The Return Of Happie Howie Berger

Summer must really almost be over. Howard Berger is back at work. No, his latest blog doesn’t discuss why Tomas Kaberle is still a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite his prediction that Brian would and should trade him, he must think we all used the flux capaciter and moved back in time and forgot that he wrote the piece. Berger’s latest piece, following the good writing of our friends at PPP, is focused on the importance of Francois Beauchemin to the upcoming fortunes of the Maple Leafs.

Berger’s argument (I will summarize, sparing you the pain of reading his blog) is that assuming the goaltending is better this year (and without that assumption there is no point analyzing the Maple Leafs season at all- so says HH) the key player to the Leafs season will be Beauchemin. Given the current makeup of the blueline, HH’s surmizes that Beauchemin is the only Maple Leaf defender who will actually shoot the puck.

Now here are a couple of retorts. First, nothing besides the law of averages guarantees that the Maple Leaf goaltending will be any better this year. Toskala is at best an unknown. He has had one better than average season here and one lousy one which may or may not have been largely due to injury. There is no reason to be confident that he will be any better this year. Hell, his injury may not have been the cause of his problems and if they were there is no guarantee that he won’t re-aggravate the injury or that injury is full healed. As for the The Monster, he is a rookie! Huge potential, no promises. There is no reason to count on him being any better than CUJO- except of course the law of averages.

Secondly, given the team that Burke has put together, I find it very hard to lay the success or failure of this team on anyone player who doesn’t play the position of goalie. Seriously, does anyone really think that there is one player who’s play is so instrumental that their performance or lack thereof will dictate the outcome of the Maple Leafs season? This isn’t a knock on Francois, or any other Maple Leaf player. I just don’t think there is one guy whose play is so vital as to be labeled vital as Berger suggests.

The best part of Berger’s post:

“I was looking to come to a hockey-first city and Toronto was one of my top choices. When Burkie gave me a good deal, it was very exciting.”

What a surprise, when Burke gave him a good deal it was very exciting. You mean he was motivated by the almighty dollar? The shock. Again this isn’t a knock on Francois, I don’t blame him one bit. You don’t get to UFA status too many times and when you do, you had better hit a homerun. Just ask Dominic Moore how the advice he was given last year has turned out for him so far. Think Moore has had a restful off-season? I don’t care if Burke’s offer was or wasn’t the highest offer, read the quote- when the deal was good- meaning when there was a lot of money on the table then I got excited. I have more respect for Francois for admitting it. The truth, JP is always the way to go.

One last thought. Anyone else find it amusing that the reporter who doesn’t watch non Maple Leaf games on tv is in Calgary for the team Canada Kum Ba Yah camp? Can anyone think of one good reason to have this guy there? I mean, he really only covers the Maple Leafs right, and the odd playoff series. In times of economic challenges, I am quite surprised that Rogers spent the $ sending Howie to Calgary.



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