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Excitement abounds these days in the streets of Toronto, as a long-overdue rebuilding effort for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the prospect of a revitalized franchise, moves into high gear.
Arguably the last successful revitalization of the Maple Leafs franchise occurred in the early 1990s, when in the span of three seasons the Leafs went from basement-dwellers to Stanley Cup contenders.Â Although many are quick to credit then-GM Cliff Fletcher’s 1992 mega-deal with the Calgary Flames as the key turning point for the franchise, the groundwork for the franchise’s rapid acceleration from pretender to contender actually began much earlier … in the 1989-90 season, to be exact.
Following some of the discussion surrounding the Matt Gilroy signing in NY, and specifically the one-way versus two-way contract debate, I thought I’d provide for you guys a look at how the NHL waiver process is constructed under terms of the current NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Now that the 2008-09 regular season has officially ended, it’s time to take a look back over the roster to assess each of the Maple Leafs’ players.
Note that I’m only including players who finished the season with at least one game played for the Maple Leafs, and am excluding those traded away during the course of the season.
Statistics for those who were acquired mid-season reflect games played as members of the Maple Leafs only.
While the majority of Leafs fans wrote the team off in the summer, it wasnâ€™t until the New Year that the teams first true season of rebuilding began the inevitable grind into early year golf tournaments.
For a full team-by-team breakdown of all playoffs clubs, sure bets and sleeper picks for your playoff pools, visit the McKeen’s Playoff Preview where the factors below have been outlined and pointed out in a team-by-team write up.
The American Hockey League has released the 2008-09 Clear Day Period lists for each of its 29 member clubs.
Itâ€™s been 9 days since the deadline and already certain teams are rising and others are falling based on their performance on the â€œmaydayâ€ trade day. Hereâ€™s a closer look at how a few teams and players are fairing since the event transpired:
Burke picks up defenseman Eric Reitz, who, in addition to being a formidable glove dropper, has been offensively productive at the AHL level (34 points in 48 games with the Aeros last season). At the NHL level, Reitz has been more of a seventh man who can add some toughness to the blue-line in the event of injury.
As the Leafs consider shutting down Vesa Toskala for the balance of the season, Martin Gerber should add some insurance until the end of the season, at which point Gerber’s contract expires. There was a time when Gerber was a premium puck-stopper. It’s easy to forget after Ward’s playoff heroics that Gerber was the one who got the Canes into the playoff position in the first place. That said, his career’s gone down the shitter since. Nonetheless, it’s a very low-risk move and speaks to Burke’s unwillingness to quit on the season under any circumstances for the fans’ sake.
On a night where the real buzz was focused on mounting trade talk, the Leafs tied a NHL record for consecutive overtime games.Â Vesa Toskala played an exceptional game in net, and the Leafs came alive in the third period to transform an otherwise dull game into an exciting back-and-forth goaltender’s battle. After an almost full five minutes of riveting overtime play, Toronto eventually succumbed to an Oduya winner.
In a shaky and at times sloppy game, the Leafs pulled out of yet another overtime with a shootout win.Â Vesa Toskala had a night in net that was a simple summary of his season to date: solid at times, with glaring weaknesses and questionable play marring his effort as a whole.Â Nonetheless, in a tilt that saw another Leaf rookie debut and a season stalwart leave the game with an injury, Toronto ironically secured two points against one of the very teams that many “tank-minded” fans badly want to see move up in the standings.
As the trade deadline looms ever closer, the Ottawa Senators have just completed the second major trade in the last few days, by sending San Jose’s 2009 1st round pick acquired from Tampa in the Andrej Mezaros trade along with center Dean McAmmond to the New York Islanders in exchange for center Mike Comrie and defenseman Chris Campoli.
With the trade deadline just weeks away, here are a few rumors that are doing more than just making the rounds.
Tonight, the Leafs will play the Minnesota Wild. Justin Pogge will be joining the Leafs for the affair and will get his second start this season. Mike Van Ryn, despite feeling well over the last week, has finally been cleared to play for the Blue and White after suffering a mild concussion in mid December.
Last night, in another rare occurrence, Philadelphia Phantoms tough guy, Garrett Klotz, fought the Manchester Monarchâ€™s enforcer, Kevin Westgarth, on the drop of the opening faceoff. It began at center ice, but after a few punches back and forth in an even affair, it shifted towards the Monarchâ€™s bench. It was then that Westgarth landed some heavy rights, including a few uppercuts, and Klotz went down. He immediately began convulsing and medical staff rushed over to aid the 20 year old.
There are a ton of rumors flying around on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Some a downright ridiculous and some may very well have merit. This is a close outlook on a few of those rumors and speculation. Weâ€™re under 2 months away from Hockey Christmas, where all the wonderful surprises of wanted and undesired gifts are passed around. A shopping list is what we all hope the Leafs are after, but sometimes thereâ€™s other plans that could be in place which may not seem so attractive at first. Consider that the following is merely speculation and rumors.
In a season where everyone either predicted or was warned the Leafs would place bottom 5 in the East, Iâ€™m a little surprised the team was booed by the clubâ€™s faithful fans in a tilt with the Nashville Predators.
Coaches Corner maybe becoming increasingly irrelevant as the staunchly patriotic Don Cherry rambles about musings better suited to an age when every player was nicknamed â€œButchâ€ and that a Swede was something related to jokes about corners. But as Cherry provides the antithesis to contemporary hockey analysis I once more find myself agreeing with his misty eyed old school view of hockey in the wake of Don Sandersonâ€™s tragic death. Sure I may find a lot to fault Cherry with, but the way in which he handled Sandersonâ€™s passing was touching and unerringly appropriate at a time when fighting found itself once more centre stage for bandwagon discourse.
Random thoughts and opinions from (roughly) the halfway point of the season:
* Glad to see the mustache is back in style.Â Â In fact, when I was younger I grew a goatee just because everyone else was doing the ‘stache.Â Then the ’93 Canadiens all grew goatees during their Cup run, and it became a social mainstay.Â Â Yes, folks, it’s true: my hatred of the Habs has nothing to do with the Leafs, and everything to do with facial hair.
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.
TIM STAPLETON (# 42) â€“ C / RW
Birthdate: July 9, 1982
Hometown: La Grange, Illinois
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