Posts Tagged ‘Maple Leafs’

Colton Orr Scores Second-Most Interfering Goal In History Of Interference

October 27, 2010

Check out Colton Orr’s completely legal go-ahead goal in Tuesday’s Maple Leafs / Panthers game:

“That effing COUNTED???” – Scott Hartnell, Matt Cooke, and Tomas Holmstrom all in unison, harmonizing.

That’s easily the second-worst uncalled goalie interference I’ve seen in recent years, behind only the not-notorious-enough Flyers/Capitals Game 7 goal from 2008, which gets worse every time I go back and rewatch it (skip to 2:27):



Maple Leafs 4, Penguins 3: Fleury Gets Outplayed By Random Goalie Yet Again

October 14, 2010

Before we get to our first Complaining About Fleury entry of 2010 (someone have the champagne ready?), let’s get the obligatory pre-complaining about Fleury stipulations out of the way so that our rational, fact-based complaints aren’t misinterpreted as baseless whining.

Obligatory Pre-Complaining About Fleury Thing 1: Fleury Wasn’t The Pens’ Only Problem In This Game

The Pens got badly outhustled in the first half of the first period, and were extremely lucky to end up with a lead in the first place, particularly with 2 of their best defensemen out and the replacements playing cluelessly, their power play alternately not shooting and shooting directly into defenders, and their second goal coming off a gift turnover right next to the Leafs’ net.

Obligatory Pre-Complaining About Fleury Thing 2: The Shots Were High-Quality Chances

One of the goals came off a deflection from the point, one was a clean side-to-side one-timer, and one was put in by a wide-open guy in the slot. None of the goals individually were “bad” breakdown-type mistakes by Fleury (like the Scott Gomez game-winner Saturday night), and reflected as much about the Pens’ defensive effort as they did about the goaltending.

With those two necessary components to any complaining about Fleury post out of the way, let’s complain about Fleury:


Penguins 5, Maple Leafs 4 (OT-SO): You Know Who’s Not Good? Luke Schenn

March 30, 2010

Didn’t have time to write a proper recap for this game, but just wanted to raise one quick point before this game disappears into the ether:

Luke Schenn is not a good NHL defenseman.

I don’t scout the Leafs or anything (nor do I scout anyone, but I registered a free WordPress blog so listen to my thoughts dammit!!!), but every time I watch Toronto play, against the Penguins or someone else, Luke Schenn is constantly exposed on defense in repeatedly noticeable ways, and offers little in the way of offensive contributions. And yet, every broadcaster for every team, especially the Hockey Night In Canada dudes, will point out what a good young up-and-coming defenseman Schenn is, essentially just repeating the mantra because he is a young defenseman and is in the NHL and on a high-profile team and has a cool name that’s easy to say.

Last night, Schenn was painfully out of position on both Sidney Crosby goals, covering an invisible phantom player on the opposite post instead of the leading freaking goal scorer in the NHL wide open in the slot twice. That’s not the stuff of up-and-coming young defenseman and growing pains, it’s just unambiguously terrible. Granted, maybe I just happen to keep catching Schenn on isolated bad games, but still, the discrepancy between the constant praise of Schenn and his actual on-ice play is consistently jarring.

Every team in the NHL has a Luke Schenn, often multiple Luke Schenns or better Luke Schenns — would you trade Alex Goligoski for Schenn straight-up? Maybe? It’s not a no-brainer, though, cause they’re comparable players, which is my point. But any discussion of the best young defensemen in the NHL begins with Drew Doughty of L.A., along with Shea Weber, Brent Seabrook, Mike Green, and Tyler Myers, and yet, Schenn seems to get mentioned with the regularity of the aforementioned players, despite not only not being in their class, but also by barely playing as an impactful NHL defenseman.

Schenn is 20 and some of those guys are 22-24, which is an important distinction, and Schenn does have an impressive +4 rating on Toronto somehow (though just 6 goals the past two seasons, tying him with Mark “Sniper” Eaton in that span), but his profile continues to be disproportionately bolstered by the visibility of playing for Toronto, much as the profiles of average MLB players like Melky Cabrera or A- prospects like Austin Jackson become extra well-known because they’re constantly mentioned in Yankee trade rumors, even though every team in baseball has those guys.

Perhaps Schenn will develop into a force, but that’s not my point; he’s still a liability on defense at this current point in time and hasn’t shown much offensive skill, which is totally acceptable for a 20-year-old, but can we please stop saying what a great young defenseman he is as he’s costing his team a game with multiple high-school-caliber mental lapses? He’s like the Emperor’s New Defenseman, where no one in the kingdom has the guts to shout out the obvious about how not-great he is. Consider me that a-hole kid.

Alexei Ponikarovsky’s Highlight Reel Is A Bad Sign

March 3, 2010

While Penguin Nation awaits the arrival of Alexei Ponikarovsky, the latest in the line of dudes we really hope are able to just tap one-timers into wide open nets, we’re forced to subsist on secondhand information about the 6’4″ winger, and I have to say, I got a little worried watching this Ponikarovsky highlight reel on Youtube — it’s probably not a good sign when a guy’s highlight reel includes an empty net goal…

Penguins Trade Luca Caputi And Martin Skoula To Leafs For Alexei Ponikarovsky

March 2, 2010

TSN reports that the Penguins are close to acquiring Alexei Ponikarovsky from the Toronto Maple Leafs for winger Luca Caputi. The deal isn’t finalized yet, as the Pens need to clear salary to fit Ponikarovski under the cap, which could be achieved by dealing away a depth defenseman or sending Ruslan Fedotenko down to Wilkes-Barre like Miroslav Satan a year ago (or, as my brother texted, “Maybe McKee turns up dead?”)

Caputi is only 21 and has 23 goals for Wilkes-Barre this season, and Ponikarovsky is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, so it’s an unambiguous, old-fashioned deadline roll of the dice on Ray Shero’s part. Ponikarovsky is a 6’4″ winger with 19 goals and 22 assists this year in 61 games, scored 23 a year ago, and he’s somehow a +5 on the Maple Leafs despite their Conference-worst -46 goal differential (and he was a +6 last season). Maybe he’s some secret does-the-little things, physical, responsible dude? I can’t honestly say I really know much more about him other than him being one of the most talked-about names leading up to trade deadline next to Ray Whitney and Raffi Torres, and he’s clearly a better fit for the Pens than either of them.

According to the photo on TSN, I’m not really liking his size:

But for a full verdict, I’ll have to count how many F-words I yell when Crosby or Malkin set him up for one-timers before I can judge. I can’t imagine he’ll top Kunitz’s 35/Game.

UPDATE (9:58 pm): The Pens are including Martin Skoula in the deal after failing to convince the NHL that they’d get under the cap by releasing a dude named Cappo McSalaryson.

Stay tuned to Elvis Has Left, the only place on the internet for Trade Deadline updates.

NHL Free Agency Recap: The Canadiens Are Not Big Fans Of Money

July 1, 2009

— The Rangers sign Marian Gaborik to a 5-year, $37.5 million deal. Rather than settle with the Gomez albatross, the Rangers are taking a gamble on a contract with a chance to be an even bigger albatross, essentially inviting the oft-injured Gaborik a chance to kick back, hop on the injured bandwagon, and essentially retire. Healthy, he’s easily one of the league’s top 10 wingers, probably top 5, but that’s like saying that J.D. Salinger is a Top 5 writer whenever he actually decides to write.

Or maybe, the Rangers have a brilliant scheme in mind — when Gaborik gets hurt (tomorrow), they then trade for Dany Heatley, then keep Gaborik on injured reserve the entire season to free up cap space for Heatley, then in the playoffs, they bring back Gaborik when there’s no cap in effect and dominate. It might even be crazy enough to work, at least until Gaborik gets hurt on his third shift of the playoffs.

— The Canadiens sign Mike Cammalleri to a 5-year, $30 million deal, Brian Gionta to a 5-year $25 million deal, and Jaroslav Spacek to a 3-year, $11.5 million deal. Excepting an injured 63 game, 19 goal 2007-08, Cammalleri has scored 34 and 39 goals in his past two full seasons, and he’s still only 27; $6 mil is a dent to any cap, but the Canadiens have the money, and for an unrestricted 2-time 30 goal scorer who’ll only be 32 when the deal expires it’s not an unexpectedly egregious amount.

Five years at $5 mil per for the even tinier Gionta makes zero sense, though, particularly in conjunction with the Cammalleri deal. The Habs are gonna have $11 million of their cap for the next five years devoted to two Kiefer Sutherland-sized wingers? After adding the utterely overpriced, nonthreatening waste that is Scott Gomez? Maybe Cammalleri and Gionta are gonna stand on each others’ shoulders and wear one big long coat and entertain Jacques Martin? Who was Montreal bidding against for this contract?

Spacek is 35, and a 3-year-deal might be a bit unnecessary given the Canadiens’ multiple options for power play quarterbacks (especially with the addition of Hal Gill!), but he’s far from a liability, and what the hell, if you’re gonna spend, might as well spend — the Canadiens have the money. After taking on the Gomez contract, though, this team could’ve traded for Crosby in the offseason and I’d still be laughing at them.

Other deals around the league, and my something-resembling-almost analysis:


Early NHL Free Agency Moves = BOOOORING

July 1, 2009

C’mon, NHL, we’re almost two hours into free agency and nothing completely retarded has happened yet — I’m on the verge of almost having to do some work here! Let’s pick things up.

Tuesday’s moves so far:

— Canucks re-sign the Sedin Twins for 5 years, $30.5 mil apiece. They’re both nice players, but so much for the “staying together” discount — there goes $13 mil of cap space a year for the Canucks, and Henrik’s only ever topped 20 goals once in his career (his 22 this year was a career high). Again, they’re solid top-six forwards, but I also can’t imagine any opposing team entering a playoff series and saying, “Oh man, we’re gonna have to shut down the SEDINS this series — I wish we’d drawn Anaheim instead.”

— Lightning sign Matthias Ohlund for 7 years, $26.25 million. He’s a solid ice time eater, extremely reasonable at a $3.75 mil annual cap hit, and will be the subject of a trillion “mentoring Victor Hedman” pieces in the coming months. Do they really need him to mentor Hedman for 7 years, until he turns 40? Eh, maybe not, but a relatively safe signing nonetheless. Expect Tampa to do something ridiculous to immediately revoke this shred of sanity.

— Panthers re-sign Radek Dvorak for 2 years, $3.4 million. Notable only as a reminder that he is not yet playing in Europe.

— Maple Leafs sign ex-Rangers enforcer Colton Orr for 4 years, $4 million. I imagine Ray Shero has nightmares about having goons locked up for four seasons…

— Panthers re-sign David Booth for 6 years, $25.5 million. Expect those “Booth” Panthers jerseys to come flying off the shelf this afternoon. Yes, shelf — there’s only one.

With Tampa’s hands cap-tied, I’m looking at Los Angeles or Edmonton to do something ridiculous and get this day rolling. Nik Antropov for 5 years, $28 million, anyone? Please??

Stay tuned for further updates from Elvis Has Left, literally the only place covering sports on the internet or elsewhere.

Rangers Desperately Trying To Start Some Wade Redden Trade Buzz

June 26, 2009

I couldn’t help but laugh at this quote from Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke from Pierre LeBrun’s NHL Draft Blog:

Burke also shot down one rumor that he was trying to acquire Rangers blueliner Wade Redden and his $6.5 million salary. “I don’t know where that got started,” Burke said. “We’re not in discussions on that player.”

The rumor-starter, one New York-based indvidual who has asked to be referred to as “Slen Gather”, responded that Burke is “lying” and is actually “extremely interested in acquiring really awesome not-overpaid seriously you guys defenseman Wade Redden, as are a whole lot of teams. Hoo-eee, you all better hurry up to trade for Wade Redden before someone else takes his salary off our books oops not our books I mean the New York Rangerses books they’re a team I’m not the GM of no sirree but do hear lots of truthful rumors about their really awesome defenseman people. Whew, covered that up nicely. But seriously, trade for him like, now.”

Random Prediction: Jay Bouwmeester To The Maple Leafs For Lots Of Money

June 24, 2009

I’ll probably do an NHL Free Agency Predictions post closer to July 1st, but in the meantime, I keep reading rumors about the Flyers being interested in Jay Bouwmeester, which makes theoretical sense, but through no investigative avenues other than basic logic, I can’t imagine a situation in which Bouwmeester doesn’t immediately end up with the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason.

The Flyers currently have an ungodly $54.926 million committed to the cap for the ’09-’10 season, with no relief in sight; Kimmo Timmonen is locked up through 2013-14 at a passable $6.3 mil annually, Daniel Briere is owed an absurd $6.5 mil per season through 2014-15, and Mike Richards is locked in for varying cap hits from $5.4 to $8.4 million over the next eight years, with his overall contract not expiring til 2021, or sooner if the earth turns into a WALL-E-esque wasteland and humanity vacates the planet before then.

The Maple Leafs, conversely, have only $42.937 mil committed to the cap for 2009-10, with no cap hit larger than Pavel Kubina’s $5 million, which expires after this season. Toronto is the most valuable franchise in the NHL, they sell out every single home game, they have $15 million of cap space heading into the offseason, they have zero significant free agents to re-sign, and GM Brian Burke’s Ducks won a Cup in 2007 after Burke had signed Scott Neidermayer to a huge free agent deal then traded for Chris Pronger the following season.

Burke loves franchise defensemen. Jay Bouwmeester is by far the best defenseman on the market this offseason, and if you factor in that he’s only 25, probably the most valuable defenseman to go UFA since Zdeno Chara. The Leafs have tons of cap space and the added cachet of giving someone a chance to be the biggest star on the most prominent hockey city in the NHL; even if the Flyers Tom-Sawyer-bamboozle some other team into whitewashing Briere for them, they wouldn’t be able to offer as much money as the Leafs.

The prediction: Brian Burke makes his much-needed splash on the first day of free agency, locking up Bouwmeester for 7 years, $52 million.

That is, of course, if the NHL doesn’t let the Rangers unload Gomez, Drury, and Wade Redden on the Coyotes.

Canadian Internet Survives Yet Another NHL Trade Deadline

March 5, 2009

The 2009 NHL Trade Deadline is passed, so now it’s time for the fun part: making snap judgments about mostly unspectacular moves before we later learn for sure how insignificant most of them turned out to be!

Sabres acquire C Dominic Moore from Maple Leafs for 2nd Round Pick

TSN reports that Moore is seeking a multiyear deal for around $2.5-$3 million per season; apparently, he read some “Biggest Free Agent Busts” columns online this year and really wants his name in one as soon as possible.

Bruins acquire W Mark Recchi, 2nd Round Pick from Lightning for D Matt Lashoff, F Martin Karsums

Recchi should bring a nice veteran presence, moderate offensive ability to Boston’s seventh line.

Flyers acquire F Daniel Carcillo from Coyotes for F Scottie Upshall, 2nd Round Pick

Ever get the impression that sometimes Philly just goes “THAT DUDE’S AN ASSHOLE WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE 37 GUYS JUST LIKE HIM WHO CARES MAKE THE DEAL AHHHHHHH!!!!”

Flyers acquire D Kyle McLaren from Sharks for 6th Round Pick

Laugh if you want, but McLaren did score 10 power play goals as recently as HIS ENTIRE CAREER.

Flames acquire C Olli Jokinen, 3rd Round Pick from Coyotes for F Matthew Lombardi, F Brandon Prust, 2009 or 2010 1st Round Pick

The Coyotes realize you can only have five skaters on the ice at any given time, right? If you have 50 ok players in your organization, you can’t just throw them all on at once and overwhelm the other team. But I commend their “Gulliver’s Travels” approach to roster-building.

Flames acquire D Jordan Leopold from Avalanche for D Ryan Wilson, D Lawrence Nycholat, 2nd Round Pick

If the Flames enter the postseason completely healthy or close to it, they’ll be able to legitimately rival Detroit and San Jose’s depth, but even stronger on the blue line; they’re a completely legitimate Cup contender. Also, that one dude’s name sounds like the movie “Chocolat”.

Lightning acquire D Noah Welch, 2009 Third Round Pick from Panthers for D Steve Eminger

Aaaand another Craig Patrick draft pick gets passed along like a hot potato. This deal was made primarily to make Pens fans chuckle.

Anaheim acquires F Erik Christensen from Thrashers for F Eric O’Dell

See previous.

Maple Leafs acquire G Olaf Kolzig, D Jamie Heward, D Andy Rogers, 4th Round Pick from Lightning for D Richard Petoit

The funniest deal of the day. Basically, Toronto trades “agreeing to take on the salaries of the injured Kolzig and Heward” in exchange for Rogers and a draft pick. I’m surprised the league allowed this deal to go through; it’s basically money laundering with people. Maybe Brian Burke gave a convincing speech about Kolzig being the Leafs’ goalie of the future and Gary Bettman figured “well, not much more ridiculous than banking on Martin Gerber, maybe it is a real trade.”