It's a tough role, Charlie (Mike) Brown

Cam Charron
July 13 2012 09:09AM

I wrote a post for the Backhand Shelf this morning that examined the role of the average fighter. I concluded that many regular players in the NHL who accrued a lot of fights also had a specific role on their team. As it happens, Mike Brown had 10 fights with the Maple Leafs last season, but I couldn't speficially determine his role from the advanced stats without some sort of context.

Brown has 19 fights in two seasons with the Leafs, with a record, according to the voters on, of 9-5-5. It's a pretty good win percentage, but that hasn't helped the Leafs closer to a playoff spot, nor has it prevented the Leafs' best forwards from getting hit and taken advantage of for their small size.

To take a line from Office Space, "what would you say, you do here"?

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James van Riemsdyk at centre is going to happen, isn't it?

Cam Charron
July 12 2012 09:09AM

Bit of a media blitz in the last 12 hours relating to the possibility of James van Riemsdyk playing at centre between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul:

The major takeaway from van Riemsdyk's initial meeting with Maple Leafs beat writers was, indeed, that JvR is "definitely excited" about the possibility and "it's a great opportunity for him".

The National Post, and both the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun made that the major focus on their reports. Naturally, it's the big story, but does JvR really fit into the centreman position on this team?

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Reading The Tea Leafs: Superstitions of the Toronto variety

JP Nikota
July 12 2012 06:39AM

Not every hockey player is superstitious, but they are almost all creatures of habit. Myself, I have a certain way of taping the knob at the end of my stick, certain types of socks I like to wear under skates, and I almost never wash the shirts I wear under my shoulder pads. There are plenty of other little things I've done over the years on game days, but there are some former Leafs out there that make my own habits look pretty darn tame.

I recently read Andrew Podnieks' Hockey Superstitions, and, from that, have culled a list of former Leafs with some peculiar habits.

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2013 Winter Classic Alumni Rosters Announced

Danny Gray
July 11 2012 11:16AM

Today the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings announced a small portion of their respective rosters for the Alumni Games, that will take place as part of the 2013 Winter Classic. Oh boy are they something to get excited about!

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Nikolai Kulemin, and an introduction to "shooter regression"

Cam Charron
July 11 2012 09:18AM

Nikolai Kulemin has a difficult task ahead. It's going to be convincing fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs that he can be more than a seven-goal scorer.

That's all Kulemin had last season. A year after a career campaign where the silent Russian notched 30, he came back down to earth in a big way and now faces a tiring restricted free agency battle.

He's an interesting case, his last two years marked with two extremes.

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