clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

From the Branches: The Voyage Home

The Toronto Maple Leafs host the New York Rangers for their home opener and made some sort of trade.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports


Tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs are making The Voyage Home from a successful season opener in Winnipeg to play their home opener back in Toronto against the New York Rangers. Hopefully they have a better start and stay out of the damn penalty box, but maybe not having Tim Peel as the ref will help (oh god, he’s not the ref tonight is he?)

Sadly I’ll probably miss a lot of the game, as I’ll be at my first of two Thanksgiving dinners in Cambridge with my girlfriend’s family [sad-face.emoji].

Oh well, the show must go on! GO LEAFS GO! BUDS ALL DAY!

Onto the links following a busy Friday!

Katya wrote a brief explanation about what it means to clear waivers, since that’s a hot topic right now for numerous reasons.

Which is great because Katya also talked about Marincin clearing waivers and Calle Rosen being at Leafs’ practice for some mysterious reason.

Gunnar Carlson cleared up the mystery two minutes later to talk about the announcement that Rosen was official called up to the Leafs.

Katya also delved into the announcement of the Toronto Marlies’ roster to start their season.

Speaking of the Marlies and waivers and players being sent down, there’s a pretty great fanpost by Earl Schwartz about how cap space played a role in Aaltonen starting the year on the Marlies rather than with the Leafs like we thought.

Can Anyone Recommend Any Good Leafs Blogs? Well, certainly not these...

MLHS shares some quotes from Babcock following the Leafs’ practice on Friday, touching on the ridiculous Leafs’ depth right now leading to “NHL ready” guys like Sosh or Kapanen being in the AHL.

Ian Tulloch The Leafs Nation tries a fourth time to explain what WAR is good for.

Justin Bourne at The Athletic with a nifty article looking into how players use fakes to create offense.

My final bit of hockey related matters I want to share with you all...

Ohhhh, hang on, there’s one more! I forgot that some small, insignificant trade happened and I have an idea of how it came about within Leafs’ management...

[Cutscene: Lou Lamoriello and Brendan Shanahan sit with their assistant general managers, staring at a whiteboard in an otherwise empty conference room. The rest of the MLSE office building is dark, with everyone else having gone home for the day hours ago. Lou sits with his head leaning against his fist, with his other hand drumming slowly and softly on the conference table. He is staring at the whiteboard and the various notes written by the others during their discussion.]

LOU: I’m sorry, gentlemen, but we’ve only just made a two year commitment to Curtis, a veteran who has put in his time and paid his dues and done everything we have asked for him - on and off the ice. I just cannot see how it would be fair to him to throw him aside before he even plays a single game on this contract.

SHANAHAN: Lou, if I may?

LOU: Please, Brendan, go ahead.

SHANAHAN: Director Mitchell has dramatically demonstrated to this conference room that goaltender Calvin Pickard is a machine in net. Do we deny that? No. Because it is not relevant. We too are machines, just machines of a different type - in NHL team management. Director Mitchell has also reminded us that goaltender Calvin Pickard was created by a human - Rob Summer. Do we deny that? No. Again it is not relevant. Goalies are created from the building blocks of their goalie coach’s moldings. Are they property? I call goaltender Calvin Pickard to the stand.

(Shanahan has Pickard’s case with him. He opens it)

SHANAHAN: What are these?

PICKARD: My World Championship medals.

SHANAHAN: Why do you pack them? What logical purpose do they serve?

SHANAHAN: I do not know, sir. I suppose none. I just wanted them. Is that vanity?

PRIDHAM: And this?

(A goalie mask)

PICKARD: A gift from you, sir.

SHANAHAN: You value it?

PICKARD: Yes, sir.


PICKARD: It is a reminder of friendship and service.

(Shanahan activates the hologram of Tupac)

SHANAHAN: And this? You have no other portraits of other musicians. Why this person?

PICKARD: I would prefer not to answer that question, sir. I gave my word.

SHANAHAN: Under the circumstances, I don't think Tupac would mind.

PICKARD: He was special to me, sir. I related to his lyrics intimately.

(Lou sits up)

SHANAHAN: Thank you, Mr. Lamoriello. I have no further questions for this witness.

LOU: Assistant General Manager Hunter, do you want to cross?

HUNTER: I have no questions, Your Honour.

LOU: Thank you. You may step down.

SHANAHAN: I call to the stand Director Dave Morrison as a hostile witness.

ALEXA: Verify, Morrison, Dave, Director. Current assignment, Director of Pro Scouting. Major papers...

SHANAHAN: Yes, yes, yes. Suffice it to say, he's an expert. Director, is your contention that goaltender Calvin Pickard is not an NHL being and therefore not entitled to all the rights reserved for all players within this Franchise?

MORRISON: Calvin is not an NHLer, no.

SHANAHAN: Director, would you enlighten us? What is required to be an NHLer?

MORRISON: Intangibles, leadership, narrative.

SHANAHAN: Prove to the court that I was an NHLer.

MORRISON: This is absurd! We all know you were an NHLer.

SHANAHAN: So I was an NHLer, but Pickard is not?

MORRISON: That's right.

SHANAHAN: Why? Why was I an NHLer?

MORRISON: Well, you had leadership.

SHANAHAN: Ah, that's the second of your criteria. Let's deal with the first, intangibles. does goaltender Calvin Pickard have intangibles?

MORRISON: Yes. It has the ability to make timely stops and keep a low GAA, in ways that I cannot understand.

SHANAHAN: Like this hearing.


SHANAHAN: What about leadership. What does that mean? Why do I have leadership?

MORRISON: Because you led NHL teams to wins, the playoffs, division titles, and Stanley Cups. You lead teams to victories through your leadership.

SHANAHAN: Goaltender Pickard, what are you doing now?

PICKARD: I am leading my NHL 2018 simulated team to a Stanley Cup win to determine if I am an NHLer?

SHANAHAN: And what's at stake?

PICKARD: My status as an NHLer. My right to be a Leaf. Perhaps my very life.

SHANAHAN: My rights. My status. My life. It seems reasonably leadershipy to me. Director? I'm waiting.

MORRISON: This is exceedingly difficult.

SHANAHAN: Do you like goaltender Pickard?

MORRISON: I don't know it well enough to like or dislike it.

SHANAHAN: But you admire him?

MORRISON: Oh yes, it's an extraordinary piece of

SHANAHAN: Goaltending and technique. Yes, you have said that. Director, you have devoted your life to the study of NHLers in general?


SHANAHAN: And now you propose to dismantle him.

MORRISON: So that I can learn from it and scout more!

SHANAHAN: How many more?

MORRISON: As many as are needed. Hundreds, thousands if necessary. There is no limit.

SHANAHAN: A single Pickard, and forgive me, Director, is a curiosity. A wonder, even. But thousands of Pickards. Isn't that becoming a race? And won't we be judged by how we treat that race? Now, tell me, Director, what is Pickard?

MORRISON: I don't understand.

SHANAHAN: What is he?

MORRISON: A goalie!

SHANAHAN: Is he? Are you sure?


SHANAHAN: You see, he's met two of your three criteria for being an NHLer, so what if he meets the third. Narrative in even the smallest degree. What is he then? I don't know. Do you? (to Hunter) Do you? (to Lou) Do you? (to Dubas) Well, that's the question you have to answer. Lou, the conference room is a crucible. In it we burn away irrelevancies until we are left with a pure product, the truth for all time. Now, sooner or later, this scouting director or others like him will succeed in scouting goaltender Pickard. And the decision you reach here today will determine how we will regard this trade of our genius. It will reveal the kind of a managers we are, what he is destined to be. It will reach far beyond this conference room and this one goalie. It could significantly redefine the boundaries of depth and quality of the Leafs, expanding them for some, savagely curtailing them for others. Are you prepared to condemn him and all who come after him to servitude and slavery in Vegas’ AHL affiliate? Lou, this management team was founded to seek out new talent. Well, there it sits. Waiting. You wanted a chance to make a deal. Well, here it is. Make a good one.

LOU: It sits there looking at me, and I don't know what it is. This case has dealt with metaphysics, with questions best left to saints and philosophers. I'm neither competent nor qualified to answer those. I've got to make a ruling, to try to speak to the future. Is Pickard an NHLer? Yes. Is he the property of the Leafs? No. Not yet. We have all been dancing around the basic issue. Is Pickard better than McElhinney? I don't know that he is. But I have got to give him the freedom to explore that question himself. It is the ruling of this conference room that goaltender Calvin Pickard has the freedom to choose.

(Pickard walks over to Morrison)

PICKARD: I formally refuse to undergo your scouting.

MORRISON: I will cancel that scouting order.

PICKARD: Thank you. And, Director, continue your work. When you are ready, I will still be here. I find some of what you propose intriguing.

(Pickard leaves)

MORRISON: He's remarkable.

LOU: You didn't call him it.

(MORRISON leaves)

LOU: You see? Sometimes it does work.

SHANAHAN: Lou. Dinner?

LOU: You buying?


Will you be watching the Leaf game tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Of course I will! BUDS ALL DAY!
    (144 votes)
  • 7%
    If I can pry my face out of this bowl of stuffing...
    (13 votes)
  • 7%
    [In permanent turkey coma]
    (12 votes)
169 votes total Vote Now