Editor's Note: MF37 returns with the second installment of his new feature post aimed at making us think. What a jerk!
On my way to shinny the other night I had one of those great sonic moments where my iPod seemed to know exactly what I wanted to hear. Out of 4529 possible songs and 50+ podcasts it served up nothing but pre-hockey perfection.
I don't know if it was the fortuitous song selection, the Victoria Day fireworks lighting up the park outside the rink or the awful stench of my rotting hockey gloves but it made me stop and wonder...
1. Why doesn't the NHL have an equivalent to MLB's at bat music?
When I'm at the ballpark, by the third inning I pretty much have a good handle on each player's at- bat music. By the fifth I'm usually trying to decide what my at-bat music would be: classic Van Halen, a curve ball from the Silver Jews or, depending on the amount of beer I've ingested, maybe a novelty track from an early K-Tel album.
Now, let's take this back to hockey. When Jason Blake lights the lamp don't we all want to hear a little Sisqo - "You can pump ya fist / pump tha disc / I'm a never miss"
I can't even begin to imagine what track would fill the ACC when Mikhail Grabovski bulges the twine but I sure want to find out.
When Kyle Wellwood scores who wouldn't have a shit eating grin on their face as GM place rocked out to "Food, Glorious Food."
This is a huge marketing opportunity for the NHL and a series of glorious punch lines just waiting to happen. Who do we have to call to get this party started?
2. Is it time to for Leafs Nation to get red wrist bands that ask: What Would Detroit Do?
Pavel Datsyuk was 23 before he played a game for the Wings. Zetterberg was 22, Lebda 24, Holmstrom 24, Franzen 26, Helm was 21 before he got a seven game sniff and Jimmy Howard still sits and waits. See a pattern here?
Meanwhile, 19 year old Jiri Tlusty spent a season playing about nine minutes a night with the Leafs. Not only did this decision burn a year of his entry level deal, it pretty much stalled Tlusty's development.
Had he been drafted by Detroit, how old would Tlusty have been before he saw any NHL action?
As much as I loved seeing Schenn in the blue and white last year, if he wore a winged-wheel, he would have been in Kelowna for this season and would be one year further removed from hitting his RFA/ UFA status.
Now I know that the Leafs are devoid of talent at pretty much every position and somebody has to play for the pleasure of the corporate crowd but if you're going to sign filler doesn't it make sense to do so at the NHL level? Shouldn't the kids be logging big minutes and playing in all situations down at the AHL?
With plenty of youth in the mix (Hanson, Bozak, Tlusty, Didomenico, Stefanovich, Stalberg, Mitchell, Hayes) I hope the Leafs take a page from the Wings playbook, get the development lanes open and do away with anyone that's taking development minutes away from a prospect.
3. Why the resistance to the Sedins?
They log big minutes, outshoot and outscore the opposition and play some pretty solid two-way hockey. At 28, they're not the usual over-the-hill UFAs the Leafs have traditionally gone after.
Has Leafs Nation had enough with point-per-game Swedes?
If it's a matter of timing (wanting the Leafs to bottom out and peak at the right time) I hope the people saying "no" to the Sedins were the same ones pushing for Schenn to go back to Kelowna and for Tlusty to remain in the A.
4. Would you buy an NHL team?
Let's pretend you won the 649 lottery last week and took home $49 million (tax free). Obviously, with that kind of scratch you'd be feeling pretty lucky. Why not head down to the local Casino and place a three number wager on the roulette wheel? A little street bet as it's known. When it hits (and it will) you'll be worth $500M. Let it all ride on black and now you have $1B+ in your pocket.
Seeing the numbers in Phoenix and knowing the situation in Tampa, Atlanta and Long Island would you spend 20% of your new found wealth to purchase one of many hurting NHL clubs?
Considering the revenues a team needs to generate in order to be a success and recognizing that corporate sponsorships and luxury box sales are likely to decline, would you spend 45% if not more of your total wealth (estimates of a new team in Ontario are about $400M USD) on an expansion team for Southern Ontario?
What's that old joke - what's the easiest way to be worth a million bucks? Start out a multi-millionaire with an NHL franchise.
5. Who is this year's model? (They call her Natasha when she looks like Elsie...)
It has often been suggested that the NHL is a copycat league - winning teams create a legion of imitators that emulate their style (recall the dead puck era and the trap).
Is there any truth to this copycat meme? Consider: after Carolina won, what was the lesson for other GMs - find a back-up goalie that gets hot and hope all of your post-season opposition suffers freak injuries? When the Ducks won, did teams retool to get bigger and meaner? Did GMs try to acquire a d-man who could rack up the post-season suspensions?
Remember when Philadelphia was the model for the Leafs re-build? Whatever happened to that idea?
This season there are four teams left - one is a franchise of long-standing organizational excellence; two teams that stunk out the joint for a few years and then loaded up on top 10 draft picks; and the fourth team seems to exemplify the term "random walk." Are any of these a legitimate model for a Leafs rebuild?