18. Looked back at a piece I did on Ron Wilson when he first got the job in Toronto. He said he never talked to players after games because he knew he'd be too tough. Fits with some of his harshest public comments. However, one player did tell me the strangest thing about all of this is Wilson is much more supportive in private.
19. For example, as the team's struggles got worse, there were at least two occasions where the coach put together encouraging videos. One showed all the things they'd done right early in the season, the other was of hard goals they'd scored, to illustrate the types of plays they needed to make.
"The Sun has great value if you own a puppy or a parakeet" — Brian Burke Tuesday on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central.
If anybody should know about icing a team of dogs that was for the birds, it should be Brian Burke.
For a guy who led his team to 29th place in the NHL last season, and who traded away two potential first-round lottery draft picks, perhaps the Leafs loud-mouth GM should criticize his own performance.
But Bombastic Brian loves to talk. He’s got some good lines, too. Scribes love Burkie. Better than a boring GM.
But it’s time to put up or shut up.
This is why Burke is here and whether he likes it or not the Toronto Sun, and our team of amazing sports writers, editors and photographers, is the go-to place for Leafs fans. One thing the Sun, which will turn 39 next month, has never had on its front page is a picture of a Maple Leafs captain holding up a Stanley Cup.
"... the Leafs have pegged veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere as their starter, as you would with a declining veteran with a history of injury problems that has a monster contract..."
He didn’t mind at all when a group of players caught planning a helicopter ride to Manhattan for an evening of partying the night before a game in New Jersey ended up receiving exit visas.
He didn’t mind waving farewell to a player he liked to call the "NBC Page" (30 Rock reference) for his propensity to have constant groups of friends and family touring the Leaf dressing room.
Ovechkin has been getting points, five goals and four assists in the six games, but has not been anywhere near the force anticipated when the first-round match was drawn against the Montreal Canadiens.
You know, the team with the new owners, new general manager, new coach, new players – and no captain.
A few more outings like this and they will be asking "Who will raise the Stanley Cup?"
You ask me this every day Howard. It’s like water boarding or Chinese water torture until I crack. I’m not going to crack, I want to win every game. So it does get frustrating when you don’t win. We should send you to Guantanamo, we’d solve all the issues that we had.
You would drive some of these guys nuts. I would interview these poor guys, the prisoners, after you’ve interrogated them and see what they have to say. It would be fun.
But stats crunching by those who specialize in numbers arcana has also shown a significant correlation between shots, goals and situational circumstances – when trailing, even or in the lead. Teams playing with the lead, according to the sources we consulted, take five shots less per game than those playing catch-up.
"It took us five years to get to the point we got to in San Jose, with the success we had. We developed a lot of young players and that takes time.
You don’t become the second-place team in the NHL overnight. The same thing’s going to happen here – it’s not going to happen overnight. You’re not going to use the same systems everywhere you go because the personnel’s different, but the philosophy’s the same: aggressive hockey, aggressive fore-checking, puck possession and in-your-face hockey.
If that 2.86% holds true for the Leafs should they make the playoffs, then the futures market gave Toronto a 58% chance of making the playoffs prior to the season and are still giving the Leafs a 28% chance of making the playoffs. (This implies that the Leafs are a .523 team, which is an overestimate.) This isn't a perfect futures market, and the people who set the lines hedge a bit so that they'll make money even if any unlikely outcome occurs (this hedge is known as the 'vig'.) If I remove the vig (as Tango suggests in the comments below), I get 39% and 17%, respectively. Are these gamblers nuts?! Didn't we just hear that the Leafs have a 1.7% chance of making the playoffs?
"(Toronto) is a tough place to play. Especially if you're not playing well, there's the pressure of, `Oh God, if I mess up they're going to be talking about it in the paper all week and I'll get booed off the ice.'