Back when the Leafs were still playing hockey, which is not as long ago as it seems, Leafer87 and I decided we'd write a goodbye post for those players we lost along the way this season (and one that's not actually gone yet, but whatever). We meant to have it up before the playoffs started, but that didn't happen, since we (but mostly me) are lazy teenagers who also had schoolwork to do.
Anyway, Leafer wrote pretty much everything, though I did add some comments and found the videos, yay. Thanks Leafer!
Our thoughts on Kabby, Beauch, Steeg, JFM, and Giggy after the jump.
Kabby was my favourite Leaf since Mats Sundin's departure in 2008. A great passer, I have childhood memories of yelling at him to shoot the puck, although he averages 1.5 shots per game with a 6.2 shooting percentage over his NHL career. I'm happy with the return Burke managed to get for him, considering the Bruins seemed to be the only team for which Kabby was willing to waive his NTC. Joe Colborne looks like a solid prospect, and draft pick (s, if Kabby resigns or the Bruins make the SCF...go Bruins!) (and they did! WOOOO, DRAFT PICK 2012!) can perhaps silence the critics who have been saying the Leafs throw away their own draft picks.
This trade marked a culture change in the Leafs' locker room. Some of us (the two of us, for example) don't remember the Leafs without Kabby since he spent 12 glorious years in the blue and white. His exit has proven to be a symbolic changing of the guard, as now none of the current Leafs were here in 2004 for our last playoff game. Burke has sent a message that our rebuild/retooling/whatever-you-want-to-call-it is well underway, and the team has embraced it's youthful identity (save for Giguere, more on him later). That's why I think that despite Kabby's veteran leadership, dazzling smile, rosy cheeks, and his presence serving as a constant reminder of playoffs past, he won't come back this summer. Thanks for the memories, Kabby.
Also: BEAT THOSE DAMN CANUCKS, KABBY.
The Kaberle Song, so epic.
And this one has some actual playoff in it:
Beauch was another veteran defenceman, but had something that Kabby didn't: a Stanley Cup. I always got the feeling that he was underrated around the league and among Leafs Nation, although even at the end of the 2010-2011 season he had the second largest TOI/G at 23:45 behind only Captain Dion, and the third most shifts per game at 30.6. He only played one and a bit seasons with the Leafs, so I won't miss him quite as much as Kabby, but he seemed to be a reliable player on the ice and a mentor in the dressing room. In the end, he went back to Anaheim, the team with which he won the cup. In return, we got Lupul (whose name we use to change the topic of awkward conversations), Gardiner, and a draft pick; safe to say it was a bittersweet ending and I have no regrets about Beauch as a Leaf.
Because we all hate Kovalev, and I couldn't find anything else:
When I heard that the cup champion Chicago Blackhawks were looking to unload some of their players, I was excited. (Leaflover: I really really really wanted Patrick Sharp. Oh wells.) When I heard we were getting 20 goal scorer Kris Versteeg, I was excited. That excitement disappeared pretty quickly. While I'm the first to acknowledge I've never been in the Leafs dressing room, I always felt that Steeg never fit in with the Leafs. His rapping, his (stupid, annoying) mouthguard, something about him irked me, and I always pictured him as the bully to Phil Kessel's geek ( I love you, Phil). I figured I would come around and start to love him eventually, but it never happened. So when the Leafs announced they'd traded Steeg to the Flyers for a first and third round picks, I wasn't too upset. Apparently, neither was he. So long Kris, it was nice knowing you, I guess.
PS: We hate you.
Kris Versteeg is a loser.
It wasn't all bad, though. This is my (leaflover) favourite moment from the season:
Like many of my fellow Leafs fans, I have no idea why John Mitchell was a Leaf for so long. Mitchell played for the St. John's Maple Leafs for two games in the 2004-2005 season, then spent three years on the Marlies, til he became a Toronto Maple Leaf during the 2008-2009 season. But don't be mistaken, he's a 20 goal scorer...over his NHL career, (12 of those goals came in his rookie season). It seems like JFM's NHL days are over for good, as he was sent back to the Marlies this year, and then traded to the New York Rangers. Where he was promptly sent down to the Connecticut Whale.
I don't think this really needs a comment:
Giggy came in a trade that rid us of Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala, which made me love him right then. He was part of the 2007 Stanley Cup winning Anaheim Ducks team, that beat the Ottawa Senators, and won the Conn Smythe in 2003. A veteran goalie, he posted two consecutive shutouts in his debut with the Leafs against the Devils and Sens, becoming the first goalie in franchise history to do so. Giggy's play has dropped of late ( he ended this season at exactly .900), which can be attributed to injuries, nevertheless he seems like a veteran mentor to both Jonas Gustavsson and rookie goalie James Reimer. His attitude hasn't played despite Reimer outplaying him and taking over his starts at the end of the season. I don't think he'll ever return to form, but I want him to come back on a cheaper and shorter contract and continue to mentor our goalies.
Sorry Giggy, but we love EBERLE a little bit.
A save, YAY
-Leafer87 & leaflover4ever