Faithful remnant! Enjoying all the legroom on the bandwagon? We sure are. Nothing reveals "who's a true fan" like total and utter destruction. So take a good look to see who's still wearing a jersey, take mental note of his cherubic visage and put him on the list. When the Leafwagon starts to fill that list will come in handy.
So Toastkala's new robogroin hasn't fared well and he's on the shelf for the next little bit. We here at TOV aren't too worried, as this'll give The Monster the ball to run with and we get to see his mental and intestinal fortitude. Hope our Dmen can keep the other guys from crashing the crease.
Also John "fbomb" Mitchell is out for...what was it...6 weeks? Brutal. Why can't Blake get hurt? Anyway, this is great time for our favorite bespectacled hockey-god-in-waiting. Ladies and Gentlemen: Christian Hanson! This lil leafbaby has been tearing up the AHL with 18 points at around the quartermark of the season. Best on the team and he's all heart and drive. Plus he's a center. We are personally looking forward to seeing Stajan outplayed by a babyleaf anxious to take his spot.
But is this the start of a full fledged youth movement? Will Blake and Stemp and Stajan et al be demoted or traded? Well, yes and no.
Here is BB's conundrum. First, he's looking for a trade first. Chicago is trying to keep their head above the sure-to-shrink cap next season, so there is blood in the water there. But Brent Sopel? Really? That would hopefully be a first or a Byfuglien coming back our way too for eating Chicago's garbage. (I know it's pronounced bufflin but I always read fugly + alien= fuglian!)
So if this shake-up trade happens, look for the babies to stay on the cabbage patch in Rioch because it'll mean Burke still thinks the playoffs (!!!!1!) are ascertainable this season.
But if a trade doesn't happen and dudes start being demoted and Bozak, Tlusty, Hanson, Stalberg, Hamilton and Foster come up? Well my friends, the season outlook from the GM's office has gone from "I still believe in this group of guys" to, well, see Burke's quote from today: "If we are going to struggle, we are going to struggle with kids in the lineup."
So one thing is sure: change is coming. But whether it is a trade to keep the hope-fires burnin' or a baby boom remains to be seen.
So for those of you playing at home, here is the helpful "what is BB thinking" chart:
Trade = we are pushing for a playoff birth and the youth will marinate on the farm
Demotions = the future is now! Be fruitful and multiply, leaf babies!
Our hope? Well, we agree with "The Bobby Ryan" principle. We prefer the rotten fruit to fall off the tree at the end of the year and for the kids to figure it out on their own, out of the toxic atmosphere of the big club. We don't like the way the team is now as a home for the kids. Nests before eggs.
But you know whatever change does happen, the bandwagon will again start filling up. Hope you got your list made.
My TOV faithful! Like a cold drink of water on a hot day, we are here to bring relief! We here at TOV apologize for our lengthy absence, but things outside of Leaf-fandom have required our attention. The biggest piece of exciting news is that our Pretty Blond Texas Correspondent is now The Future Mrs. TOV! That's right. We put our big-boy pants on and took the plunge. So unfortunately the one thing to suffer through this upheaval has been this fountain of Leaf-related nourishment.
But no more! We are back in the bloggin saddle, rockin the new Dead Weather album and ready to talk things Leafs. So, if you'll excuse me, I'll go do a brief recap of some of the Leaf games we've missed. (Brb. k? tytl. I no! omg let's totally stay in touch after camp is over!)
Hmmm lets see...Kessel is awesome. Gustavsson..also awesome. Let's check out that win colu......*whimper*
So we've got Kessley Snipes (don't take credit for the name), The Monster and a future d-man stud in White and we are 3-freaking 10 and 5? What gives? Is the season tanked? Can we make the playoffs (!!!!!1!)? What about our future draft positions for this year? Is Boston flyin high?
Well, we here at TOV believe that there ought to be a few things we need to remember. The first is, our division (NE) is still wide open. Sure, Buffaslugs are doing great, but everyone else is out of playoff (!!!!1!) contention. Few wins together and we look good in the division.
Secondly, 75%. Yup, the amount of season left. Chill, my babies. We are totally under-performing. We can officially panic at 3-16-5.
Thirdly, and this is admittedly a longer term condolence, but Burke inherited a toxic team. A culture of losing (which I firmly believe flows through the veins of Stajan) mixed with some bad contracts and bad attitudes (both exhibited by Blake.) Burke said it himself. He can trade 2 firsts for Kessel because of getting Bozak, Hanson, Stalberg and Gustavsson. You may wish that this time next year and the year after that we had two mid-range 18-yr olds instead of Kessel, but we love that kid. That shot is amazing. He's got like no back-swing. Nice quick release. So we got a good core of guys paying their dues in the AHL and workin on their game in the NHL. So let's not freak out about the future. (Plus, we'll move 2 of Stajan, Poni, Hagman and Kaberle at the deadline.) Plus we have bucketloads of caproom next summer. THIS summer is going to be Burkies time to put his stamp on the team.
So what's to be done? What is that burning thing we need Wilson to do this season? What is the best thing we can do to a)hold our heads high on a low potential-playoff-position team? and b)get our babies ready for their cotillion dance in the future?
Easy. Stamp out the old culture, every last hair and feather. Reward hard work. Punish suckitude.
So, in our view it is imperative for the health of the real leafs that are going to stay beyond this season that we bench/demote perennial underperformers and bring up Marlies who are a-rockin it in the effort + results department.
Blake down/benched; Tlusty or Stalberg up Stajan down/benched/traded; Bozak up Wallin or Mayers down/benched/traded; Hanson up.
This allows us to play with a bit of pride and to give time for the kiddies.
The counterargument is: keep the kids down to learn/dominate in the AHL. Don't break up a good thing in the Marlies. Grit our teeth through this season, dump the chaff at the end of the season and let the wheat grow when we have a real Burke team next year.
So, the question is, will Burke be patient til next year, or will he finish dumping the toxic assets before the season is over.
One thing is for sure: we are refocusing on the whole "this is a rebuild" and less on the "preseason!!!! Playoffs!!!"
Wave goodbye to the bandwagoners, open and pass around another can of tuna and let's settle down in the bunker for another winter. Besides, loyalty through good times and bad, richer and poorer is something I need to get under my belt here soon enough :)
Til (much sooner) next time, keep the faith, remnant!