Archive for the Toronto Maple Leafs Category

2 or 3 Pieces?!?

Posted in Toronto Maple Leafs with tags , , , , , , , on April 12, 2011 by davepoleck

Yesterday was the Leafs media wrap up day for the season and it ended with a bang of a proclamation. Ron Wilson said that:

“We’re probably two or three pieces from being a true contender. But I’m talking a contender, not for the playoffs, I’m talking contender for the Stanley Cup. And it may come from within. You don’t know”

I am going to try to talk about the Leafs as little as possible from now until the offseason, but I just had to bring up this bold statement by their coach (who has one more year on his contract).

The best response I heard to this was the following three pieces:

  1. A powerplay
  2. A penalty kill
  3. A new coach
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What To Do?

Posted in Toronto Maple Leafs with tags , , , on November 27, 2009 by davepoleck

The struggles of the Toronto Maple Leafs have left them in a very difficult position going forward this season. Through 23 games, they are 5-11-7, good for 17 points. So, let us think about this. Since the lockout, teams have needed roughly 93 points to make the playoffs in the East. That means the Leafs need 76 points in their next 59 games. They have currently been playing at a 0.73 pts/game pace so far. In order to reach 93 points, they need to play at a 1.28 pts/game pace. Do the calculations, and that means 38 wins over their next 59 games. If any of you Leafs fans think that is actually possible, come find me, we need to make some bets.

I can’t see Ron Wilson being fired for two reasons. The first is that he was brought in for the rebuild…..this is the rebuild! He and Brian Burke are very close friends who will be working together come February at the Olympics. The other reason is that when you look at this roster, you cannot really blame coaching when the team has such little skill on it.

If a car has a flat tire, and you change the driver of the car, you’re still stuck with a flat tire. Someone said that, and I like it. When you think about where the Leafs want to go in the future, I can’t really see any of these players, aside from Kessel, making up the core that they desire. Right now, they have a bunch of third and fourth line players, playing in much bigger roles than they are capable of.

Hagman has been good lately, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they deal him at the deadline for some youth. He is only 29 and under contract for two more seasons at a reasonable rate of $3 million, and he is really the only attractive piece that they have to offer. As I said earlier, it is not like they are one or two pieces away from contention; so deal him for a pick and a prospect. Hey, maybe he will score 40 goals and they can trade him to Boston for a 1st round’er.

The Burke Report….one year later

Posted in Toronto Maple Leafs with tags , , on November 24, 2009 by davepoleck

Alright, I have held off as long as I can on this topic. Anyone who knows me should know that I do not like Brian Burke and do not think he is that good of a GM. Certain people would tell me the reason for the dislike is that he was the GM in charge of my most hated team, the Anaheim Ducks, and those people are probably right in some respects. But I really, really do not think he is that good. Now, it is difficult for me to say this to those who do not know me because they did not hear me say it 3 months ago; but I did not believe the Leafs would make the playoffs, and I definitely did not think that Phil Kessel was worth giving up two first round picks for. In this case, I have to say a big fat “I told you so”, because really….I did. Below is a blog that I wrote for the Cord Weekly that was published on November 16, 2008, right before Brian Burke joined the Maple Leafs. I have to say that I was right on the mark about Burke not being a guy who wanted to wait around to build through the draft. How the hell can a GM be so far off on his assessment of the players he watches every day. They are no where near a playoff team right, and have absolutely no where to go, no one to trade, and no sign of hope down the road because their high draft pick for the next two seasons will be playing in Boston. To make matters worse, those players who were expected to step up this year (Grabovski, Kulemin and Tlusty) might have actually regressed. Tlusty, a former 13th overall pick, cannot get out of the AHL, and Kulemin looks like he should join him. So was it Brian Burke’s misreading of all of these players that has led to this horrible start, or is he just so god damn arrogant that he could not stand to fathom his team was not good enough to compete for at least a few years. I say option B. Here is what I said over a year ago:

The Burke Report

                Brian Burke’s days in Anaheim are finally over. Speculation leads everyone to believe that it is now only a matter of time before he becomes the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. After all, as much as the media and the Leafs themselves think, I do not think they have the power to go to any team that they want and take their GM. Burke coming to Leafland would mark an eventful year long upheaval of their management team. Since firing John Ferguson Jr in January of this year, the Leafs have added the likes of Cliff Fletcher, Ron Wilson, Joe Nieuwendyk and Doug Gilmour to their staff. Time will only tell if Burke is the missing piece that will be able to bring everything together for this team.

But once again I have to question whether or not this is the right move for a team that needs to completely rebuild. First you have to think what the team needs to get them to the next level. Are they a couple of free agent signings away from a Cup run? Or do they need to build through the draft? I think most people would agree with the latter because although they have been surprisingly good thus far in the season, they still do not have a strong enough core of players to compete in the East. Also, based on the mandate set out by Cliff Fletcher at the beginning of the summer, building through the draft is exactly what the Leafs plan on doing.

                So here is where my problem with Brian Burke being their GM comes in. I would not exactly consider him a guy who is good at building through the draft. Instead, he has always been a man of action, making moves that attempt to make his team a winner in the present, not the future. In 10 seasons of being a General Manager in this league, he has only drafted 2 high profile players. The two that I am talking about are Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who he drafted 2nd and 3rd overall in the 1999 NHL Draft. However, I don’t think it takes much talent to make that kind of pick. To compare with another GM, over that same span, Ken Holland of the Red Wings drafted Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall and Jiri Hudler; four of the five were drafted out of the first round. Now it is unfair to put all of the blame on the GM for scouting deficiencies. However, the GM is the person in charge who should have the final say on all decisions.

                The team that he did attempt to rebuild through the draft was the Vancouver Canucks. During his time there he got rid of players like Mark Messier, Pavel Bure and Alex Mogilny and added the likes of the Sedin Twins, Brendan Morrison and Ed Jovanovski to a team that already had Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi. However, with all of this talent, the team failed to make it past the 2nd round of the playoffs.

                After the lockout of the 2004-05 season, Burke signed on the Anaheim soon to be Mighty-less Ducks. I think that this is where he gets all of his credit from. However, what he did in Anaheim did not entail building through the draft. He came to a team that already had future stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in their system, along with secondary scorers like Dustin Penner, Chris Kunitz and Travis Moen. Now without question, Burke’s free agent and trade additions in his first 2 years with the Ducks were detrimental to the team winning the Stanley Cup in 2007. He signed free agents Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer, and traded for Chris Pronger. These guys are among the best to ever play their respective positions.

                But Burke has also had some questionable signings in the past few years, both of which were former members of his Canucks teams. After winning the Cup, he signed Todd Bertuzzi to a 2 year, $8 million contract, only to buy him out after one year. I am really hoping Burke doesn’t have some sort of fetish for signing Bertuzzi because that is one player that definitely would not help the Leafs. This past offseason he signed Brendan Morrison. So far this year Morrison has 3 points in 18 games.

Of the prospects he drafted during his 4 drafts with Anaheim, none are currently playing in the NHL. Now I know it takes time for these guys to develop, but he was lucky enough to pick 2nd in the lottery draft in 2005. That was the year in which Sidney Crosby was taken 1st overall. The Ducks took Bobby Ryan, who has only managed to play 23 games in the league.

                I will say this again, I am not implying that Brian Burke is not a good GM. He has a much better record than many of them in the league right now. But, he has not been able to prove that is the GM that the Leafs need to be successful for many years to come.     

61 Shots

Posted in New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs with tags , , on November 23, 2009 by davepoleck

Holy shit what a game tonight in Toronto. The first period was boring as hell, but after that it was quite the end to end game.  The Leafs set a franchise record with 61 shots!!!! And still lost in overtime. I wouldn’t say any of the goals were that bad. One was a clear breakaway, a tip, and Gustavsson had zero chance on the final goal. Horrible attempted breakout by the Leafs. White flipped the puck up the boards, but Kaberle did not play it because he thought the winger would be in position. Unfortunately, he had already begun moving up the ice.

Dwayne Roloson looked like he was back in the 2006 Playoffs when Edmonton rode him to the Finals.

Plan the Parade

Posted in Toronto Maple Leafs on November 19, 2009 by davepoleck

Here we go! The comeback begins tonight…the turnaround..the rejuvenation. The Leafs are up 3-0 against tthe Hurricanes…..oh wait. 2 goals in 42 seconds for Carolina…..nevermind.

Goalie Controversies

Posted in Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals with tags , , , , , on November 16, 2009 by davepoleck

It seems that every season, there are more and more goalies rising up for their respective teams and taking over from whoever started the year before. Here is a look at soem of the ones occuring right now: Continue reading

The Saviour!

Posted in Toronto Maple Leafs with tags , , , , , on November 2, 2009 by davepoleck

Tomorrow night could be the official arrival of the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise, Phil Kessel. CBC has already reported that he IS in fact playing tomorrow night in Tampa Bay. Continue reading