the Stanley Cup playoffs
There really isn't any other way to put it. Â No matter how you slice it, no matter how you try to spin it, or how you try to put a sugar coating on it, the cold hard fact still shines through.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were not a very good team last year.
Although their stats, and their general play, improved dramatically following the late January trades that saw them overturn nearly half their lineup, the fact remains that the 2009-2010 edition of the Maple Leafs fought inconsistency, as well as young inexperience that had them struggling most of the year.
But it could be argued that never were they worse, than in the first month of the season. [more…]
While the acquisition of Kris Versteeg certainly helps, and Colby Armstrong could potentially step into a top six role to add a physical presence with some offensive upside, the Leafs are still in need of more pure goal-scoring ability up front. Options are scarce in the free agent market, but the likes of Matthew Lombardi (although reports indicate he is seeking upwards of $4 million per season), Alexander Frolov and Ilya Kovalchuk are still available.
The Toronto Star continues to shine a light on the Kaberle front. According to Brian Burke, he has "four concrete offers" on the table and seems to be rather confident he can land a first round pick. That said, the Toronto Sun suggest that of the six teams interested in Kaberle's services, the Ducks have expressed the strongest interest.
If the Toronto Maple Leafs hope to complete the task of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years, they will need to import some firepower to the forward ranks.
It's unlikely the current group of forwards would provide the necessary boost for the Leafs to vault Â from 15th to eight place in the Eastern Â Conference. Even with the inclusion of Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel and the reliable duo of Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson Â between the pipes to start the season (and hopefully a healthy Mike Komisarek), the offence is simply too bare to score enough goals consistently over an 82-game schedule.
Although Nathan Horton has not been linked as a potential target of GM Brian Burke, I believe it is within the realm of possibility. I base this simply from speculation posted at Spector's Hockey.
One of the links quotes Elliotte Friedman discussing the possibility of Florida Panthers' GM Dave Tallon pursuing Tomas Kaberle. What's interesting is that Bruce Garrioch, of the Ottawa Sun, reported that Tallon is believed to be shopping Horton.
While the news is slow I thought I would pass along the link to a little pet project of mine.
I've launched my own website [more…]
It's that time of year again. Â The most wonderful time of the year. Â No, not Christmas, and no, you won't see any of those silly Staples commercials.
It's time for the NHL playoffs.
The annual spring tournament that features some of the most exciting hockey of the season. Â It's Â triple overtime games that rage on long into the night, games so long that you'll hope you saved some sick days. Â It's players skating through pain, all for the common goal of lifting Lord Stanley's Cup.
And the great fans of the NHL, well they have the best seat in the house.
Around this time of year, especially the first round, marriages are postponed. Â Assignments are left on desks unfinished. Â Scheduled are cleared, or built around. Â Kiss your wife or girlfriend, and tell her you'll see her in a few months, a better person than when you last saw her.