Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

Long time passing

November 23, 2008

If this most recent bit of news is, indeed, accurate …


Time running out on MLSE’s Peddie

The winds of change are blowing at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., and Richard Peddie soon may be swept out the door.

The change involving Peddie may not necessarily have anything to do with the impending hiring of Brian Burke as president and general manager of the Leafs — maybe as soon as late this week — but it’s likely. And Peddie likely is on his way out at the end of the season.

Peddie has been under fire for failed sporting decisions — primarily the hiring of Rob Babcock and John Ferguson as inexpensive and inexperienced general managers for the Raptors and the Maple Leafs — and has been put on notice with a changing and more aggressive board of directors. And while he has clung to the job on the basis of the financial strength of the company, there are those who look at failed television networks and other problems within MLSEL and figure the time is right for change.

This won’t happen quickly. Peddie has been a marvellous survivor, but time is running out.


Name to know: Erol Uzermeri, the newest board member of MLSEL, and unlike his fellow Teachers’ Pension Plan flag wavers, isn’t happy just to get a parking pass and dinner at the directors’ lounge. He, not chairman Larry Tanenbaum or Peddie, is considered the power broker on the board and not interested in the status quo …


then it’s a godsend for the dedicated and beleaguered fanbase of the Maple Leafs and the Raptors.

An unequivical Halleluiah! … should be the Word of the Day, in Raptorville & Leafs’ Nation, if this specific action ever comes to pass, and a coronation ceremony planned for Erol Uzermeri, should he truly be able to clean house at the very top of MLSE.  


Oh, when will THEY … ever learn?

More smoke & mirrors

June 26, 2008

Make no mistake about it.

The recent goings-on at Bay & Lakeshore (where the headquarters for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment [MLSE] are located, at the Air Canada Centre [ACC]), are rotten to the core, involving both of the professional sports franchises operated by this organization, i.e. the Maple Leafs and the Raptors.


re: Maple Leafs

There’s no Wing-ing it with Leafs’ new strategy
If you were to ask Ken Holland, GM of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, to identify the quality his scouts look for when it comes to the annual entry draft, his answer would be succinct.

“Skill,” he’d say, just as he’s said it many times before.

Nine teams followed that mantra when it came to making selections with the top 10 picks of the NHL entry draft on Friday night.

One did not.

That team would be your Maple Leafs.

Peddie era continues to linger like a bad smell
Like a bad odour, you just can’t make this guy go away.

From the day Peddie ascended to the power position of having both the Raptors and Leafs report to him in 2003, the hockey club has gone straight downhill. You’d think his bosses might wonder why there hasn’t been a Stanley Cup playoff game at the ACC since 2004.

Instead, he’s managed to survive. Again.

Wilson hire raises red flags
Of more concern, however, is that this might be an indication that Fletcher has grown fond of grasping the levers of power again and intends to keep the job permanently. He denies this, but also said recently that he would not be the one to hire the next Leaf coach.

So the story keeps changing. Hiring an expensive, big-name coach like Wilson certainly isn’t evidence of a caretaker administration, that’s for sure.

If Fletcher wanted the president’s job and would hire a GM, well, that might work. But the original plan, to hire a new president and GM, remains the most sensible plan with the greatest chance of success.

re: Raptors

O’Neal deal a step backwards
Colangelo built the seven-seconds-or-less Suns, but so much for sticking to the vision. The bog-it-down Celtics are the NBA champs. The Suns are ripping to shreds what Colangelo wrought. And Colangelo, in acquiring a hobbled O’Neal à la Phoenix’s Shaq, has chucked the dream, too.

Perhaps even worse, another of Toronto’s perceived advantages – the in-house knowledge of European talent – is moot. Talented Euros aren’t yearning for the lagging U.S. greenback.

“They’re fighting back a little bit,” said Colangelo of the European sides.

The Raptors, by contrast, are doubling back in the direction of the Babcock era, without cap room to yield more talent. Not that Colangelo is about to show up in Dockers, not that they’re a laughingstock. But a year ago the GM was billing his team as more carefully constructed than some disposable fashion. Suddenly his killer wardrobe is looking far more thoughtfully put together than his roster.

Jorge Garbajosa gone from Raptors
“After a long, difficult and sometimes emotional process stemming from a traumatic injury to a key player, it was concluded that parting ways was the best thing for both Jorge and the Raptors organization,” GM Bryan Colangelo said yesterday.

The move ends the lengthy, contentious negotiations between Colangelo, Garbajosa, the Spanish Basketball Federation and its insurance company.

Draft’s just like pant-leg debate for the Raptors
Colangelo, to illustrate the difference, bent over and grabbed the cuff of his skinny-cut trousers and held it next to Mitchell’s ankle. The contrast in the silhouettes was cigarette to fat cigar, and Colangelo made a joke at the expense of the coach’s choice, quadruple-pleated and roomy. Mitchell, meanwhile, was not shy about defending his haberdasher’s handiwork.

“Dude, I’m a big guy. I’ve gotta have some room to let my (self) flow. All my pants fit like this,” said Mitchell. “Those pants Bryan had on, I told him he looks like a maintenance man …”


This is an organization that …

* Lies through its teeth … habitually

* Is riddled with internal cross-wiring

* Has no legitimate plan in place to ever win a League Championship


* Is primarily concerned with making oodles of money for its ownership group.

Oh, Canada

June 4, 2008

There are certain things in the world of sport that warm the heart repeatedly and reflect perfectly what The Game is about.

As the Detroit Red Wings [-128] prepare to win ‘the Cup’ this evening against the Penguins (in Pittsburgh) … it just wouldn’t be the same without hearing this at least once this spring.

Pro hockey may barely rate as TV programming, but no team sport is better to see live. NHL fans fixate on the action with unwavering intensity; they are demanding, loyal zealots who have their own ideas about showing devotion.” – S. L. Price (Seafood For Thought)

It truly is a Canadian game.

Stepping up in class … like a champion

May 29, 2008

For those of you who might not have seen last night’s Game 3 in the Stanley Cup Finals, Sid the Kid’s response to the most recent challenge placed in front of him exemplified how a champion responds to adversity …

Buckle-up … Concentrate … and give Maximum Effort, at all times.

Do these things and … come h* or high water … you will live to fight another day, Win or Lose.

Sports DO NOT build character.

Sports REVEAL character … and CLASS.

Penguins must learn on the fly

May 27, 2008

After last night’s resounding victory, Detroit now leads Pittsburgh 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals, with mainstream media stories beginning to take a different approach to this series overall …

Like the ’83 Oilers, must these Pens lose before they can win?

in comparison to the advance billing for Game 1 …

Pens-Wings matchup something grand for NHL.

Unless Pittsburgh’s coaching staff can unearth a rapid remedy to Detroit’s deadly combination of:

1) Top notch NHL goaltending (Chris Osgood)
2) The three-headed monster of Henrik Zetterberg (C), Pavel Datsyuk (C) & Nicklas Lidstrom (D)
3) Skilled talent up throughout its line-up
3) Vastly superior Stanley Cup experience,

the 2008 version of the Playoffs will culminate in the exact same way as the 1983 edition did, with a dominant 4-game sweep by the favoured team.

Game 3, tomorrow night, is the most important of the Penguins’ season.

If they’ve learned their lessons quickly and can (i) stay out of the Penalty Box, (ii) exert a consistent fore-check against the Red Wings … specifically when Lidstrom is off the ice … (iii) score a Power Play goal, and (iv) get a stand-on-his-head performance from Marc-Andre Fleury (G), the Penguins can win a tight defensive game, on their home ice.

If not, cue the parade in Hockeytown, USA … as the Red Wings organization, from top-to-bottom, remains the best operation in the game today.

NHL Playoffs – Conference Finals, Game 3

May 12, 2008

The most difficult North American ‘pro sports’ team championship to win each year, is the Stanley Cup … due to the physical toll it takes on the players to endure repeated high speed collisons, along the boards, in front of the net, and in open ice situations, with high calibre opponents – carrying (and sometimes using) a stick – intent on inflicting serious harm to their checks during the course of four (4) best-of-7-game playoff rounds.

After the first 2 games of the Conference Finals, the (EC #2) Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0, over Philadelphia) and the (WC #1) Detroit Red Wings (2-0, over Dallas) are now looking to clearly established themselves as the top two remaining teams in this year’s post-season tournament by taking commanding 3-0 leads in their respective series, versus lower-seeded opponents.

While Detorit finished atop the Western Conference regular season standings with 115 points, 7 points clear of the 2nd place team (San Jose Sharks); Pittsburgh ended up 2nd in the Eastern Conference with 102 points, only 2 behind the Montreal Canadiens, despite missing their Captain and best player, Sidney Crosby, for 29 games due to injury.

However, as the scene shifts to Dallas this evening (in the Western Conference), and Philadelphia (in the Eastern Conference) tomorrow night, look for the Stars & Flyers, respectively, to re-establish themselves on home-ice, as the physically tougher teams in their match-ups with the Red Wings & Penguins, intent on evening up their series at two games apiece.

If Marty Turco (Dallas goaltender) and Marty Biron (Philadephia goaltender) can outplay their Detroit & Pittsburgh counterparts, Chris Osgood and Marc-Andre Fleury, both the Stars and the Flyers should have an excellent chance to win these next two games on home ice, as either an outright underdog or a short-priced (i.e. almost even money) favourite … which is the best that you can possibly hope for price-was, at this time of the NHL season.

Current Game 3 Wagering Line:
Mon May 12
Detroit -109

Tue May 13
Pittsburgn +100
Philadelphia -110

Step one in the re-building of the Maple Leafs

May 8, 2008

Think back Pilgrim …” to what was written in this space on Feb 16 … 

Mis-diagnosing the Maple Leafs

regarding the process which was needed to set this sorry organization sailing in the right direction, after years and years of being Lost in Space.

Well (pretend you’re hearing my best Ronald Reagan impersonation) … 4 months after the fact, seems like venerable Uncle Cliffy actually agrees with me … as yesterday,

Leafs fire coach Maurice.

Now let’s see just how long it takes for them to implement Step Two.

PS. 100 Bonus Points … and my eternal affection … to the person who can correctly identify the source of the 3-word quote at the start of this blog entry.

PPS. Do yourself a favour and click on the different links in this entry. Juxtaposed … Lost in Space with Strong, free and full of hope … for you, your family and a better future with … there’s lots of time. My, how time flies by, when you’re standing still.

An icon in the making

April 22, 2008

Game 7.

Stanley Cup Playoffs, 1st Round.

Versus the Boston Bruins.

Game Summary.

… and this young man

… was THE DIFFERENCE last night between Les Habitants winning & losing …

making innumerable fantastic saves for Les Blue, Blanc et Rouge … with the game, and their season, on the line, at 20 years of age … stirring vivid memories of iconic figures, like Ken Dryden & Patrick Roy, from a by-gone era in Montreal.

Whatever ‘IT’ is … know this much … this young man is the next ‘Real Deal’ for Les Canadiens.

Stanley Cup 1st Round Playoff Previews

April 9, 2008

Bar none … the single most difficult championship to win in North American Professional Sports.







Win Conf.


Win Cup



What to Watch For

Eastern Conference Match-ups




Boston Bruins




+2020 (#8)


+4242 (#15)


When these two old rivals meet in the Spring … it’s almost a given which one is going to advance. Another rookie goalie for Montreal. Could it be …




Montreal Canadiens




+294 (#2)


+811 (#3)





New York Rangers




+827 (#4)


+1419 (#6)


The Blue-shirts are the fashionable pick to make some noise this year. Always a war when these two meet. Brodeur vs Lundqvist should be a dousy




New Jersey Devils




+791 (#3)


+1655 (#8)





Ottawa Senators




+853 (#6)


+1892 (#9)


Fleury & Conklin are still big question marks for the Pens but, with no Alfredsson & Fisher, the Sens are going to struggle to score.




Pittsburgh Penguins




+265 (#1)


+836 (#1)





Philadelphia Flyers




+1107 (#7)


+2786 (#13)


The Caps have their mojo going big-time, right now, led by Ovechkin, Federov. & Huet. Flyers have been going in reverse since the All-star game.




Washington Capitals




+834 (#5)


+1471 (#7)

Western Conference Match-ups




Nashville Predators




+3525 (#8)


+6060 (#16)


Red Wings at the head of the class, again. Will go as far as Hasek can take them. Preds just happy to still be playing games in April.




Detroit Red Wings




+164 (#1)


+368 (#1)





Dallas Stars




+1416 (#6)


+2199 (#11)


Stars could give the Ducks a tussle in the early going. Anaheim played possum for much of the year. Ducks ‘Defensive Corps’ is the league’s best.




Anaheim Ducks




+478 (#3)


+817 (#4)





Calgary Flames




+1621 (#7)


+2800 (#14)


Echoes of past playoff failures very real for the Sharks vs a tough veteran crew that’s played this tune before. Kiprusoff vs Nabokov will decide it.




San Jose Sharks




+333 (#2)


+481 (#2)





Colorado Avalanche




+1177 (#4)


+2222 (#12)


A rock-em sock’em defensive affair that should see a series of one-goal decisions, either way. Will be decided by Penalty Kills & Power Plays.




Minnesota Wild




+1239 (#5)


+2055 (#10)

The World’s Fastest Game (1)

April 4, 2008

For several different reasons, the NHL has yet to capture the fancy of the American Republic.

Hard-driving, clean, and physical plays … like this one, right here …

are not one of them.

Keeping your head down a touch too long, Daniel, while cruising through the slot, as you release a wrest shot … is an open invitation to have your Mark Bell rung.

Take more care, next time, and you should be just fine.