Gary Roberts or Jason Allison, Who Would Leaf Fans Rather Have

One of my favourite Sunday reads is the Sunday Boston Globe. I know there are those who love the NY Times, or other Sunday papers, but ever since I was in Vermont, I fell in love with the Sunday Globe. This started long before every paper was available for free on the internet and was back when the Blue Jays actually played meaningful baseball games. We would all get the Sunday Globe delivered so we could read Peter Gammon’s column and then I could read Kevin Paul Dupont and Nancy Marrapese-Burrel on the NHL and the Boston Bruins. So, it is still a Sunday habit to point my browser every Sunday to the Globe to see what is what in the world of sports.

This Sunday, Kevin Paul Dupont has interesting tidbits on the Toronto Maple Leafs. He starts of first with the Leafs offering Jason Allison a tryout:

“I told Jason when we talked that I don’t remember him being the most fleet afoot guy when he last played,’’ said Burke. “I’ve seen what he can do out there with the puck on the half-wall. It’s a good bet that he can still do that. But the challenge, especially after not playing for three years, could be the legs.’’
Allison, though, never made his bacon off overall speed or start-up acceleration. Even in his Hub of Hockey heyday, he lived off spatial awareness, touch, and getting in front of the net when necessary.”

For my two cents, there is nothing to lose by inviting the guy to camp. Having said that, if he is going to offer someone a tryout on a complete whim, I would have preferred it be a guy like Gary Roberts. I don’t know if he could even do so given Robert’s last contract status…but I am just saying. I have no fond memories of Allison’s first Maple Leaf stint and certainly wasn’t enamored enough to want for another round.

I love what Steve Simmons wrote on the subject in today’s Sun ( a paper I used to love to read when there was more than 1 or 2 writers worth reading):

“Brian Burke wants belligerence and truculence on the Leafs and the invitation of Jason Allison to training camp is further proof of that. A lot of people who have played with Allison in the past will tell you he has attitude, most of it off the ice … Allison, by the way, had two speeds when he last played in the NHL: Slow and slower … One more Allison question: If the Leafs are going to invite him, why not Jeff O’Neill, Alex Khavanov and Aki Berg?”

If Allison’s reputation is as bad as Simmons suggests you have to wonder what the hell Burke is thinking. As for others from that era of Leafs that Burke could go after, Eric Lindros seems to be dying to be back in the news again no?

Dupont pays Burke one hell of a compliment later in his piece in a blurb about the NHLPA mess:

“Kelly is, without a doubt, one of the four smartest men around the NHL, along with commissioner Gary Bettman, his deputy Bill Daly, and Leafs general manager Brian Burke. Say what you will about their individual styles or decisions, they understand the business of the game and somehow keep it relevant, which is no mean feat.”

Coming form a writer like this is pretty impressive. It tells you that Burke has the respect of those who know the game and have covered it for years. Maybe, just maybe MLSE got this hiring right. The proof will be in the pudding for Burke, not this year, but pretty soon there will have to be the makings of some progress towards the playoffs and beyond. Which brings me to this question for you, it’s opening night, Burke is sitting in the press box, is there a sense of relief, anticipation, angst???? What do you think. He has had a pretty busy off season. Many pieces have been changed. No one has any clue how they will fit together and no, one game doesn’t make a season. I wonder what will be going through his mind 10 minutes before the first puck is dropped.

Now, onto our poll:

Simmons is here
Dupont is here

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August 31, 2009 8:10 am

If we would be adding one of these guys for interim leadership/character; the choice is simple…Gary Roberts. He plays the style that Burke wants as our identity which is also the style that Toronto fans appreciate. That said; there is no choice. Roberts retired and is not coming back while Allison did not retire as far as i can tell. He is simply an unrestricted free agent that hasn’t been picked up for a couple of years.

August 31, 2009 9:16 am

Well, obviously I’d rather have Roberts, but the dude ain’t coming back. Also, that Simmons quote of “hey, why not throw all the old leafs back on the roster” is a brutal straw-man and that kind of argument bugs me. I debunk that kind of thinking in my blogpost about Allison. I say, if he can still do what he did last time he played, welcome back.

August 31, 2009 9:19 am

of course roberts. but as LT said, it just isn’t an option. Allison may have the acceleration of a locomotive, but he can put pucks in the net – which is something we are currently lacking in a big way. put him on a line with blake who will get the puck in the zone (but has a scoring percentage of 0.01% for the amount of shots he gets). blake gets the puck to allison, and away we go.

August 31, 2009 12:36 pm

Bring back Stumpy!!!!!!!!!!!1

August 31, 2009 2:02 pm

@Eggbert: Stumpy Killer Roberts

Cup is coming home!

August 31, 2009 3:33 pm
August 31, 2009 4:36 pm

first of all Roberts does not put up the kind of numbers that Allison does on average… and Burke has already added grit, now he wants to make sure they can score,

secondly and more importantly, Jason Allison is a great player who got injured in the prime of his career.

Almost ended his career comes back three years later and puts up the same point a game avarage that we know him for, and still he somehow gets blamed for the entire season, why? because leaf fans plain and simple are dumb, and Im ashamed to call myself one.

Do I think Burke was stupid for trading away Antone Stralman? yes…

But I still think Burke is a smart hockey guy, I think this is a great move, and I trust this decision

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