Roberts and Peca
Everyone's favourite Star reporter, Kenny Campbell, is reporting that the Roberts deal is dead. To some this will seem like a sad day (I was in this camp initially) while others will see it for what it is: a break from the Leafs usual MO - acquiring old guys. Granted, Roberts is no Phil Housley but a lot of what he would have brought to the team can be found in the team's latest target Mike Peca.
Peca brings the same kind of grit and 'sandpaper' as Roberts and will possibly sign for less than the $2.25M that would have been due Gary. Age is also a big factor, 32 compared to 40, because it means that if Peca is a success that we could get a couple more years of his services while Roberts is clearly running out of time. Finally, the young Leafs, such as Wellwood and Stajan, would benefit greatly from having Peca around. Let's hope JFJ gets this done.
The only Leaf challenging Carlo for toughest last name to spell signed a two-way deal for the league minimum this coming season. Not surprising as the Leafs salary cap issues (see Toronto Truthiness for a closer look. I will have an updated version soon) dictated that they would probably have to fill out the roster with league minimum salaries. As the article notes, he was key to the 'Canes run to the final in 2002 and he has put up some impressive numbers in the AHL. With former coach Paul Maurice back in charge he will definitely get a fair shot in camp alongside Ben Ondrus (another league minimum salary) for the role of fourth line checking winger.
The Antro Deal - "Not That Bad"
Poor Antro. So much hate is aroused when his name is mentioned. The mere sight of him on screen gangling about drives my father insane. So of course his one-year deal at $1M/yr set the rage in motion. However, if you take a look at a similar deal in which the New York Islanders gave Chris Simon $1M you will see that it's not such a bad deal. And yes, I know that doing something better than the Islanders is not saying much.
Last year with the Flames Simon put up 8-14-22 and a +/- of 0 in 72 games. Meanwhile, with the Leafs Antro put up 12-19-31 and a +/- of +13 in 57 games. As well, Antro had developed a great partnership with Ponikarovsky on the PK, something that Simon does not do. Hopefully, he can build on his momentum from the end of last season and put together a year indicative of his development.
More Leafs Hate
Sean McCormick ("The Big Dude" - man, could you try and make a more pathetic nickname as an on-air personality?) is an Oilers fan. We know this because he blogs for Sportsnet as an Oilers fan. We also could figure this out because of his bitterness and irrationality regarding the Leafs. As I noted earlier, when the Pronger rumours mentioned Toronto he erupted. Now that Peca is in discussions with the Leafs his anti-Leafs rage is off the charts. As many of the pro-Leafs comments pointed out, the Oilers were punching above their weight in the playoffs and they have already lost some key components. Plus the Oilers BARELY made the playoffs while the Leafs barely missed them. McCormick makes it sound like Peca is leaving the late 70s Flying Frenchmen for the expansion senators just because he grew up nearby.
"The Big Dude" needs to get a grip. The Oilers have gotten worse (lost Pronger, lost Spacek) while the Leafs have gotten better (got Raycroft, got Gill, got Kubina) and now Peca's potential move will shift the balance moreso towards the Leafs. Jim Lang sums it up best.
My Sportsnet Beef
Basically it boils down to Scott Morrison being fired. He is smart, articulate, and knowledgeable. Instead you keep Nick Kypreos. He is none of those things. In fact, he is the greatest cause of me screaming at the TV and changing channels. The guy retired because of a concussion. Clearly everything up there has not settled. If I could, I'd Zidane him.