Friday, October 5


Lowe contract extension coming today

Much to the delight of Brian Burke, Darcy Regier, and free agents eveywhere, the Edmonton Oilers are expected to announce a contract extension for GM Kevin Lowe on Saturday.

Count me among the few in the 'thumbs up' camp. I know the majority of those in the Oiler blogosphere are against it, and mainly for two reasons - the Pronger trade and the Smyth trade. I'll have a more detailed analysis tomorrow, but suffice to say that good GM's don't make decisions with their heart. Quite simply that's the difference between irrational fans and good hockey operations executives. Besides, lets see how the Oiler lynch mob feels if the Robert Nilsson of last night can bring that for 82 games.

More tomorrow.


NORTE: Dispatch, this desk. First and foremost I have to say that I decided to write only after watching both hockey games this past Wednesday and Thursday. I needed to see some film. Remember, I didn’t watch any of the pre-season games. I wouldn’t go so far to say that I would be looking at the two games as a harbinger of things to come but…I needed to get myself acclimated. This is my team of ifs remember. (I must also mention that in the meantime I was bitten by a Spider. And I can sadly report that unless oozing copious amounts of yellow-y-ish goo out of a this is what you get in my house when you spill paint in the garage sized welt counts as a special power…that mine didn’t take. Although my right foot looks exactly like a surgical glove blown up a little.

So yes the first two games of the season…unfortunately one of the games was commentated on by Pierre Maguire. And when you expect Joe Bowen and you get Pierre Maguire that’s like expecting a set of golf clubs for Christmas and getting Chlamydia instead. I wont say I dislike Pierre Maguire, he and his exaggerated pronunciation of names and his invisible rimmed glasses, but Pierre Maguire is the ottawa senators of hockey commentating.

Now, without telling tales out of school, and I say this whilst whispering and hanging my head in shame, I am friends with senators fans. Believe me that is not easy for me to admit. I’m like the Fonz trying to say the word wrong. I will say that the only reason I can be friends with them is because of who we were before the teams inception. Because…Jesus Christ…oh my God…in strictly hockey terms, there is nothing worse on this earth than a senators fan. They’re GDCSers. Every last one of them…and I don’t care if that means your grandmother. I can say that because a senators fan would never read this blog. First of all its not in French and second of all…their captain looks like the kind of guy who was a tattle-tale when he was a kid. With that little, white face. That’s just one of the things that make me want to slap the shit out of it. Every time he scores I think how dare he? Like he is an affront to hockey. The man gets booed in his own building…wait…what was the question?

I thought it was a good move to put Raycroft in for the first game. For lots of reasons. First of all…I am uncomfortable with the notion of just handing over a number one position (which is as sexy as it sounds) to anyone. One of the perks that Toskala received when the Leafs got him was an immediate 2 year contract extension. Goaltenders are like babies. When they’re crying for something…its okay for them to suffer a bit. You can’t give in right away. Secondly Raycroft played great against the sens the opening game of last season. There was no reason he couldn’t repeat that. I thought he played alright. At times he looked good…but just like last year, I wondered why he didn’t stop the shots that were goals. I know that Raycroft, no matter how the matter is dealt with, is going to come back and bite us in the ass. This isn’t Michel Tellqvist here. He’s only 25 and could become a great goalie. My problem with Raycroft is that he seems a little laizez faire. He’s a really laid back guy and perhaps that sense of urgency is what I miss in his goaltending. Regardless…Paul Maurice had nothing to lose. If the sens came out, Heatley all spazzed out listening to heavy metal on his brand new 45 million dollar Ipod and destroyed us…then you haven’t shaken your new baby goaltender number 1. It’s only the back up goalie’s confidence that’s broken. But who cares about his spirit because at 2.5 a year you don’t want him anyway.

I will say, and this gauls me to my marrow, that it was a genius move for the ottawa team to sign Heatley. He deserves every last penny they pay him. Set your game to franchise mode with him. A pure goal scorer like that. I recently saw an interview with Mike Milbury where he said if he could go back, he would sign Heatley instead of Dipietro. Even though Dipietro clearly has the makings of a great goaltender.
Quite frankly the better Raycroft plays the better it is for the Leafs as a whole. (Which isn’t as sexy as it sounds.) If he wins games, good. If he gets more confident and pushes Toskala to win, good. If Raycroft becomes a tradable commodity, good. Again with my team of ifs…if we can hold off until trade deadline and he plays well, I believe we could actually get something more in return than the 5 cents (where applicable.)

I was not as disheartened as I thought I might be. For two losses I thought there were tons to be happy about. I loved the speed I saw in Blake. It was such a nice surprise to see a Leaf win a race to the puck. Two goals from Antropov is nice to see too, the part of me that is glass is half empty hopes its just not another 12 games before we see another. Toskala looked like the real deal though. His positioning was impeccable. Even though he was a little far back in the crease for the winning goal, I blame that on man-mountain Hall Gill. I am a Grant Fuhr man, I like goalies who shut it down when they need to.
Not being able to hold the lead is troubling. As is the PP and PK. The last six minutes of game two were quite frankly nauseating….three penalties in a row like that…but 0 for 14 is an uglier stat I believe. My wife, who clearly has a thing for 5 foot 9 cuties kept saying to me, Darcy must be sick. I haven’t heard his name the whole game. And Pony? Where were they? I really think that the game on Saturday with Montreal will show the real Toronto Maple Leafs. I think the team is two good players away from making a real run but they’re a better team than last year. Although I am also on three different medications because of my spider bite. Two more salves and I’ll get the next one free.

And now because I know that Moose and Wash havent read this far. And for those of you who stay until the final credit: I present, Mike Comrie, New York Islander.

I Watched "30 Rock" Last Night!

While the Leafs are 0-2 this season for winning games, I am 1-1 for watching them. I quite excellently have an 80 HR. TIVO. When I bought it, the sales guy told me I'd be hard pressed to ever fill it up. My friend Kris, who, I guess in an effort to save time for chest shaving, bought a 30 HR. He looked upon me with envy. 80 HR's? That'll record everything! NOTHING will ever get erased! Never! Right? Wrong.

Last night, I TIVO'd the second in the home/home against the Senators. I looked at the first few minutes of it, or tried to before I realized that that involved looking at the pre-game faces of the fat, hairy Senator fans. And their husbands. Yes, that's a cheap joke, but, you know, it's true. So I turned it off to watch for later. Moose and I had an early game to play last night, and I had to get ready here, then leave early to account for traffic. We won, it was my birthday, team played well, I played well, looked forward to watching the game when I got home. Oh no I didn't.

The game, TIVO'd just hours before, was gone. Erased. Wiped from the memory like so many Moose give-aways up the middle.

But, I did see most of game one, and as I said, I was happy with the Leafs performance overall. To just not get steamrolled by the Senators is tough enough, and in three games played against them this (pre)season, the Leafs have lost by one goal each time, twice in overtime. The first line came in as promised, with Antropov looking confident for two goals. Kaberle looked average with two bad give-aways. Tucker is still AWOL but Wozniewski looked great. Although I don't know how long the pairing with Hall Gill will last.

Tommorow night is Montreal. A team that last year had a surprising amount of swagger. But you know it's just over-compensation. They're like the short guy in the bar who wears his shirt too small to show off his little muscles. The girl he's with is wearing lucite shoes and too much Victoria's Secret perfume. After he leaves, you hear screeching tires pulling out of the parking lot, and you just know it's him driving away in his '98 Mustang. The one he sprung extra for for the striping package.