Random Thoughts, and a Damien Cox Rant

  • According to TSN, Mike Van Ryn's career is in jeopardy. His doctor has recommended that he undergo an osteotomy, which is where the bone around the knee is cut, and the knee is then re-aligned. You can find the full story here.
  • I realize that this is all revisionist, but it seems like the Leafs could have gotten a better deal for McCabe than this. Van Ryn has played a grand total of 27 games for the Leafs (and may not play another game, see above), while McCabe is 3 Assists away from having more Assists for Florida, than MVR played games for Toronto (he already has more points). Only worsening the deal is the fact that we had to part with a 4th rounder to get MVR, and while I realize that usually you do that in a salary dump, couldn't we have at least got somebody more durable than a wet cardboard box?  I feel for the guy, because he doesn't want to be in the IR all the time, but it seems like we could have done better.
  • Vesa Toskala is not the terrible goalie that we all think he is. Read that again, please - and no, I'm not drunk / crazy.
  • More about this after the jump
 Below you'll find some clips that basically sum up my belief about Toskala and the Leafs far.

This shows what Toskala is capable of, a very nice glove save. But did you notice anything unusual? Ryan Callahan, was all alone in front of Toskala - a common theme so far this year.

I think we all remember this goal. Where on Earth was the defence? They both went for the puck, and neither went for the man. And that's usually what leads to a bottom of the barrel PK, and GAA.

I apologize for having to show the entire game, I couldn't find a clip of just the goals. However, here's a breakdown of the Penguins goals.

#1, I thought Kaberle did a great job of screening the goalie on the play, unfortunately he forgot Toskala was on his team.

#2, that was a softie, although there wasn't too much effort made by the D to get out of the way or get the Pens 2 forwards out of the way.

  • Side-note, my feeling about shot blocking is that if you're going for a block, you need to be damn certain that if you're standing up, there's no way the puck is getting through you; otherwise get down on the ice and take away the low shot - allowing your goalie to see the puck if it gets over you.

#3, great job by Beauchemain on the coverage, smart move to leave Crosby with an easy tap-in.

  • Watch around the 3 minute mark of the video, where Komo shows how to properly block a shot, Nik Hagman could learn from him (he screened a shot that went in against someone, I forget who, but I remember him doing the kind of shot-blocking I hate).

 #4 Again, just awful coverage on Crosby. You can't let someone that talented within 10 feet of the net without someone close enough to be able to turn and be in front of him.

#5, umm, WTF was that? Didn't your coach ever teach you "hard around the boards"? Guess not. I think that was John Mitchell, but I'm not certain. So by my count, that's 1 goal that was clearly at fault of Toskala, 3 that were the Defence's fault, and 1 that both were to blame on.

So here's my question, how can we expect Toskala to put up the kinds of numbers for us that he put up in San Jose, when our defences is afraid to block shots (except Mike), can't keep track of what players are where, can't clear the zone and are incapable of helping on the PK? Marty Brodeur would struggle to keep his GAA under 3 with that kind of defence. Just plain awful. Below is a poll on who's getting the first win for the Leafs, I'm thinking Jonas Gustavsson.

  • Tomorrow will pit the Leafs (losers of 6) against the Rangers (winners of 6 straight). And if we play the Rangers like we did last time, well let's just say it won't be pretty. From the looks of it, we're gonna see Lundqvist vs MacDonald. Is there any amount of money we can pay the Rangers to spot us 4 or 5 goals?
  • Currently Jonas Gustavsson is our team leader in GAA (according to Yahoo!), with an astounding 3.08 GAA. Wait, 3.08 is bad? Son of a.............
  • Speaking of the Monster, he'll hopefully be back soon, which is great news. Because if the Leafs can turn their offense, defence, special teams and neutral zone play around, and are still losing, then it will clearly be all Toskala's fault, I'll be wrong (and many people on Pension Plan Puppets will be happy), and Gus will then take over the reins. As much as I like J-Mac as a pro, he isn't the guy who will get us either to or through the playoffs either this year or in the future. That will have to be Toskala or the Monster.
  • On Damien Cox's Thursday "Mail Bag", he posed this question, in response to another question about Luke Schenn "How many other NHL defenceman do you know who can’t take a slapshot?" Well here's your answer (I'm assuming he means accuracy, because pretty much every D-man can shoot at 80+ MPH, which is plenty if you're shooting low and into a group of players), and it's a long one - Tomas Kaberle (doesn't even know what a shot is), Kimmo Timonen, Filip Kuba, Kyle Quincey, Paul Martin, Tobias Enstrom, Carlo Colaiacovo, Andrew Ference, Rob Scuderi, Adam Foote, Andrej Mezaros, Brian Lee, Anton Stralman, Sean O'Donnell, Shane O'Brien, Anton Volchenkov, Mike Komisarek, Hal Gill, Scott Hannan - really, I could go on for a long time. But the point I'm trying to make is that who exactly thought that Luke Schenn would turn into the next Dion Phaneuf (with better defensive zone coverage)? Would another year of WHL hockey really allow Luke to go from a 2 goal scorer to a 15+ goal scorer? I'd be willing to bet my left testicle that in 5 years, Luke Schenn will be as good offensively as he would have been playing that 1 extra year of WHL and then coming to the NHL the next year. Luke Schenn was projected as a Scott Steven's (when he was with NJD) type player, not a Scott Niedermayer type player. Stop trying to blow yourself Damien, and if I hear you say the word "regression" one more time before the Leafs hit the 15 game mark, my head will explode. Saying that Luke Schenn deserves to be sent to the AHL after 6 freakin games is like saying that Roberto Luongo shouldn't have been the starter for the Canucks after sucking the first 2 games. It's just a ridiculous statement, and a sentiment that you're trying to peddle now because nobody gave a damn what you thought about the Leafs last year when the kept Schenn and he flourished. Just drop it, if it comes to game 20, and Luke is playing at a -20 with less than 5 points, then he should be sent down. But you don't make that call with an important player this early in a season.
  • And that is why you're a journalist, and not a GM. And, on top of that, there's this little dozy from another article: "That's not a brilliant group of six, but it's certainly promising. Gustavsson, Kessel and Kadri could be studs." This was after Cox talked about some of the young talent that the Leafs have. Notice anybody from that list? Luke Schenn. The future of the Leafs shut-down defenceman is not a "stud". Really? Come on Damien, was Adam Foote not a "stud" defenceman for most of his career? Is Robyn Regehr not a stud defenceman? Neither of those 2 guys could put up the points like a Zdeno Chara, but they were and are crucial to a team's success; and when you play those kinds of minutes, you're a stud.
  • Sorry for the rant, but he makes my blood boil, and my head hurt.
  • Oh, and he also says that one of the main things that will keep the Leafs in the gutter is that the fans (us) continue to show up (or as I like to put it, we don't abandon our team when times are rough, I like to think of them as a good friend. would you abandon a good friend when s/he's going through a rough patch?). And therefore, MLSE gets the most amount of money they can get.


  • First, let's take the simple one, playoff revenue. During the playoffs, every teams tickets go way up, plus, any money that the players get comes from the league, so they don't have to pay their players a dime (unless they have playoff performance bonuses in their contract). And if you can make it even to the 2nd round and play a modest 6 home games, that's a ton of coin. Not to mention the extra revenue you could get from advertising in-game, when sooo many people are watching (although it's not much more than the regular season, since there are few Leaf fans who only show up when times are good........I hope). Really, there are many things that I could list, but if you'd like to read more, head over to Down Goes Brown, and you'll see why that theory is simply wrong.
  • That's all for today, I'll be putting up another segment of "Bold Predictions" tomorrow before the game, and probably another one of these sometime next week during this nice little break that Gary Bettman was nice enough to give us (for some reason). is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of

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