How long can I safely look at the eclipse this afternoon?—Mr Smithy

I would have advised Smithy not to look at the sun, but tragically, this mailbag did not publish in time ahead of the eclipse.  Smithy now has mutant laser eyes, like Cyclops from the X-Men.

What type of animal would you most want to meet? I think mine is the quokka.—SuperMaurice

Quokkas are an extremely strong choice.  Look at this little guy.

Since Maurice already took that for his answer, though, here’s an arctic fox.  Foxes are awesome and I’d have one for a pet if I could.  Would me meeting one end with me being injured?  Probably, but oh well.

Which prospect in the T25U25 do you feel was ranked too low and why?—Fishingfreak99

I was never that far ahead of our actual list; the biggest gap was me being five spots ahead of the final ranking for a couple of players, and for the most part that was a philosophical thing where I rank guys like Soshnikov highly.  So I’m mostly pretty onboard with our collective wisdom.

But if I have to pick: Calle Rosen (the official ranking had him 17th; I had him 13th.)  I like his game an awful lot—guys who can skate like he does and succeed in a top pro league are cool—and I think he has an outside shot at showing up for the Leafs at some point this season.  I put him near the top of the guys with 0 NHL GP for that reason, and I was seriously considering putting him as high as 11th.

What is the smartest move a GM has made in recent history?

What is the dumbest?

Let’s put the cutoff at 2010.—Achariya

This is tricky.

Smartest: Florida signed Jonathan Marchessault for two years at $750,000 AAV, and he put up 30G-21A-51P for them last season.  Very, very few players who scored 10+ goals have beat that cost-to-goal ratio in the last six years, and the ones who did were all on ELCs.  Just an absolutely tremendous value signing.  (Which Florida then lost to VGK in the expansion draft, for some reason.)

Dumbest: I really, really wanted to pick something besides the David Clarkson contract, but the David Clarkson contract.  I give some slack to draft picks because there’s a certain amount of voodoo there; I seriously considered the Erat-for-Forsberg trade, but Erat was a pretty good player prior to being trade and Forsberg was not a lock to become what he has been.  David Clarkson was obviously overachieving at the time of his signing, he was signed to what even his supporters agreed was a hefty deal, and he managed to turn out way worse than the worst nightmares of his detractors.  The most useful thing Clarkson has been able to do for his teams is be injured.  This is very sad.

Have we not suffered through enough mailbags?

Also why won’t you link to my articles in your mailbags?—elseldo

I don’t link to seldo’s articles as part of my conspiracy to lower wages for bloggers.  If he gets attention, he might thereby attain money or happiness, and that’s repugnant to me.  Bloggers are the worst.

If you could replace Donald Trump with one NHL GM, who would it be and why? Your answer can change if you want to include past GMs as well.—The Constant Gardiner

Do I have to make Trump the GM of the team in turn?

If not, Lou Lamoriello.  Lou will run the tightest damn United States government you ever saw.  He’ll balance the budget by putting the Department of Health and Human Services on LTIR, and he’ll hopefully fire the dumbest people in the Cabinet for being, well, dumb.  I’m not saying he’ll be perfect, but he’ll be competent.

However, I do not want Donald Trump running the Leafs, because he will fuck them up as he does everything he gets his undersized hands on.  If we have to do some trading of places, Pierre Dorion of the Ottawa Senators seems like a reasonably nice adult who will thereby be a much better President, and Trump will bankrupt the Sens in about nine minutes with his expenses.

If garlic can be used to ward off vampires, and an apple a day can keep the doctor away, what food will serve as the best defense against smelly Sabres fans, evil Habs fans, dirty Bruins fans, and that one guy who says he’s a Sens fan but we all know it’s just that teenage rebellion phase he’s going through.—Brigstew

In order...

Sabres fans: Apples

Habs fans: Remember that horrible fake poutine the Caps tried to pass off?

Bruins fans: Actual Irish beer


You have been entrusted by the Czar of sports to create the best possible new sport by combining Ice Hockey with something else. What is the sport you come up with? ("best" can mean objectively most exciting, your own personal preferences, what would draw on TV the best, what would be the most popular despite being corrupt, incredibly flawed, boring, etc.)—ExitSteveLeft


I’m on the record as saying that Quidditch is a ridiculous game in terms of its rules and functionality, but screw all that, we’re gonna do magic.  Every player’s stick doubles as a flying broomstick.  Tell me you wouldn’t want to see Mitch Marner fly the zone by literally flying out of the zone.  You’ll add a whole new dimension to hockey,.  “Sure, he’s got good lateral mobility, but how’s his vertical mobility?”

Also, we’re adding another puck, and then bludgers.  Matt Martin can take a more proactive attitude to shot suppression by clubbing a large floating projectile at opposing players, which I feel like he’ll be good at.  As for multiple pucks, well, you gotta keep your head up if you’re gonna play Quockey.  You never know when the opportunities will arise.

Oh, and one last thing, everyone gets wands and can perform spells.  Willie Nylander is going to embrace his obvious Slytherin nature and transfigure the Habs into serpents.  Enjoy your 45-minute pregame with Snake Weber wriggling on the ice, suckers.

If you’re telling me you wouldn’t watch the hell out of that, you’re lying.

Which Pokemon is the sexiest? You can’t choose Gardevoir.—emjaymj

This is disconcerting and perverse, but I am nonetheless committed to answering every mailbag question.  And let’s be honest, in our hearts, we all know who the answer is.

When Mr. Mime is looking for his Mrs. Mime, he’ll have a line around the block.

Who had the worst Top 25 Under 25 list?—Species 1967

Species, I’m sorry, but I fully blame you for this year’s tied-for-25th debacle.  Rinat Valiev?  Come on, sir.

(love ya, Species)

Why does Scott Wheeler hate Auston Matthews and/or the Leafs?—Exit Steve Left

So published its list of Top 20 centres this week.

Former PPPope Scott Wheeler had the following take:

Look, I adore AM34 more than most people I actually know, and I sincerely believe that within three years, he could legitimately rank second on this list (and in the NHL, period.)  But I have to agree with Senor Rodador on this one.  Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, Nicklas Backstrom, and John Tavares are all better centres than Auston as of this instant, and you can make solid cases for another group of guys after that.  As a pure goal-scorer, Matthews may actually be already the best name on this list (!), but the rest of his game isn’t quite on par with some of these names.  That’s okay.  He’ll be there soon.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?—Mr Smithy

The Coming of the Third Reich, by Richard J. Evans.  I’ve read a few books on the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany, but as far as I’ve read, this is the best complete answer to the question of how the Nazis came to power.  Obviously it’s not the feel-good book of the summer, but it’s really excellent at bringing together all the different threads that led to 1933.

Who makes a better hot dog – Costco or Ikea?—The Constant Gardiner

Costco.  Though honestly, at this price range, you’re just happy to be getting edible food.

How was your summer?—Goldenhawk99

Pretty good!  I moved, and now Lady Fulemin and I have a balcony with a wonderful view (okay, actually it’s just the building directly opposite us.)  That was the big excitement.  Beyond that it’s all just sunshine and blogging.

If you could roll back one piece of the current NHL drafting and payroll structure for the sole purpose of building a Leafs juggernaut, which would be the best option: eliminating the hard cap in favour of a luxury tax or soft cap (or hell, even no cap); or going back to the pre-draft era where NHL teams sponsored their own junior teams and scouted out the players from their backyards.—Goldenhawk99

No cap.

If the Leafs get to operate without salary restriction, in addition to our current core, we really have no excuse not to steamroll the NHL.  The Leafs only really spent to their full capacity in the final years of the no-cap era, but I can’t help noting they made the conference finals twice in four years in that period, and this was after considerably neglecting the draft.  Add John Tavares.  Add Karlsson or Doughty in a couple of years.  Add whoever you want.  It’s dynasty time.

The idea of taking over development from southern Ontario is pretty appealing, but without the control mechanism of the draft or ELCs I’m not sure we do as well out of it as we should.  Plus, who gets the scouting edge with regard to Russia, Sweden, Finland, and the rest of Europe, or parts of Canada without an NHL team?  If we’re not taking a dominant share of those markets, I don’t think we’re a juggernaut, even if we have the Super London Knights as our feeder system.

Let’s go full Scrooge McDuck.

A timely question, considering whatever the fuck Mitch Marner did to himself this weekend: which Leaf has the best/worst tattoos?—Baseball Annie

My affinity in tattoos is usually for the simple and symbolic, rather than the kind of three-dimensional realism that the young Leafs seem to favour.  A good example of that, actually, is whatever the fuck Mitch Marner did, in fact, do:

View post on

The artistic calibre of the artist for this tattoo is impeccable, whatever else you might say about it; the shading work is absolutely gorgeous. At the same time, the fact that Mitch can afford to get the best people to do this for him doesn’t mean it’s something he ought to do.  It’s kind of enormous for one design—I have nothing against sleeves, but generally I think they ought to be more varied.  Still, I don’t hate this as much as everyone else does.  (Nafio asked me if I had eye damage when I expressed this opinion.)

Auston Matthews’ lion has some of the same things going on.  It’s beautifully executed, and I like the ambition implied in the choice—you’re damn right Auston’s gonna be king.  At the same time—jeez, man, I don’t know.  This one’s kind of garish to me.  There’s absolutely no restraint in size or scope.  This is Jay-Z rapping Empire State of Mind but in ink.  I almost want to go the other way and respect the bombast, but I think it’s overdone.  Sorry Auston.

🐻. Shout out to my boy @okayjonnyj

A post shared by Kerby Rychel (@krychs) on

Here’s Kerby Rychel.  More of the same style--big, heavy on the shading, and it’s a pretty cool design.  The bear looks sideways to me, though, so minus points for that.


A post shared by Kasperi Kapanen (@kasperikapanen1) on

I like Rich Clune’s sleeves.  They look kind of like the background to a medieval painting of a saint.  There’s some colour without clashing or looking too faded.  Solid.

Monkey bidness

A post shared by Kasperi Kapanen (@kasperikapanen1) on

Kasperi Kapanen has an evolving sleeve, where he adds more little designs into every square inch of real estate on his arms.  The effect can eventually be pretty impressive, especially in-person, but you also run the risk of looking like a middle school student who got overambitious putting stickers on a pencilcase.  The random skull/alien heads and the space-filling stars tilt this one too far in the direction of random maximalism for me.  Kappy will keep at it, though.

Alltid bra med en @noccobcaa när man tar en promenad längs vattnet på Öland 😍⭐️#areyounoccoenough

A post shared by Andreas Borgman (@andreasborgman) on

Holy sweet Jesus look at Andreas Borgman!

Uh, right, tattoos.  Unfortunately I don’t have a really great angle on Borgman’s sleeve, which is too bad, because from what I see I really like it.  It manages the impressive bloc effect of a good sleeve while showing more design variety than Clune’s, but it doesn’t have the collage feel of Kapanen’s.  Here’s another angle:

Kul att leka med puck igen, det börjar närma sig ny säsong🏒✈️

A post shared by Andreas Borgman (@andreasborgman) on

So: I’m picking Clune as the tentative winner until I get a better shot of Borgman, and I’m sending Kappy to get remedial work done filling in his arms.

1) Who killed Davey Moore?

2) Why?

3) What’s the reason for?

4) Top-5 RHD’s in Leafs history: go.—I Am Rad Boss

Not I!

The question on RHD is tricky.  The greatest defencemen in franchise history (Borje Salming) and in my lifetime (Tomas Kaberle) both shot left, and the Leafs have generally been stronger at forward; they’ve never had a player win the Norris.  Nevertheless, some names stand out.

  1. Tim Horton—Known primarily as a restaurant chain, I think many of my generation are unaware that Tim Horton was a really excellent player.  1446, games, 518 points, four Cups, legendary defensively, a Hall of Famer, and ranked on the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players.
  2. Bill Barilko—when you’re a defensive defenceman, you score a Cup winner, and you get a Tragically Hip song written about you, you make the list.  Period.
  3. Bob Baun—Baun was a straight up hitter, by all accounts, but he also deserves credit for his work as a players’ advocate in a pre-union era.  Baun suffered professionally for it, too.
  4. Jim McKenny—Famous around PPP for his badly-taped knob, McKenny was one of the highest-scoring defencemen in team history.  According to his Wikipedia page, he worked as a male model at one point, which amuses me.
  5. Dmitri Yushkevich—Because I’m making the list I get to put in one name because I want to.  Yushkie was the goddamn best.  Watch this clip of him doing his best Leo Komarov troll work.

1) What is the most ridiculous Leafs’ branded item in Sleddo’s merchandise rant?

2) How many would you like to have?—Jersey Leaf

Can you imagine having like 80 of those gargoyles on your lawn?  You would probably be reported to the police, but it would be ridiculous and great.


Who is your sexiest cousin?—NotARealOne

NARO always manages to ask a perverse and disconcerting question every mailbag, and part of me grudgingly admires it.  Everyone who shares even a hint of genetic material with me is, of course, hot enough to stop traffic, so I’m calling a 35-way tie amongst our oversized extended Fulefamily.

Thanks to everyone who contributed!