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Mailbag: Ron Hainsey and Joey from Friends

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All that and more in this edition of the mailbag.

2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

What is something you’re looking forward to?

And as always, how are you doing?—Super Maurice

Maurice is always so considerate. I am good. As for looking forward, let’s go a little off the wall with something: I am excited to see what happens with Eemeli Rasanen. I have a totally irrational good feeling about that kid’s potential, and because prospects are 60% voodoo anyway, I might as well enjoy the good feelings. If he can put on some muscle (as Katya wrote) and work on his lateral movement and his decision-making, in three or four years we might have an enormous defensively capable RHD joining our lineup. And this would be very cool.

It probably won’t happen, but sports is all about hoping for improbable things.

Why was British Columbia named that? It’s nothing like regular Columbia. Why the need to poach the name and then make sure people know that is the British one?—El Seldo

You know how when a band gets sued by another band who had the name first, they change the name to some weird variation so their fans still know who they are, but it’s different enough not to get sued? Colombia made the British put a “u” in their name and then an adjective in front of it. British Columbia is actually just Death From Above 1979.

What is the circumference of a moose?—MrSmithy

It’s Michael Palin with his face in a pie times Douglas Adams squared.

Why do pizza places in some parts of the world insist on putting toppings under the cheese?—Goosemonster

Holds the toppings in place. This is only an issue if you want to remove some of the toppings from your pizza, which is a product of either your own indecision or you letting others make topping choices for you. Take control of your own life.

When Morgan Rielly switched to the right side in the playoffs, it didn’t seem to affect his game. He’s played a lot on that side in his career, most notably with Jake. With that in mind, should the Leafs be looking exclusively for a RHD to fill out the top four, or should they simply try to acquire the best defenseman available, which opens the field up considerably.—GreatKingRat

I wrote this before the Leafs acquired Ron Hainsey, who is likely going to be a left-shot playing right-side. But for what it’s worth:

It’s a little hard to gauge exactly how good Rielly is on his off-side. I agree he looked comfortable in the playoffs, and his results with Jake while playing right-side were great. But Rielly was also playing mostly second pair competition at that point and everyone’s numbers look good with Jake. My concern is mostly that Rielly bleeds shots against pretty much rain or shine except when he gets to play with Gardiner, so what I really want is someone to play with Gardiner. And I want an RHD for that, because we know generally, defenders are better on their natural side.

Look, if you can get a lefty 1D, you take him and you figure the rest out later. But those guys are expensive and rarely get to free agency. Once you get into the mushy middle, of guys who are bouncing between second and fourth defencemen, I want the Leafs to at least give preference to right shooters—especially if we’re going to try to win the Cup with a kind of platoon defence corps, where Jake Gardiner leads a bunch of good-but-not-great d-men.

What kind of draconian measures do you think would be appropriate for hockey parents and governments of the world should employ to address one of the most pressing issues facing humanity – namely – having children defenders learn to shoot the puck with their right hand.—jeffgm

The United Nations will institute a Hunger Games-esque tournament where representatives of each country must compete with right-shooting hockey sticks. The winners will be guaranteed draft position and an ELC. The losers will be executed. This may seem harsh, but it’s the only way to avoid truly grotesque tragedies in this world, like trading Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson.

Since it looks like a big name UFA or trade may not happen, lets assume that all Lou does is add depth defense and a reasonable backup. Will the year over year improvement of the Leafs kids from last season be enough to get one of the 3 division playoff spots?—Mike Brown’s Moustache

(And then we added Marleau!) Yes, I think it will. Pending early results—and this is assuming the Bolts aren’t going to seriously overuse Dan Girardi—I think Tampa Bay ought to be favoured to win the Atlantic, and after that the Leafs are at least even money to outperform Montreal and Boston for the slots after that.

Buffalo does give me pause, because Jack Eichel is the real deal and they could drastically improve if they do something more to address their defence. But as of right now, I still think they’re scrapping for the wild card.

PPP has created some hilarious memes over the years. What’s your favourite, or if you cannot decide, which would be your top 3?—MrSmithy

This is actually extremely difficult.

  1. First Chemmy. In and of itself, First Chemmy is just a silly one-liner rc2080 threw out to annoy a mod. But the number of ridiculous variations people have come up with in order to keep adapting it to new situations has been an ongoing joy, and it culminated in the single greatest achievement of this blog’s comment section:

You’re a hero, Kad.

2. Skinny’s Rules for Adults, or more particularly, norm’s table of Skinny’s Rules for Adults. This is the funniest thing I’ve ever read in my entire life.

As set up, former PPP writer Skinny Fish had a bunch of odd rules for What Adults Are Supposed To Do, which included not wearing branded t-shirts, using umbrellas, or running. Eventually not norm ullman sought to compile these rules into a table. This was the result:

3. Please Remove A Thread About Me

Honourable mention goes to (he means fucking), which works in so many situations.

You get one mulligan on a Leafs move in the last 18 months. What is it (you can’t say the Martin contract)?—Arvind

I draft Alex Debrincat at 31st overall in 2016 instead of Yegor Korshkov. To be fair: Korshkov does not seem like a bad prospect and it’s really early yet. But I liked Debrincat at the time and I like him even more since. Dude’s money.

(I don’t quite have the heart to draft Werenski at 4th overall, or to undo the Boyle trade, but I did think about both.)

Which of the current Leafs defense on the roster do you think has the best shot to fill in the holes left by Hunlack, and what Pokemon name and Pokemon type would they form?—Brigstew

My original answer: Martin Marincin and Calle Rosen are both LHD who can play right, which is an advantage in this lineup, and we know Babs likes Marincin’s penalty-killing. I’ll go with them.

Together I’m calling them Marmarose, and they would have the appearance of the oversized cartoon dog Marmaduke, except covered in weird plants. His signature move would be perplexing his opponents with terrible humour, and he would be a Grass-type.

Now that we’ve signed Hainsey, I suspect Carrick goes down to the third pair, accompanied by Marincin. CarMar is actually a car (or possibly car accident.) Steel-type.

You can bring back one player from another era from the Maple Leafs’ all-time roster to play for the next three year window. You get the player at his peak. But this precludes any other free-agent signings or trades for the superstars of today. He has to have played one full season with the Leafs. Whom do you pick?—Goldenhawk99

Mats Sundin.

I have a bias in favour of players after 1990, but I think that’s justified based on how both athletic conditioning and the skills of the game have evolved. (Borje could probably bench press like eight of me, but let’s forget about that.) With that said, you pretty quickly have a choice between either the best defenceman the Leafs have had in recent years (Tomas Kaberle) or the best centre (Mats Sundin.)

I love Tomas a lot, and think he’s never been appreciated enough. But Mats was a bona fide superstar and a Hall of Fame player, and with top 3 Cs of Matthews, Kadri, and prime Sundin the Leafs would blast the NHL off the surface of the Earth. Whether you allow a lesser defence acquisition like Tanev or you just run the same defence as last season is secondary. The Leafs would have firepower to outdo the Penguins, and the Penguins just won the Cup with a defence that was functionally much worse than Toronto’s. Mats is getting his ring.

What is the best quote by Joey in Friends? Obviously there are only two options:

"I’m not talking to you, you broke my fridge!" (from "the One with Joey’s Fridge")

OR

"Stupid guy on my phone…" (from "the One with the Stripper")

Obviously context is key to both of these. It’s a tough call because Fridge is part of a hilariously stupid larger plot element of the episode, whereas Phone can be more readily enjoyed in a vacuum (part of post-credits scene). I personally lean towards Fridge based on the delivery and sheer stupidity of the situation. The clips are available on Youtube. Would love your take.—Shield

I think you’re right. Joey’s persistence in trying to get the fridge paid for is key to making it work.

Real talk: I was probably in the wrong window to really “get” Friends most of the time. For Joey to be really funny, it can’t just him being dense, it has to be blown up to hyperbole in some way. The fridge scene does that best.

Goalie pants were allegedly adjusted to be smaller in order to reduce their effectiveness by constraining the goalies somewhat. Do you anticipate any other possible adjustments in their equipment? Reduction in size of underpants, for example.—cagedmercury

Literally, yes; practically, nothing significant. The NHL wants to improve offence without actually doing anything substantial, so I won’t be surprised if they keep snipping at the edges of goalie equipment like a tailor. But goalies need a certain amount of protection and the league isn’t going to seriously jeopardize that.

How long before the codpiece comes back in male fashion?—Mike brown’s moustache

2023. People will start using them as Tinder profile pictures. Is it real? Is it cod? Date me and find out.

Do you ever stop and think about the fact that your entire known "reality" could easily be just a delusion your brain came up with, and you could actually just be sitting in the corner of a dark room somewhere being studied by other humans (or even non-humans)?—Exit...Steve Left

Occam’s Razor is good for cutting out of that hedge maze. Also, if this were my delusion, I would invent something either much more coherent or much more insane. Like, with unicorns ‘n’ shit.

From all the options you’d consider viable, who do you want backing up Andersen next year?—I Am Rad Boss

The Leafs have decided to bring back McElhinney, so there it is. I would have said Anders Nilsson, but the Canucks bid pretty high on him, and I’m not sure I’d want to pay quite that much for a backup. Jonathan Bernier might have been worth a roll.

Cross the streams, yay or nay?—I Am Rad Boss

Don’t. Cross. The. Streams.

Please compare and contrast the seeming division in the sort of draft picks the Leafs make (some quick skilled guys, some fridges) with the high-low strategy often used in procurement of military hardware (buy a few of the really good expensive one, and lots of the less-good but cheap one).—Ghost of Bohonos

As pure numbers, yes, this works. For one, the Leafs picked an above-average number of times in 2015 and 2016, always in the later rounds (get a lot of the less good cheap one.) And the Leafs have always drafted for maximum skill in the first round, although for the most part that didn’t require too much overthinking.

On the other hand, the “lots of the less-good but cheap one” idea is mostly so that you aren’t caught unarmed and that you might be able to overwhelm the enemy with numbers. The Leafs are counting on some of the less-good and cheap ones turning out to be higher-firepower than they appear. The military is trying to buy at replacement level; the Leafs are trying to draft above it.

Who is your favourite analyst in the main steam media and why?—Fishingfreak99

Scott Cullen at TSN is one of the few mainstream media writers who tries to do stat-based analyses of the NHL at large, and if you want to get apprised of how things are trending in a hurry, he’s your guy. He also has the patience of Job in explaining the analytics perspective on Twitter, which I greatly admire.

Let’s say you’re getting ready for a date and it’s someone you really like. Let’s say someone you’ve have had a crush on for a long time and you’ve finally managed the courage to ask them out, and against all odds managed to do it in a not awkward way, and they said yes!

Anyway, you’re getting ready when suddenly you remember that you threw out your toothbrush while cleaning because, let’s face it, it was getting old. The bristles we’re all curled and yellow, it was time. But now that it’s gone you’ve don’t have an implement with which to polish up the ol’chicklets. There’s not enough time to pop out and buy a new one. Shit. You’re fucked. Balls. You knew you’d find a way to blow it. WHY DO YOU ALWAYS BLOW IT!

But then you remember, wait-a-minute. Wait. A. Minute… the cleaning caddy. It’s got a tooth brush. Sure it’s been used to scrub soap scum off the floor of your shower. The thought of putting it in your mouth surely makes you gag. Gross.

However, if you do use it, your date will never know. So what do you do?—NotARealOne

I am torn between disgust and admiration for the creative effort involved in this question, so I feel a little bad for my answer, which is that I wouldn’t even consider this. I’ll grab a mint or some gum on the way out if I can, and if not, whatever. This is not a line I am desperate enough to cross.

Would you prefer to have a lot of friends or always have fun?—scrambles

Why do I have to choose, when I have a blog full of people who ask me questions about secondary uses for shower caddies?

If there’s one thing the Facebook generation ought to know, it’s that quality of friends provides value to your life, while a large quantity of friends is just a list of people you have to wish Happy Birthday. I’ll settle for being Mr. Fun, unless this is a veiled way of asking me if I’d like to just be on drugs all the time.

When you were choosing the name "Acting the Fulemin", was it the first name you thought of? Or did you have other options typed in and were like "nah that sucks"—Kad Chilger

I thought of “Acting the Fulemin” before I ever joined the site, as a joke reason for why Nikolai Kulemin might get scratched from a game, and I liked it too much not to use it. My second idea was “Sjostring Budget”, which I still kinda like.

If you are the Leafs’ FO, what would your move(s) be to address the team’s defensive needs? Are you still crushing hard on Shattenkirk?—Auston Matthews

I was, but alas, he has gone. At this point, I’d be kicking the tires on Chris Tanev, Jason Demers, Josh Manson (worth a try), Ryan Ellis (worth a try, I said), and Jared Spurgeon (you may say, I’m a dreamer...) There’s a definite walk-away point in the bidding for all of these players, and it’s not the same for each one. But if the Leafs are going to get anywhere on the trade market, you have to shake a lot of leaves and see who drops out. Toronto isn’t in a position where it needs to force a trade, but it should be considering all its options.

If you had to give up one of the big 3, knowing you’d never get them back, would it be Marner or Nylander?—emjay

This is very painful, but Marner. I think Nylander is ultimately a little better at a lot of things, and I also think he’s likely to make it as a centre, whereas Marner isn’t. Mitchy is also going to be a great player, but the edge goes to Willie.

Is this the Real Life?—The Constant Gardner

Nah, this is The Real World Toronto. You’re on camera. Smile!

In light of the latest failed blockbuster, what is your favourite Tom Cruise movie?—madrush

The original Mission: Impossible. If you can look past the admittedly super-dated technology involved, the movie has a quality supporting cast and sustains a level of tension almost start to finish that most thrillers don’t match. Tom Cruise actually does not seem to be in control of events for parts of the movie, whereas in most of his action films he’s more or less God.

Honourable mention: A Few Good Men plays to Aaron Sorkin's great strength as a writer, which is dialogue, and mostly avoids the things Aaron Sorkin is less good at. And Cruise's showdown with Jack Nicholson in that is legit epic.

Thanks to everyone who contributed!