more time to think about it, I pretty much feel exactly the same.

          Now, I totally understand that a lot of people are excited that the Leafs received a first round pick in the deal. It’s what many have been requesting for quite a while: a chance at a true rebuild. Fair enough. But..

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            It was opening night for the Joffrey Lupul show in Toronto on Thursday, as the Leafs hosted the surging Devils. But stealing the spotlight for Leafs Nation were two youngsters, Keith Aulie (surprisingly) and James Reimer (unsurprisingly.)

            Aulie easily turned in his best performance as a Leaf thus far, racking up 21:56 of ice time on the back end, while also logging the most short-handed minutes of anyone on the team. It was unfortunate that both he and Reimer were involved in Ilya Kovalchuk’s game winner at 4:36 in the extra frame, as they both deserved a better fate.

            The team as a whole, however, didn’t necessarily deserve to escape this one with a win. And that isn’t to say the Leafs played poorly at all.

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              Rookie goaltender Mikko Koskinen

              Darryl Boyce and Colby Armstrong tallied three points apiece, and the Maple Leafs sealed somewhat of an ugly win against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

              After Kevin Poulin went down with a strange knee injury in warmup, the Islanders were forced to go with fifth string goaltender Mikko Koskinen, who hadn’t played a National Hockey League game in his life.

              Easy win for Toronto right? More like a perfect situation for a Leafs shutout loss. We all know how these things work by now.

              Luckily the Leafs were able to get to the rookie early with an Armstrong goal at 1:29 of the first.