September 16 2016 02:06PM
Okay FOLKS, it's almost here: the World Cup of Hockey!
And while we've been talking for quite a while about this extravaganza, one thing is still quite uncertain: who's going to win it? What should we bet on? Blatant nationalism? Experience over youth? Youth over experience? Sorting by total points per game of all the players and sorting downwards?
With such a unique tournament format and a few wildcards in play, it's hard to really find the best method to predict the winner of the WCH. But we wouldn't be a hockey blog if we didn't give you slightly biased opinions.
Without further ado, here's our picks for the winners of the WCH, which starts off tomorrow afternoon.
September 01 2016 08:06AM
Imagine that you're playing road hockey on the street with your close group of friends. It's been the relatively same group of buddies for a few years now, but you notice one day that you've only got 11 players — one short of the 12 needed for two full teams.
You're debating your options, when you remember there's a kid you saw practicing against the wall of your school around the corner by himself, and he looked pretty good. Not as good as you and your friends, of course, he's a little small for that, but maybe it's worth it to give him a shot, so you wander over and sure enough, there's the kid.
So you, your friends, and the kid put your sticks in the middle of the street, picking teams at random.
"Just stay back here," you say to the kid, who ends up on your team. "We'll handle this for you."
The game starts and it's classic road hockey. There's chippy stick movements, some hard defence, long shots on net of people trying to emulate their NHL heroes, and a bunch of yelling.
Everyone's expecting the kid to be the weak point. Except, suddenly, he isn't.
In fact, it's pretty clear he's the best player out there. Two defenders covering him? That's a cross-ice pass to the open target. Diving at his legs? Well, he'll just shoot it over you. You're too tired to cover him? That's great, he's just created yet another scoring chance while playing twice as much as you.
After a while, the game slows down a bit. He's been on the road hockey ball the whole time, it seems, and surely, he's done now. He's got to be too tired to keep going.
Of course, he isn't. As the game's winding down, he's just standing there, when suddenly he breaks out another deke, slowing down the opposition while speeding up your team.
Now that new dude, that's basically the story of Mitch Marner, at every single level of hockey he's played at so far.
And you and your friends, well, you're basically everyone who's assumed he wasn't going to cut it.
August 30 2016 01:55PM
"AUSTON MATTHEWS NOT #1? WOW, he must be wrong about everything!" might be your first reaction to Corey Pronman's Top 120 NHL propsect rankings for 2016-17, but if that's where your analysis ends, you're probably missing the point.
A day after ranking the Leafs 1st in his team prospect pool rankings, Matthews was ranked #2 by ESPN's Pronman behind, well, a certain Finnish Winnipeg Jet forward who went second behind Matthews in the draft.
It shouldn't come as a surprise really, considering Pronman was one of just two major scouting services/outlets to rank Matthews second in his 2016 draft rankings, again, behind the guy who was ranked 1st.
It also doesn't really matter all that much.
At this point, we're mostly splitting hairs between the two top talents coming into the 2016-17 season, and a specific ranking or projection is just that: an educated guess about how a player will perform moving forward.
Eight Leafs were named in total, and the first three Leafs named were no surprise: Matthews second, Mitch Marner (at #5), and William Nylander (at #7).
August 26 2016 04:31PM
Glass is always, always, a hilarious last name for an athlete. And now, it seems, there will be one suiting up in Toronto, at least in the preseason.
Per James Mirtle:
Leafs expected to add goaltender Jeff Glass to camp on a PTO. Last seven seasons spent in KHL.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) August 26, 2016
Glass, as you may remember, was the "put just about anyone in there" guy on the 2005 World Junior team, giving up just seven goals in five games en route to a dominant gold medal led by Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron.
However, let's not pretend a good junior tournament from 11 years ago means anything. In the time that's elapsed since then, Glass has had quite the eventful career... none of which has been in the NHL.
August 12 2016 11:13AM
Tobias Lindberg came to the Leafs last year in the nine-player deal that really can only be identified in Toronto as the "Dion Phaneuf trade".
And all other factors aside, there's one glaring reason why Lindberg's going to stick with the Leafs: because if Ottawa didn't like him, surely he's going to move on to be an all-star.
But beyond the easy and only somewhat true jokes, there are a few other reasons to believe Lindberg might have some staying power in the Toronto organization.