Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Team Canada II could look like for Olympics

The debate about who should and should not be on the Mens Team Canada Olympic hockey roster is under way. Canada has the luxury of being able to stack more then one team for a big tournament much in the same way as Brazil can for soccer tournaments of the USA for baseball. We take a look at what Team Canada II would look like if Canada had another spot at the Olympics.

Goaltenders (3)

Cam Ward (Carolina Hurricanes)
Marty Turco (Dallas Stars)
Dwayne Roloson (New York Islanders)

Reserves: Chris Mason (St Louis Blues), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Anaheim Ducks)

Defensemen (7)

Dion Phaneuf (Calgary Flames)
Jay Bouwmeester (Calgary Flames)
Mike Green (Washington Capitals)
Robyn Regehr (Calgary Flames)
Tyler Myers (Buffalo Sabres)
Brian Campbell (Chicago Black Hawks)
Ian White (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Reserves: Francois Beauchemin (Toronto Maple Leafs), Kevin Bieksa (Vancouver Canucks), Scott Hannan (Colorado Avalanche)

Forwards (13)

Shane Doan (Phoenix Coyotes)
James Neal (Dallas Stars)
Brad Richards (Dallas Stars)
Martin St Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Mike Fisher (Ottawa Senators)
Jason Spezza (Ottawa Senators)
Jeff Carter (Philadelphia Flyers)
Ryan Smyth (Los Angeles Kings)
Michael Cammalleri (Montreal Canadiens)
Patrick Sharp (Chicago Black Hawks)
Stephen Weiss (Florida Panthers)

Reserves: Dustin Penner (Edmonton Oilers), Nathan Horton (Florida Panthers), Jordan Staal (Pittsburgh Penguins), John Tavares (New York Islanders)

Let the debates begins on Team Canada II selection.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Brian Burke's first move of 2010, sign Ian White

As the 2009 calender year comes to a close with the Maple Leafs three points behind a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Brian Burke will need to look at making some decisions in 2010 and the first one on his list needs to be the resigning of defensemen Ian White. The 25 year old on many nights this season has been the teams best rearguard and overall it's not much of a stretch to say that he has been the teams second best defensemen behind only Tomas Kaberle this season. White is set to become a restricted free agent and Burke would be wise to sign the versatile White, who can also play forward when asked by the Leafs coaching staff to a long term deal. White who started off his first season with Ron Wilson as the teams head coach in the pressbox has worked hard to get regular duty under Wilson and now is firmly planted in the Leafs Top 4 defense this season. White has eight goals (one behind league lead for defensemen) and thirteen assists this season with a plus nine rating. White is on pace to shatter his career high in points in a season of twenty six, which he achieved on two occasions and is slowly starting to live up to scouts comparing his play to that of Brian Rafalski. Burke needs to draw on his experience in negotiating contracts and hopefully be able to sign White to a long term deal of around 4 to 5 years at an average salary of anywhere from 2.5 to 3 million a season, in today's market for defensemen this looks to be the going rate. The Leafs will once again have a lot of money tied to big contracts on the backend with about $15 million against the cap next season already committed to Kaberle, Beauchemin, Komisarek and Schenn not including the White signing. The Leafs do have Exelby's and Van Ryn's contracts coming off the books after the season. The Leafs could also take a look at the bloated contract of Jeff Finger at $3.5 million a season over the next two years as a buyout would be a cap hit of just under $1.2 million over the next four years if the can not find any takers on the trade front. The team would not need to worry short term about all the high salary on the backend with alot of young forwards on the team over the next few years in Stalberg, Hanson, Bozak, Kulemin and Mitchell having all low salaries. Brian Burke needs to make some moves in 2010 and why not have the first of those moves being a long term contract to Ian White. I think most Leaf fans would agree that he has more then earned it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

TML Fan Fury announces 23 man Canadian Olympic Roster

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue their futile play 4 on 4 with another loss tonight in overtime to their arch rivals but on a different note with the Olympics less then two months away in Vancouver it will be a time when all hockey fans from around this great country will put their allegiances aside to unite for the red and white. Canada will be announcing their Canadian Olympic Hockey roster on December 30/09 and I have decided to give Stevie Y and the Canada brass a hand in the selection of their 23 man roster and reserve taxi squad in case of injuries for the Olympics as Canada try to bring home the gold on their home turf.

Goaltenders (3)

Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils)

Marc Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks)

Reserves: Dwayne Roloson (New York Islanders), Marty Turco (Dallas Stars)

Defensemen (7)

Scott Niedermayer (Anaheim Ducks)

Chris Pronger (Philadelphia Flyers)

Dan Boyle (San Jose Sharks)

Shea Weber (Nashvillle Predators)

Duncan Keith (Chicago Black Hawks)

Jay Bouwmeester (Calgary Flames)

Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings)

Reserves: Dion Phaneuf (Calgary Flames), Mike Green (Washington Capitals), Brent Seabrook (Chicago Black Hawks)

Forwards (13)

Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Joe Thornton (San Jose Sharks)

Dany Heatley (San Jose Sharks)

Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks)

Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames)

Shane Doan (Phoenix Coyotes)

Brad Richards (Dallas Stars)

Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks)

Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks)

Rick Nash (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Mike Fisher (Ottawa Senators)

Jonathan Toews (Chicago Black Hawks)

Ryan Smyth (Los Angeles Kings)

Reserves: Mike Richards (Philadelphia Flyers), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning), Martin St Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning), James Neal (Dallas Stars)

Do you agree or disagree with the selections let us know.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Maple Leafs World Junior Watch

The World Junior Championship gets ready to kick off on boxing day with Canada looking to win their sixth straight Gold Medal in Regina and Saskatoon. The Toronto Maple Leafs will have two prospects at the tournament this year in Nazem Kadri and Jerry D' Amigo.

Nazem Kadri (Canada) 1st Round pick, 7th Overall 2009
Season Stats with London Knights(OHL): GP- 28 G- 20 A- 18 PTS- 38

Jerry D'Amigo (USA) 6th Round pick, 158th Overall 2009
Season Stats with R.P.I.(ECACH): GP- 18 G- 5 A- 9 PTS- 14

We wish both Maple Leafs prospects the best of luck in the tournament and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What the Toronto Maple Leafs should get for Christmas

The Christmas season is quickly approaching for a lot of people around the world and as many await the arrival of St. Nick on Christmas Eve, they wonder if they have been naughty or nice this past year. We take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs players and ask St. Nick to bring a host of goodies for the team this holiday season.

Brian Burke- A first round pick in the next two seasons.

Ron Wilson- 60 minute effort from his players.

Vesa Toskala- New set of contacts, to help him with the odd bad goal.

Jonas Gustavsson- Healthy season the rest of the way.

Joey McDonald- Mandatory roster increase to three goalies.

Tomas Kaberle- Hockey Stick that shoots automatically.

Mike Komisarek- Cheers in Montreal when he visits.

Ian White- Long Term Contract in the new year.

Francois Beauchemin- An iron to place the C on the front of his jersey.

Luke Schenn- Remote control to fast forward his sophomore jinx.

Jeff Finger- Some regular playing time.

Garnet Exelby- See Finger.

Mike Van Ryn- Rubber Suit to avoid injuries.

Jason Blake- Some goals to go with his hard work.

Nik Hagman- Some consistency.

Phil Kessel- A true number one center.

Alexei Ponikarovsky- His first 30 goal season.

Matt Stajan- Some respect.

Mikhail Grabovski- A little more heart.

Nikolai Kulemin- Some powerplay time.

Wayne Primeau- New contract.

Lee Stempniak- A trade at the deadline.

Jamal Mayers- see Stempniak.

Colton Orr- Rematch with Ottawa's Carkner.

Rikard Wallin- First class ticket to Sweden.

John Mitchell- Speedy recovery.

Viktor Stalberg- Top 6 forward minutes.

Maple Leaf Fans- A Playoff in the Spring.

Merry Christmas to all and enjoy the time off with your loved ones but remember those that are not as fortunate this holiday season.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Leafs send down McDonald and bring up Stalberg from Marlies

The Toronto Maple Leafs made a few minor tweaks with their roster, sending down goalkeeper Joey McDonald to the Toronto Marlies while bringing back up rookie winger Viktor Stalberg. McDonald filled in admirably while both Vesa Toskala and Jonas Gustavsson were out with injuries. Gustavsson will be backing up Toskala tomorrow, while Stalberg makes his return back to the big club he is leading the Marlies in scoring this season with 21 points in 19 games and should be in the lineup tomorrow when the Leafs take on the Buffalo Sabres.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Greatest Toronto Maple Leafs, Decade by Decade

The year 2009 is coming quickly to an end and I have decided to take a look at the best Toronto Maple Leaf player on a decade by decade basis covering Toronto clubs from 1920-2009. The Maple Leafs were known as the Toronto St. Pats until the 1927 season when the team was purchased by Conn Smythe and the named changed to the Toronto Maple Leafs. This organization has had many outstanding players and currently boasts 57 players in the Hockey Hall of Fame who at one time or another who wore the Toronto sweater. The Toronto Maple Leafs have won 11 Stanley Cups with the Toronto St. Pats and the Toronto Arenas winning one a piece for a total of 13 but unfortunately for most fans the organization has not won a Stanley Cup since the 1966-67 season. We now give a decade by decade breakdown of who we feel was the best player of each decade, this was not an easy task as the Leafs especially during their Stanley Cup winning years had many key players that contributed to the teams success.

Click to Enlarge

Legend: GP- Games Played, G- Goals, A- Assists, PTS- Points

1920-29 BABE DYE
Career Maple Leaf/St. Pat's Regular Season Stats: GP- 218 G- 173 A- 42 PTS- 215
Career Maple Leaf/St. Pat's Playoff Stats: GP- 11 G- 11 A- 1 PTS- 12

Babe Dye was the first Toronto sniper, the Babe whos real name is Cecil Henry Dye scored an unheard of 11 goals in 7 playoff games leading the St. Pat's to the Stanley Cup. Dye also scored 38 goals in 29 games in the 1924/25 season and averaged over todays 82 game schedule would have scored an astonishing 106 goals for the season.

The Hockey News ranked him #83 on the list of the NHL's Greatest Players.

Inducted into Hall of Fame: 1970 Maple Leafs/St. Pat's Stanley Cups won: 1

Honourable Mention: Reg Noble, Happy Day

Career Maple Leaf Regular Season Stats: GP- 326 G- 200 A- 124 PTS 324
Career Maple Leaf Playoff Stats: GP- 41 G- 14 A- 12 PTS- 26

Conacher was part of the famous kid line of the 30's and collected 14 career hat tricks as a member of the Leafs. Conacher captured the Art Ross trophy as the league's leading scorer in 1934 and then again 1935 and was selected to the end of the year All Star squad on five occasions, three times as first line right winger and the other two as the second line right winger.

The Hockey News ranked him # 36 on the list of the NHL's Greatest Players.

Inducted into Hall of Fame: 1961 Maple Leaf Stanley Cups won: 1

Honourable Mention: Harvey "Busher" Jackson, Joe Primeau, King Clancy

1940-49 SYL APPS
Career Maple Leafs Regular Season Stats: GP- 423 G- 201 A- 231 PTS- 432
Career Maple Leaf Playoff Stats: GP- 69 G- 25 A- 29 PTS- 54

Apps came into the league flying and captured the Calder trophy as the NHL rookie of the year in 1937 and then added the Lady Byng trophy in 1942. Apps Captained the Greatest comeback in Stanley Cup history when the Maple Leafs came back from being down three games to none against Detroit to win four straight and capturethe Cup in 1941-42. This feat has never been accomplished again in an NHL Final. Apps was also selected to the end of the season All Star team five times, twice as the first team center and three times as the second team center.

The Hockey News ranked him # 33 on the list of the NHL's Greatest Players.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame: 1961 Maple Leaf Stanley Cup wins: 3

Honourable Mention: Turk Broda, Babe Pratt, Ted Kennedy

Career Maple Leaf Regular Season Stats: GP- 696 G- 231 A- 329 PTS- 560
Career Maple Leaf Playoff Stats: GP- 78 G- 29 A- 31 PTS- 60

Kennedy had the luxury of playing almost two decades as a member of the Maple Leafs in the 40's and 50's. Kennedy still holds the Maple Leaf record for most points in the Stanley Cup Final Series with 23 points in 26 games played. Kennedy captured the Hart Trophy awarded to the leagues MVP in 1955 and was named to the end of the year All Star team three times all as a second line center.

The Hockey News ranked him # 57 on the list of the NHL's Greatest Players.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame: 1966 Maple Leaf Stanley Cup wins: 5

Honourable Mention: Sid Smith, Dick Duff, Tim Horton, Tod Sloan

1960-69 DAVE KEON
Career Maple Leaf Regular Season Stats: GP- 1062 G- 365 A- 493 PTS- 858
Career Maple Leaf Playoff Stats: GP- 89 G- 32 A- 35 PTS- 67

Keon is said by many to be the Greatest Toronto Maple Leaf of All Time. Keon is the Leaf t capture the most NHL hardware winning the Calder Trophy in 1961, the Lady Byng trophy in 1962 and 1963 as well as capturing the 1967 Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff MVP. Keon was also selected to the end of the season All Star team on two occasions, both times as the second team's center. Keon was a tough as nails player and had one of the Greatest shutdown performances in Stanley Cup history when kept Montreal's Jean Beliveau off the scoresheet in the last two games of the teams 1966-67 Stanley Cup win. Keon also had eleven 20+ goal seasons as a Leaf.

The Hockey News ranked him # 69 on the list of the NHL's Greatest Players.

Inducted into Hall of Fame: 1986 Maple Leaf Stanley Cup wins: 4

Honourable Mention: Frank Mahovlich, George Armstrong, Johnny Bower, Red Kelly

Career Maple Leaf Regular Season Stats: GP- 844 G- 389 A- 527 PTS- 916
Career Maple Leaf Playoff Stats: GP- 64 G- 25 A- 40 PTS- 65

Sittler will always be remembered in Toronto for his still standing NHL record 10 point performance against the Boston Bruins where Sittler scored 6 goals and added 4 assists. Sittler holds the Leaf record for career hat tricks in a season with 18 and was the first Maple Leaf to pass the 100 point plateau, he did this twice and scored over 40+ goals on four occasions. Sittler was named to the end of season All Star team as the second line center in 1977-78.

The Hockey News ranked him # 93 on the list of the NHL's Greatest Players.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame: 1989 Maple Leaf Stanley Cup wins: 0

Honourable Mention: Borje Salming, Lanny McDonald, Ian Turnbull, Norm Ullman

1980-89 RICK VAIVE
Career Maple Leaf Regular Season Stats: GP- 534 G- 299 A- 238 PTS- 537
Career Maple Leaf Playoff Stats: GP- 32 G- 14 A- 9 PTS- 23

Vaive was the first Maple Leaf to ever crack the 50 goal plateau completing this accomplishment in three consecutive seasons with 54, 51 and 52 goals scored. The 80's were one of the teams most difficult decades but you could always count on Vaive flying in from the wing and letting a slapshot go past the opposing netminders. Vaive scored 10 career hat tricks with Toronto and currently sits 10th on the Maple Leafs all time scoring list.

Inducted into Hall of Fame: No Maple Leaf Stanley Cup wins: 0

Honourable Mention: Gary Leeman, Bill Derlago, John Anderson, Al Iafrate

Career Maple Leaf Regular Season Stats: GP- 393 G- 131 A- 321 PTS- 452
Career Maple Leaf Playoff Stats: GP- 52 G- 17 A- 60 PTS- 77

Gilmour took Toronto by storm, has any one player done as much with the team in only five season. Gilmour took the team to within one game of the Stanley Cup final in 1992-93 the closest the team has come since winning the cup in 1966-67. Gilmour is the Leafs All Time playoff scoring leader and holds the single season record for most points when he earned 127 also in the 1992-93 season. Gilmour also holds the single season record for most assists with 95 and the single season record for playoff points with 35. Gilmour went on to capture the Frank J Selke trophy in the 1992-93 season a the leagues best defensive forward. Gilmour was all heart and none of us will forget the double overtime wrap around goal in the playoffs against the St. Louis Blues. Gilmour is currently on the Hall of Fame ballet and sits 17th in All Time NHL scoring.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame: No Maple Leaf Stanley Cup wins: 0

Honourable Mention: Wendel Clark, Felix Potvin, Dave Andreychuk, Mats Sundin

Career Maple Leaf Regular Season Stats: GP- 981 G- 420 A- 567 PTS- 987
Career Maple Leaf Playoff Stats: GP- 77 G- 32 A- 38 PTS- 70

Sundin is the Maple Leafs All Time Regular Season scoring leader. The Swede sits first in goals and points and for many seasons did not play with the most skilled of Leafs. Sundin has been selected to the NHL All Star game a team record nine times and was selected to the end of season All Star team twice as the second team center. Sundin holds numerous other Leaf records which include leading the team in regular season scoring ten times, most game winning goals with 79, most overtime winners 12, most 30 goal seasons with 10 to name a few more. Sundin will be looking to enter the Hall of Fame in the future as he currently sits 25th on the NHL All Time scoring list.

Inducted into Hall of Fame: No Maple Leaf Stanley Cup Wins: 0

Honourable Mention: Tomas Kaberle, Gary Roberts, Darcy Tucker, Curtis Joseph

We dont want to end this blog without mentioning two other Leaf Greats, one who's career was cut short due to a hit during a game and another who's life was cut short because of a plane crash. Ace Bailey and Bill Barilko the only two Maple Leafs two have their numbers retired on the team. The #5 and #6 will not be worn again for the Toronto Maple Leafs in their honour.

This research was great to complete and share with all the Maple Leaf and hockey fans out there and to see how many Leaf Greats put on the blue and white sweater, makes you proud to be a fan and I know that at the moment this organization is not where we as fans would like them to be but the next Leaf Great cant be that far off and hopefully the Glory of the Past will be rekindled once again.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Brian Burke sends Jiri Tlusty packing to Carolina

Brian Burke has made his first trade of the 2009-10 season and no it was not a player on current roster and no we will not be getting a player to add to the roster. The Maple Leafs general manager had decided to send former first round pick and 21 year old winger Jiri Tlusty to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for the Canes first round pick of the 2009 draft, 18 year old center Philippe Paradis. Tlusty could not seem to make much of an impact in the NHL when given a chance over the past couple of seasons, the winger seems to be a tad to good for the AHL but just not good enough for the NHL and it seems that Burke has decided to not waste the organizations time any longer and has moved for a promising player from the QMJHL. Paradis is said to be a hard nosed center (Burke's favourite) with a great slapshot and has the smarts to make room for himself and his teammates in the offensive zone. Paradis currently has 19 points in 26 games for Shawinigan Cataractes this season while Tlusty has 15 points in 19 games for the AHL Toronto Marlies and zero points in two NHL games with the Leafs. Tlusty though may be remembered best in Toronto for some raunchy photos of himself on the net too bad it wont be for something a little more benefiting of the team. Good Luck to Jiri Tlusty in Carolina and welcome to the Toronto organization Philippe Paradis.

Maple Leafs face a goaltending dilemma

The Toronto Maple Leafs now face a goalie dilemma with both goaltenders Jonas Gustavsson and Vesa Toskala out of action. The Leafs will turn to third stringer Joey MacDonald to hold the fort for the next week or so. The Leafs announced earlier today that Gustavsson will undergo his second heart procedure this season. The Leafs rookie will undergo a heart ablation tomorrow which is a procedure to correct abnormal heart rythms by destroying damaged tissue. Vesa Toskala continues to nurse a groin injury and even though he is practising with the team he wont be able to go until at the earliest sometime next week. Their were some rumours that the Leafs might try to obtain New York Rangers backup Stephen Valiquette who was placed on waivers yesterday but the Leafs have decided against this move and will go with what the currently have in the organization.