It’s December! Which means most people can see lights and ornaments put up without rolling their eyes, and hear holiday music in shops without wanting to rip off their ears. For the Leafs, it’s a time to turn the page on a tumultuous month where they sucked like shit, fired a coach, found out that coach was an asshole, and started to turn it around under Keefe who reinvented hockey for them.
Looking ahead to Christmas, I’ve started putting together my wish list to send to Hockey Santa for my favourite hockey team.
#1 A New Backup Goalie
Katya covered this over the weekend as far as possibilities, but I’m not picky. We’ve seen Hutchinson struggle with the Leafs this year, after Sparks struggled last year. They need a gosh darn legitimate backup goalie who won’t give up 5 goals and maybe steal a point or two for them. Someone who will spit in the face of SEGABABAs and laugh on his way to a win.
I covet my neighbour’s Tristan Jarry, but I’ll settle for a lightly used Oscar Dansk at this rate.
#2 Help on Defense
I don’t really care if it’s just the defensemen we have not playing like shit — looking at you Rielly and Muzzin — or if Dubas makes a trade or calls up someone from the Marlies. I’ll accept all three, to be honest. Trade Ceci, acquire Guy Bluelinerman, call up Sandin or Liljegren. Make this boy happy on Christmas day, even if he’ll find flaw with the gift after a month or two like all kids with new toys.
#3 Adam Brooks
Adam Brooks is to me what Pierre Engvall is to Hardev. I’ve been a major stan for him for a long time, and we’re seeing him take another step forward on the Marlies as he’s running out of time to earn an NHL spot.
After the Marlies’ third straight game over the weekend, Brooks put up a 3 goal 1 assist game to drag the Marlies to a 5-3 comeback win. He’s up to 11 points in 12 games, averaging 3 shots per game.
I know the Marlies probably have more experienced and better options to call up (Agostino, Aberg, etc) and once Marner comes back and they’re actually fully healthy he doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of getting a call up barring more injuries. I don’t care. I’m a bratty and demanding kid AND I WANT ADAM BROOKS DAMMIT!
Put him on the fourth line with Engvall and watch Hardev and I tear this blog apart in our mutual excitement.
ONTO THE LINKS
An older piece from The Athletic about the Chicago Steel, since the Marlies just hired their coach to replace Sheldon Keefe in the AHL.
Back to Excited Episode 83: Early Returns on Keefe | by Arvind and Fulemin. No Katya this week, unfortunately, so I guess we can all ignore it.
5 Goalies the Leafs should consider and 1 they really shouldn’t | by Katya
Rachel Doerrie’s 5 Thoughts From the Border Battle with Buffalo | by Rachel Doerrie at TLN
The early numbers on Sheldon Keefe’s impact | by MLHS
Leafs fans vandalizing Wikipedia keep editors hopping | by the St. Catharine’s Standard
The Marlies had a furious 4 goal third period to come from behind and beat Utica 5-3 on Sunday afternoon.
Battled back to close out the weekend with a win!— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) December 2, 2019
Today’s 3 stars:
1️⃣⭐️ Adam Brooks (3G, 1A)
2️⃣⭐️ Jeremy Bracco (3A)
3️⃣⭐️ Brogan Rafferty (2A)
Game recap » https://t.co/tzFAyiEfL8#ForeverStartsHere pic.twitter.com/o429IsLgtz
Some levity from Tavares, Kapanen and Spezza.
AROUND THE NHL
The Conversation: Improving representation and shedding bias in hockey | by Hockey Night in Canada, for those missed an actually good panel on the topic.
Werenski out 4 weeks with shoulder injury | by TSN.ca
Neither of the RFAs holding out for a trade wound up being traded at all.
Jesse Puljujarvi and Julius Honka both failed to sign contracts before today’s 5pm deadline and neither player is eligible to play in the NHL for the remainder of the 2019/20 season. pic.twitter.com/A8DnQrMyfK— Complete Hockey News (@CompleteHkyNews) December 1, 2019
Storybook endings in the NHL? Just not for the Leafs....
Mikko Koivu, in his 1000th career game, scores the shootout winner for the @mnwild 🚨 pic.twitter.com/LQsv9vKNwC— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 1, 2019
Have a happy Monday everyone!
What do you want the Leafs to get for Christmas?
|A real backup goalie||110|
|A healthy/better Morgan Rielly||73|
|A Rasmus Sandin gold medal at the WJC||11|
|Pierre Engvall surviving the cuts once Marner is back||20|