Tank Nation, Burke Blew It, Brooks Is An Ass, Hockey Loses An Icon & A Detroit Coach Is Unwell

Wow- what a day yesterday. Amazing weather at Blue Mountain, had a great day skiing with the kids. While I was away, Mike S took on both Brady and Leaf/Tank Nation. All good stuff. Here are my thoughts, for what it’s worth:

1. Everyone predicted this years team would be mad. Some worse then others. The former GM and current coach predicted poor results standing wise.
2. Everyone and their mother, literally say that the only way for this team to improve is to do so “properly” through the draft. Most people say that the best way to do that is be in a position to draft a franchise player. In order to draft a franchise player, you likely have to draft in the top 2, certainly in the top 5. Yes, I know there are exceptions to these thoughts, however I think most would agree that if you want to build properly that is how you do it.
3. Most of the people I know who say they want the team to do poorly do so half heatedly and with tongue in cheek. I don’t think people want to see the team get embarrassed or look so bad as to make fools of either the uniform or the players. I have said all along that my preference would be to work hard every game and lose by a goal or two. I will say that one of the primary reasons I want them to shit the collective bed is to stop the idiots in the press from saying that the team can’t even lose properly. Have you heard a dumber comment then that of Mr. Watters lately (is it a rebuild or a renovation?”. Fans in this town get shit on by moronic members of the media no matter what happens. I think it is high time we say enough is enough. The fact that the team is winning is funny as hell. It also shows you just what a shitty job JFJ and PM did before. Ron Wilson is doing more with SO much less it is a joke. Look at the talent that was let go, that was not replaced and look at the results! Could you imagine where this team was if Toskala wasn’t such a civ this year? Finishing out of the playoffs is a given. Why not finish dead last or close to it. It really isn’t that complicated.

It’s certainly a sad day in Hockey/Mo Town today. Mrs. Hockey, Collen Howe has passed away. I was fortunate enough to meet both Mr. and Mrs. Hockey on several occasion while living in Detroit. I can tell you, without any hesitation that of the Howe’s Collen was definitely the brain’s of the outfit. In terms of what Gordie did, where he did it and for whom and how much was clearly up to Collen. Mrs. Hockey was 76. She and Gordie were married for 56 years. Here is a great summation of her contribution to the world of hockey (aside from giving birth to and raising her sons:

“Colleen Howe’s contributions to the sport of hockey are numerous. She founded the first Junior A hockey team, the Detroit Junior Red Wings, trademarked Mr. and Mrs. Hockey and orchestrated the return of Gordie Howe to professional hockey when he played with sons Mark and Marty with the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association in 1973.
She also developed the first indoor ice hockey rink in Michigan, Gordie Howe Hockeyland in St. Clair Shores, and created the Howe Foundation in 1993. In March 2002, the Colleen J. Howe Arena opened in Sandusky. Colleen Howe was the first woman inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. She was also honored as Michigan’s Sportswoman of the Year in 1973.” Read more from the Detroit News here

Meanwhile, still in Detroit, former Detroit Piston coach Chuck Daily has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For those who aren’t well versed in their NBA history:
“The 78-year-old Daly coached the Pistons to NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. He also was the coach of the 1992 gold medal-winning US Olympic squad dubbed the “Dream Team.” He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.” that from the Globe and Mail.

How great is this crap form Larry Brooks?:

“If it’s impossible to know what the Rangers truly have surrendered for 18 regular-season games of Antropov, it’s nearly as difficult to know what Leafs GM Brian Burke sent Glen Sather’s way at Wednesday’s deadline, because Antropov has long been one of the NHL’s biggest mysteries, aside from his 6-foot-6 frame. Tomorrow afternoon should provide a clue about what the Rangers have when Antropov goes against Boston’s 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara at the Garden in one of those nationally televised games that have been habitual debacles for Broadway’s team.”

The guys is “one of the NHL biggest mysteries”, yet one game will provide a clue??? Huh??? He has been in the league what, 10 years and you are going to base your analysis on one game??? Give me a break.

“If Antropov is aggressive enough to negate Chara, that should create open ice for linemates Brandon Dubinsky and Chris Drury, not to mention the defensemen who jump into the play with the glee of children jumping into a swimming pool on the first day of summer. That will be good news. For after nearly nine full seasons in Toronto, during which time he was a frequent linemate of Mats (Canucks Are Better) Sundin, Antropov has never been able to match the expectations he’s carried since joining the Maple Leafs as a 19-year-old in 1999.”

So you are basing a decision on 1 game against a big defenceman. Here I thought Toronto media and fans were unreasonable. Here in the GTA people thought Gerber would be an anchor to the bottom to the standins. In NY Brooks thinks one game is going to be a career defining episode.

“”I think he was in the background; Sundin was everything there,” Tortorella said following yesterday’s brisk practice. “Nik played kind of in the shadow, and when you do that, you may get lost a little bit. “We want him to be a big part of this team here. We’re going to give him the opportunity not to be in the shadow of anybody,” said Tortorella, who gave Antropov 16:58 of ice time against the Islanders on Thursday. “For us to get where we want to be, Nik has to be there every night for us. “That’s why we traded for him.”

Now, I get it, playing with Sundin hurt his career. Phew, for so long I wondered what the hell was wrong with Antropov… you can read Brooks here

Jason Kay (his son Noah to be exact) has a great idea for next years NHL trade deadline:
“My 14-year-old son Noah, who very much wanted to watch this year’s event (but who doesn’t own a BlackBerry and wasn’t allowed to skip classes), came up with a solution: hold the trade deadline on a Sunday and make it a more inclusive made-for-TV event. While not everyone is crazy about the idea of working on a Sunday, the idea has merit. Instantly, the prospective audience has deepened and widened from a demographics standpoint, making it a more appealing venture to the advertising and sponsorship community. Thousands more eyeballs would be glued to tubes, particularly in Canada, and website traffic would be bound to spike.”

I think that’s a great idea. Why not make it an event like that? Oh, I know. Bettman will come up with a reason as to why this isn’t good for the game. Just you watch. You can read the rest of Jason’s article here

This next bit comes with a a huge caveat. It is my understanding that even though the trade deadline has passed a player who has cleared waivers going from the NHL to the AHL can still be claimed off of recall-able waivers. In that situation the team putting in the claim would have to pay that player 1/2 of the salary remaining to the player. Also that player wouldn’t be eligible for the playoffs. So, if what I have been told is wrong, understand that my rant is based upon the fact that I thought the Leafs could claim a player on re-call waivers….

I think Brian Burke blew it when he didn’t convince the Tampa Bay lightning to recall Gary Roberts so the Leafs could have re-claimed him. I know Roberts didn’t play here a long time. However he was a good member of the team and an outstanding hockey player whose career shouldn’t end on the waiver wires. I don’t care if he didn’t play a game for the leafs, or even dressed as a leaf. It would have been nice for the leafs to claim him, and have him retire as a Toronto Maple Leaf. This kind of think happens int he NFL all the time and I think it would have been the right thing for Burke to do. I also think Roberts could have been a good guy to help influence and help teach the younger kids in the same way May does. That would have been added upside. I wouldn’t have been crushed if he came here only to retire, at least he would have retired a Leaf, on his own and not on a waiver wire. It would have been cool to see Burke do that for a former Maple Leaf like Gary Roberts.

Have a good Saturday night.. Buds vs. Edmonton. Should be interesting. Go Leafs Go – Make a run for the playoffs

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