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As much as I tried to just sit back and enjoy the game as a fanÂ last night, I couldn’t help but take a few notes (this might have been because we ended up sittingÂ among the scouts). So without further ado, here are a few additional observationsÂ from last night’s tournament opener to supplement Derek Harmsworth’s excellent coverage.
Finally, the moment a lot of us have been waiting for is upon us. Â The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Tuesday afternoon the full roster of players who will represent the blue and white at the 2010 rookie tournament, taking place this weekend in London, Ontario. Â The event runs from September 11th to the 14th at the John Labatt Centre, and remember Maple Leafs Hot Stove will have wall-to-wall coverage and unprecedented access.
A tap of the pads to Gus Katsaros for providing me the email.
First, a confession. Â Or, more like an obvious statement.
I love covering hockey. Â I love covering it, in all of its forms and states. Â I love writing game recaps and game previews. Â I love writing opinion pieces, and I love talking with those in the hockey business, to pick their brains whenever possible.
Also, one thing most know about me, is that I love the world of radio.
To me, there is nothing better than a day at work when you have the sports radio station on, hours upon hours of good debate, quality guests, and overall exciting programming.
In a perfect world, I’d love to do MLHS radio once a week (if not more) but I know all of us have pretty hectic schedules. Â In my time before I became a writer on this site, I spent most of my time toiling in the minor leagues of sports writing. Â I did a decent job of gaining interviews and access to players. Â I began to develop the practice of recording all interviews I did, for the purpose of later transcribing them.
So it ends, so it continues.Â Tomas Kaberleâ€™s tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs did not indeed come to an end this summer.Â In an earlier post, I had established a mostly forgotten pool asking the faithful readers to put on their brian burke mask and pretend to be a GM.Â Yup, I sure am a trailblazerâ€¦suggesting people use the comments section of this site to postulate trade proposals.Â Where do I come up with such creative ideas?
In a move that will inevitably add to the frustratingly indecipherable trade rumblings of the last few days, Eric Belanger indicated that he has essentially signed with a team, but is unable to divulge where he will be going. Â The article is French, but the English translation of the title (“Eric Belanger signs…but he won’t say where!”) says it all. Â The information we can gleam from this is that Belanger can not reveal his new team because they are “working on an exchange that will affect the salary cap”. Â Of course, this begs the question: are the Leafs somehow involved?
Okay, so my math may be a little off. Â It’s Canada Day weekend, there shouldn’t be any arithmetic. Â Unless, of course, you are an NHL general manager, than you better hope you have your math hat on. Â A quick note to say I hope our fellow Canadian readers, as well as our loyal readers situated the south had an enjoyable holiday weekend.
Now, let’s divulge into what has so far been a somewhat reserved free agency period, One timer style.
–The big news coming out of free agency this hour is this report out of the L.A. Times that indicate the Los Angeles Kings are quite far apart on signing Ilya Kovalchuk. While they may not be out of the running entirely, Helene Elliott suggests the prospects are quite dim. Â So where does Kovalchuk go? Â The Islanders reportedly seem to be the only team willing to offer him the term he is looking for (rumoured to be 10 million for at least 10 years) but are there other suitors? Â What about New Jersey? Â Toronto? Â One would think that although Burke would love to pull off the major move of free agency, the reasons Kings GM Dean Lombardi is balking about bringing in Kovy (term) is likely the same reasons Burkie has reservations.
Red Wings forward Jason Williams surprises my aunt at our charity golf tournament
It was something that was unbelievable, but at the same time, somewhat not surprising, given the type of people they are.
As many of you may-or may not-know, I am a committee member for a charity golf tournament held each summer in Strathroy, Ontario in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Â Last year we raised $5,000 in our first year of the tournament, and yesterday, June 5th, was the second annual event.
Eight months of hard planning, a delicate high wire act of balancing teams, sponsors, donations, and other variables that you undoubtedly run into along the way, and it was all coming together on this day.
And everything was aligning itself to be a special day.
The tournament is played in memory of my uncle, Shawn Wade, who passed away a few years ago as a result of complications of a stroke. Â Among the many ways you could describe him, all of them positive, he was also a huge hockey fan. Â Having played competitively when he was younger, my uncle attached himself to the Detroit Red Wings, amazed by Gordie Howe and his skill and dogged determination.
He followed the Red Wings throughout his whole life, and when he met and eventually married my aunt, Mary, the two took great pride and enjoyment in frequenting “The Joe” and cheering on the famed Winged Wheel. Â And cheer they did.
They attended games live, and lived and breathed Wings hockey throughout their time together. Â A past time of faith which was rewarded to the tune of a few Stanley Cups along the way.
With the tournament about two weeks away, we had an idea, which in hindsight looked completely out to lunch.
I know, I know, when last we met, I promised you that the next installment in these studies in positivity would focus on Nikolai Kulemin.
Well, I lied.Â Sue me.Â Instead of discussing an individual player, I’m going to make some more general team-wide observations.Â Don’t like it?Â Line up at window 106 between the hours of 1 and 1:05 p.m., fill out the forms in triplicate, be sure to bring your receipt and three forms of photo I.D. andÂ the counter staff will be happy to refund in full the money you paid for these charming and entertaining visits to my mind.Â Really, though, following Bruce Boudreau’s logic concerning the Ovechkin hit on Brian Campbell (and the obvious liability of the end boards and equally obvious innocence of Ovie), it’s not my fault that I broke my promise to you;Â it’s your fault for reading that promise in the first place.
Alec has asked me to add my two cents hereabouts from time to time, and I’ve agreed to do so with some trepidation. Â For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Junior, from Heroes in Rehab: the blog. Â I don’t want to step on the toes of any of the other contributors on the site, so I want to contribute something a little different from the others.Â What follows is, at it turns out, a bit of a (lengthy, sorry about that) manifesto for what I hope to produce in the coming weeks for you all.Â Some of it’s even about hockey and the Leafs! Â I don’t really see my self as the Stuart Smalley of Leafs Nation, and the affirmations I offer will be far from daily, but…well, just read, won’t you?
We're Good Enough, We're Smart Enough and Gosh Darn it People Like Us.
One lousy heart-stopping, craptastic win-that-almost-wasnâ€™t against the Thrashers Predators (update: oops, thanks Nights, I’m an idiot.Â Stupid interchangeable southeastern teams!).Â One crummy â€œWâ€ from a five game road trip through the Southeast, the division where NHL hockey goes to die.Â The Maple Leafs canâ€™t be happy with the way that worked out.Â When the trip began ten days ago, it seemed obvious that the Leafs were expecting to get pasted by Ovechkin and the Caps (first clue: starting Vesa Toskala); after getting the better of Bruce Boudreauâ€™s squad a couple of times earlier this year, it was essentially a foregone conclusion that the Blue & White would have the least amount of fun in a DC amphitheatre since Abraham Lincoln, and thatâ€™s exactly how it worked out.Â But they had to be hoping for more out of matches against Dixieâ€™s puck-playing tomato cans: Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa and Florida.
Of course we know now that it didnâ€™t work out that way.Â Much to the chagrin of the local populace, Ron Wilson, Brian Burke and the team have arrived home with only two points to declare at Customs.Â As far as road trip expectations go, this is the equivalent of a â€œbuddies road trip to Vegasâ€ turning into â€œan insurance seminar in Peoria.â€
Submit your GFWE predictions here.
Itâ€™s no secret that the Leafs’ biggest disappointment amid a conference-second-worst 15-20-9 first half of the schedule is a total lack of progress in the area of goals against and special teams, where Brian Burke focused much of his off-season efforts.
Over dinner the other night, a friend asked what it is that made me decide to start writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs, and why it is that the blogs in general tend to be quite positive in their coverage of the team, in the context of the negative attitude of certain members of the professional media toward the team they are paid to cover.
It was a good question, one I had never really thought to ask.
Ilya Bryzgalov and the Phoenix Coyotes roll into the ACC tonight looking to break Toronto’s winning streak.Â Expect this to be a tight-checking, low-scoring affair.Â Then again, we all know how the Leafs rarely do what is expected.
*EDIT: Tough loss, but updated standings for GFWE are now included in this post!*
This is the official game thread for the fourth game of our Holiday Contest giving you all the chance to win some Leafs tickets! Â You should all know the drill by now. Â We have over 70 eligible contestants and it promises to be a close battle until the very end (January 9th to be exact).
*Standings, tips, and more will be up later today. EDIT: Might as well include our big win over the Sens! Look here tomorrow.*
This is a reminder to all readers interested in winning Leafs tickets in the MLHS Giveaway Contest. Â We’ve played 3 contest games so far (with a whopping 14 more to go) and have over 200 active players!
However, if you want to be eligible for the big prize you need to quickly e-mail [email protected] as the deadline is the end of today (Sunday) for your submission!
Here’s the thread for the third game of the MLHS Giveaway Contest! Washington rolls into the ACC after a thrilling come-from-behind win over the Hurricanes last night. Â The Leafs will be hoping to capitalize (pun intended) on a tired team that didn’t get into Toronto until early this afternoon.
Remember, to actually be eligible to win these tickets, you need to send your 100-word piece to [email protected] by the end of tomorrow! Â If we don’t receive one by then, your point total will no longer be tracked. Â Continue reading to find out the details of this awesome opportunity.
The first game of Get F’ed With Ed – the MLHS Holiday Giveaway Contest Â is a wrap with the Leafs taking it 3-2 over the Islanders. Â Francois Beauchemin was the surprise first goal scorer, something that only four (out of more than a hundred) contestants got right. Â We also had one reader sweep his predictions for a full 5 points! It’s not too late to start playing and get in on the chance to win some free Leafs tickets.
Five games in, no wins, and few positives within the play to indicate a turnaround is coming soon.
Something has to be done to shake up this roster.Â Â Some sort of move needs to be made, that much is clear.
The question is, what?
0-2-1 after 3 games, and the sky is falling.Â Â Or so chicken little would have you believe, anyway.
3 games in and panic?Â Â Seriously?Â Â You’d think the Leafs just traded away a handful of high picks for a relatively-unknown goaltender with an injury history.Â Â Wait, scratch that — they did that a couple years ago and as I recall the move was far more heralded than denounced, at the time.
Which is exactly my point:Â you can’t know, early on, exactly how things will turn out.
During the 1980s, years before cellphones and the Internet would make hockey news and highlights easily accessible to all, when newspapers and shows such as Sportsline would provide the fans their worth of NHL news, for many the only Maple Leafs action they would see would come via Hockey Night in Canada on CBC, or MolStar Communications during the week.
Living in a rural area with no cable access, a couple hours away from Toronto, the majority of my own fandom as a youth was experienced via the grainy picture of antenna television.Â Â My family didn’t have a lot of money, which meant that attending actual live games was a rare event.Â Â Which, in retrospect, made the event all the more special of an experience.
In the final game of the rookie tournament, the Leafs’ rookies were beaten soundly — to the tune of 7-1 — by their Ontario rivals, the Ottawa Senators.
Although I was not able to attend this game in person, fellow Leafs die-harder ‘Bell’ was in attendance for all of the games and has kindly provided some thoughts about the action (or was it inaction?) at the Aud last night, and the tournament as a whole.
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