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Howard Berger

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Beginning with Howard Berger’s bittersweet commentary on our little corner of the web and and piquing tonight with a grade A case of trolling from a user that’s been taken care of, let me make a quick note about moderation.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that our willingness to allow for freewheeling and largely unrestricted conversation gives MLHS commenters a privilege, not a right. Unfortunately, in a few instances I’m beginning to see this being taken advantage of.

Being intentionally vulgar is not the way to stick it to Howard Berger. We are getting noticed not only for the efforts and insights the blogging team brings to the table but for the breadth of Leafs knowledge among our users, backed by a strong sense of community. Pension Plan Puppets‘ sports bar analogy was a good one and I similarly am not going to nitpick at every curse word – if this is how a poster opts to express himself and it’s within reasonable limits, I’m not going to ask anybody to change the manner or mood in which they want to communicate their thoughts. Unfiltered dialogue helps create the virtual club house I spoke about striving for in an interview last summer, where fans can relax and chat with a passionate crew who have something informed to say about their favourite sport and team. What is absolutely unacceptable is personal attacks, allowing of course for some friendly banter about Jordan’s grammar.

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According to Howard Berger, who reported live from the NHL Entry Draft this weekend, there is a ton of steam behind the Leafs and Bruins looking to make a trade for forward Marc Savard. It seems the Leafs understand he could have a long-term effect from a concussion injury, but the upside of putting him and Kessel back together is just too good to pass up on. Berger explains that the deal does not involve Tomas Kaberle and that Kaberle talks are actually down to minor whispers at this point. Expect that situation to become more relevant as the off-season continues. The trade for Savard surrounds the availability of forward Nikolai Kulemin, who is a pending RFA and is seeking more money than the Leafs are willing to offer. That said, the Bruins could move forward with a $3M dollar Kulemin if they shed the contract of $5M plus from Savard. All in all, it becomes a win/win with the Bruins getting younger and cheaper, adding a player with high potential to become a solid defensive forward, while the Leafs would get their number one center, elite playmaker, and instant chemistry with Phil Kessel. SilverSevenSens now state he has waived his NMC to play for either the Leafs or Senators. ESPN chimes in on it as well. “Reports started to surface that Bruins forward Marc Savard and his agent have eased off the player-s limited no-trade claue that allows the Bruins to deal Savard to only five undisclosed teams. Chiarelli would not confirm or deny the reports. ‘I’m not really into speculating that kind of stuff,’ he said.”

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For as long as I have been reading the comments section of this site, I’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of posts that discuss the Leafs need to obtain a 2nd round pick through a trade.  While the tenability of some trades, “Bobby Ryan, Jesus Christ (who historically has done his best work on the boards) and a 2nd pick for Tomas Kaberle, Howard Berger, and a 7th” may be questioned, there is certain validity behind the desire.  Indeed, the Leafs have had some success in the second round (Stajan and Kulemin have both become solid players, and the Leafs have three 2nd round picks in the past two drafts as promising prospects).

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    Final Deadline Trades:

    Alexei Ponikarovsky to Pittsburgh for Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula
    Martin Skoula to New Jersey for a fifth round draft selection.
    Lee Stempniak to PHX for 4th and 7th rounders.
    Joey MacDonald to ANA for a 7th rounder in 2011.

    Wrap-Up: That looks to be a wrap on Brian Burke’s trade activity for the 2009-10 season. The Stempniak deal was obviously a form of loss-cutting on a pending UFA, but it’s a bit painful to remember who we sacrificed to acquire him in November of 2008 in two albeit underachieving first rounders in Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo. The Leafs will not draft until the third round this year, and Burke did not succeed in that sense, however he moved the only piece realistically capable of fetching a second rounder for a semi-established young asset with the potential to replace Poni at an immediately cheaper price in Luca Caputi. It looks as though no takers could be found on either Wayne Primeau or Garnet Exelby, who look sure to now enter the FA market July 1.

    There seems to be details yet to unfurl surrounding the Tomas Kaberle situation this deadline, as once again Leafs fans were teased into believing a deal was pending (involving Hodgson, as it was reported, or possibly Alzner from Washington) only for what looked to be an imminent deal to be flatly denied by Brian Burke in the end. There are rumblings that Kaberle might have nixed a deal in similar fashion to the Jeff Carter situation at the ’08 deadline.

    From Garrett Bauman:

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      No truer words ring out to the ears of the throng of fans and particularly management of the Leafs victory over the current GM’s former organization.

      And it took Alice in Chains to create them.

      Cali, you’re alright …..

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        The Leafs are set to visit the Anaheim Ducks as they continue to search for their first win of the season, and while one awkward stat is starting to creep up on them, it seems Gustavsson is ready, but possibly not completely game ready.

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          Leafs-related news has slowed to a crawl during the final weeks of the offseason, and this year’s summer movie scene has been rather unspectacular.   I propose a cure for both maladies:  a hockey movie to fill the void of a puck-deprived offseason, complete with all the excitement of a sports flick and all the truculence of an action blockbuster.

          And so, without further ado, here is the game-day casting call for your 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs.

          A tip o’ the hat to Don over at Mondesi’s House for the inspiration.

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            The reputable Eklund is reporting with an always reliable “e4″ rating that the Maple Leafs are closing in on a deal with the Vancouver Canucks that will involve Nikolai Antropov heading west in exchange for a first round pick and a prospect. To no one’s surprise, Brian Burke and Mike Gillis have been carrying out negotiations for some time now, primarily on the subjects of Antropov and Tomas Kaberle. A deal is not as imminent as Eklund’s reporting, but there appears to be deal potential in Vancouver and potentially of the blockbuster variety.

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              In October 2008, a reporter set the Barilkosphere into a tizzy with a certain writing. The intention was simple, a deliberately cruel finger pointing at Leafs Nation.

              The backlash was tremendous, and it inspired Pension Plan Puppets to trigger a massive response to the piece. It shows the unifying force behind the internet, allowing fans the opportunity to voice dissent.

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                Ed. Note: Thanks to all our readers and contributors for making the first four months at MLHS a success and cheers to a great year ahead. Merry Christmas!

                Merry Christmas folks…..this is a small attempt at poetic humour…hope you all enjoy. -Rib

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                  Just thought I’d share a little something I read on Hockeybuzz:

                  “Finally, I have something in common with Richard Peddie.

                  It has nothing to do with salary, or responsibility at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, as King Richard would never threaten his own job security by placing me in charge of hiring the next GM of the Leafs. Richard and I, however, are the disconsolate subjects of websites aimed solely at our demise. Yes, a helpful e-mailer sent me an attachment this evening – “firehowardberger.com” has joined cyberspace alongside the more entrenched “firerichardpeddie.com.” And, you thought Peddie was in a class by himself.

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                    A week ago, several people, including the illustrious Howard Berger at Hockeybuzz, had written of not only the entire hockey season in Toronto, but certainly the first game, against the mighty Detroit Red Wings.