Is Luke Schenn Scott Stevens? Grabovsky Wendel Clark?

Is anyone else interested to see how Howie handles his big gaff? I mean he predicted the leafs would finish dead last. For the most part all of his bold predictions were dead wrong. So the issue becomes interesting now in that he has starting to right season in review pieces in addition to next season previews. How does one do that when they were so wrong this year? For me, the only way to have any credibility is to fall on the sword. If Berger came out and said I was wrong, I blew it, I would have some respect for him. However, I don’t see that happening. There is way to much pride on the line here and he would more likely say that he, like many of his colleagues erred for the following reasons…. To the best of my knowledge Berger hasn’t said anything so it makes reading his latest blog laughable. It screams out, trust me, yet he has no credibility at all:

“As the Maple Leafs and their fans embark on another spring of watching rival teams compete for the Stanley Cup, there is reason to believe that playoff hockey may return to these parts in the not-too-distant future. …. Burke strongly indicated that management is raising the bar on this franchise, though it may be wishful thinking for another year or two.”

Huh??? What??? Semantics aside, how do you say that the playoffs are in the not too distant future from one side of your mouth, then immediately say out of the other that raising the bar is wishful thinking for a year or two???? I mean, the guy loves saying on the air how unspeakable it is that the team hasn’t made the playoffs for 4 years, he is now saying things will be better after 6????

“Cliff Fletcher’s strategy from last September worked to perfection. Though the Leafs endured enough mediocre nights in the critical mid-portion of the schedule to justify his dire forecast, the club out-performed expectation by a rather lengthy margin.”

Wait. His strategy worked to perfection yet the team outperformed his dire forecast? Huh?? What?? Are you suggesting rope a dope? The idea was to tell everyone how shitty the team would be and then surprise them by being not so shitty??? That was Cliff’s strategy?? Interesting, I guess.

“It did so in a manner quite different from what everyone figured to be a foundation strategy”

See, he can’t say that he was fooled, he has to say “everyone”. how pathetic.

“Ron Wilson was supposed to come in as head coach and — minimally — install the caliber of defensive hockey that had marked his career behind NHL benches. That way, the horribly impotent Leafs might squeeze the life out of opponents often enough to win more games than the talent-base suggested. Typically for this franchise, the opposite occurred.”

This reporter claimed this would be the worst season ever, they would finish dead last…typical for him, the opposite occurred.

“But, the beginning pieces are in place. And, the mind-set — though somewhat artificial at this point – is also of the caliber required to start thinking playoffs. Burke is a fearless, determined administrator who will eventually nudge the Leafs into a region occupied by the top teams in the NHL. His only potential flaw is becoming as fatally enamoured with U.S. college free agents as one-time Leafs’ GM Mike Smith was with players of Russian lineage.”

Enamored? The buds have been correctly chastised for having a week farm system. Burke tries to improve upon his assets and it is described as a potential flaw. It’s quite simple you see, you take raw talents, you teach them, surround them with the right systems and set them up to succeed and you see what happens. Maybe they make it, maybe the don’t. If he didn’t sign these guys you would be screaming that he is out of touch and he isn’t turning over every rock in search of talent…

“The reason it’s considered a bonus to land a top skater from the college ranks is simple: Relatively few develop into front-line performers in the NHL. It most certainlty cannot be utilized as a substitute for the universal draft system, and Burke is well aware of that. The attraction, obviously, comes from the low stakes; most college free agents command entry-level salaries and are almost exclusively handed two-way contracts. Neither draft picks nor the cap-consuming deals borne of July 1 need be sacrificed.”

Someone please explain to me what that means. The reason it is a bonus is simple. Got it. Relatively few make it? That’s the bonus? No, okay, wait, signing college guys can’t take the place of drafting 18 year olds. Then you talk about the attraction…but what happened to the bonus?

“What fans must be weary of is the chest-pounding that accompanies the acquisition of such prospects. Invariably, the successful GM will recount how he fought off “20 other teams” to land the coveted player, intimating that the reason for such wide-spread interest is Gretzky-like potential. Often, reality is that seven or eight teams have expressed true interest; the number far more reflective of no-risk opportunity than the player’s unlimited talent.”

Chest-pounding?? Who are you Bruce Garrioch? I have yet to hear or read where Burke did any such pounding. In fact it was the media who said things like “it was a good week for Brian Burke and the Maple Leafs”. The truth is, you are always telling how players don’t want to play here, so the fact that they got a coupe of guys who did, is certainly a small step in the right direction…

“Though he may regress by some measure next season — as many sophomore players do — Luke Schenn will be captain of the hockey club before 2011. ”

Wow- there is a bold prediction…again, for a guy as wrong as he was this year, how do put any faith in these words? I am not saying he’s wrong, but man it certainly seems early for captain talk. Say Schenn slumps next year. That takes us to September 2010 and training camp. In the 6 months that follow Schenn is going to do enough (coming off a season of regress) and become captain???? I don’t see how the dots connect…

“Schenn has already acquired the reputation of being a devastating fighter in the NHL. Fewer opponents will challenge him in the coming years, and a developing mean streak will widen the berth he’s accorded on the ice.”

Devastating??? WOW- That’s awesome…

“Though it’s often dangerous to make flattering comparisons, Schenn seems capapble of one day providing the Leafs the daunting presence Scott Stevens gave the New Jersey Devils in their Stanley Cup years. Such a commodity is virtually priceless.”

What the hell is this? Remember it is us sheep, the dumbest fans around who see the world through blue and white colored glasses, yet here is the anti-christ comparing a rookie defencemen to Scott Stevens??!! Just how black is that kettle?

“I’m also starting to buy into Mikhail Grabovski with fewer reservations. Perhaps the normally vigilant Montreal Canadiens did err in allowing him to escape….To me, he is the most dynamic rookie the Leafs have had since Wendel Clark burst on the scene 23 years ago”

Wow- more dynamic then the next Scott Stevens???? This reeks of kissing Ron Wilson’s ass. I mean the one guy who you said in today’s national post that Ron Wilson “embraced” was Grabovsky. Despite all the reports that he is a bad apple from your colleagues you know are comparing his persona to that of Wendel Clark.

All this is quite funny. Is it supposed to make us feel better? Are we supposed to be optimistic because you say so and you are an authority? Where was that authority this year? I’m just saying…

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