September 11 2012 02:28PM
Jake Gardiner was on the ice for 62 even strength goals against last season, and Lord help us if we don't go through each and every one to try and pin the blame on somebody else.
I've been planning this project for a while now, but now that Michal Roszival has decided to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks, it's a tinge more urgent. The Toronto Maple Leafs still have one defenceman that I consider to be good enough to be in an NHL top four, but Gardiner and Carl Gunnarsson both have potential.
Gardiner's first NHL season was a bit of a paradox. He played simultaneously the easiest minutes on the Maple Leafs defence—a 56% offensive zone start rate and a -0.328 Corsi Rel QoC—and the toughest, playing alongside Luke Schenn more than any other Toronto player did.
September 10 2012 11:50AM
Brian Burke addressed the media today in Toronto. There is lots to go through, but the big thing is the goaltenders. From our pal Sean Fitz-Gerald:
On whether James Reimer will be the team’s starting goaltender:
“We believe in James Reimer. We have said, from the get-go, that if we get the opportunity to upgrade at the goaltending position, we’re going to do it. That’s still the case. But it’s not a frantic search for a goaltender. We believe in James Reimer … We believe there’s no reason why he can’t be ‘the guy.’”
Is there any reason this is anything more than damage control at this point and saving face? Well, maybe. Burke has talked about adding a goalie, but truly, unless Burke was willing to pay an expensive premium for Roberto Luongo, nobody really popped up.
I think going with Reimer is the right move, and the vision of many a Leaf fan is clouded from the perception of Reimer after last season.
September 10 2012 06:51AM
On Nation Radio with Allan Mitchell Saturday, I was asked a question that I've thought about but admittedly haven't committed to text.
This is one that everybody can think about: How long does Brian Burke have under the new regime?
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is going through a re-structuring. Tom Anselmi took over as Chief Operating Officer, and MLSE as a whole has been bought by Rogers and Bell Canada over the summer. Thus far, management of the individual teams under MLSE has not changed.
September 07 2012 12:42PM
This may be an extended offseason, so to break up the time, some of the writers on TLN are exchanging emails to each other, discussing the Toronto Maple Leafs and NHL hockey as whole. Today's topic is ESPN The Magazine's assertion that the Maple Leafs are the single worst major pro sports team for fan experience in all of North America.
From: Danny Gray
To: Steve Dangle, Gus Katsaros, Cam Charron
Subj: The worst team
I'll never understand why these things praise "affordability" and "ownership-fan relations" or "in-house experience" over you know, selling a whack tonne of tickets, TV spots, and gear. Who cares if the Florida Panthers have cheap seats and really funny jumbo-tron videos or t-shirt cannons, you still have to watch the Florida freaking Panthers. The list is basically: Teams that haven't won a championship recently but still charge a lot for tickets. And by that criteria the Leafs obviously suck, the funny thing is that the other 29 teams in the league would kill to be in this circumstance.
September 06 2012 10:13AM
One of the craziest common questions circulating around during this period of labour uncertainty is that if the owners cry poor, then why are they still signing these players to huge contracts? The simplest answer is that the owners that are crying poor, aren't exactly the ones signing teams to contracts.
The big deals signed by NHL players, the ones over $50M, are proportionally distributed with the top revenue teams in the NHL and, coincidentally, with the number of playoff berths:
|% of NHL Revenue||% of NHL Playoff Spots||% of $50M+ Contracts|
|Top 10 revenue teams||46%||44%||45%|
|Bottom 10 revenue teams||23%||25%||20%|
That's revenue from 2010-11, $50M contracts signed for the 2011-12 season and playoff berths for the 2011-12 season.