Sunday, June 29


Apply Within

As "Moose Week" presses on into its (ahem) second week, one thing has become apparent: I hate the Toronto Maple Leafs. Check that, I hate Greener. But I love you guys, and that's why I'm determined to provide HS/HS readers with the most complete Leafs coverage while he's gone. Even though he'll probably return smelling of whores, liquor, and Chemmy, I'll welcome him back with open arms. But I'm not gonna lie to you, it's hard work doing this alone, and I could use a little help around here. That's right Barilkosphere, get those resumes out, HS/HS is now accepting applications! Be warned though, you have big shoes to fill.

Let's take a quick tour around the league after a busy couple of days:

'The New NHL' - Now With Bribery!

Apparently Oren Koules and Len Barrie, the new owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning, weren't kidding. At their press conference last week, the two said that they would be "shockingly aggressive," in an effort to improve their 30th place hockey club. It certainly appears they're keeping their word, after acquiring the negotiating rights, then signing, both Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts. This came just days after Malone told teams he would not negotiate until July 1st. Of course that was before the Tampa Bay Lightning made his dad, Greg Malone, their Director of Pro Scouting. THAT is aggressive. You think one had something to do with the other? I mean, there's no way that's anything but coincidence, right? That's Gambino Family aggressive. I would normally say 1+1=2. But the fact that they hired Malone Sr. the week before nabbing Malone Jr. is either genius, or a double-tap to the back of integrity's head. You don't think Pops dropped a little 'feeler' when his son called to congratulate him on his new job?

I guess District Attorney Bettman isn't quite the intimidator he thinks he is.

Edit (12:32 AM): Brian Rolston's wife has been kidnapped; 4-year deal expected Monday.

Sundin Almost Finished With Rubik's Cube

So the waiting continues. Will it be Montreal or Toronto? Retirement? New Blogger at HS/HS? If he lowers his demands I can make that happen. Before this off-season drama began to unfold, I never bought into all the talk that Mats Sundin had become "comfortable" or "content" in Toronto, but I'm beginning to change my mind. When Sundin refused to waive his no-trade clause last year, his critics said he had no desire to win a Cup and just wanted to enjoy playing out his remaining days in Toronto. I always pointed to the fact that he busted his ass every night, and single-handedly kept the Leafs afloat last year, as evidence to the contrary. While there's still nothing wrong with a guy wanting to enjoy the last years of his career in a city he loves, this monotonous soap opera does make you wonder how hot his fire burns to win a Stanley Cup. If you're the Montreal Canadiens, or any other potential suitor, can you afford to pay him $7 million to find out?


When Cliff Fletcher said the Leafs were going to get younger, I didn't realize he was using himself as the measuring stick. Really? 41-year-old Curtis Joseph? You have a legitimate #1-ish goalie in Vesa Toskala who's gonna play 65 games. Justin Pogge has two AHL seasons under his belt, including very good numbers last year. It's time to see what he's got - let him play 15 games.

Visnovsky An Oiler; Stoll Gets To Hit It More Often

Indulge me as I talk about the Edmonton Oilers for a few moments. The Oil and L.A. pulled off a big-time trade today, sending Lubomir Visnovsky to the good guys for Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene. The Oilers add another slick puck mover to their stable of defencemen, while the Kings get a couple of good role players (with upside) and slash $5.6 million off their cap hit. Usually the team that gets the best player wins the deal, and that's Visnovsky, but this is a good deal for both teams. The Oilers lose some toughness, which is concern for a team that was already thin in that department, but will likely address that in free agency or via another trade. The addition of Visnovsky also enables the Oilers to move Joni Pitkanen for a top 6 forward they've been seeking since the end of last season. That could come as early as Tuesday when we find out which teams have lost out on Brian Campbell, Wade Redden, or Mark Streit. Some guesses where Pitkanen ends up: San Jose (for Cheechoo), Carolina (for Justin Williams or Erik Cole), or Montreal, if Sundin signs (for Higgins or Kostitsyn).

As for the Kings, they get one of the best face-off men in the league in Stoll. While he's probably a #3 center on a good team, he's a great special teams player (plays point on the PP) and still has the upside to be #2 center. While Stoll loved being in Edmonton, there's no better place for him to go than L.A., where his girlfriend Rachel Hunter lives. Look for him to improve on his poor numbers from last year, as he can now tap that on regular basis.

Greene has some holes in his game (passing, d-zone coverage), but he's big and strong and will be a good third pairing guy for a lot of years. Plus, he's a fantastic guy in the locker room and will be a guaranteed fan favorite. The guy is flat out hilarious.

Well that's it folks, I'll be back to talk free agents in a couple days, so long as the Tampa Bay Lightning haven't signed them all. Plus, later this week...PODCAST #4! That's right, me and Mats will be back at it.

Friday, June 27


Easy Tiger

In my last post, I spoke with some admiration for the moves Cliff Fletcher has made this off-season. At least until this Bryan McCabe thing started making the rounds. If the stories of him being asked to stay home from training camp are true, it's quite possibly one of the most classless (not to mention desperate) things I've seen in a long time. Quite frankly, I'm embarrassed to be a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Which is why I'm an Edmonton Oilers fan.

It's one thing to sit here and talk about this in terms of morality and principles, but in reality the whole situation is a non-starter. The Leafs have absolutely zero leverage and no leg to stand on. They simply CAN'T make McCabe stay home. Well actually, they can - they can buy him out. The problem is, the Leafs are trying anything they can to avoid doing just that. As a fan, ask yourself this: What if McCabe decided he wasn't going to report to camp because the Leafs wouldn't give him a Barcalounger in the locker room? You'd crucify him. You crazy fuckers would send male strip-o-grams in Chad Kilger jersey's to his house. The point is, it goes both ways. Unfortunately it appears the Leafs have crossed a line which could harm the image of the franchise. What's next, literally shaming him into waiving his NTC? Players around the league talk, and that's the danger here. It doesn't take much for an organization to get a reputation for mistreating its players. Remember, this is a guy who was highly valued by the team just 2 years ago. Now all of sudden he's being treated like a leper. No, wait...a selfish leper.

Nobody would care if the Leafs bought out McCabe, after all, both sides understand the business aspect of hockey. Hell, it's even within their rights to say, "Bryan, you're not part of our plans here, so you'll probably be sitting in the press box while we let some kids learn on the job," then let McCabe decide what he wants to do. He negotiated for that right, and the Leafs granted him that right. Even if this story isn't true, the optics of it already look bad.

"Fuck It, I'm Leaving Anyway!"

That's not a direct quote from Brian Burke, but I'll bet it's pretty close to what he was saying before he waived Todd Bertuzzi today. A couple months ago, when the Burke-to-Toronto talk was at it's zenith, I wrote about Burke's record as a GM and how poorly he has managed the salary cap/Ducks this past season. Now, on a team that already can't score, Burke has had to give away one of his few moderately productive forwards because of shortsightedness and his inability to properly manage his assets. So Todd Bertuzzi, who Burke gave Dustin Penner's money, is gone because Burke gave Scott Niedermayer's money to Mathieu Schneider, only Scott Neidermayer is back and now someone is out of a job. It should be Brian Burke. This comes after he gave away Ilya Bryzgalov for no return, and Andy McDonald for twenty cents on the dollar. Yeah, Kevin Lowe is running HIS team into the sewer. Riiiiiight. Guess who's coming to TO!?

Wednesday, June 25


The Great Purge

First off, I'd like to thank special guest blogger, "Greener", for yesterday's Darcy Tucker post. We'll keep your resume on file, buddy. Keep plugging away.

By now, I'm sure Leafs fans must feel like a tornado came through town and swept away their cow. Calm down, that wasn't another Kyle Wellwood fatty joke. I'm simply referring to the speed and ferocity with which 'Purger Cliff' is dismantling this hockey team. You have to give the man credit, he's made some tough decisions and he's made them free of any emotion. Say what you want about MLSE, or the monotony of the ongoing GM search, but the wisdom in appointing Fletcher is beginning to show. He had no tangible connection to this current Leafs regime, or its players, and that will pay dividends in the long run.

As hockey fans we have a tough time separating the player from the crest. We overvalue our own players because they are fighting for our cause. But such blurred judgment isn't exclusive to fans, we see it all the time with GM's and coaches who leave for other teams. They want to bring in players, assistants, and other staff with whom they've had success. Fletcher was never burdened by any such loyalties, and because of that, it seems he's making the tough choices that John Ferguson couldn't - or wouldn't, for fear of magnifying his own poor judgement.

As it stands today, the Captain (Sundin), heart-and-soul (Tucker), and underachievers (Wellwood & Raycroft), have been dispassionately culled from the herd, without any assets coming back (at least not yet). But, the real payoff from Fletcher's moves might be bubbling beneath the surface. In showing McCabe, Kubina, and Kaberle that he's serious about starting over and getting younger, Fletcher has made the Toronto Maple Leafs a less appealing team to play for, simply from the standpoint of winning a Stanley Cup in the near future. With each key part dissected, perhaps the waiving of No-Trade clauses comes closer to fruition. The Leafs aren't the Flyers. The building blocks for a quick return to the top are not in place, and the only assets they have to garner those building blocks, are holding the aces. If these players want to win, they'd be wise to try it elsewhere.

As for the vanquished:

Wellwood will get a new lease on his career in Vancouver. It's only fitting that the laziest man in hockey could possibly find the laziest job in hockey falling into his lap - playing between those twins.

Sundin is putzing about, and if I'm Montreal I'm starting to look at other options. So a classy guy like Bob Gainey calls you and offers you: $7 million a year, the first line center job on the first place team in the Eastern Conference, a great city with great fans...and you're still too bothered with the kind of crankbait you're gonna hook that next Mackerel with? Your heart probably isn't in it, Mats.

Darcy Tucker? The popular opinion is that the Alberta-born winger probably wouldn't mind a return home, and I can see Calgary having an interest. The Oilers are already overflowing with bodies up-front, so despite the fact he would bring some needed grit and leadership, it might not be a good match. Personally, I think the ideal team for Tucker would be Pittsburgh. With the Pens losing half their roster (and nearly all their left wingers) to unrestricted free agency, Tucker would not only address a positional need, he would bring back all the elements that the Pens are losing from the departure of Gary Roberts. Perfect fit if you ask me.

In the meantime, Fletcher will continue to go about his business and while the immediate future may not seem bright, their might be a Tavares, Hedman, or Cowen at the end of the rainbow.

Darcy Tucker: Always a Maple Leaf

This is my third attempt in writing this post about Darcy Tucker being bought out by Cliff Fletcher. The third go at trying to accurately get all of my feelings together about one of the all-time great Leafs, and one of the all-time great hockey players.

I don't necessarily mean that Darcy is all-time HHOF great. I mean, when you think about what characteristics make a hockey player great, it's those qualities that make us lucky to follow hockey over anything else. Things like strength, passion, courage, determination and will. Things you wish you had more of. Darcy Tucker has them in spades.

This is Darcy at a practice. You know when the last time you ever worked this hard? Never. Darcy is why we love hockey. Darcy is why we hate the Ottawa Senators. For every action, there is an opposite reaction. Darcy exists as the opposite reaction to the Senators; to mock and show up everything that team stands for.

Darcy is the ultimate teammate. You hear about "warriors", and who some stupid broadcaster would "want to go into battle with". Most of those names are complete bullshit. Darcy Tucker IS that guy. Remember this?:

This is another study in opposites. Darcy and Sean Avery. Whatever Avery said to Blake on that line doesn't matter. We all know what levels Avery stoops to. What does matter is how Darcy stood up for Blake. This is a moment that makes you proud to be a Leaf. If we never won, and had heart like this, that would be fine with me. I'd rather that, than win the other way with guys like Avery. Any day.

No one was more proud to be a Toronto Maple Leaf. No one cares about the crest like he does. The Muskoka 5? Never once did I question Darcy's integrity in refusing to waive his NTC. He wanted to stay and win as a Leaf, and nothing else would do.

We've all spoken a lot in the past couple of days about other players who some of us can easily do without, while others disagree. Bring up any number of players, even Mats, and you'll get a very mixed bag of reactions. Not so with Darcy. Every response I've heard and read so far about the buyout is one of shock and extreme disappointment. NO ONE wants this to happen. How many players can you say that of?

My friend Chemmy, who writes the great Darcy Tucker Fan Club, not that I know what he's gonna do, but I urge him to not change the name of his blog. It's as meaningful a name with Darcy as a Leaf as it is without him.

Please leave your favorite Tucker moment in the comments section. Mine is the Avery confrontation, followed closely by murdering Sami Kapenen in the playoffs. The most incredible hit ever.

So I want to say thank you to Darcy, for everything he's done for the Leafs. For everything he's meant to us as Leafs fans, and as hockey people.

Tuesday, June 24


Wellwood, Sundin...and Dude?

I've just returned from my Monday night beer league game, nursing the wounds from an 8-2 beating. To make matters worse, tonight's result comes on the heels of an 8-0 drubbing in our Sunday night league, after which, Greener and I set a record for longest sustained silence on a car ride home. Call me old fashioned, but if I'm gonna get my ass pounded like that I'd at least like to cuddle afterwards.


What, too aggressive? Well, tough, 'cos this is "Moose Week" here at HS/HS, and that's how we're gonna roll. How about that special avatar, huh? I go the extra mile for you guys, because I value our loyal readers. Unlike some other member of the team who has apparently become something of a 'Big Time Charlie'. Oh sure, he says it's just a temporary gig, but Greener's got a
bit of that front-man ego. One minute he's "guest editing," the next he'll be "doing a couple solo projects." Not to worry HS/HS readers, he'll be back next week. Besides, if Greener ever left HS/HS it would have all the makings of David Lee Roth leaving Van Halen. He'd pimp himself out, shake his ass in unitard, then drop "Yankee Rose" on us and come crawling back in shame. On to hockey...

Fletcher Gives Red Wings Permission to Speak to Wellwood

I know, it's shocking but true. The Red Wings have been given permission to speak to Wellwood. So have the Penguins...and 28 other teams. Excellent Edmonton Oilers blogger, Lowetide, is reporting that the Leafs will not qualify Tubby McGorgemyself, making him an unrestricted free agent. Let the wrath of Leafs Nation hail down. You'd have to think that Fletcher tried to move him at the draft and found no takers. What's that say about his demise as a hockey player? 45 points as a rookie in the NHL, and now nobody is even willing to chance a 7th round pick on him. Can't say that I blame Fletcher, at this point Wellwood would only be taking ice time away from another (more committed) prospect whose development might otherwise be slowed. I will say this, he's gonna look good in a Nuremberg Ice Tigers uniform. Mmmm, bratwurst.

Mats More Like It (copyright Sun Media Corporation)

No, I'm not gonna talk about loyalty, or what Sundin does or doesn't owe the Toronto Maple Leafs. That's some bullshit anyway. The real significance of the Leafs granting Montreal permission to speak to Sundin is it signals that the rebuild really is underway. Don't let Jamal Mayers fool you, this team is starting over. If anything Mayers might be the Leaf most likely to earn his money this year, after Ron Wilson taps him on the shoulder every other night to "change the momentum." Without Sundin's goals and leadership it could be a long year, and there's not a lot of help to be had in free agency come July 1st. Leafs fans should be hoping that Montreal can close the deal, because the return could be significant. Top prospect Mikhail Grabovski (left)? A 2009 first round pick? Chris Higgins? Where is Montreal gonna find ice-time for Sundin, Koivu AND Plekanec? Could Plekanec be coming back in the deal? The Toronto Maple Leafs weren't gonna win a Stanley Cup with Mats Sundin, any of those assets would help expedite the rebuild. Which leads to the next question. Who's gonna be the number one center on the Leafs? Better hope it's Patrick Marleau (via Pavel Kubina to the Sharks), and that means Leafs fans should be hoping that Brian Campbell doesn't re-sign in San Jose.

The Chronicles of Sarnia

20 years ago this week, I got to spend a summer at Shamrock Hockey School in Lucan/London, Ontario. Ah, good times. For those in need of a little geography lesson, Lucan is a little town outside London. Most of you probably know it as the home of influential "shit kickin country" band (their words not mine), The Moonshine Riders. Jared, remember the night they rocked the Rose N' Crown? Holy shit, I was soooo wasted that night. And you're welcome, Moonshine Riders, 'cos you just got the HS/HS bump! I think my point here was that Lucan was a really small town. But for a little kid like me, born in Los Angeles it was great! I got to play hockey twice a day (on ice!), skate in the same arena as the London Knights, and meet some great people. During my stay, I lived with a nice family in a trailer a renovated school bus. This puppy comfortably slept four, full kitchen, half-bath, all the comforts you expect from your local rapid transit vehicle. If I remember correctly it looked kinda like this:

Yeah, that's about right. The only thing missing from that picture is me crammed into the bottom bunk bed, crying under my covers. I was living in a fucking bus! At any rate, my bunk-mate that summer was the only son of the family, a kid my age named Dude. Now imagine for a moment: a teenager from Los Angeles, who quite readily uses the popular colloquialisms of the day, shacked-up with a kid named Dude.

Moose: Damn, dude.

Dude: What?

Moose: What?

Dude: You call me?

Moose: No, sorry...I just can't find my black friction tape.

Repeat 12-times a day.

Believe me, Abbott and Costello only wish they had that kind of fodder. Whenever I was away from the rink, Dude would take me around the trailer park to play horseshoes, rock some Bingo at the Rec Center, or hang out at the Pool Hall. One of my lasting memories was shooting pool while a couple of mulletted dudes (not Dude) at the table next to us, kept playing the same shitty song over and over on the jukebox. Uh huh, "Yankee Rose" - KICK IT!

Sunday, June 22

Beware, The Ides of June

Never one to miss an opportunity to separate myself from the pack, and by that, I mean Moose, a little note to let you know I'm doing some guest editing over at the great Pension Plan Puppets for the next little while, along with Chemmy and later MF37.

PPP is as good as a Leafs blog gets, which is ironic now that I'm associated with it in a way other than referencing it 200 times every single podcast. PPP (the man) left me with few instructions other than implicitly stating "No Moose!", which is a policy I've been trying to implement around here for a while now. Seeing as how I'll be writing slightly less for a week or two, that means, in fact, I'm sorry to say there will be an actual increase in the amount of Moose you'll see. God, I hate poetic irony!

Thursday, June 19


Yes, thank God it's draft day. The day we've all been waiting for for such a long, long time. Remember the "Slide for Stamkos"? That was this day! Crazy, I know.
This is also the day when we get to listen to 6,000 tubs of shit in Jorts boo our team and G.M. when they get announced. While Fletcher is up on the podium, watch him carefully as he speaks through clenched teeth thanking Ottawa and the Senators for their hospitality. That'll be language a civilized person uses instead of saying "Thanks for finally turning down the Judas Priest at around 2:30 am, you inbred creeps!"
Along those same lines, Windsor Spitfire center Josh Bailey is now on suicide watch because he's just heard that TSN held their mock draft and Pierre McGuire had Ottawa take him at the number 18 pick.
McGuire, a marble-mouthed New Jerseyan whose made an unbelievable career for himself by yelling everything, has hypnotized every broadcast radio and television outlet in North America into believing that "VOLUME" is the same as "TALENT". I tried to endure watching him on TSN while he sat and yelled his script at James Duthie who sat two feet away from him. He tried to say that Bailey is a two-way Cory Stillman type with play making abilities. Jesus, you've got to feel for Bailey, being linked on TV to that team. Poor kid.

Someone whose dancing with the stars though is a strapping young Dane by the name of Mikkel Boedker. The TSN draft had the Leafs chose Boedker at #7. Personally I think he's great, but I would want the Leafs to get someone a little more dynamic. But, he's a top 10 pick in a super deep draft so, very good, the Leafs get him. This will certainly happen unless the Kings go way off the board as they did last year, which would push everyone down a spot. That would probably mean the Leafs take Luke Schenn... and, oh, I just got hard. Then again, imagine if Filatov gets passed on and the Leafs take him? Oh! I'm now even harder. Then again, imagine a fun birthday dinner at The Keg?

So let's see what Kliff and the Gang will do in Ottawa. I know a little of what they'll be going through as I have to spend the draft in L.A.'s version of Ottawa: the seat on the couch next to Moose. You've got to feel for me. Poor kid.

Tuesday, June 17

It's About F****** Time!

Glenn Anderson = Hall of Famer

The white smoke finally billowed out from the rooftop of the Hockey Hall of Fame today. Glenn Anderson got his rightful place in hockey's shrine, and it's been a long overdue honor for one of the all-time great playoff performers. The fact that it took this long is a black eye for the media. Anderson never had a great relationship with reporters, and, as we all know, one of the requirements to get into the Hall of Fame is kissing-up to a bunch of notebook toting fat-asses. Other qualifications:

1) No pre-marital sex.
2) Support the troops.
3) A carbon footprint of 2.5 tonnes or less.
4) Shalt not covet thy neighbour's ox.

Anderson played for a few other insignificant teams that nobody remembers, but will always be remembered as an integral part of the Oilers 5-time Cup winning dynasty. He was fearless, skilled, and at his best when it was all on the line. Congrats!

Sunday, June 15

The Real NHL On Versus

The other day Moose and I were having a discussion about hockey. No big surprise there, as it's what we most often do. After talking about the Final, the NHL awards and upcoming draft day scenarios, naturally, talk turned to who the hottest goalie in the NHL is. Wow! The conversation sure got animated! I never knew Moose and I had so many interests in common!

So my first candidate for hottest NHL goalie was Roy Worters. I mean, right? All Roy ever did was win the Vezina trophy for the 30/31 season. After he retired, the New York Americans never had it so good...looking.

To counter my first nominee, Moose put forth Gump Worsley. The Gumper! Gumper, who my Dad says was the best goalie he ever saw play, can be seen here doing what he did best: getting better looking by taking a slapshot puck in the face. Suck on that, Bobby Hull!

Next on our great debate list was Leaf fan favorite, and nominee numero deux of mine, Turk Broda! Here's Turk, looking awesome as men do in a Leaf sweater making a save and being great. You may laugh at any number of things in this picture, but you know when you had balls this big? Never.

Then Moose mentioned someone under the radar: One Mr. Bill Durnan. Durnan, seen here maybe a little out of position and openly screaming about it, won about 80 Vezinas all the while clearly wearing boxing gloves instead of a catching mit and blocker.

So the debate between Moose and I raged on for what seemed like seconds. It was then and only then that we realized that (a) these men aren't actually in the NHL anymore, and, in fact, had all been dead for decades. That (b) neither of us is a gay dude who spends his time judging men for their looks, and (c) if we were, then the men we'd be judging for their looks probably wouldn't be ex-NHL goalies who've been dead for decades. It made sense to us. I guess.

What we would do is take a leisurely inter-blog leap over to Wrap Around Curl or I Mean, We Got Guys... and vote in their "Hottie Hockey Dreamy Team: Hotties In The Pipes" competition. And while I sit here not believing that I actually just wrote that last phrase, you can cast your vote on who you believe to be the best looking NHL goalie around. While you're there, have a look around and read some good articles. Because before these women decided to turn their attention to the shallow pursuits of questioning which NHL goalie has the best face, they took time to write about what really matters to female hockey fans: which NHL goalie has the tightest buns.

Friday, June 13

"...and free Boston Pizza for a year."

Draft Day Scenarios

With the 2008 NHL Draft less than a week away, it's time to put the GM hats on again. Trade up? Trade down? Stick to the rebuild, or give it one more run with Sundin? Here are four Draft Day scenarios for you to mull over. Some are more realistic than others, and some will have your wringing your hands. What would you do?

SCENARIO #1: Dean Lombardi emerged from talks with L.A. Kings ownership last week with a new direction - get even younger. So, he fired coach Marc Crawford and headed into the draft with 14 picks (including 8 in the first 3 rounds), looking to re-stock the organization with quality prospects. With some nice young players up front, L.A. is looking to add a couple blue chip defence prospects to go along with Jack Johnson. Having already selected Drew Doughty with the #2 overall pick, the Kings want the #7 pick to snag one of Alex Pietrangelo or Tyler Myers.

The Offer:

To Los Angeles: Toronto's #1 pick (#7 overall)

To Toronto: Alexander Frolov, Dallas' #1 pick (#28 overall), L.A.'s #2 pick (#32 overall) and Calgary's #2 pick (#47 overall)

Pro/Con: For moving down 21 spots, the Leafs get an affordable 30 goal scorer who is signed for 2 more years, and is just 26 years old. They also add a couple high picks in the 2nd round to help replenish the cupboard. It's a quantity over quality deal, as the Leafs would lose out on a possible first pairing defenceman. Worth the price? It depends on your projection for Tyler Myers. Is he the next Chara, or just a more skilled version of Hal Gill?

SCENARIO #2: The Edmonton Oilers are without a 2nd and 3rd round pick after the Dustin Penner offer sheet. With a bundle of NHL calibre forwards on the roster, the Oilers are looking to move bodies and add some picks. The phone rings at the Leafs draft table just before the start of the 2nd round.

The Offer:

To Edmonton: Pittsburgh's #2 pick (#59 overall) and Toronto's #3 pick (#67 overall).

To Toronto: Rob Schremp

Pro/Con: A YouTube legend, Schremp has always been a wild card. Drafted #25 overall in 2004, and led the OHL in scoring in 2005-06. He has as much skill as anybody, but needs work on his skating and strength. After two years honing his game in the AHL, and a dedicated off-season training program, he appears ready to make the jump. Trouble is, the Oilers are deep up front and have a lot of youth already. The Leafs would be giving up two picks in a strong draft year, but would they get someone with Schremp's potential at #59 or #67? He's a boom or bust proposition, but might be worth the mild risk for a rebuilding team.

SCENARIO #3: The Leafs have already selected Tyler Myers at #7 and amazingly, Nikita Filatov has slipped to #9. With Nashville on the clock, you sense a chance to hit a home run and grab the skilled Russian, who some say is the 2nd best player in the draft. With the cost-conscious Predators also owning the #15 pick, and some good youth already in the system, Nashville is willing to talk trade. But what's the price?

To Nashville: Toronto's #1 pick in 2009.

To Toronto: Florida's #1 pick (#9 overall).

Pro/Con: There's just one question. How good do you think the Leafs will be this year? The Leafs are getting a top 10 pick in a strong year, with the intention of selecting a dynamic, front-line winger. But, are you giving up the chance at selecting John Tavares, Victor Hedman, or Jared Cowen next year? If the Leafs aren't a lottery team, do you make that deal? With the expected bounce you get in the first year of a new coach, you have to think the Leafs will be picking outside the top 10 next year.

SCENARIO #4: The Atlanta Thrashers have one of the weakest prospect pools in the NHL and have made the decision to cut salary and start from scratch. With the #3 and #29 overall picks, they will get two good players, but they want to add some established NHL youth and even more prospect depth. After selecting Zach Bogosian with the #3 pick, they come calling for the #7 overall pick.

The Offer:

To Atlanta: Toronto's #1 pick (#7 overall), Toronto's #1 pick in 2009, Alex Steen, Jiri Tlusty, and Anton Stralman.

To Toronto: Ilya Kovalchuk

Pro/Con: The Leafs get the NHL's premier goal scorer (in his prime), but have to give up their best young players and high picks to do it. Is this really the way to rebuild? That said, Kovalchuk is only 25-years-old himself, and his goals would single-handedly keep the Leafs out of the Tavares sweepstakes. How often do you get a chance to get a 60-goal scorer in his prime? Could Kovalchuk handle the heat in Toronto? Probably, as long as he could walk around in his loin cloth all day.

Let's hear your thoughts, armchair GM's.

Thursday, June 12

My Sweet Angel: Falls Down, Goes Boom

Thanks to a tip from excellent He Score, He Shoot reader/bar owner/stud, Ian P., I bring you news that our sweetest little kiss in the bunch, Kyle Wellwood, has broken his foot. When reached for comment on the matter, a heartbroken Wellwood expressed sadness that "...this'll throw all my hard, off-season training way off! I mean, right around August or so, I was really gonna go hard at it!" And by that, Kyle means the buffet.

Welly told the press that he broke his foot "warming up" for a game of indoor soccer. Phew, sounds exhausting! It's no real surprise that Kyle broke a bone, because everyone knows that Kyle has the softest skin body work ethic bones around. That's because exercise helps strenghten the human body, like your bones, or your groin.
Never one to actually "work out" or "train hard" or "not take his career playing pro hockey for granted", it looks like it'll be just another summer in cottage cheese country for snookums.

Kyle, seen here as an abomination to everything Gary Roberts stands for, obviously hasn't read, say, this blog, or your blog, or even any sky writing anywhere in Southern Ontario. For you see, there's a new Sherriff in town. His name is Ron "Wellwood Will Look Great in Panthers Uniform" Wilson. This here bench boss will soon tire of watching Tubby McWhiteskin there get plumb tuckered out during a game. I mean gee-willikers Pa, doesn't the play die with you every time you touch the puck? Me neither.

I've written about Kyle many times before, and according to Windsorian of the Year Ian P., the opposite of unwell. Have a look at what I wrote on January 28th. Read that, and then look again at the picture above. Those are 5 months apart. I mean Jesus Christ, I'm not asking that Kyle to turn into Dolph Lundgren between then and now, but seriously, when you're an NHL'er, the only thing getting bigger on you between seasons shouldn't be your jowls. Sometimes I hate to be right.

Not all is lost for Kyle though. The Leafs just released the new TML 07/08 season commemorative figurines! Yes! Awesome! Who's going to be the first on their block to bring home a Kyle Wellwood?:

Not like what you see? Would you rather be unimpressed when listening? Then perhaps your next move should be to listen to our latest podcast. Rad, this is just like chess!

Tuesday, June 10

The Natural

"Bryan Fogarty could skate faster, shoot harder and pass crisper drunk than the rest of us could sober."
- Mats Sundin

The death of Luc Bourdon got me thinking about one of my favorite hockey players - Bryan Fogarty. With today (June 11th) being his birthday it seemed like a perfect time to recollect. I'm sure some of you know the story by now. For those of you who don't, I urge you to read this fantastic collection of stories and quotes about him. Hell, even if you know the story, you should read it. They are, all at once, jaw-dropping, sad, and amazing (like the Sundin quote above).

This isn't intended to be a depressing martyr piece, rather an appreciation for a rare talent. So here's a quick synopsis:

Wayne Gretzky was born in Brantford, Ontario - home of Bryan Fogarty.

You see where I'm going here? Fogarty was drafted 9th overall by the Quebec Nordiques, with their first of two #1 picks in the 1987 draft. Six picks later they took Joe Sakic.

In his final year in the OHL, Fogarty destroyed Bobby Orr's junior scoring records for a defenceman, (47-108-155) and was named CHL Player of the Year. The following year, he was in the NHL and his problems with alcohol and a social anxiety disorder began to surface. Within three years, the NHL career of a "can't miss" talent was coming to an end. After being traded to Pittsburgh in 1992, Fogarty's off ice troubles with alcohol continued. His pure skill and potential meant there was always a team willing to take a chance on him. But after the 1994-95 season, he would be out of the NHL permanently. Between 1992 and 2001 he bounced around the fringe leagues of the world with stops in (get ready): Cleveland, Atlanta (IHL), Las Vegas, Kansas City, Montreal (NHL), Minnesota (IHL), Detroit (IHL), Davos, Milan, Hannover, Indianapolis, Baton Rouge, St. John's, Knoxville, Huntsville, and Elmira.

I still remember the last time I saw Bryan Fogarty play. It was New Years' Eve, 1993. One of the regional sports networks here in Los Angeles was showing Las Vegas Thunder games, because the Thunder had signed a big, 17-year-old Czech kid, who was being touted as the #1 overall pick in the draft...Radek Bonk. As intriguing as that was, I was watching to see Bryan Fogarty. I remember telling my friends that we couldn't leave to go out drinking (ahem, ironic) until after the game was over.

In the first period, Fogarty carried the puck deep into the attacking zone, drew two defenders to him, and fed a perfect pass to the slot, where a wide-open Bonk scored. The announcers and fans praised the 17-year-old "whiz kid," as I shook my appreciation of Bryan Fogarty. The vision and skill never left him. It made my night.

Fogarty continued to play hockey for another 7 years, but less than a year after leaving the game, he was gone. While on vacation with a friend, Fogarty was found dead in his hotel room after a night of drinking. The official cause of death was an enlarged heart.

His hockey career and the nature of his death serve as a reminder. With all the great memories these players give us, and the heroic status we heap upon them, we sometimes forget that they are just ordinary men, albeit with extraordinary talent. I feel priveleged to have seen Bryan Fogarty play hockey. He was a special player - and that's how I'll remember him.

Sunday, June 8

Sex, Drugs, and Shiving: HS/HS Radio Returns!

There's a popular opinion in musical circles that a bands third album is most likely to be its masterpiece. The theory being: A debut usually features songs the musicians have been crafting for years and thus, are fantastic. The follow-up usually suffers because it's rushed, and put together to cash in on the new found success; the sophomore slump. Then, it's make or break time.

So when HS/HS went into the studio to lay down "Podcast #3", we were mindful of the pressure. Could we still bring it? Another "OK Computer" or "London Calling"? Or would it go all "Van Halen III" on us?

The reviews are beginning to leak out, and just look what the critics are saying:
"30 minutes you'll never get back."
- Rolling Stone

- Spin

"Not a total waste of $8 in monthly hosting fees."
- Q Magazine
Such was the magnitude of the event, that CNBC stopped by for sneak peak at our studio sessions. Here's a screencap:

Just click on the post title above, or HERE. We hope everyone enjoys!

Friday, June 6

The Day After The Day After

Dynasty On Hold...Or Is It?
(dun, dun, dun!)

On paper, it seemed like a dream match-up. Unfortunately, Stanley Cup Finals aren't played on paper. Except the 1993 Final, which Toronto won because "Potvin had better stats." Right? I mean, why wait for the podcast?

As predicted, the Penguins weren't quite ready to have their names etched alongside Gretz, Mess, Coffey and Kurri. Let's be honest, it wasn't even close. The Red Wings outplayed them in every single game, and were a couple of bounces away from possibly sweeping. Normally I'd be the first to say that the future is bright for the Penguins, and things like "you have to lose before you can win." But in the cap era, I'm not so sure that old adage holds true. I still feel the Penguins young players will be better for this experience. The question is, where will some of them be putting those lessons into practice? Will the Penguins be able to keep this team together to build on the success from their run to the Finals? The Montreal Canadiens of the 70's and Oilers of the 80's never had to deal with the restrictions of a cap, or rival GM's nipping at the heels of their RFA's.

We knew Crosby was the real deal, and Malkin had a good playoff run as well, but the true bright spot of the playoffs was the emergence of Marc-Andre Fleury as an upper echelon goalie. He had a rough regular season, which prompted the organization to ponder trading for a veteran goalie. Hell, he lost his job to Ty Conklin! I don't like Ty Conklin. You know how the Leafs blogosphere feels about me? That's how I feel about Ty Conklin. No particular reason. I just don't like him.

Okay, one VERY particular reason. "Oh my goodness?" I know Bob Cole is losing it, but I fail to see any "goodness" in that play. Maybe I'm misinterpreting that. Anyway, Fleury came through...big-time. In Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury, you have a core trio that should enable the Pens to be perennial contenders. The challenge will be to surround them with a capable supporting cast, and that challenge will start almost immediately.

First off, they're most likely going to lose Hossa. Say what you want, but the guy answered a lot of questions about his ability to perform in the playoffs. He scored a lot of big, timely goals, and probably earned himself an $8 million contract. Maybe the key with him was not having to be THE guy. In that sense, Pittsburgh is the perfect place for him. It'll be interesting to see where he goes.

Fleury is an RFA, and they'll lock him up long term. But at what price? Between $4-5 million? His price will determine if they can afford Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik. With Malkin and Staal due for new deals next year, it's likely they can only afford one of Malone/Orpik, and both guys have played themselves into the $4 million bracket. Being thinner on the blueline, do they opt for Orpik? Would Pittsburgh-born Malone take a hometown discount?

They have a bunch of key character guys heading for UFA status: Roberts, Hall, Ruutu, Laraque and Dupuis. Of those, Dupuis is probably the guy they'll look to keep, as he was very effective playing with Crosby.

So what's the point of this exercise? Well, you're going to find that teams that win the Cup, are going to be teams that have players outperforming their cap number. You can only afford so many $6 or $7 million guys. You have to get meaningful contributions from your second tier. Which brings us to the Detroit Red Wings. The Stanley Cup champions will go into the off-season with a paltry $39 million committed for next year. They'll have only two guys that you'd call 'key', headed for free-agency: Filppula (RFA) and Stuart (UFA).
They have another year of Zetterberg at a ridiculous $2.9 million, Franzen at $1.1 million, and Kronwall locked up for 4 more years at $3 million. THOSE are examples of outperforming your contract. They'll need to add a defenceman or two, and find a replacement for Hasek, but Jimmy Howard is ready to step-up from the minors at a fraction of the cost. Given that, who's to say the Red Wings won't be players for a high-end UFA defenceman like Redden, Campbell or Streit? Scary thought. Maybe all that talk of a 'Dynasty' was centered on the wrong team.

I'm Just Saying...

Is there anything more ridiculous than an AHL call-up getting his gear on in the locker room and coming out for a skate with the Cup? Maybe I'm sounding like a crusty old man here, but if I lifted the Cup and skated around the ice searching for applause, I'd at least like to feel I contributed to the journey. I mean any asshole and his brother can go to the Hall of Fame and cop some queer kissing-the-cup pose. No offense to queers. Jimmy Howard? I said you were ready to be an NHL back-up, not put your mitts all over Jacques Plante's name. And really, Mark Hartigan? Repeat offender:

Lastly, a word about Ron Wilson. He says he's thinking it over. Uh huh, sure he is. If I know Ron Wilson's ego, he's probably milking this because he didn't want to tell the Leafs "yes" on the same day Detroit won the Cup. The greatest coach hockey has ever seen couldn't stand to be the 2nd biggest hockey story...on a June. If you ask me, he's already overpaid.

Podcast = Monday!