August 18 2012 11:20AM
The Toronto Maple Leafs aren't the worst franchise in Toronto—Toronto FC, the Argonauts, the Raptors all deserve parts of the title. I would suggest though that neither sports franchise represents the worst overall product in the city. That would be the streetcars, a totally inefficient use of city space. Streetcars confine themselves to one lane and it's in the middle of the street. During rush hour periods, the streets in downtown Toronto are an awful mess due to the city's reluctance to introduce revolutionary technology such as buses.
And, hey, poll many Torontonians, and if you asked them whether they'd keep the streetcars or the Maple Leafs, most would say the Maple Leafs.
August 17 2012 09:00AM
Puck Daddy today released all of the ratings for EA's NHL 13 players. This allows us to go through it and look at the painful omissions and errors that Electronic Arts managed, such as Marc-André Fleury being ranked as an 87.
From a Leafs perspective, though, the numbers look pretty spot-on when comparing to players on the team. Mikhail Grabovski is listed, rightfully so, as the best centreman on the team, although poor Jay McClement was hilariously omitted by the Vancouver-based company, jealous that they could not sign McClement as their own.
Also, Jay Rosehill carries a rating higher than his shoe size. That's probably a typo, or he has real big feet.
August 17 2012 06:45AM
The Leafs Nation is lucky enough to be partnered with NHL Numbers, a website that analyzes hockey through objective numbers and tries to clear roadblocks and hurdles for the rest of us. The goal? Providing us with a better understanding of the hockey players and teams we love so much and pay so much to watch.
This can mean anything for us, how effective players were, to what kind of competition they were playing against, even to how many penalties they took and drew. The NHL doesn't record everything on its website, but it does record several events and who was on the ice: goals, missed shots, hits, takeaways, you can pretty much decipher, if you use all the available information, exactly what happened when any given player was out on the ice.
And this brings us to quality of competition.
August 16 2012 10:32AM
There's talk of a lockout shutting down the early part of the season, but since the Winter Classic acts as the unofficial kick-off to the NHL's romp in mainstream American sports discussion, I doubt the league would prolong the work stoppage to force a cancellation of their major January 1 event.
Sure, the NHL has the right to cancel the game, but we're told that's standard legal proceedings, protecting the league against weather and Acts of God, such as an injury to Jimmy Howard forcing the Red Wings to start Jonas Gustavsson in net.
But that's not the main attraction yet. The alumni game, which has had a bunch of people speculating whether or not Dave Keon will mend fences with the Leafs and show up, got an infusion of grit for the game. The team announced today, as per James Mirtle, that Tie Domi, Brad May and Tiger Williams will represent the Leafs.
August 15 2012 10:12AM
One of the major concerns about Brian Burke's tenure thus far in Toronto is his inability to find a first line centreman for Phil Kessel, and, to a lesser extend, Joffrey Lupul. (This is ignoring that Burke already has a first-line centre in Mikhail Grabovski, but I think recent history has shown that you can't go too far without two good guys down the middle. There's still that need.)
I've looked at it before and if there is a concern about the Leafs not having a goaltender, it's because they missed out on Kari Lehtonen, Craig Anderson and Jose Theodore, and possibly even Jaroslav Halak. Using the same sort of analysis, are there centremen that have been moved in Burke's tenure that were both attainable and good enough to be on Toronto's first line?