You know you’re having a rough go at things when just about any attempt to wear you down is successful. Such was Jonathan Bernier’s night yesterday, which is yet another cog in the machine of sadness for a goalie once pegged as the long-term answer in Toronto. It’s kind of sad to see, really; he’s either having awful luck at the worst possible time for his career, or he’s starting a very sudden decline.
For the sake of both sides, the former needs to be the end-game here. We’ll see. In the meantime, we’ve got another mailbag for you! If you want to be in next weeks, tweet at @TLNdc with your questions, or leave a comment.
@thebrashrules asked: What’s the best case scenario for Frank Corrado? Does he get into Mike Babcock’s lineup without an injury?
The best case scenario probably isn’t an injury, but a player who struggles so noticeably hard that it drags them out of the lineup. Babcock isn’t afraid of making those tough calls, as proven with the flip in starting goaltenders. Roman Polak has been the elephant in the room for many fans, but the combination of the team’s survival in spite of his poor underlying performance and his occasional big moment that keeps the voices above content have kept his thread from snapping him out of the lineup.
Corrado probably has to wait a little bit longer to get in the lineup. Hopefully, he’s practicing hard and keeping himself game-ready, or else he’ll be out of the lineup in much less time than it took for him to get in.
@matthew_gooding asked: Of the pending Leafs UFAs so far, who has trade value if the deadline was today?
I don’t think many would, in total honesty. That’s not to say that they’ve been bad, but the team as a whole haven’t exactly been offensive stalwarts in the early goings of the year. Brad Booyes has put up solid rate numbers, but hasn’t seen regular ice tme; I’d say a team might take a gamble on him if today was the do-or-die moment, but beyond that, we’ll have to revist this quesiton a couple of months.
@thomasbakai asked: Which closet in the ACC do you think Lou has Robidas trapped in?
There’s actually a bit of a lip under the press box that fans can’t really see, perhaps as protection if something drops over the edge. The last time I was up there, there was an issue of the Toronto Sun hanging on it. I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks.
@PlatinumSeatGhosts asked: Has Connor Brown’s stock fallen or risen from last season?
It’s hard to say, with him missing every game this month thanks to a foot injury. I think the organization and the fanbase are still very high on him, seeing as he’s quite young and continues to produce above expectation, but the massive growth of the prospect pool has made his success less vital to the operation, so to speak. The eggs aren’t all in Brown’s basket anymore; but they’re still hoping that his egg hatches into a high scoring NHL chicken.
@CataCarryOn asked: Do you think that it was a disservice to Antoine Bibeau to recall him without starting him once, while Sparks got to make starts in the AHL in his absence?
You can argue this one in a couple of different ways. It’s a bit of a shame for Bibeau to not get the start, from the perspective of it being a bit of a tease (his second one of his career, even), and because he headed back down cold.
But at the same time, the Leafs are in the business of trying to win hockey games, and James Reimer was on a tear. There was no incentive to take him out of the net, especially if it’s just to make sure your AHL split-starter is in rhythm. Bibeau got his NHL salary for a a week or so, got to practice with top-end players, and get a feel for how things work with the big club. That’s pretty valuable, even if it may have made his returning start that much arder. Still no excuse for letting in eight, either way.