Last season I was thrilled that the Leafs were holding their prospect camp in London, Ontario, because it offered me the chance to go check out Leafs youngsters on the cheap. Heck, at just under $20 a game, I even went to a Penguins - Senators prospects game. Danny Gray and I even took the opportunity to hang out for an evening with the esteemed James Mirtle, and good time was had by all. Really, the tourney was a great time.
But after seeing a couple of these games, it becomes readily apparent that this tournament isn't a tryout in the sense that we often think of. It's a nice opportunity for fans to see these players, but the team play is terrible, because the groups haven't had any time to work together. Passing doesn't click, special teams are a mess, there are many vain attempts at solo rushes, and a lot of fighting. This is all for naught, because GMs usually already know what they have in these players, having studied them for years. (Although I found it strange that Joe Quenneville said that it was the first time he'd seen the younger Toewes in action. I presume he just means live.) Moreover, the rosters have to be filled out with no-names from all over the place, and they are the ones in the real tryout for a spot - but usually for a spot on an ECHL or AHL team. Long story short? This is a cash grab. An excuse to slap the Leafs jerseys on a bunch of juniors and minor leaguers for the sake of making a quick buck.
Jon S. over at Puckin' Eh has a slightly less pessimistic outlook:
Without going prospect by prospect and reviewing their play, it is at least comforting to see Toronto group developing as planned and seeing that they are capable of defeating other Rookie Teams. Players like Blacker, Frattin, Gardiner and McKegg should be better tested during the Pro Camps later this month. As well as players like Devane and Ryan will likely learn where they belong as well once AHL camps start. It is certainly nice to have hockey to watch, and the prospect games have been exciting, I just don't see them influencing rosters, only player development plans.
Much more linkage, after the jump.
Would you rather have Reimer or Luongo right now?
Michael Langlois over at VLM with some silly questions.
Maple Leafs Allowed Shot Locations
Over at The Leafs Nation, I've got a post that looks at the locations of shots while individual defenders were on the ice.
In Praise of Pessimism
Danny Gray warns us about what happens to our opinions when we spend all our time on PPP: THEY GET BETTER.
There shouldn't be fighting in prospect games
Cam Charron would like to personally punch all of the players afterwards. (Not really.)
Other Hockey Links:
Chicago’s Patrick Sharp has emergency appendectomy
Fantasy drafters beware: Sharp may miss the first week of the regular season. From Greg Wyshynski.
Best NHL Uniforms (by franchise)
At SI.com, you can vote for which jersey you think is best for each franchise. It's a bit stupid, because they often offer old versions of franchises as options (like asking whether or not the Whalers jerseys were the best Hurricane jerseys), and also left out some important classic variations. Oh well, still fun.
Ryan Callahan named 26th captain in New York Rangers history
I think most of you saw this yesterday, but just in case you didn't, Brad Richards and Marc Staal will serve as alternates. From the AP at the Globe.
Tragedy-hit Lokomotiv pulls out of KHL
After speculation that the team would be reconstituted in a draft of other teams' players, the KHL decides that Lokomotiv will be demoted to a lower league as part of a gradual rebuilding program.
Devils’ owners refute insolvency reports
Minority owners looking to sell-off their interest in New Jersey NHL club after fallout with majority owner Jeff Vanderbeek. From Tom Canavan of the AP at the Globe.
Canada’s eastern teams have great expectations
A Globe Staff collaborative effort determines that Eastern Canadians get excited about hockey, and hope that their teams do well.
Canada’s Western NHL teams are shifting gear
In Part 2 of the Globe's look at Canadian teams, they determine that Western teams have made changes.