Opinion

Opinion

457

Brian Burke is mad. Make no mistake about it, he’s mad about missing the playoffs. Despite what is written/said down below, Brian Burke is mad, not elated: “It’s hard to see a positive when you have the finish we had,” said Burke. “There are some positives, some building blocks. The pieces you need, the Phil Kessels, the Jake Gardiners, the Dion Phaneufs, the second line. All those things have been put in place. That’s what can’t be overlooked as you dissect the season. Even a season that’s marked by failure, I think we’re going in the right direction. It’s very...

444

Amid all the speculation surrounding Roberto Luongo that's starting to snowball, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks, it seems as though one of the most overlooked parts of it all is the fact that he will have to waive his no-trade clause to where he wants to go. Luongo stirred up the hockey world quite a bit yesterday by announcing that he would indeed allow the Canucks to trade him if that's what their plan is. But he's under no pressure to take a less-than-good situation at this point, and to think he'll just go anywhere...

1240

Photo: Blog TO Squeak into the playoffs this year or keep building towards a cup?  I'll take build towards a cup, please and thank you. And they're closer than you think. Rick Dudley is widely considered one of the best judges of talent in hockey. He's certainly able to provide a balanced view after building championship teams twice this decade, with two different clubs (Tampa Bay, 2004 – Chicago, 2009). Here's his take on the Leafs, after less than one year on the job. : http://pmd.fan590.com/audio_on_demand-2/Rick-Dudley-jb-20120323-Interview.mp3 Note at 4:47, when Jeff Blair snickers at Rick Dudley saying “I am sure they will succeed here and I...

Brian Burke

46

Let's face it. We've all knew it at the beginning of the season. The best bet for the Leafs was on us being a bubble team. That doesn’t exactly say – confidence. We knew coming in that we probably needed some things to click for us to make the show and when those things didn’t click Leafs Nation got mad. But, let’s run through that last sentence again. Things needed to click for us to make the postseason. That doesn’t mean things WILL click and we WILL make the postseason. Fact is, we weren’t a good enough hockey club to...

627

It was as predictable as it was painful to read. Smelling blood in the water as the fan base angrily seeks answers for what's been an inexplicable and catastrophic collapse, The Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk turned from calling player's moms to dialing up anonymous ex Maple Leafs to perform a hatchet job on Leaf captain Dion Phaneuf. Feschuk takes so many liberties with his latest work, walking an ethical tight rope as a professional journalist, it's not worth linking to, much less poring over in line-by-line detail. At one point he seems to base a hint of a rift between...

125

Now that we pretty much agreed that tanking is the way to go (had to drag this writer in chains and he's still not at peace with it), let's try to examine how much Leafs Nation really needs that high end first round pick/player. When you take tanking out of the equation (and if you’re like me, you have to, because it’s not like you’re going to stop watching this team) you realize that watching the current day Edmonton Oilers really seems more fun than watching the current day Maple Leafs. The amount of sheer young talent and hope for...

242

While Brian Burke deserves much of the blame for the recent woes of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s also fair to point out that he didn’t exactly inherit a powerhouse.  The Leafs roster was in terrible shape when the big Irishman accepted the unsavory role of Maple Leafs president and general manager. Unfair expectations were placed on this current regime and miracles were expected overnight as he was quickly dubbed the ‘saviour of the franchise’.  Unfortunately, in the new cap-era NHL, a quick fix is nearly impossible and instead patience, money management and shrewd decision making is even more imperative. Is...

886

Ever hear someone say that in hockey, the best way to really see the separation between good and great is to see the game live, in the flesh? Well it's true. I can tell who the best players are just from watching at home on television, but when you take in a hockey game at the arena, the most skilled players will stand out more than ever. I've been to a live Leafs game this season - it was the Leafs and Penguins in October, the game where Kessel saved the day in the third and made Brent Johnson look...

425

It's that rock-bottom point in the season when you officially quit, give up. The playoff talk is ramping up and now I'm looking at the rest of the league for big matchups every evening to see how things will play out before April 7th. We're all stuck staring at the standings and making predictions about who we think will face each other in the first round and which clubs will battle it out for the Cup. As much fun as that is, things were a lot more pleasant a few months ago. And now, for the boys in blue,...

605

At some point in our schooling, we've almost all had a teacher or professor who, as wise and experienced in the subject he or she may be, has unreasonably high expectations of the students. The type of teacher who operates on the assumption there's a level of understanding that simply isn't there. I won't pretend as though I know what was happening in the dressing room on a day-to-day, game-by-game basis, but if I can read between the lines, that was Ron Wilson. In terms of the system he had his group playing, he was the hockey equivalent of a...

604

How many different ways can you skin a cat? Rather, how many different ways can you look at the Mikhail Grabovski extension? "How is he making more money than Phil Kessel?" (At the time Phil Kessel signed his deal he was an RFA, not a UFA, and he was making a higher percentage of the salary cap than Grabovski currently is). "Blame the Oilers and Hurricanes for the money they gave Hemsky and Ruutu." "He would have got more on the open market." "Grabovski's never even recorded 60 points." "In five years will he be worth $5.5 million?" "How is he making more money than Ryan Kesler!?!?" On...

881

The Legion of Blog posts a weekly piece attempting to decipher what Don Cherry says on Saturday night's Coach's Corner segment. We're all aware that Grapes can say some pretty outlandish things from time to time, and whether you agree or disagree with him, the way it's all presented will often leave you saying "Don lost it on (fill in name, city, something)" immediately afterward. I don't believe everything Cherry says is garbage. I've always thought his stance on getting rid of the military armor that players wear as hockey gear these days is right on. But there's usually a...

556

Asset management was really the theme of the deadline for the Maple Leafs. At the end of the day it appeared Brian Burke and company tried their best to bring in immediate help for this team and add to the roster, but the prices were just too high to justify. No offense to Paul Gaustad, but when he actually netted a first round pick that more or less summed it up. Had the Leafs stood in say, fifth place, yesterday, I suspect they would have been a little more open to flipping a younger player for more veteran help, but this...

333

As always, thank you for the questions, I really enjoy these. I wanted to quickly clarify a quick comment from Wendelsway (if you don't know what I'm talking about and/or don't want to read, just scroll down to the questions) RE: the goalie situation. At the end of the day, Gustavsson views himself as a starting goalie, not a backup. I don't know what Gustavsson is thinking - he played well enough to run with the starting roll at one point - but the Leafs still didn't afford him that opportunity to really run with it. So in his...

829

Editor's Note: Matt drafted this piece before last night's atrocity. With a regulation Rangers win over the Capitals this afternoon, the Toronto Maple Leafs currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Despite the demoralizing no show from the Leafs last night, if the season ended today, they would do something the team hasn’t done in many, many years – make the playoffs.  With the trade deadline quickly approaching (February 27, 2012), the speculation as always is running rampant that the Leafs are poised to make a trade to improve the team's current roster. While making the playoffs...

1027

There's been a consistent theme during Ron Wilson's tenure when it comes to player development: offensive players tend to prosper in his system and under his guidance. This applies both up front and on the blue line. Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski, Joffrey Lupul; two unknowns and a cap write off who came to Toronto and almost instantly (not so much in Grabo's case, but certainly the other two) began producing like able top six forwards. Jake Gardiner, Cody Franson, Dion Phaneuf, John Michael Liles; four blueliners with an offensive capacity to their game who have become core pieces on the back...

849

Here's a crazy statistic courtesy of CBC Sports. From the beginning of the season through only December 24th (the Maple Leafs had played their 35th game of the season the night before), 457 man-games had been lost to concussions; players had been suspended 77 games, forfeiting nearly $1.3 million in wages. But what does it mean to have a concussion? How do we get them? Here's your guide to a basic understanding. What Are They In medicine, a concussion is defined as a "trauma-induced alteration in mental status that may or may not involve loss of consciousness". Translation: It's force to the brain...

690

I wasn't sure what questions I would receive, but you guys stepped up to the plate here big time. I got a lot of quality, thought-provoking questions with far from "gimme" answers. There were a lot of similar questions (i.e., What do you think of the goalies, should we trade a goalie, etc) so in that case I picked one of the actual questions and fit in numerous answers in my reply. So if you don't see your specific question but you do see your topic, I probably tried to say something about your question too. Please don't take...

250

The decision to call a press conference upon Colton Orr's waiver clearance was curious to many, but it became clear once Brian Burke started speaking: the move left the Leaf GM with a bone to pick. Between his admiration for Orr's character and the game's direction such a roster move symbolized, it was obvious Burke really didn't like having to do this. You got the sense it was an admission from Burke that his vision of building a truculent winner is a thing of the past. Orr, his first signing as GM of the Maple Leafs - the...

559

It seems frustration with penalty kill ineptitude has reached a boiling point in Leafland. After conceding at least one PK goal in six straight on their way out of a playoff spot for the first time this season, Phaneuf and Cronin have been heard arguing over the specifics of shot blocking, David Steckel has been swearing again, and Wilson says the PK units are dreading their own demise pretty much the moment they step on the ice. My thinking in regards to solving this (quite literally) season-dissolving issue is to go a little more drastic. Why hasn't a totally new...