LET'S GET IN THE MOOD.
1st. RUNNING OUT 3 GOOD SCORERS ON A LINE.
A lot of the NHL's top lines have 3 guys who can score.
Maybe they use different ways to score, but they find a way.
Maybe they have a big shot. Maybe they do tap-ins and tip-ins. Maybe they're junkmen. Whatever.
Look at Crosby’s line last year. Or Malkin's or Ovie's or Kane's or McDavid’s. These lines all rolled out 3 guys who could score you 25 goals or more.
I mean, Laine played with a big young Centerman in Scheifele, and a fast, high-skill winger in Ehlers. Looks almost as if he played on a line with a Matthews and a Nylander. [And that line got 93 goals.][21 more than our #1 line.]
People are saying there wouldn’t be enough pucks to go round if Matthews and Nylander somehow got stuck with a 3rd guy who could score on that line. Yeah. Imagine the hardship.
Or they say how the line needs someone to go get the puck for them. As though big wingers who can bang in the corners and retrieve pucks… but also score a bit... have never existed in the NHL.
To which, all I'm gonna say is.... say hello to The Mule, Johan Franzen. And hulloo to Homer, Tomas Holmstrom.
Because it was those two big goal-scoring lunks that Babcock used to win his 2007-08 Cup with in Detroit.
Datsyuk and Z'berg played with Holmstrom. And Franzen ate up the PP.
17 playoff goals between them. And 7 on the PP.
Babcock’s not a stupid man. He knows Hyman had better have worked this Summer on how to pot some of those 1000 Shot Attempts his line made last year, but that didn’t go in. Worked on tip-ins. His positioning for rebounds. Life in the crease. He knows he needs to get better at it.
Because Babcock hasn't forgotten what won him that Cup.
2nd. THE HORROR THAT WAS... JERRED SMITHSON.
Did you know that if you look at the last 10 years in the NHL, and pull up forwards who've played over 2000 minutes, who has taken the fewest shots per game?
It’s a Leaf!
And if you go out to players who had at least 5,000 minutes played….
It’s still a Leaf!
And if you even go out to 10,000 minutes played…
It’s still a Leaf!
AND ALL 3 ARE DIFFERENT LEAFS!
WE GOT TO WATCH ALL 3 OF THESE GUYS, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, AND NONE OF THEM EVEN COMING CLOSE TO TAKING A SHOT!
And MOAR HISTOIRE!
Who had the worst Save % since 2007?
And the worst since 2009?
Seriously. To those fans from other teams that talk about Leaf fans being pampered? All I can say is…
YOU TRY WATCHING FUCKING JERRED SMITHSON SOME TIME!
THAT FUCKER PLAYED 18 GAMES FOR US AND ONLY HAD 2 SHOTS! 2 SHOTS!
A CORSI OF 32.8%.
remember when that one time Smithson tried to take a shot... and Randy slapped the shit out of him? told him to focus on defence, not be puttin' on airs and playin' above his station? good times.
same as back when we dressed philippe dupuis.
30 straight times.
actually, i’m sure they hired a guy to dress philippe. no way that fucker could do up his own skates.
30 games. with the leafs. and he never scored a point.
not that he was a goon or anything. far from it.
he just never, ever, scored.
and yet we dressed him.
yes we did.
did i mention the part about how this was in the nhl? 30 games straight was worse than smithson did for us. he was only here 18 pointless games. i mean, even frigging mclaren had 13 points that year.
* continues checking records *
DEAR GAWD IN HEAVEN WE DRESSED FUCKING JAY ROSEHILL 31 TIMES THAT SAME YEAR.
ok, anyway. look. i’m calmer now.
* looks up dupuis on elite prospects *
cool. after the leafs, dude went over to germany to play. for the hamburg freezers.
seriously, i figured that had to be the greatest team name ever.
Guy: "where’d ya play this year, philippe?"
Dupuis: "in germany. for da freezers."
and then i saw the other teams in their league. holy shit, germany... drugs work much? i mean, look at this Premier Division line-up:
- the hamburg freezers
- the baad nautiburgs. [i’m not making this up. that’s their fucking name.]
- the nurnburg war trailers
- the ratzenburger ice aliens
- the baad crimminel piratzeshipz
- the eishockey bratwurstbunch
- the friede pinguine wings [team slogan: "vee pull wingz off pinguines. vee beleaf in nuttink."]
- the tastee kondiments uber der oonder de kounter.
- the vee so baad you bettah yoost fuhgeddaboudit.
anyway. dupuis has been averaging 0.71 ppg in germany.
so next time you start worrying about the leaf problems of today, "gosh, friend at the bar, how WILL we ever find room for Mitch Marner on the powerplay, what with Matthews and Nylander and JVR occupying so much of the space-time continuum?" just you remember:
philippe dupuis played for the leafs.
and you sat on your ass and watched it happen.
3rd. TIME TO TRADE
JVR [ED.] SOME VETS & OPEN SOME HOLES.
Trades. Some people see we have too many NHL-quality wingers, and so, they say we should trade the weakest of the bunch. For which we might... if we're lucky... get a late draft pick.
Better - at this point - to trade a guy further up the hierarchy, in the #1 or #2 slot, who's already recognized - and get someone of value in another position. And in doing so, also opening up a slot for some talented kid who might fill the hole.
And ok, sure, I’m talking about
JVR and Leo [ed.]
We have the kids ready - more than ready - for the NHL. And so UNLESS some other team recognizes the full upward potential of these kids….
Kapanen and Soshnikov and Brown and Leivo and Johnsson…
then we need to think hard about dealing a veteran.
And you know what? The Leafs would miss
AND WE WOULD BE SAD.
But then again... we get the NEW player we’re trading for. And $4.25 Million salary. And free up lots of top-end minutes. And space on the PP. And maybe move another step toward proper team defence. Cause
JVR [ed.] is shit at that. And... we got Marleau now anyway.
And the kid gets a year in the NHL to get moving up the curve.
Leo [ed.] Our hero’s almost 31. He gets paid $3 million a year. He does lots, but doesn’t score - or assist - much. We feed him PP minutes, but he’s not really the right fit.
Time to open some space.
Do it now Leafs.
Let's not do this whole "Not playing the talented kids, and sticking them down on the farm for years," schtick. Not this early.
4th. WHY CARL GRUNDSTROM CRUSHES JOSH LEIVO.
Carl Grundstrom is almost 5 years younger than Josh Leivo.
Which is why no sensible person would rank Leivo over Grundstrom in the T25U25.
The reason we constrain the Top 25 Under 25 to a specific age group [that'd be the "Under 25"] is because younger players are on a specific stage of the age curve. That is, they are prospects, and are trending UP.
Thus, their age matters. It’s built into the very structure and nature of the ranking.
And so, to pick a guy who is now 24, like Leivo, and who is therefore beginning to move DOWN the age-production curve, and yet never even made PPG in the AHL, and who had 4 SEASONS WITH CUPS OF COFFEE IN THE NHL, and yet never stuck, and who was only ever 0.5 PPG in the OHL in his draft year anyway... and then to rank him over Carl.
Carl, who is ONLY 19, and yet played in the SHL in his draft season, and then last year had 14 goals in the SHL, and who has made the Swedish national team for his age group every year since 16, and who kicked ass in the TV-Pucken AND in the Champions league, and who is a definite rat, but he's OUR rat now...
And, well… objectively… you can see why what you have done is wrong.
And thus, I condemn those behind the T25U25, and their evil machinations.
5th. ZACH SILL. WE PUT HIM ON THE ICE. IN UNIFORM. [THE SHAME.]
6th. THE ANTHEM.
Time to sort this out. We'll start with the basics.
Some people are stupid.
I should probably stop there, but… you know I won’t.
And as you've all heard ten times too often, I don't stand up for anthems. Haven't since I was in my 20's, to tell the truth.
Cause here's a thing.
The fucking anthem is a song. And the flag is a painted piece of cloth.
WE MADE THEM UP.
And who does it turn out "we" is? Well, governments, mostly.
They make that shit up as part of the whole "We must build a nation-state" shit they do.
EVERY. SINGLE. GOVERNMENT. DOES. THIS.
IN. EVERY. SINGLE. COUNTRY.
These things weren't handed down by God, like the Bible or Bobby Orr.
I mean, look, I’m not a hundred years old, just 58.
AND YET I REMEMBER WHEN WE ADOPTED THE FUCKING "CANADIAN" FLAG, AND THE "CANADIAN" ANTHEM.
And It wasn’t back in 1867.
It was 1980 for the anthem, and 1965 for the Flag.
Look. Here's what the flag thing looked like in 1868. Now... how many people you think were willing to die for that?
Get a grip. [Looks like fucking Grundstrom got in there somehow.]
And the flag change in '65 was obviously political because a whole lot of us Red-Neck Blue-Blooded Conservative Protestant Anglo-Canadians HATED these changes. And protested. Publicly. And said....
not. our. flag.
I mean, we had grown up singing God Save The Queen, and were told to salute an... entirely... different... flag.
But just because some politicians wanted to change that, and made up this other shit, it now MAGICALLY BECOMES MY COUNTRY?
Now it's something I have to lay down my life for?
Don’t give me a stupid answer here, people.
We're not children in here.
Let me put it like this.
I know what MY country is.
It’s people. And land. And a few pretty nice ideas, but ones which - to tell the truth - are still works-in-progress.
And what it's NOT is whatever fucking coloured piece of cloth or BAD FUCKING PIECE OF MUSIC some politician or other is roaming around trying to tack to children's foreheads.
Fuck, I hate how stupid we’ve become.
These last decades where the military brass have just ENDLESSLY stepped in front of the flag and made like they fucking owned it. [And yeah, it's been the big-talking brass - the regular troops have always had more sense.]
AS IF EVERY CANADIAN DOESN'T OWN THAT FLAG.
AND OWNS IT EVERY BIT AS MUCH AS ANY SOLDIER DOES.
The Doctors and nurses and Ebola researchers. Cops and firefighters and farmers and schoolteachers.
[And yeah, screw you, I’m from a farm, so we farmers probably got MORE goddamn claim on it than you mangy punks from suburbia. Cause -> moral superiority, right?]
So don’t even TRY that shit on me about how the Flag = the Military = the Freedom = the fucking Hockey.
In fact, I don’t need a goddamn anthem or a flag to help me figure out what Freedom is, thanks.
Think about it, because you all know what the next step is. For decades now it's these same heavy-breathing blow-hards - Harper and his ilk - who were always wanting a new war.
And whenever they did, they insisted that JUST THIS VERY WAR also happened to be all about Freedom.
And the Flag.
And decades of that have kinda made me feel a teensy bit untrusting, being preached at by these shit-birds.
In fact, CENTURIES of that.
Because my Father fought in WW2. And two of my brothers fought. And my Uncles and Grandfathers fought. And so on back through dozens, and dozens more before that. All the way back to Bannockburn at least.
See that Blue arrow? That was us. [That's right, pal. I got a 3% genetic claim in there, and I'm using it.]
And besides drinking, fighting has been pretty much what my family has done best these past 1,000 years.
[Well... maybe not best. We're fucking dynamite at Scrabble.]
But second best.
Anyway. We've seen 1,000 years of fighting, and what we learned out of it is that there are good causes and bad. And noble things to fight for... but also double-crosses and wasted crusades. And most common of all, we get to fight in wars that've been ordered by some self-inflating men who happen to be miles from the lines.
And how it's usually some prick with a national song and a yard of bad cloth who comes onstage quickest, and loudest, to tell us all who needs to sacrifice, and for what.
So the last thing I fucking need is some kumquat showing up at a hockey game and wreck it by yammering in my ear about how he’s got freedom by the short hair and has decided to set it to song.
In short: Fly the fuck off with your anthems and flags and shit and let's just play hockey.
And if you GOT to play a song at these goddamn games, make it something a bit more lively.
Rejoice, Rejoice, We have no choice but to Carry On.
Love is Coming, Love is Coming to us all.
7th. ON SWEDISH DEFENCEMEN.
I like ‘em. So sue me.
And yes, I like ‘em more than I should, for one reason.
One really good reason.
And that’s a good enough reason in my mind for the Leafs to play that young Borjeman fella on defence this year. Rosen too.
Also: Remember that Babs loves his Swedes and Europeans. Played 12-17 every single year in Detroit. (Only has 5 or 6 in his line-up today if Polak and Marincin go. Might need a top-up.
And did I mention...
Are we done here?
I think we’re done here.