There is our new monster, Gustavsson, striking fear into the hearts of the rest of the league, here personified by Godzilla.
But first, let us calm our hearts and minds by drinking in the sweet waters of the last installment of our Leafs Summer Haikus: Goalie Edition.
A new robo-groin!
Think the funniest guy in
Finland can bounce back?
Every time you make
a highlight reel save you can
pillage a small town
However, when the initial panic and lashing out in fear left us, we sat down and stoically reasoned through these three prevailing hockey arguments and decided that a) they are not entirely accurate and b) that Jason Allison on the team would not be a bad thing. Let us show you!
Myth #1: The Leafs never change/we like old dudes
We know this argument well and it comes to us in many different forms--mortgage our future for the present, we love those whose best days are behind them, we need more "veteran presence" etc. And because of this legacy we Leaf fans have developed a "if they are older than 32, they must be a bad idea." We have seen old guys come in before and not play to the level that they had played elsewhere. We are scared that we are buying high, having sold low in order to get them here. We are scared of making a big ol mistake again.
Well, in this situation, this is the easiest of the three myths to dispel. Allison will be coming in as a guy who hasn't played in three years, is desperate to make the team (and get a paycheck) and who will most likely take a league minimum 2-way deal in order to suit up for the year. He's not going to cost us a Brad Boyes or a Alyn McCauley. Right now he is kinda like a company that has almost gone bankrupt. His stock price is pennies. We can buy him and the only risk we have is the initial purchase price, which we have noted is going to be low. Worst case scenario, we pay him 500k to sit in the box and remember the good ol' days. And the upside is obvious--he scores on a point-per-game pace that he had last time he was here.
So this isn't the patented "Leafs only look to old guys" move of the past. The team makeup is not the same the last time he was here when we got him, O'Neill, Lindros, Khavanov, and Czerkawski. That was like having a whole team of penny stocks. Anyone can tell you that a portfolio of only penny stocks has a slim chance at making you a millionaire and a great chance at revealing your stupidity. Leaf fans, we are not in that old boat, so the old argument does not apply.
Myth #2: He's stealing icetime
2. The ice time is divided according to those who deserve it
3. Youth grow by playing more
4. Older players have hit their plateau and, although having less potential than young players, they are at the present time better than the learning players, due to experience and by having previously proved themselves
5. The older players therefore get the ice time due to argument #2.
6. A team with older players stunts the growth of younger players.
This is the argument that is bandied about in one form or another. And it applies to this situation. If Allison joins the team he as a center bumps Stajan down a line, who in turn bumps a young guy like Tlusty or Bozak down a line and they either don't play for the club, or they play super limited amounts of time and their growth is stagnated.
However, this argument is based on one major fallacy. That fallacy is that by playing in the NHL you become an NHL caliber player. This is not necessarily true. We like to think that by taking a fresh 18 year old with tons of skill and potential and by throwing him into the fire that after a few seasons of trying to play with the big boys, he eventually will. "Let Bozak have the second line this year. Even if he sucks, he'll get tons of experience" except we fail to remember that the only experience he is getting is the experience of being a crappy NHL player, struggling to keep his head above water.
Now, sometimes this works. Look at Schenn last year--he just got better the more difficult situations he was in. Good for him and lucky for us. But we had a backup plan in case he didn't fare so well and had to go back to Jr. (The backup plan was named Frogren, who, because Schenn rocked, didn't get lots of playing time.)
You don't become a great player by being a crummy young player amongst great players. You become a great player because you have been tearing it up in a league that is below your standard and you are so hungry for success that when you finally get called up to the big leagues you are determined to never, ever get sent back down to the AHL. This has been the story line of Bobby Ryan, a Burkian success story.
So you may think that Jason Allison is stunting the growth of our players, but we suggest that not having Jason Allison opens up our players to risks that they should not have to shoulder. If Bozak makes the team, he makes the team because he beats out a proven vet who is hungry because...well...because he hasn't been paid in three years and is probably literally hungry! Without Allison, Bozak makes the team because he beats out another unproven rookie and he is just the best of the rookies.
We here at TOV maintain that signing Jason Allison helps the kids grow by keeping them down and letting the pressure build in their little hearts.
Myth #3 Dude is Sloooooow!
This has been the knock on Jason Allison: he is very, very very slow. And it is true. He's not a fast skater. When he played for us he would trail behind speedier wingers who took the puck into the zone and would be driving to the net when he was plowing over the blue line (which meant he always made it to the net in time for rebounds.) "Speed kills" is the unofficial slogan of the new NHL. We need a team of lil speedy guys buzzing around to be successful. And this is true. And the Leafs are now a much faster team. When Allison played for us before, he was a slug amongst slugs. But if he plays for us again he will be a slug amongst...I dunno...ponies or something...
In other words, he will be an offsetting player. He will alter the flow of our attack on the line he is playing on. In other words, because a man will have to cover him, he will open up the offensive zone. He'll pull a defender with him and slow that defender down. Or if the defended ignores him, he'll take his massive body in front of the net and bang away. When he gets the puck, he'll do what he has always done really well (something Kovalev has mastered when Kovalev is the master over his apathy) he will slow the game to his level (something I wanted Wellwood to learn when he was here.) Allison's slow attack will offset our fast attack. He will make the other team have to think and react and make mistakes. If all four lines attack in the same way, they are easy to defend.
Now, because he is slow, he will make a great secondary attack. He can't, nor should be our top line guy. But he will put up points (especially on the PP). Stajan should learn his game because they are similar players. He will force the smurfs to have to work harder to make the team. He's got a wicked beard. Also, we don't have a veteran point-getting forward. We got tons of I'm-a-gonna-squish-you veteran forwards. Who does Grabovski have to look to for inspiration when he gets in a goal slump? Primeau? Allison should be a good role model for the offensive guys.
We hope that these myths have been dispelled for you, especially the myth that "the younger you are the better a team you are."
So for these reasons we here at TOV give Jason Allison our stamp of approval.
Til we meet again, keep the faith.