Operation Los Frankgeles – The case to vote Frank Corrado in as the Atlantic Division captain

frankieee

There’s been a lot of debate about the NHL’s All-Star Game voting policies over the years. Like when people tried to vote for Rory Fitzpatrick and his votes mysteriously disappeared before he could get in. Or like when a bunch of 4chan members from /sp/ built a series of bots to vote in an all-Habs starting lineup to the game in Montreal, which gave us a Mike Komisarek overtime penalty. Or, most recently and famously, John Scott last year.

I think we can all agree that the All-Star Game doesn’t need another John Scott. But it might need Frank Corrado.

Here’s the thing about Scott, before you jump on me with “this is basically the same thing, no?”. The Vote for Scott campaign started as a form of mockery. The 6’7 enforcer was known for being, well, not very good at hockey from an NHL standpoint, producing poor metrics in about every sense of the game. He also had a history of illegal hits and a suspension record. Those were probably not helped by his large frame running into people, but he had a reputation as a villain. He was voted in as a form of mockery and revenge on him for being bad. It was an attempt to ruin the All-Star Game by voting in someone who some fans felt was ruining the Regular Season games.

Then the NHL unofficially stepped in and found a way to indirectly route him to the AHL, giving them a reason to ignore the votes. Then, Scott started talking about the situation, and hockey fans found out that he was a human being and a likeable one at that. At this point, the “maybe he deserves this vote” kicked in, and the people who disliked him agreed that they disliked the NHL even more, so they were going to put more pressure on out of spite. The result was a brilliantly fun weekend with John Scott becoming the MVP of the whole thing. It was great, but it was accidental greatness that was initiated to mock him. Thankfully, it worked out better than expected.

Back To Frankie

So with that in mind, I don’t want another situation where everybody votes for the bad hockey player to make fun of them, because the odds that it’ll end in another perfect storm like Scott’s are minuscule, and if to does, it’ll feel forced. But I don’t think that negates putting a non-star into the game, as long as the circumstances are much different. Which is why I think Corrado is the guy.

Frank Corrado is a legitimately good NHL player. He’s not going to deserve a Norris Trophy anytime soon (could win one, though), but he was an effective player for the Leafs last season and many believe that if he was playing regularly this year, he’d be much the same.

The Leafs’ coaching staff don’t agree. Toronto are 23 games into the season, and Corrado has played one game. This is reminiscent of last year, where he didn’t make his season debut until December 15th, but this time, he isn’t a recent waiver claim learning a system and recovering from under-treated injuries; he’s just simply valued less than polarizing depth defenceman Roman Polak and his regular partner Matt Hunwick. Some will tell you there’s a good reason for it. It’s been hard to quantify one, but it’s apparently there.

No matter how you feel about whether he should be playing or not, though, I think we can all universally agree that we feel bad for him. Most bubble players get sent down to the AHL to work on their game until they’re needed or get slotted in more than once every few dozen games. Due to the necessity for a waiver placement, though, the Leafs haven’t done that. They value the 23-year-old enough that they don’t want to lose him, but not enough that they’ll play him.

Los Frankgeles

It’s a crappy fate for a player that even they seem to believe is good enough to play and make a positive impact on some NHL team. So while everybody else gets their time off, it would be nice to reward him with the opposite and get him into a game. Get him in front of a cheering crowd again, and even let him feel relaxed about it. If he can’t live his childhood dream of being a regular on the Toronto Maple Leafs until further notice, we may as well let him be an All Star for a weekend, no?

Besides, we can even still fit in the “us against the league” narrative with this one. After all, they gave the All-Star game to Los Angeles on Toronto’s centennial. Sure, it’s the Kings’ 50th, but Montreal got the Draft, the All-Star Game, eight billion throwback jerseys, and a bunch of other unnecessary extra festivities while the Leafs settled for the Winter Classic (but not actually). If this city can’t have the game, you may as well send someone who represents it in both team and birthplace.

How You Can Help

corrado

As of about an hour ago, the NHL All-Star Game voting page is up. You can submit a ballot ten times a day, and write in ballots are still a thing. Frank Corrado is on the list, eligible to be captain of the Atlantic Division.

So vote for him ten times a day. Then tell a friend, and get them to tell a friend. Send people to me if you think they need further convincing. Together, we can make a difference, and make this happen.

  • FlareKnight

    Well best of luck with the effort.

    Probably won’t do it myself though (already voted today anyways). Corrado’s situation is unfortunate. But don’t think it’s any less embarrassing for a healthy scratch to get voted into an all-star game than for a guy who wasn’t really an NHL player anymore.

    Will save the write-in for guys who have played well enough to deserve to go, but oddly didn’t get on the list. Like Marner and Matthews (but Bozak is good enough to be on there?).

    If it works out then great. But this kind of thing happens all the time and not that interested in doing it this year.

    • HockeyKeeperKit

      Are rookies typically on you ballet? They usually show up for the skills comps but I can’t think of any rookies recently off the top of my head. I guess the fact that they can be write-in candidates this year means they typically can?

      • Brent Wisken

        Looks like Laine is on the ballot, plus there is the write-in candidates option, as you mentioned.

        There are four names for each team on the ballot. Perhaps each team submitted their four names they wanted listed? Just speculating, but if this is the case, and the Leafs wanted Rielly and Kadri on the ballot, then they would only have two choices left, yet three rookies to choose from (Matthews, Marner, Nylander). Hard choice, and they might not have liked the subsequent optics. As such, they might have spared themselves the choice by going with four veterans instead (JVR, Bozak, Kadri, Rielly).

  • BarelyComments

    Posted a comment about this a couple days ago but it was on an old post so didn’t get much feedback but I’m genuinely interested in what people think…

    “Most bubble players get sent down to the AHL to work on their game until they’re needed or get slotted in more than once every few dozen games”

    Is that true? All NHL teams carry a full 23 man roster don’t they? Are the Leafs unique around the league in the frequency in which they rotate in their depth players? Kind of sick of the discussion and I’m wondering if there is genuinely anything more to the story than we believe the #7 is better than the #6

    (deleted the last bit because it was what all the comments are about and it’s not really the point)

    • Tigon

      It’s nice to be paid this year but how do you get a paycheque next year if you’re not actually working. It’s like sitting at home on EI for a few years and then looking for a job. Sure you were paid but how do you now sell yourself with a few years of zero employment.

      As much as I agree athletes make a very good living we have to stop withe this “they get paid ______ to fly around and play sports” tag line. Sure they are paid well but they are also taxed around 70% (regular taxes, agent fees, escrow, PA fees) so that 500K you throw out there is actually only around 150K. Still nice, but when you’re salary is 500K and your take home is 150K, you’d be pissed.

      • LukeDaDrifter

        So what is the answer?. Should we ask the NHL to reduce the roster limit to 20 players so there are no bubble players practicing with the big club, ready to step in for an injury?

        Should we pass a rule that says the regular players must sit out, so the bubble players can play more NHL games

        • Brent Wisken

          While all teams do have bubble players, the Corrado situation is unique. This has been going on since last year, as Jeff pointed out. The issue isn’t whether the Leafs see Corrado as one of their top 7 d-men. They are free to choose who they want to play. Rather, the issue is that they won’t let Corrado play anywhere – not on the Leafs, not on the Marlies, not traded to another team. He just sits and sits there, and as such they shouldn’t have claimed him from Vancouver (where Corrado would have had the chance to play on the farm team or even make the big club). Doesn’t look like Babcock has any inclination to play Corrado, and the coach keeps making excuses. So they should just cut bait and give Corrado a chance to play elsewhere. Although management might like Corrado, the coach doesn’t, and the player has been caught in between. The young man’s career is passing him by through no control of his own.

          • BarelyComments

            To be fair though, there haven’t been any injuries… If a defensemen go down he gets to play, that’s why you have depth. I happen to think Corrado is probably our 6th best defensemen, but if I’m Babcock and I think he’s our 8th, I’m going to play the 7 other guys first…

          • Brent Wisken

            Granted, there haven’t been any injuries, but given how little value Babcock seems to have for Corrado, I think they might as well trade him and call up a Marlies player if needed. I’m not saying Corrado is superb (I see him as their fifth or sixth best d-man), but i would like to see him given a chance to play. I really don’t think he is going to get a chance to play here, not with Babcock as coach. I see it differently than some Leafs’ fans on this issue. If the Leafs aren’t going to play Corrado, i just think there is room for fairness and consideration to let him play elsewhere.

          • BarelyComments

            But don’t you think that if there was an injury he would play? I don’t see a possible situation where a spot opens up and they call a Marlie up instead and continue to scratch him (if that where the case I would agree with you). So until that happens it seems to me like he is in the same situation as any other depth defensemen is in, throughout the NHL. He hasn’t proved himself to be better than the other guys (according to the coach), so he’s got to wait his turn to make it into the lineup and has run into some bad luck in terms of how healthy the team has been. I think it is fair to criticize Babcock’s talent evaluation if he thinks Hunwick is better than Corrado, but I don’t think you can say he has treated him particularly unfairly otherwise…

          • Brent Wisken

            Honestly, I think Babcock will go out of his way not to play Corrado. There are currently two d-men in the press box, and Corrado is the very last option for the coach. Babcock just keeps making excuses. For instance, a couple of weeks ago he said he didn’t want to put Corrado in the line-up since the Leafs were on a winning streak. Then Hunwick came back from injury, and Babcock put him in immediately, regardless of the winning streak. Corrado went in too, for the one game, and then was taken out immediately afterwards. The optics looked odd. As for comparisons with other depth defensemen on the other teams, the situation is different given how long it has gone on for with regards to Corrado. If Babcock isn’t going to play him, then they should just let Corrado go, regardless of how management feels about the player. Babcock has a lot of power in the organization given his long, highly paid contract. Sometimes i think he is the de facto GM, or to a lesser extent, the co-GM.

          • LukeDaDrifter

            You must look at the defence from the right hand side. Fact is Corrado is not better than Zaisev, He is not better than Carrick. Babcock (and I agree with him) does not think he is more valuable than Polack. Polack’s physicality, his superior ability to get in the lane to block shots, Polack’s use on the penalty kill, and skill at stopping the cycle, trumps Corrado’s better skating ablility.

          • Brent Wisken

            The Leafs’ organization has every right to play whichever defenceman they prefer. That’s fine. I just wish they would give Corrado an opportunity to play elsewhere. He has been in limbo, just sitting there for a long, long time. They aren’t playing him on the Leafs (their prerogative), yet also refuse to play him on the Marlies or trade him.

          • LukeDaDrifter

            I am certainly glad Enroth has been given his chance to play. If not, I would hate to think how many people would be clambering to say we need to give him a chance. Already we have seen one article showing us the graphs that tell us Enroth will bounce back so there is no point in signing Ramo.

          • Tigon

            I don’t think that’s an “in fairness” situation. The Leafs chose to keep 8 defensemen and you think that he would at least get to play once every half dozen games. The Leafs aren’t in a position to even make the excuses of don’t change what isn’t broken or working – this is a .500 club. Corrado is on pace to play roughly 4 games, look at it like that. 4 games! And he is healthy.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            If you are going to look at it strictly from a handedness perspective, why has Marincin slotted into 14 games. Has Hunwick been injured that many games? No. Are you telling me Polak couldn’t use a rest every couple games (or during back to backs) to heal up all his bumps and bruises from his valuable shot blocking ability?

          • LukeDaDrifter

            One of the purposes of bubble players is to be available to step in when a regular gets injured. Not getting much game time comes with the territory. At the moment the Leafs have decided to keep one right shooting D, one left shooting D, and one forward. The Leafs so far this year, have not had many injuries. When Hunwick was injured this year, Marincin replaced him. Both play the left hand side. A lot of teams in the league have had top players go down already. Past history should tell us, sooner or later some injuries will come are way. Last year when Polack was traded Corrado got his chance. We also traded two of our best defensive forwards in Winnik and Spaling. They Leafs rarely won a game after.

            I imagine every D-man on the Marlies would swap places with Corrado.

            I agree it seems to be a long time for a player to remain on the taxi squad. As for damaging his career future earning, one could say if you are thinking of playing overseas does an NHL bubble player have more value than an AHL regular. Probably a tossup. If Corrado was waived then someone comes up from the Marlies. Here is a list, from their website, of our right hand shooting defencemen.

            Justin Holl, William Wrenn, Ty Stanton, Harte of a Lion says Holl looks good. So it is possible Corrado goes down and Holl comes up.

            Maybe Zaisev breaks a leg and Fankie get into the lineup. Then everyone lives happily ever after.

          • Brent Wisken

            Yet, Corrado will not have the chance to go down to the Marlies since the Leafs won’t risk him on waivers. It would be better for his long term career where he could continue to develop his game and prove himself. He has his contract to think about after this year, and it’s not looking good for him since he isn’t given an opportunity to play and showcase himself. Tigon and HockeyKeeperKit provided good reasons why Corrado needs to keep playing, so i will leave it at that. I also just provided my take on why i don’t think Corrado will get much of an opportunity during injury situations. I just don’t think he will get much of a chance in the Leafs’ organization.

          • LukeDaDrifter

            Corrado will get his chance when someone on the right side gets injured or traded. Using your logic everyone on every taxi squad is missing their chance to develop their game and all of them should be traded or waived for that reason. Vancouver waived him to the AHL. The Leafs felt he had value to them as a depth player on the right hand side. They still do.

            Holland has asked for a trade. Nothing much happening on that front. According to a lot of people here he should of been in the lineup playing fourth line center. Are they surprised no other NHL teams has snapped him up? Word is the asking price is only a late round pick.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            Who’s this taxi squad of yours though? Marincin has played 14 games. Holland has played 8 (and will soon be gone). Soshnikov/Griffith have played 14/3, respectively. There has probably been more but these are the first guys who come to mind. Those guys didn’t fill in for injuries really. The team has been relatively healthy but they still got to play, keep the rust off, give other guys rest. Corrado isn’t on the “taxi squad”. He’s on the “ship to Robidas Island squad”. The “kids are meant to be not seen and not heard” squad.

          • LukeDaDrifter

            I don’t understand why you can not see Corrado is not good enough. He was waived by the Canucks because they felt he was not good enough to play a regular NHL shift. This is on a team near the bottom of the league.
            Toronto claimed him. They quickly came to the same conclusion. You assume if he is waived he will be claimed. I am not so sure about that. He might and he might not. If he is claimed then it would be a third team taking a chance he could become an NHL regular. As far as Corrado’s career is concerned that is up to him, his agent, and the Leafs. When he or his agent start complaining about lack of ice time then that is the time we should be voicing our opinions. Let’s be honest here. Some people believe Corrado is better than the six guys Babcock dresses. The think he should be in the lineup. This whole business about his career is a red herring, to get either Hunwick or Polack out of the lineup.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            Your history on Corrado is missing some critical information. Corrado was quite good enough to make the Canucks and was lined up to play his first full season last year with them after a great, if not slightly injured, AHL playoff. The only reason that Corrado was put on waivers was because Vancouver had too many players before the opening of the season. What they did have was a defensemen eligible for the IR, but instead of sending a waiver eligible forward down, Benning, in his infinite wisdom, placed Corrado on waivers instead. All Benning had to do was to send the waiver eligible player down for the hour or two until the season officially started and then immediately re-activate him once the other player was placed on IR. That is how Corrado found his way to the Leafs. Fans and Vancouver reps alike were quite disappointed to lose him.

            Regardless, this does not matter. His usage is not a indication of his ability. Neither does his “poor play” during the end of last season. Again, the entire team was stripped. If you want to say he wasn’t good enough to make a bad Canuck team (which he was) then you can’t ignore that the Leafs were a bad team last year.

            Again and again I’ve said, and most everyone, he is a 5/6 defender on this team. Even if I agree and say he is a 7/8, he should be playing at least every 3 or 4 games. This is Carrick’s first season; he could use a rest just as much as I propose Polak might. Is he better than Carrick? Probably not, but Corrado also isn’t so attrocious that we can’t afford to play him in sheltered minutes every couple games. Not a single person says he is better than the top entire top 6. I respect your opinion so please give us the benefit of the not putting ridiculous claims in our mouths. This isn’t a big conspiracy theory…

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            Ok, but the problem is, he hasn’t had game action in all this time. If an injury happens there will be inevitable rust. Corrado will have a short leash and when an mess-up happens, he will be back in the press-box with an AHL kid called up in his spot. If an IR injury happens to any of the big 3 righties, we get the extra player slot so an AHL righty will inevitably be called up anyway. What’s the chances that they play over Corrado? I’m guessing pretty damn good and the excuse will be “well, he’s been playing really well in the AHL so we’re giving him the chance”.

            Corrado hasn’t PLAYED. One game! That’s the point. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s like recent graduates trying to get their first job. “Well, this job posting in entry level but it also requires 5 years of experience. How am I supposed to have 5 years of experience for an entry level job if I’m not even eligible to apply for an entry level job!?!?!”

        • Tigon

          I don’t think anything has to change. I’m just saying I understand why Corrado would be upset not playing and how it also impacts his future. The Leafs are hurting his development. I wouldn’t blame him if he wants a trade or demotion, he probably wants to just play because that’s how he gets experience and builds his “resume”.

          • LukeDaDrifter

            I haven’t read anywhere that Corrado in unhappy. The only one upset is Jeff Veillette, who is doing his best to convince people Corrado should be in the lineup. Jeff thinks he is a future Norris Trophy winner, and now is asking everyone to vote him to the all-star team.

            Fact is the Leafs are very weak for depth on the right hand side defence. It is the reason Rielly was playing right last year. It was the reason we brought in Zaisev. It is the reason we brought in Carrick. It is the reason we brought back Polack for one more year. It is the reason Corrado is still on the roster.

            I am not sure why we spend so much time on discussing this. Sometimes I wish the Leafs would cut him altogether. Except that would be stupid. We need him for depth on the right side..Corrado is getting to practice everyday with what I believe to be the best training and coaching staff in the league. He is slowing getting better any time I have seen him.

            When the Leafs feel someone on the Marlies with a right hand shot is better than Corrado, I am sure you will see Corrado waived and someone else brought up. Unless the Leafs decide to go with two forwards on the extra roster players. Our first big injury may dictate the situation. Of course if Corrado or his agent tell the Leafs play me or trade me, like Holland has done then things will change. Maybe the comments should be directed at Corrado’s agent. That way we could get Corrado moved off the team, and bring up someone from the Marlies to take his spot in the pressbox, instead of getting playing time on the Marlies. Then we could all sit back and watch from afar, Corrado’s career take off

    • HockeyKeeperKit

      Tigon beat me to it on the take home point but you also have to consider that that is 500 grand THIS year. Every game Corrado doesn’t play this year lessens the chance that he will be on an NHL team next year and years to follow. It’s the same concept as when some kid gets injured in his draft year or similar. Teams shy away not only because they missed games but also because they are even further back in development/progression compared to their peers (plus the injury risk, but that isn’t really applicable here). So, not only may he end up in a sub-NHL league next year (Europe?) making sub-NHL dollars, but he also is missing out on added signing dollars in years to come (600k, 700k, 800k, maybe 1.2mil like a Hunwick some day) when his contract would inevitably increase if he were playing this year in the NHL.

      • Tigon

        Exactly. But it’s not just money, it’s about his career. They are limiting his ability to make a living doing his job. It’s a business where you retire between 30-40 so he needs to play in order to continue playing moving forward.

      • LukeDaDrifter

        There is to consider. If all the Toronto media along with us forced the Leafs hand due to bad publicity of the Leafs ruining Corrado’s career, then they may just cut him. Now Corrado would be out of a job. He would have all his fans to thank, for him for being unemployed. Holland is close to being in that boat.

        • HockeyKeeperKit

          That’s a slippery slope argument. No one is saying the Leafs need to play him 82 games. All we are saying is they need to do SOMETHING other than just letting him waste away. Play him every 3rd or 4th game or simply on back to backs. Send him to waivers and just let someone take him (obviously we don’t want to lose him for nothing but no one is exactly offering a trade for him either) or benefit from him playing in the AHL if he does clear. Even releasing him at this point at least allows him to sign somewhere else and develop. Simply practicing with the team isn’t doing him any favours.

          Consider it this way. You are working for a company that there is no way to move up because there are people more experienced ahead of you who have no intention to leave. Are they more skilled than you? Maybe, but you get all the hand-me-down work that does not develop your skills so really there is no way to know what your potential is. The only difference between my hypothetical and Corrado’s current situation is that he is signed to a contract, one of which he didn’t even sign with this team. He is stuck in this situation with no options for recourse. You could at least leave your company and look elsewhere. Corrado cannot. While we may have 30-40 years where 1 or 2 year of waiting in this situation might be no real big, Corrado has maybe 10-15 so every year he just “waits” is more like 3 or 4 years in his world. At least we have 365 days to prove ourselves. Corrado has 82 each year. It’s a big deal and I personally feel bad for the guy.

  • M@

    I don’t get the love affair with Corrado… the dudes only played 63 games and has 8 points. I mean… sure – get him in the lineup, but we’re not talking about Bobby Orr here guys.

    … and I can’t believe Jeff dropped a “he (Corrado) could win one, though” re: the Norris trophy.

    That is some bold statement, Sir.

  • LukeDaDrifter

    As for writing in Corrado with your vote, the result, if you are successful you will be excluding a defenceman who deserves to be there, plus the NHL will eventually exclude the fans from having any say in the choices.

    • Brent Wisken

      I’m not so sure that the NHL will eventually exclude the fans from having a say in the choices. For half the fans the option to choose a player is the only reason they watch the All-Star Game. Incredibly boring, otherwise.

      • LukeDaDrifter

        Well my take on that is Gary Bettman is not remotely interested in the fans opinion. He is only interested in the fans money. If the fans continue to make a joke with their voting rights, it will quickly go back to the hockey writers having the say..In the end, it turned out ok last year with John Scott. I don’t believe Bettman who represents the owners were very pleased about it.

    • Tigon

      It’s also a shot at Toronto. Plus the ASG is on par with pee wee hockey minus the compete. I’m sure a deserving defensemen wouldn’t care and actually like the time off.

    • HockeyKeeperKit

      At least John Scott was a different team. We could still vote for a Leaf as well as Scott. And really, Scott was on Montreal at point right, or was he representing Arizona? So that meant we were not only ensuring Scott was in but also another Montreal player wasn’t.

      I’d much rather vote in a deserving Leaf than Corrado.

  • espo

    Karlsson, Weber, Chara, Hedman, Green (having a great year), Yandle, Ekblad… all that competition and we’re going to put forth Corrado instead of a guy like Rielly, who might be a bit more fun to watch?

    If its the same format as last year there’s probably only three spots on D.