Monday, March 21, 2011

So How 'Bout Them Leafs

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kovalchuk Contract Rejected by the NHL

As you all have probably heard by now, the NHL has rejected Ilya Kovalchuk's ridiculous 17-year $102 Million contract on the grounds that it circumvents the salary cap.

Thank God! Finally the NHL does something right! Personally, I hate all these ridiculous 10+ year contract, I think the limit should be 5 or 6 years. But what bugs me about this contract is not so much the ridiculous term, but the fact that the Devils and Kovalchuk knew that he would not be playing the full term of the contract. If this contract was allowed, could you just imagine the insane terms teams would be signing players for (just imagine: Steven Stamkos signed for $250 million over 35 years!)

According to this Sportsnet article the Devils won't appeal the NHL's decision. Assuming that there's no grievance filed by the NHLPA (who has only 5 days to file one) Kovalchuk is a UFA once again. I highly doubt this will mean anything, I imagine he will just re-sign with the Devils for another multi-year but less ridiculous contract.

Until next time folks have a good one!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Ilya Kovalchuk Contract: Why the NHL needs to do something about it

Hello again. Free Agency has gone to a standstill except for a little signing that you may or may not have heard about from yesterday. A player by the name of Ilya Kovalchuk has just signed a 17 year deal worth $102 million! According to TSN the contract breaks down as follows:

- Kovalchuk will earn $6 million each of the next two seasons
- $11.5 million for the following five seasons
- $10.5 million in the 2017-18 season
- $8.5 million for the 2018-19 season
- $6.5 million in 2019-20
- $3.5 million in 2020-21
- $750,000 the following season
- and $550,000 for the final five years

I hate to beat a dead horse here because I'm sure you've all heard the numbers before reading this but this deal will only be a $6.5 million cap hit for the Devils and when the contract expires, Kovalchuk will be 44!

Here's my issue with this deal. First of all, it's clear Kovalchuk will not play until he is 44, he will retire and still make more than you or I could ever hope for. Lamoriello knows this of course, however making the contract go on for 17 years only creates a $6.5 million cap hit for the Devils. There is nothing illegal about this in the current CBA (to my knowledge), however you can be damn sure that it will be come the next one.

The NHL needs to look into this issue and not allow teams to do this, teams should not be able to sign a star player for a ridiculous term to lower the hit on the cap. I've always had a problem with these ridiculously long deals from the beginning. The NHL should limit the number of years a player can sign on to a team for, say maybe 5 or 6 years. These long-term deals are making the NHL look like a joke.

What does this mean for the Devils? Well this deal can either be the start of a strong team for the Devils or make the team completely crumble. Kovalchuk does bring some offensive flair to a team that is known to be defensive. However, if Kovalchuk is a bust in New Jersey, not having his 1-2 minute shifts, you can't get rid of him. No one would want to take on THAT contract! (and I thought Jeff Finger's contract was impossible to get rid of).

That is my rant and insight for now, until next time folks and tanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dion Phaneuf is Captain!

Yesterday, Ron Wilson named Dion Phaneuf the 17th captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs (22nd in the history of the franchise). Since the news broke, I, personally, have been scowering various sports websites to see different inputs on the new captain. The responses have been on either ends of the fence.

Some people speculate that this move was done in perfect time just after the cup, but just before the draft (where the Leafs won't be drafting until the 3rd round) and therefore this is done as a distraction to forget about the Kessel trade. This is partially true, there has been very little, if any, talk about the Leafs lack of a pick in the first two rounds.The timing of the announcement is a good PR move in terms of "distracting" fans, however to say the whole Phaneuf captaincy is based on that distraction is about as doubtful as Vesa Toskala having a .900 save percentage.

Listening to 102.1 The Edge, Wade Belak was a guest, talking about the Phaneuf captaincy, he said he thinks it's either about justifying the trade to get Phaneuf, or Phaneuf is a kiss-ass. If any trade needs to be justified with a captaincy, make Kessel the captain (although I was for that trade, just not for giving away two first rounders), that is the more controversial trade. I don't think many people had an issue with trading floaters like Stajan and Mayers away (too bad Whitey and Hagman had to go though). About Phaneuf being a kiss-ass: if it makes the team better, then who cares? Ever since the Phaneuf trade the Leafs have had more of a jump in their strides.

Another criticism is the short time Phaneuf has been with the Leafs. Phaneuf has only played 26 games with the Leafs having 2 goals and 8 assists in that span. It doesn't matter how few games you have played with a club, if you're a leader, then you deserve the 'C'.

The bottom line is: there is no one else on this team right now that I would consider a leader. Players like Beauchemin and Komisarek can help guide Phaneuf along the way. I feel Phaneuf will make a great captain and will be with the Leafs for many years to come. The pieces are beginning to fall into place in Burke's plan, now we just have to wait and see how well these pieces will fit together.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Top 10 Leafs Moments of the 2009-2010 Season

Alright, I know it's been a while since my last post. But I have been really busy and apologize. I also know it's been 9 days since the Leafs season ended, however it takes that long to figure out the top 10 Leafs moments in what has been an awful season. However I did manage to scrounge around and find 10 moments I felt were worthy of mention.

10.) The Complete Renovation of the Maple Leafs Roster:

This one is really quite straightforward. There is only one Leaf left from the Ferguson era and that is Tomas Kaberle, and odds are he will be gone as well. Burkie got rid of Stajan, Blake, Hagman (too bad though, I liked him), Stajan, Toskala, Mayers (more on these guys heading out later), Stempniak,and Ponikarovsky. I know we finished in 29th, but for the first time ever, the Leafs are doing a major rebuild, implosion, whatever you want to call it, of their roster.

9.) Christian Hanson's Career Night:

For the whole time Hanson was with the Leafs this season, I said he was not ready for the NHL yet and that he needs more time with the Marlies. However, against the Habs he was unstoppable for some reason. Do I think he's ready for the NHL now? No. Just a really good night. Hanson has great speed, but no finish, if he can consistently find the finish, he'll be ready for the NHL.

8.) Colton Orr's "3":

This "controversial" move by Colton Orr made me happy. I don't care what Don Cherry says, that was awesome. Colton Orr holding 3 fingers up to show how many fights he won against Matt Carkner. Why is this so awesome? Finally the Leafs have a guy that will get under the skin of the other team without being a douche like Sean Avery. Since Tie Domie left, the Leafs have had virtually no one (Belak was a good fighter but he was no Domi, Tucker was getting too old). Orr has filled the void of toughness and I love his number.

7.) Luke Schenn's Two Goal Night Against the Sens:

Luke Schenn is one of my favourite players. So when he scored two goals in the same game I was quite excited. Most people probably wouldn't include this in their top 10, but I am. Other than my biased opinion on Schenn, this game showed Schenn regain his confidence, and maybe a little flash of what's in store for us in future years.

6.) Gustavsson's MONSTER Save against the Ducks:

I remember literally jumping up off the couch when this save was made. And I proceeded to force my roommates to watch the replay of it and they were impressed...or feigned it to shut me up. But seriously, I love it when Joe Bowen goes nuts. Unfortunatly, we didn't see much of this Gustavsson until after the Leafs got Giguere (I guess Toskala is not a good teacher, who knew?) The Leafs recently extended his contract for 2 more years, hopefully we see more of that.

5.) Gustavsson's MONSTER Saves versus the Stars:

Apparently the Monster kicks ass against Western Conference teams...if only he was on the Leafs way back when the Leafs were actually in the Western conference! Seriously though, in the first half of the season we merely got flashes of brilliance of the Monster, but like I said before, after the Leafs got Giguere he has really come out and shown us what he can truly do.

4.) Giguere's Back-to-Back Shutouts:

I only have the one video because the 2nd shutout was the game versus the Sens which I have above in Schenn's 2-goal game. Let me tell you Burke looked like a genius after this trade. Of course, Giguere didn't play quite as well after the shutouts, but still better than Toskala and a great mentor for Jonas Gustavsson.

3.) The Wild Overtime Versus the Lightning:

This had to have been the most exciting overtime period I have ever seen. A great pass by Bozak and a great shot by a clearly exhausted Kessel lead to the goal in what had to have been the slowest 2-on-1 break in NHL history. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. And once again, Joe Bowen goes nuts!

2.) Tyler Bozak's First Career NHL Goal: what a goal! He looked like a superstar with that goal, just...unbelievable. Since preseason I have liked Tyler Bozak, and when I saw that was another "jump out of your seat" type of play. Unbelievable.

An finally....1.) The Blockbuster Deals:


I actually slept through this trade. I was notified when my sister repeatedly called me...I proceeded to jump up and down and shout "we got Dion Phaneuf!? Dion F***ing Phaneuf!?" Burke was able to unload a giant contract and a terrible goalie for a good goalie, as well as get rid of a bunch of (what I call) "floaters" for a great defenseman, and the next captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Well that is the countdown. I probably missed something, but I also repressed most of the memories from this past season, so please don't think I'm an idiot. Thank you for reading.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Post-Trade Report

Well it's been over 24 hours since the trade deadline and after tonight's game, one thing is certain: the Leafs have NO offense. Phil Kessel has 21 goals leading the Leafs in goals...2nd most: Kulemin with 11! 11!(I wish you could capitalize numbers so I could emphasize that). I can only assume Burke has some magic up his sleeve during free agency. Or perhaps he's waiting until draft day to deal Kaberle for someone...or a draft pick which we so desperately need.

On tonight's game: the Leafs looked way better than they did against Carolina on Wednesday night. The Leafs got some scoring from their young'uns: Bozak and Stalberg. Caputi also got his first point as a Leaf.

Caputi looks good. I am excited to see him in a couple of years time, he will be a decent 2nd liner I predict.

To end: Burke, we need more offense, I expect an Ilya Kovalchuk contract by July 2nd. Until then, have a good on Leafs Nation!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Trade Deadline!

3:38pm- Leafs acquire a young defenseman from Pittsburgh for a sixth round pick.

3:16pm- Joey MacDonald goes to Anaheim for a 7th round pick. Definately a step up from Vesa Toskala for the Ducks.

3:11pm- 4th and 7th round picks coming to TO for Stempniak.

3:07pm- Stempniak to Phoenix/Hamilton for Draft picks being prediction is a third and fourth rounder.

3:03pm- Deadline! However, trades are still coming through, will keep posted on the Stempniak trade...and anything else involving the Leafs.

2:57pm- According to Downgoesbrown Stempniak deal is word where or what for.

2:43pm- According to Darren Dreger "Stempniak is going to go."

2:38pm- Darren Dreger is reporting that the Leafs are not done yet.

2:15pm- Burke says something coming within 45 minutes...I sure as hell hope so.

2:10pm- Kypreos reporting that Toskala is on his move once again, this time to Calgary...I guess he won't be able to wash the black and gold out of his equipment.

1:51pm- We're approaching the final stretch, I have a feeling Kabs is going.

1:31pm- AM 640's Jonas Siegel states that Kaberle acknowledged the he will waive his NTC if the right deal comes along.

1:14pm- All's quiet on the Leafs' front still...

12:19pm- Listening to Pony on the Leafs TV live feed online. Classy guy, we'll miss you too Pony, good luck in Pittsburgh!

12:14pm- Reported that Burke has said "with the players we are looking at moving things wont start heating up until 1:30 or 2 pm," let's see what players he's talking about.

11:48- Justin Pogge goes to Carolina for Aaron Ward....interesting trade...apparently Carolina hasn't seen any Leafs games with Pogge from last year.

11:18 am- Leafs get a 5th rounder in 2010 for Skoula...nothing fantastic.

11:00 AM- Martin Skoula to the Devils, no word on who the Leafs are getting back, will update when word is heard.

Well, we're back from the Olympics and the Leafs are back to their losing ways. However, Burke trades Ponikarovsky to Pittsburgh for Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula. Yet another one off my list of potential people to be tarded.

Caputi is a rookie who only has 9 NHL games under his belt, 3 points in those 9 games. The one thing I know about this kid...he has a sick name! But besides that, Burkie is continuing the trend of going younger: Ponikarovsky is 29 years old, Caputi, just 21.

Based on speculations that I have heard, the Leafs might be trading Skoula. The Leafs got Skoula so that the Pens could work out their cap issues. Skoula has 193 points in 757 NHL games. This year with the Pittsburgh Penguins skoula has 8 points (3G, 5A) in 33 games.

If the Leafs decide to keep Skoula, it could mean a guy like Exelby or Finger is heading out: Exelby being in the last year of a contract and Finger being a burden on the cap.

Rumors are also swirling that Burke is aware of teams Kaberle would waive his NTC for, however no official list has been given. The ball STILL is in Kabby's court.

Players I suspect will be traded: Stempniak, Finger, Exelby, Grabovsky and maybe even Primeau. I will try to update today as much as possible as more news breaks.