Back in mid-November, I took a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs who trail only the Edmonton Oilers in my heart and in the cause of my elevated blood pressure. I evaluated the roster, looked at some of the moves that Brian Burke had made and observed that the team was still a mess. The Leafs were a mess, but a mess that was getting more organized by the day. With Burke’s two big trades last Sunday I thought I would check in again to see how things are shaping up.
Last Sunday, Burke made two trades that radically changed the look of the Leafs. He sent Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Meyers and Ian White to the Flames for Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and 6’6” AHL defenseman Keith Aulie. He then unloaded Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake to the Ducks for JS Giguere. Continue reading
(ian lindsay/Vancouver Sun) [PNG Merlin Archive]
Is there a tougher gig in hockey than being the coach or GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs? On the plus side you have a passionate fan base and an owner with deep, deep pockets. You play in a state of the art arena and you get national exposure every Saturday night. On the negative side, your passionate fans watch the game on their flatscreens at home while a bunch of suits fill the arena, pray to their Crackberry gods and general do everything but get off their feet and cheer. This is a common issue around the league to be sure, but especially so in Toronto.
Oh and did I mention the masses of media who call Toronto home who have nothing better to do than third guess every move and write about how the world will soon end as a result of the Leafs continued propensity to blow leads and lose in overtime? I would say the GM and coaching jobs are 2 ounces of fun and 26 ounces of gin.
With all of that said, I am here to take a look at the construction of this year’s Leaf team and their performance thus far. They may be the worst team in the league according to the standings, but I think they are on the right track. Feel free to accuse me of drinking too much of the Brian Burke kool-aid if you want. You may well be right… Continue reading