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Saturday, December 20th 2008

1:40 PM

Toronto Sports Media

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Monday, November 24th 2008

8:08 PM

Colaiacovo, Steen for Stempniak

Tough to make a call on this one….at least right now.  This is not like a trade deadline deal where one team gets a guy to put them over the hump for a cup run.  It’s a deal that involves 3 young players so it will be measured over the next couple of years vs. days or weeks.

One could argue that this deal did not (or should not) have to be made at this time.  It could be compared to selling a bank stock over the past few weeks….Would waiting it out and letting Colaiacovo and Steen show improved play net more in return?  Perhaps Wilson pushed to have these guys moved out to continue the process of clearing out the over-sold mediocrity that we’ve become accustomed to.  Were Steen and Colaiacovo part of the “complacent” crew that didn’t show enough passion or seem to care when not playing well?  Or is it simply that Fletcher had a chance to get “his guy” and pulled the trigger now…Who knows.  What I do know is that Steen has not proven to be a goal scorer or defensive shut down guy….in other words, not very useful.  In return, we got a player that is supposed to be an NHL caliber finisher.  Colaiacovo, who on numerous occasions showed promise, seemed to have his progression stunted each time he got hurt.  Or, based on the coach’s assessment not move forward because of conditioning…He may have been a thrown into the deal for Fletcher to get the guy he wanted.

If Steen and Colaiacovo continue on the path that they have been on over the past couple of years – this deal will prove to be a good one for the Buds…

Who should Stempniak play with?

I’m a Kulemin fan but he has not proven to be a finisher.  Grabovski would probably be leading the league in assists if Kulemin had more touch around the net.  Here is what the scouts said about Kulemin before the season.

“While Kulemin is unlikely to ever develop into a top line scoring sniper, his upside is that of a very capable third line checking forward who would also be able to fill in on the top lines in the case of injury.”

That plus what we’ve seen so far would suggest that Kulemin would be more suitable on our 3rd line with Stempniak taking over as right winger for Grabovski on the 2nd line.

Antropov  Stajan  Poni
Hagman  Grabovski  Stempniak
Blake  Mitchell  Kulemin
Mayers  Moore  White

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Sunday, November 23rd 2008

8:39 AM

Tosgoala...#17 & #33 On The Same Night?...And More

Let’s kick things off with a simple question….Why was #17’s tribute night held on the same evening as #33’s?  I guess it didn’t matter much as CBC was able to cover both events…just found it odd that they didn’t coordinate events better.  The Leafs weren’t allowed to wear the 1980’s jerseys (same style they wore in the warm-up and for the ceremony) because they did not provide the League Office with sufficient notice (was Wilbur tinkering with their fax machine?).  The teams would have had to advise the league about their tribute nights in advance as well so I’m surprised that they didn’t push for separate Saturday night specials (or CBC demand on it).

Still can’t get used to the new HNIC theme song…no offence to the song or it’s writer but…it’s just plain wrong.  Actually, as much as I like TSN’s hockey coverage, it bothers me even more to hear the real theme played on their network….

Last nights game – I didn’t see much but from what I did see, we got much of the same…speed, skill and scoring.  I don’t want to suggest that there is anything “wrong” with this team.  It’s year 1 of the rebuilding process and as I’ve stated in previous posts – I’m enjoying this team more than any other in recent memory…definitely during the JFJ tenure.  What I do find interesting is that we are not getting what we expected.  We heard and expected that we would have trouble scoring and would be much improved defensively.  This hasn’t been the case.  Again, I don’t care that this has not materialized…I only offer the next few comments as they relate to what Burke et al will need to do when they join MLSE.

We’ve got some good speed and skill…I echo TSM’s (www.torontosportsmedia.com) comment...This team is lacking true grit…a top 6 forward like Wendel Clark would be ideal J Hollweg is definitely not the guy….and neither is the invisible man Jamal Mayers.  If grit is not in the cards for our top 6, at the very least our shut down guys need to be tougher and guys like Steen aren’t going to be Burke like players.  Watch for guys like Blake, Steen, Mayers and Hollweg find new homes for size and toughness.

Anyone else agree that White is proving to be a good 4th line forward?  He plays with the energy we need in that role…and, he can score.  I’d leave him right where he is. 

Stajan is the new McCauley.  Remember when Alan McCauley was moved up to the 1st line when Mats got hurt?  Stajan seems to be doing the same.  I’m not suggesting that we’ve found our new long term #1 centre but…when we do, he should be a productive #3 (assuming Grabs can continue to be a productive #2). 

The only disappointment this season has been Toskala a.k.a. Tosgoala.  I didn’t expect him to be a top 5 goalie but…certainly didn’t think he’d be a bottom 5.  And I don’t think we can simply say he’s not getting enough help from the team in front of him.  I don’t care if he’s not the goalie of the future…I do care that he wont be worth a bag of pucks at the trade deadline or sooner.  It would have been nice to have been able to move him for something and let Pogge finally play a string of NHL games to see exactly what we have (not to suggest that he will be the long term solution either).




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Tuesday, November 18th 2008

5:04 AM

Free Pass for Antropov?

With much of the focus on Grabovski, Hagman, Mitchell and Schenn (positive) and Hollweg and Blake (negative), I’ve heard suggestions that Nick Antropov has received a “free pass” from the media this season.

Let’s look at the numbers….


                                      GP      G        A        Pts     +/-

2007 – 2008 (with Mats):     72      26      30       56     10

2008 – 2009 (no Mats):       19      7        8        15      5 


Based on points per game, big Nick is on track for a better season than last year.  If he were to play 82 games this season, he’d likely end up in the top 40 in the league in points (top 10th percentile)….not too shabby without a #1 centre to play with.  Also, he’s maintained his year over year positive +/- rating.


While I too would like to see Nick get to the next level (top 25, point per game guy?) and provide more on ice leadership; at $2M per season and the success achieved last year and year-to-date, he will be a valuable asset to trade.  If that is the plan, they might want to do so sooner than later considering he is a UFA next year.  If not, re-sign so as not to lose the playing or tradeable asset.



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