I'm not writing off the Leafs' playoff hopes, but uh, well, they don't look so good. It's also true that this isn't exactly a new development, and that our odds of making the post-season have been rather slim since the beginning of December (and even earlier, for more dispirited, fatalistic individuals). The good news, and, for your sanity's sake, what is probably more important to keep in mind, is that Brian Burke recognized this.
It doesn't seem like rocket science (really, it's very simple arithmetic), but the concession that the playoffs were (and so remain) a distant hope, and that, moreover, if we got in, it would be so unlikely that we got past the first round, was an important one. It meant that instead of taking on some mammoth Vincent Lecavalier-like contract, we took on a moderately annoying one for Joffrey Lupul, and got a couple good prospects, and a pair of first rounders. In short, we're now looking at a brighter future than we would be, had Burke made a push for this season's playoffs.
What has changed from previous seasons is that this is a team built on youth – tied as the second-youngest group in the league now that Nazem Kadri is back in the lineup – and with every single one of the key contributors likely to return next season.
For more sunshine on the future, check out PPP's look at Matt Frattin's season, or the little prospect update from MLHS after the jump.
Matt Frattin's MVP Season Continues
PPP with some good quotes on Frattin, as well as some video of his goal. Posted at The Leafs Nation.
Prospect Quick Hits
Alex Tran, over at MLHS, with a few notes on Frattin, Gardiner, and Colborne.
An Open Letter to Tomas Kaberle
Gary Roberts: Baby Eater with some Kaberle love.
Phaneuf and Don Cherry: some thoughts
Michael Langlois notes that Phaneuf didn't take his helmet and visor off like Horton did.
A letter to Kaberle on the ocassion of his return to Toronto
Other Hockey Links:
Hulsizer alters terms of Coyotes sale
"On Sunday, Hulsizer said he will guarantee $75-million of the bonds which he said will negate legal concerns about possible violation of the gift clause." From the Associated Press at the Globe.
Matt Hulsizer Guarantees Glendale Bond, Kills Goldwater Case
Travis Hair, over at Five For Howling, gives some fan analysis of the news that Hulsizer has agreed to cover potential parking losses at Jobing arena.
Are there certain teams that are more likely to get a scoring chance when they take a shot?
Yes, there are. The Leafs actually had a high percentage of those shots than average last year, but had the lowest EV shooting percentage in the league. This year, it's a little different. From NGreenberg at Behind the Net.
Soon-to-be suspended Matt Cooke elbows McDonagh in head
If Cooke doesn't get at least 10 games for this, I'm going to be really angry. Mario Lemieux had better be yelling at the league to suspend Cooke for at least as long, too. Naturally, you can expect me to be upset in a day or two when Cooke is suspended for less. What a slice of shit.
Sunday’s Three Stars
Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy with a few thumbs up.