March 28, 2006

Why the Leafs Stink: A headline in this morning's Toronto Star is refreshingly blunt about the current fortunes of the local NHL team, seven points out of a playoff spot with two weeks left in the season.

posted by rcade to hockey at 08:59 AM - 48 comments

We needed some LeafFilter to balance out all the WingFilter action. Thanks rcade! with the Leafs nearing the end of a record-setting 103-point season I hate this. It's not really a record, since the NHL started awarding additional points for overtime losses. Defenceman Wade Belak suffers an infection from a spider bite, the first in a long line of injuries that hit the Leafs defence corps. Since when does Belak count as a member of the defence corps? Also, I don't think the Allison signing has anything to do with why the Leafs stink.

posted by qbert72 at 09:13 AM on March 28, 2006

Yeah, I was getting tired of BeatingUpOnColumbusStLouisAndChicagoFilter. Wade Belak has been a swingman, right? Playing both defence and forward. Unless you're poking fun at his defensive (in)ability. Allison has been pretty ineffective, eh? He's got the points, but mostly on the power play (not that he's alone in that regard), and that plus/minus isn't pretty. In any case, they kind of lucked out with his recent injury that'll keep him from collecting a few extra million in cap-affecting incentive money. It's unlikely, but it would be a nice touch if the Leafs could stave off mathematical elimination until their April 15 game.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:22 AM on March 28, 2006

I'm going to submit a column soon about why being a Leaf fan is great. I've been thinking about it and I have come to the conclusion that being a Leaf fan offers far too many advantages to simply be based upon wins and losses.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:29 AM on March 28, 2006

Wade Belak suffers an infection from a spider bite I was glad that it didnt destroy you How sad that would be Cause if it destroyed you It would destroy me

posted by yerfatma at 09:41 AM on March 28, 2006

being a Leaf fan offers far too many advantages to simply be based upon wins and losses. Like overpriced merchandise and a growing inability to actually see your team, either in person or on television?

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:44 AM on March 28, 2006

Why are power play points regarded with such disdain? There are a lot of penalties in the new NHL, so power play points play their role. I honestly believe the Leafs didn't get such a bad deal with Allison, especially since they won't have to pay all those incentives.

posted by qbert72 at 09:51 AM on March 28, 2006

Plusses to being a Leafs fan. 1. You like hockey. 2. You are acquanted with Canada, and subsequently should know about, (aboot), their absolutely beautiful women, fantastic beer, (Export my ass! Export it if it Export, quit hogging it all for yourselves!), scenic lands, and reasonable politics. Minuses. Speed, speed, and speed as the story mentions. Domi, (him, Hunter, C. Lemieux, punks, oh don't forget Ulf). Relying on past glory, (story again, but oh so true). Domi, punk, (that's not heart, he's just a punk). Sorry Leaf Fans, my sympathies, but it may be awhile before things turn around. At least you have Buffalo nearby! Just a Quisling here in the states awaiting the Canadian Liberation. Go Wings!

posted by RedStrike at 09:59 AM on March 28, 2006

I wouldn't read too much into the succinct headline, rcade. It's entirely possible that no one working at the Sun knows any polysyllabic words.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:03 AM on March 28, 2006

The real problem was noted at the very beginning of the timeline - the Leafs brain trust actually thought, in April of 2004, that the team was a strong one, strong enough to serve as a platform for the future. Instead it was a slap-dash mashup of old stars who could still play, but whose best-before date had long since passed. It looked OK, but beneath the surface there wasn't much there, and certainly nothing compared to the Senators who they had nevertheless just beaten. Unfortunately that didn't stop Leafs fans from trying to tell everyone, loudly, how great their team was before this season got started.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:04 AM on March 28, 2006

Like overpriced merchandise and a growing inability to actually see your team, either in person or on television? So much more than the simple activity of watching games. Being a Leafs fan is a lifestyle option. Its tentacles spread to other parts of life in such amusing ways. Too many strange and wonderful positives.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:06 AM on March 28, 2006

Why are power play points regarded with such disdain? Sorry, q, I wasn't clear enough (only one cup of coffee so far today). Obviously points are points, scored on the power play or no. I just think that his defensive downside cancels out the power play production. I also have the feeling that a lot of his points were scored in garbage time, but I've got nothing to back that up. Anyone is free to support or shoot down this theory. But you're right: without the incentives, he's certainly not the bust of the century or anything. If he'd played six more games or scored ten more points, though... LeafFilter indeed. One comment every six minutes so far. Why do I encourage this?

posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:11 AM on March 28, 2006

In signing John Ferguson Jr. as GM, they went the cheap route and they got what they paid for (Exhibit A the Ed Belfour contract). Some talk as though he is what's needed for the new NHL but he doesn't exactly come across as the next Cliff Fletcher (or even a reasonable facsmilie of his father).

posted by cragar77 at 10:23 AM on March 28, 2006

Allison's obviously not the kind of center you'd want to put against the other team's top line, but he has his place as a 2nd liner and power play specialist. Especially at 1.5 million, which is in Domi's ballpark. This being said, you know things are wrong when your team's leading goal scorer is Darcy Tucker. Also, you all need to mitigate my opinions with the fact that I am yet to see a complete NHL game this season, from any team.

posted by qbert72 at 10:26 AM on March 28, 2006

Well, for you leaf fans, there was an interesting trivia question during Sunday's game. "Who holds the Leaf's record for points against New Jersey?" Turns out it is Kaberle with 17 points. Not that New Jersey is any good this season. Toronto swept the season series.

posted by njsk8r20 at 10:39 AM on March 28, 2006

sheesh qbert, not seen a game? gotta rectify that. we should go find a bar showing a habs game sometime (I tried to watch the habs-leafs game last thursday and ended up watching it in that sports hotspot of st viateur bagels on mt royal). missing the playoffs might be exactly what the leafs need to get that ship righted. well, they also need some young talent.

posted by gspm at 11:29 AM on March 28, 2006

The Star's Chris Young (JABS) wonders if maybe they aren't bad enough:

Im sure there are a few people today feeling some sense of schadenfreude at the Leafs misfortunes. [Amateur's editorial comment: me, me, me!] Not me. A few years back, though, Joe Queenan coined the term scheissenbedauern "shit regret", as he called it, "the disappointment one feels when exposed to something that is not nearly as bad as one hoped it would be." And it's scheissenbedauern that Im feeling this morning with regard to the Leafs. [Amateur's editorial comment: um, me too, some of that!] They are not nearly as bad as we should hope they could be.
and wfrazerjr, the original link is to the Star, where they do sometimes use big words. I am sure that rcade would never post a link from the Sun.

posted by Amateur at 11:51 AM on March 28, 2006

I read that as "Sun" ... and never noticed it wasn't when I read the link. Nice comprehension skills, huh? That's the whole problem with this team -- it can't decide whether to suck or not. I've referenced the St. Louis Blues a couple times in previous discussions, but it bears repeating -- if you are going to stink, do it all the way and get it over with. St. Louis has ditched most of its older players, will be bad for a couple seasons while the youngsters learn and they add a couple of high draft picks, and then they're back in the saddle. The Leafs seem scared to admit to their fans that the organization will not get better until it gets worse. Why? MLSE knows every game will be a sellout no matter the product, so why not shoot for a Stanley Cup instead of just squeaking into the playoffs?

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:00 PM on March 28, 2006

Enough with the LeafFilter, alright? We seriously need to bring back the WingFilter!! I just wish that the Wings can get put back into the Eastern Conference where they belong, then I'll start talking about the Leafs. Those were always great games. AND DOMI IS NOT A PUNK. TYSON NASH IS A PUNK...OR SEAN AVERY...OR, OH NEVERMIND!

posted by wingnut4life at 12:02 PM on March 28, 2006

sheesh qbert, not seen a game? Don't have cable, had no antenna until a few weeks ago, and even with an antenna, CBC's all screwy. It's hard to follow hockey when there are three pucks and 36 players on the ice. But who am I kidding, I'm saving my energies for the playoffs! Regular season is good for fantasy and stats analysis. The playoffs are where it's at.

posted by qbert72 at 12:03 PM on March 28, 2006

scheissenbedauern Amateur, thanks so much for pointing out this word.

posted by Samsonov14 at 12:10 PM on March 28, 2006

2001 playoffs, Leafs, Devils, Domi intentionally elbows Niedermayer in the face. Unforgettable, Pure Punk, I stand by it.

posted by RedStrike at 12:55 PM on March 28, 2006

I have a blue leaf tattooed on my heart, but I've been thinking that maybe it's best if they tank the year and get as many balls in that lottery bowl as possible. They've been contenders for the last decade, but they never made the big move to get over the top, and so it was always beat-the-Sens-and-bow-out-gracefully-in-the-second-round. I'm sick of that noise. I can handle the Leafs sucking, as long as it means they may rock in the near future. It doesn't have to be this year, or even next year, but I would like to see the Leafs win a cup in my lifetime, and it's not looking good for them to do it with Sundin as the alpha leader. Someone else is going to have to step in, and a high pick increases the odds of someone good falling into their lap. And RedStrike, if you're holding lifelong grudges against people who throw elbows in NHL games, you must be a very angry man. (I should know.)

posted by chicobangs at 01:06 PM on March 28, 2006

If I had it over again, Domi says somberly, I would have left him alone ... Domi stops himself, looks down and then smiles just slightly. ... and I would have run him later. Tell me you wouldn't want him on your team.

posted by wingnut4life at 01:16 PM on March 28, 2006

Yes, I hold grudges against piss poor sportsmanship. No anger, (surprisingly so). Sure elbows happen, (I've played enough, and been in plenty of pits). Domi's case went well above most B.S. It wasn't inadvertant, or one of those "heat of the moment" deals. Just an asshole who is getting beaten by a better team/player, trying to compensate somehow. Would never want him on my team. And have always thought less of the Leafs for keeping him. And in a way, they get what they deserve, thus the subject of this thread. May the Leafs rot with Chicago for as long as they have Domi.

posted by RedStrike at 01:35 PM on March 28, 2006

I wouldn't want him on my team. Nothing personal or anything. Just that there do exist players like Chris Neil who are like a well-rounded Domi.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:37 PM on March 28, 2006

They aren't done yet! They can make the playoffs still! Then they'd face Ottawa! And beat them! Again! /rocks back and forth, rubbing Sundin Leaf jersey

posted by grum@work at 01:37 PM on March 28, 2006

May the Leafs rot with Chicago for as long as they have Domi. Damn, and I thought I was still bitter about it. I'm gonna have to side with RedStrike on this one. The NHL doesn't give you a 10 game suspension over nothing. But my anger is directed more at Domi than the Leafs as a whole.

posted by njsk8r20 at 01:55 PM on March 28, 2006

Grum, is that Peddie or Tannenbaum?

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:22 PM on March 28, 2006

Regular season is a joke. Points for a LOSS???? Playoffs go to team that happens to have a hot streak at the time. And the SHOOTOUT=underwhelming. How has hockey lasted this long? The rules committee and other execs have turned it into a cross between the WWE and roller derby. I'm switching to curling.

posted by joromu at 02:43 PM on March 28, 2006

Granted njsk8r20, it is harsh, and unfair to players like Sundin to condemn, (sp?), them all for Domi. I stand corrected. And boy, how I would love a Leafs/Wings match up, (what a Cup final that would be!!!!). But going back to the thread, not this year. And from the looks of it . . . sorry Leaf fans, . . . it may be a loonnngggg time before even respectability. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, thanks Mike Ilitch!!!!

posted by RedStrike at 02:43 PM on March 28, 2006

You know, Leafs and Red Wings fans are very well represented in SpoFi, but come playoff time, I'll be pulling for, who, I don't know, Vancouver? the Rangers? Dallas? Nashville? I don't know. We'll see.

posted by chicobangs at 02:47 PM on March 28, 2006

I for one like the new rules (except the crackdown on the fighting -- sue me). The wide open ice speeds up the game and creates many more scoring chances, as well as the crackdown on hooking and holding. This brings out a more creative player/offense.
As for the one-point-for-OT-loss thing, I must say that I like that, too. Before this, I would always see both teams sitting back, not trying to open it up for fear of losing. Adding the point gave the fans a better overtime game. Now, with the addition of the shootout, you get to see "the most exciting play in hockey" a little more often. I wouldn't even mind it if they started using the shootout goals and saves as stats. Mark my words, shootout stats will eventually be a selling point for the players:
(i.e. "You know I'm worth more than that, look at my shootout stats! You need a player like me!")

posted by wingnut4life at 02:59 PM on March 28, 2006

"the most exciting play in hockey" The penalty shot was the most exciting play in hockey because it happened so infrequently. It was a novelty. Now? Several times a night. Boring! I could get behind shootouts if they made them a little less one-dimensional. How about making it a two-on-one rush? Add an extra shooter and a defender. This opens it up to all sorts of strategic depth. Still exciting, but still hockey.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 03:21 PM on March 28, 2006

It was a novelty. Now? Several times a night. Boring! Not really boring, right? Just common-place. I mean, watching the shootout and seeing some of the magic that the shooters perform is never really boring.

posted by grum@work at 03:53 PM on March 28, 2006

Before this, I would always see both teams sitting back, not trying to open it up for fear of losing. Adding the point gave the fans a better overtime game. That's the common understanding, but I think the shootout changes things a little bit. Suppose they gave two points to the winner, and none to the loser, no matter what. You can bet teams would hustle at the end of the third and in overtime to avoid a crapshoot like the shootout taking two points away from them. seeing some of the magic that the shooters perform is never really boring. Datsyuk! (Thanks, gspm!)

posted by qbert72 at 04:02 PM on March 28, 2006

How about making it a two-on-one rush? It would still be almost the same thing. In that situation the defender is supposed to block the passing lane and let the goalie worry about the shooter. You can bet teams would hustle at the end of the third and in overtime to avoid a crapshoot like the shootout taking two points away from them. Unless they are the Dallas Stars.

posted by njsk8r20 at 04:03 PM on March 28, 2006

I teach that to the missus everytime we see it happen njsk8r20, (which, with the hockey package on DirecTV is a lot). And it still pisses me off when the defender let's the pass get through!!!! Arghh!

posted by RedStrike at 04:07 PM on March 28, 2006

I agree with you, grum. I like to see some of the moves these players come up with. Also, I like watching the shootouts to see the goalies shine. Any time it's a highlight, it's all good. qbert, did you mean keeping the one point to the loser if they lost in overtime, and if it made it to the shootout to only award two points to the shootout winner? If that's what you meant, that would be awesome. As long as it keeps the teams motivated enough to play hard and not sit back, I'm all for it.

posted by wingnut4life at 05:11 PM on March 28, 2006

Datsyuk! (Thanks, gspm!) qbert I was lucky enough to be at that game and it was the best game I've ever been to (then after the game I saw a guy robbing a guy in a wheelchair but that's Detroit for you). The one thing I am upset about is that Toronto is now in the Eastern Conference, and with the stupid scheduling, doesn't play the Wings every season now. Of course, why should I care? Instead of seeing games against the Habs, Make me laughs, err... Maple Leafs, Bruins, and Rangers I get to watch as the Wings play 16 games against Columbus and the Blues. Curse you Gary Bettman.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:39 PM on March 28, 2006

You know, if I was a Blue Jackets fan, I would be very optimistic about the future. If they can find a decent goalie in the next year or two, they have some good young defencemen, and Rick Nash is going to be one of the top five players on the planet for the next decade. Wings fans could grow to hate Columbus as much as you've ever hated Chicago or St. Louis or the Leafs.

posted by chicobangs at 05:50 PM on March 28, 2006

*sigh* Looks like somebody else is going to have to take on the reigns of beating Ottawa in the first round this season. I can't say that I'm disappointed. I picked them to finish 8th. They can still grab 10th. Not too far off. But I'm with mikelbyl... the only reason that these "Leafs suck" callouts are going on now is because some people -- especially within the team -- actually thought they had a chance this year. Reality has caught up to those people.

posted by mkn at 06:06 PM on March 28, 2006

Wow. Check out this story. This kid decided to stay in school to continue his development, how often do you see this? Too bad Carolina's got him...

posted by wingnut4life at 06:52 PM on March 28, 2006

How could any team start the season knowing A) defense is not a strong point and B) our goalie is waaaayyy past his prime. What solutions did the Leafs managment come up with? Sign two aging centers with a myriad of injuries and Jeff O'Neil? Poor managment decisions are showing through and with a franchise player Mats age, you have to realize the window of opportunity has closed. Holes that needed to be shored never were and the same veterrans only mentality that destroyed the Rangers for 7 some odd years are being repeated in Toronto. It's really kind of sad to see a once worth foe reduced to this level. If I'm a Leafs a fan I say fuck it dude, let's go bowling.

posted by HATER 187 at 11:20 PM on March 28, 2006

Extremely off topic, but the mention of hockey players' conditioning made me think of this publicity shot of derek sanderson when he jumped to the WHA. Is that a cigarette in his mouth?

posted by ajaffe at 07:29 AM on March 29, 2006

Ha! Looks like it, doesn't it. I remember going to the Forum when I was a little kid and seeing them smoke on the BENCH!

posted by sauril at 11:02 AM on March 29, 2006

Yeah, for Sanderson, the party never stopped. There were stories of him drinking scotch between periods. (Rah, rah, ol!) It's a wonder he made it to the end of the 70's.

posted by chicobangs at 11:20 AM on March 29, 2006

Derek Sanderson is on my All-Time Great Guys list. He made it through the 70s (at least, how I heard it from my dad) because someone shook him awake in a park one morning. Sanderson said, "Guess you know who I am, huh?" The person replied, "Yeah, some drunk."

posted by yerfatma at 11:34 AM on March 29, 2006

One of the places I found the photo out-and-out says it's a cigarette...

posted by ajaffe at 11:39 AM on March 29, 2006

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