My dearest apologies to my loyal readers for the lack of postings over the last three weeks. However, it is hard to write anything when nothing Leafs-related is really happening.
Encino Man Returns
The first plus is that the Leafs are back in the news. Encino Man was back in the news with his own profile in The Star. Now that Domi is gone I guess they needed a new 'Everyman' fan favourite. I hate to tell them that it likely will not be Wade. On the other hand, the interview tossed up some real gems such as:
Who would you like to take on in a celebrity boxing match?
Tom Cruise. He just bugs me. He's just so weird. I think he used to be normal, but I don't know what's going on with him right now. He's all whacked out.
You know if Scientology's hitmen took out Belak for that joke they would solve a lot of problems. Although, now they might come after me for that joke.
Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Probably Dolph Lundgren (laughs). Everybody tells me I look like Dolph Lundgren.
Actually, the co-star of Rocky IV would be a good casting choice. Both are tall and blond and thick as a brick.
The Human Torpedo
What Leaf fan does not love to see a blue or white blur streaking from off screen aimed directly at the opposition's defenceman? Darcy Tucker in full flight is quite a sight to behold. Unfortunately, his time in the Big Smoke might be coming to an end. Darcy is entering the last year of his contract (here comes a big year) and some, like Howard Berger, think that the Leafs will not have the financial werewithal to re-sign him.
"I'm sort of in a Catch-22, I guess," Tucker said today. "If I match or improve my numbers from last season, I could price myself out of Toronto. I'd like to stay here, but I've been a pretty good bargain to this point, and free agency in my prime years is something I've worked hard for."
Hmm, that sounds suspiciously like the former Raptors' guard Mike James 'I am going to get PAID!' speech. I'd like to see Darcy stay but not at a ridiculous price like the comparisons that Berger raises suggest he might be in line to receive. Somewhere between $4.5M and $6M for a 5'10" 180 lbs crash and banger who will turn 32 this season might not be such a great deal. I would love to keep Tucker a Leaf but it has to fit within the larger plan for the Leafs. I disagree with Berger's belief that the salary cap will not increase next year. Finding the cash to pay Darcy will not be the problem. How much he wants and for how many years will dictate whether he remains a Leaf or not. It may come down to whether he truly wants to remain a Leaf or if his chance to cash in is what drives him.
Berger also mentions the captain's club option next year for $7.6M. I will write further on my feelings but I love Mats and if the Leafs show improvement then I can see the team and Sundin being able to work out a deal that lets him end his career at a reasonable salary.
The Goalies, Training Camp, and Getting Pumped
Ninja says what most Leaf fans are glad to hear: Raycroft looks good and Maurice is going to drill this team into shape. I get more excited for the season every day. I heard Nickelback's Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting on my iPod while cutting my grass on a Saturday and I was ready to sit in front of my TV, get a belly full of beer, and commiserate with my dad about how much we hate Harry Neale.
While following Mats' 6-5 victory over the Panthers last year I purchased LeafsTV in the second intermission in order to see the Leafs remain in an eventually fruitless playoff race. I meant to keep it for a month but forgot to cancel it (the programming in the summer is pretty much crap) but that forgetfulness means that I will get to watch the pre-season games as well as the 12 regular season games. So if you live outside of the region or do not want to spend the $2/month (you are a bad Leafs fan) make sure to check back for a fans' view of the games that barely anyone else can watch.
They also made a great addition to the broadcasting team. Before there was Jennifer Hedger there was Jody Vance. Well she is back as the pre-, post-game, and intermission host(ess?) for the team's digital channel. Good luck to her on re-claiming her throne as Canada's hottest broadcaster.
Considering that Kypreos got 77 write-in votes and finished fourth in the 'Guy whose mouth you'd like to duct-tape' category I would say that we made a statement about how little we like Death. Also, in 'Newspaper guy who should stick to newspapers' War and Famine ended one and two. Congrats!