Not sure if you can access it right now, because the site appears to be down. However Damien takes a run both at Leaf fan this am and of course the MLSE.
First on Leaf Fan. Cox says, in essence that we are all delirious, that Maurice was off to a more impressive start in years past and look where his teams finished. He shits on anyone for saying that they are either improved or improving, noting that we are less then 10 games in. It is these delusions that will be Ron Wilson’s biggest problem.
Of course as I am writing the site came back on so here are today’s coxisims:
“This, needless to say, is part of the problem Ron Wilson faces as coach of the team. The Leafs knocked off Boston and Ottawa in succession last week, two solid victories over divisional opponents, and already there’s talk all around that the club is clearly either improved or improving.”
Can a team not be improving yet still be bad? I mean, one of Damien’s definition of success this year was to be one of the top defensive teams in the league. I am more impressed by cutting down the shots against then I am about the wins. On the topic of wins, Berger dumps all over them for choking in the third. Hey at least in the last 2 games, that didn’t happen. So are they improving? Yes, the probably are, does it mean that all issues are solved and on to the playoffs- No, the two things can co-exist.
“Voices on Hockey Night in Canada worried on Saturday that the Leafs might be becoming too good too fast. Luke Schenn (8 games played, 0 points, minus-3) has apparently not only proven he must stay in the NHL, he’s being listed as a candidate for the Calder Trophy by various media pundits. The team, some suggest, is burdened with nine “proven” NHL defencemen. It goes on and on. Just two victories in a row, and a 3-2-3 record, has produced all this.”
As expected, it didn’t take long for the “they are winning too much” calls. I really like his shot at Schenn’s statistics here by the way. Give Cox one thing, he is the only guy dumping on the kid. As for the defence point, let’s get this straight. I haven’t heard anyone claim they are burdened with proven defencemen. I have heard people say, and rightfully so, that they have a too many of the same type of players. The reality is, After Kaberle, Kubina and maybe Schenn as top 3 D, the dropoff is to the next tier. The difference in quality from 4-9 isn’t that great. So, if 1,2 or 3 gets hurt, they are screwed. If 4-6 get hurt, 7-9 should be able to step in.
I love, and I do mean Love that Damien attacks his media breathern. You know this is the guy who only last week asked his audience if his paper had to report on a rumor in another paper. I seem to have to repeat this all the time. The negative/downside of being a leaf is not that the fans are delusional, its the horseshit quality of those who cover them as a profession. With the exception of the idiot I heard calling Hogan this am suggesting that Philly may trade a number one pick to the Leafs for Van Ryn (and hey buddy, you used the term “lights out” about 4 different players 6 times each), not one fan is as delusional as the media is. The crap that is written and spoke about this team is as embarrassing as either the headline in yesterdays star (Pinball Canada’s Obama) or Blake cashing his paycheck (had to do it eye!).
Back to Schenn:
“Last year, Jiri Tlusty scored twice in his first NHL game and folks were projecting him to be a top six forward. A year later, he’s in the minors, but there’s this belief out there that Schenn is somehow exempt from all of the landmines that trip up young players. That the team is willing to burn a year of his entry level contract, needless to say, just demonstrates that the Leaf organization still doesn’t understand the managing the payroll in a salary cap era is crucial. But as usual, the Leafs are selling hope, not excellence. Spirit (not winning) is everything, goes the team’s slogan.”
Ahhhh Luke Schenn. What is a man to do. MaLean down the dial at 590 keeps talking about this year of eligibility. Frankly I think the point is moot. If Schenn were sent down as Damien suggests for money/cap issues the Buds, some 6 million under the cap right now would get toasted more then this little comment by Cox. Fletcher and Wilson have to do what is best for the player and team long term. They have been pretty upfront and honest about the lack of pressure to win this year. In my opinion, the question they need to ask is, where will Schenn advance more as a player. If he will learn more playing junior, playing consistently 25+ minutes a game in which he may be able to dominate then he should go down. If they truly beleive that the only way for Schenn to improve is to play against the best men in the world, they should him to the KHL…Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Seriously, if they feel he will develop the best (not fastest) here in the NHL, then he should be here. There is no right or wrong. If they send him down there are risks. If they keep him up, there are risks. I think Damien’s comment about worrying about the now is off base here. They aren’t doing it to win now, they are doing it to test him and to teach him. I assure you if he were playing 5-7 minutes a game he would be gone.
The one thing I like about Cox, however is that he does make tangible arguments. He puts things in ways in which they can measured. Very few of his fellow “pundits” do that. Strachan in his career wouldn’t dare….
“So what would be measures of team improvement? Play consistently well for a month. Get the team’s goals-against average, now 11th overall, into the top half-dozen. Realize improvement in the league’s 24th best penalty killing outfit. Enhance the team’s offence, now 28th in the NHL with the 23rd best power play, to at least the top 20.”
There you have it. All measurable tasks. Are they fair? I have no clue. I think that getting them down to 11th (in 6 or 7 games) is quite a feat, trying to hammer it down even further is a tall order. I guess the question is, are those reasonable goals for the team Damien expects them to be.
you can read the spinster here