Monday, November 16, 2009

So is the season a write off?

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!


blurr1974 said...

Congrats mi amigo! Is it an open bar reception...? :P

Kleric said...

Congrats at putting on the bigboy pants. They will fit very well.

The season will be long and frustrating, but I believe that they will collectively pull their heads out of their ... dark, smelly and foul places ... after Christmas. There are alot of sophmore slumps in full effect. Grabovski comes to mind for example. I am not so sure of the "culture of losing" thing. Why would it infect Stajan and not Kaberle? (Yes, Kaberle is a superiour player, and is playing with better supporting cast, but isn't Stajan also? Kessel ain't to shabbby...)

I think the issue is between their ears. When they play well they dominate the play for most of the game. When they play like they have been, sub-par in general and with have weights in their skates, they are woeful and repugnant. Consistency is a mental issue, and not a skill or cultural problem.

That being said, a trade (Stajan) might help wake a few players up. Regretably Blake isn't going anywhere. He plays well with Kessel, his contract is too fat and won't fetch a good return. We are better with him (Man that hurts to write that. I think I am going to have to go flog myself...)

And on a closing note, does Kessel remind anyone of Mike Bossy or that just me....

eyebleaf said...


GBDonaldson said...

Thanks gents!

Anonymous said...

Grabovski's not that good, and I don't care about the bad bounces, when you let the Canes tie it with less than 10 seconds to go and then use Stempniak in the shootout, there's something very wrong somewhere!! Oh, and glad to here you locked that up. (If the Leafs were as good as Arrested Development is funny, they'd have no problems!)