2008, 2009, Hockey, Sports

Leafs 2008-09 Early Season Thoughts

So I haven’t talked about the Leafs in ages. Maybe you wonder why. Maybe you don’t care. Well, I knew they were going to suck. I figured they’d suck but not enough to get what they need, a very high draft pick. I still think this is the way things will go, despite some of the optimism (ha!) of some acquaintances. I have watched one full game and parts of a couple others (I have been busy with baseball). So far:


Is back to his old name for me, given that he seems to have fully reverted to his old self. He is not our only top 6 forward, Fletcher, because he isn’t one. He’s too slow for this team and he clearly needs Mats (or someone like Mats) to contribute the way he did last fall.


Will only score lots of goals with better players. He deserves to be on another team where he can actually have a chance to contribute, however JFJ’s brilliance leaves him here. Even if he does managed to somewhat recover and score twenty (though I don’t know how), so what? He’s still getting paid great money for mediocrity.


Provided he doesn’t die I have no problem seeing him play all the time. I don’t really have a problem with his game as yet. I’d rather see him than some other guys.


He worried me at first but he is looking better and better. I don’t see any reason to not play him 20 a night.


I like the effort so far, even though he’s a bit of a puck hog. Like much of the rest of the team, he appears to be a guy who needs good players around him for success.


Is a disaster. Why the hell did we get him? What’s going on? Put him on waivers right now. Now!


Officially now their best player (well, at least, best skater). He has looked a little rusty this year so far, but then his team sucks more than ever. As much as I would love to keep him, so he can be around for the supposed renaissance coming down the pipeline, maybe the right (and nice) thing to do is trade him to some contender for picks.


He’s supposedly a faster Tucker. Well, Tucker doesn’t have hands like this. If only he was playing with a great centre or something. Hagman has looked great (as nearly everyone in the TO media seems to be acknowledging). He’s still overpaid for what he will produce without the proper linemates, but he’s been a great pickup.


Well, he’s useful, I guess. But he should retire.


Everyone knew he’d be better with McCabe gone and he is but he’s a) still not that great and b) still very overpaid. I’d trade him but I don’t think he’s going anywhere.


Anybody who scores like that in the Russian League is good for a look. So far, so good. But I have a feeling he’s going to be someone who’s stats depend on the quality of his linemates.


He does his job which is good. Otherwise I don’t really have an opinion.


Looks alright. I’m kind of surprised he made the team over some guys who made it last year. But whatever. He’s not going to save the franchise, that’s for sure.


Is still looking like a great steal. He is great. He just needs better linemates.


Is not playing well now. Is looking almost as slow as Antroshit. I hope they trade him.


Is amazing for his age. I am blown away. He looks like he’s been in the league 10 years. However, it makes long-term sense to send him down before game 9 if the Leafs are indeed intending on being good in 4 or 5 years. Don’t start his contract a year early just because he deserves it!


I didn’t see why he was benched but I saw what happened afterwards. Wilson’s strategy worked about as well as could be expected (for two games anyway). He’s playing well.


I still can’t figure out why he doesn’t score more. Looks like his usual responsible self with only a few mistakes so far. It’s too bad though, I thought he would be quite a good player, and he looks like he’s just going to be a (very good) role player for the rest of his career.


Am I the only person who thinks Stralman isn’t getting enough ice time? Did anyone else see his endless number of blueline keep-ins last night? Why doesn’t he play more? He’s great.


Has looked great and not so great. I still don’t know what to make of him. I think he may be like most of the other forwards on this team…


Is great even though his numbers will suffer this year.

Van Ryn:

Disappointed so far. I mean, I’m glad we got rid of Bryan, but we don’t need D!!! We should have got a forward. He has looked the worst of all the Leafs D so far (but we haven’t seen Finger yet, so that’s good for VR!) and we don’t need him.


I wish they’d give Poggie some kind of shot. If he ends up splitting the Marlies games again this year, that’s a waste of a season. Otherwise, I’m totally happy with Toskala in net.


I think the Leafs finally have a pretty great D. I don’t see the point in Van Ryn and especially Finger (who I haven’t seen yet, but I can’t imagine he will save the team) and I’d rather see White and / or Kronwall up and the Leafs saving money. But I really don’t think D is the problem. It looks like it’s the problem when the forwards disappear up ice, but it isn’t the problem.


Most of the forwards on this team are role players of some kind or other. The ones with offensive instincts are the kinds of players who need great or very good (or at least more creative) players around them for true success. Since Toronto doesn’t have any of those guys, I don’t see how the Leafs will score many goals aside from ones off of opponents’ mistakes. Maybe a high-picked forward next year will change things but it depends on the player. And still, there are too many players on this team who need to play with such a player. Yet the Leafs will only get one this summer (if any).

I think the Leafs will finish 2nd or 3rd last in the league if not a little better.

I have no idea who will win the cup this year. So far I am very surprised. I thought Philly would be good (they should be). I though St. Louis would be bad (they will be). Etc.

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