A Trip To Michigan: Part 1

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
January 05 2014 12:31AM

The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs spent this past week celebrating the game of hockey in the best way they saw fit; by taking the sport back to its roots and playing a bunch of games outdoors. Representing The Leafs Nation for a few days, and Pension Plan Puppets for another, I made my way and crossed the border for a few days to see what the fuss was about. The following is part one of several posts detailing my trip.

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Money Well Spent

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
December 28 2013 09:32AM

TSN is reporting this morning that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dion Phaneuf are extremely close to putting pen to paper on a deal that would pay Dion Phaneuf $49 million dollars, give or take a few bucks, over the next seven years, giving a cap hit of $7,000,000 a season. Phaneuf is a polarizing figure amongst Leafs fans, with many seeing strong ability in him, and others thinking he's the bane of the team's existance.

I wrote this article in November to show his qualities, and that a contract in this range (then rumoured to be 7x7.15) would be more than reasonable compared to his peers in the cap era. This year, Phaneuf is again leading the league in Quality of Competition faced despite poor Quality of Teammates, and has been fantastic at moving the puck into the other team's zone (40.3% offensive zone starts, 47.3% OZ finishes). His production is a bit down, due to a falling even strength shooting percentage, but this was to be expected for himself and much of the rest of the team, many of whom set career highs. It's also worth noting that the defensive core as a whole has had production issues this year, meaning it could be a bit systems based as well.

Other stats also line up with last year's, which were used in this article for the sake of reasonable sample sizes. As such, i'm confident in this still being applicable as a fair evaluation of his contract situation. Enjoy!

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Marlies Bulldogs Recap

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
December 26 2013 01:47PM

The Air Canada Centre may be home to the Toronto  Maple Leafs, but they don't exactly have exclusivity. The building was originally designed for the Raptors, the Rock remind us all that Lacrosse is a thing that exists, and tons of music acts make a temporary home out of the building throughout the year. Heck, I was here three days ago and there was a mountain near the hash marks! Today, the Toronto Marlies took their turn running the rink, taking on the Hamilton Bulldogs in front of a five digit crowd for the third straight year. Despite being heavily outshot, the Marlies dragged this one into overtime, but ultimately fell 2-1.

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REVIEW: 24/7, Part 1

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
December 15 2013 08:19PM

When the NHL first announced that the Toronto Maple Leafs would face the Detroit Red Wings in the (then 2013) Winter Classic, I was incredibly excited. Not because it was an outdoor game, not because I in any way liked the idea of the Leafs having to play more games than usual against the Red Wings, and not even because it'll be the highest attended NHL game ever. Okay, that last bit is pretty cool. But no, my main excitement came from the two teams being on HBO 24/7, giving an uncensored, behind the scenes look at the two respective teams.

It may be a little early to write off all four episodes, but so far, I'm not a fan of what I'm seeing. With that said, here's a full rundown: 

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Marlies Cap Off Weekend With Win

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
December 15 2013 04:09PM

There's something about the St. Johns IceCaps and not letting go. A large chunk of their core has stayed with the team for all three seasons that they've been in the league, their ownership group (True North Sports & Entertainment) still actively sells merchandise of their previous incarnation (the Manitoba Moose). And somehow, the Toronto Marlies having moved from St. Johns nearly a decade ago is considered the grounds for a rivalry, despite the two teams (and their parent clubs) being in different conferences. 

But hey, at least the season series this year is four games instead of eight. Plus, both teams are at the same skill level, so they're at least entertaining. Today's incarnation saw the Marlies win 3-2, taking both home games against the Winnipeg Jets affiliate. 

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