Saturday night Toronto Sports Thoughts

I didn’t see much of the Raptors come from back, back, back win. I was watching the buds beat the habs, but once again the beauty of Twitter allowed me to follow the action as the Raptors were getting pounded early both on the court and on twitter. Good on them. Man oh man was the Palace at Auburn hills empty as the clock wore down.

I saw the spin-o-rama goal from the Oilers, Tampa Bay game. I loved it. The NHL is in the entertainment business. It wants fans and it wants those fans to go home (or turn off the tv) happy. That’s why they have the shootout. When I was working in the IHL, the arenas used to go nuts during shootouts. I think the players should have to shoot without their helmets on. It’s a dog and pony show and the goal was AWESOME. Best proof? Every kid at North Toronto hockey rink was talking about it Saturday.

Speaking of kids, little TSM has a friend sleeping over. I heard them playing hockey on the PS3. Neither team talked about being the Maple Leafs. In fact, despite the fact that little TSM was wearing a Leafs hat and the buddy a Habs hat- neither kid talked about “being” any Canadian team while playing. Later they were playing ball hockey in our basement and again, I didn’t hear Phaneuf, Kessel or any other Leafs player mentioned once. It’s so sad because when I was kid we were always Maple Leaf players, no matter how bad the team was.

“Those kinds of moves have set any meaningful rebuild back by years. And it was largely done because Burke came in thinking the fans were impatient, the media was comprised of a bunch of blood-suckers and the pressure on anyone to play in this atmosphere is suffocating.”

So says Ken Campbell of the Hockey News. While the moves may very well have been the wrong ones, I think the stated cause is erroneous. I don’t think Burke thought the fans were impatient, if anything I think Burke himself would tell you he is the one who is impatient. Burke said right from the beginning that this wasn’t going to be a 5 year rebuild because he didn’t think it would take that long.

As for the media bit, if Burke thought that before does anyone think that his attitude has changed?

“But in Toronto, it’s apparently a “disgrace” that fans boo an underachieving, mistake-prone captain or that the future of a coach who hasn’t coaxed any results out of his roster is questioned. Anyone who knows Burke quickly realizes he’s taking the heat off his team by putting it on himself, but it is born of a notion that Leaf fans are ready to pounce and eat their own.

Nothing could be further from the truth and nobody, not Burke or anyone else, is going to fix this thing until they realize that.”

I don’t quite get Campbell’s last point, but he is bang on with the first part. Burke is the master deflector. He says things repeatedly to take the pressure off of others, players and or coaches.

Pierre LeBrun must be a fan of the late Leslie Nielsen:

“Tomas Kaberle trade rumors resurfaced in cyberspace this week, but the defenseman’s agent told on Saturday that his client had no interest in leaving Toronto at this point.

Any move would have to go through Kaberle and veteran agent Rick Curran because the D-man has a no-trade clause. At this point, it appears Kaberle has no intention of waiving it, which means he could walk away July 1 as an unrestricted free agent and the Leafs wouldn’t receive any compensation.”

What exactly is Kaberle’s agent going to say, he’s dying to get traded? This horses is way beyond beaten to death. As for Kaberle, the only time he will be ready to leave Toronto is when there is a $ involved. For years we have heard how much he loves it here and doesn’t want to leave. We’ll see how much that love is worth this summer. For my money, I hope Burke forces Kaberle’s hand before the deadline and says it’s time to go and gets something, anything back for him. In other words, please disperse, there is nothing to see here.

Seriously though, Matt Millen, Mike Milbury separated at birth?

Did you see the following from Jeff Blair?:

“As much as sacrificing a better draft placing by adding Martin Gerber for an aborted run at a playoff spot and as much as adding Kessel seem now in retrospect to be a misguided attempt by Burke to force the issue, so was the naming of Phaneuf. Who says Luke Schenn isn’t the real captain? Why even name a captain? What was the rush?”

I said that same thing over and over again. What was the rush to name a captain? Every time the issue of the Leafs not having a captain I asked why it mattered. All I think it did was put a big target on the guys back.

I had a nice chat with a Toronto based MSMer this week. The topic, Brian Burke and the Leafs. Here’s the question I asked him, if Burke were to start throwing bodies overboard, in exchange for draft picks and instead of spending on guys like he has in the past offseason this coming summer, in essence, actually having a real building reminder of this season and next, would Leaf fans be forgiving of the last couple of seasons? In other words, if Burke through actions admitted that the fast track to success wasn’t going to work and traded whatever he could between now and the end of the season for picks and didn’t overpay for and wily veterans in the offseason and had yet another season next year sans playoffs would leaf fans be okay with that. The answer? A huge yes! The real question is, would Burke be willing to do it? If he could get a 2nd rounder (to go with his own) and a couple of thirds, 4th or 5ths so he had some picks this year would leaf fans be content. I think we would be a much happier bunch then we are right now.

Time will tell.

Did you guys see this awesome headline about the Miami Hurricanes search for a new head coach? Perhaps the greatest line about the CFL ever!

Maybe he didn’t get everything he wanted done, but say this about the new Wizzard behind the wall leading the Toronto Blue Jays, he has people in this town talking baseball in December. The last GM who did that was just elected to the baseball hall of fame!

Did you happen to catch Jim Hughson cheering on the Habs tonight during the HNIC broadcast? It was pretty pathetic. If i didn’t know better he jumped out of his seat with a fist in the air when the Habs got on the board.

Yes I am a burger guy. Yes a new burger joint is coming to town, it’s called 5 guys and yes you should try it. For the record, I am a big fan of Burger Priest, Allen’s and Craft Burger. I am told Stalkyards has a good burger but I haven’t tried it yet. In tier two is Mike’s Munchies, Golden Star and Burger Shack. Next time we can talk wings…

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Happy Sunday.



Jeff Blair is here

Pierre LeBrun is here

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