Tag Archives: Andrea Bargnani

Maple Leafs, Raptors Era Of Hope, Blue Jays? Not So Much

Once again the original ideas are clearly sparse these days. As one loyal reader wrote me an email “is it me or is Damien on auto-pilot”. In any event, Dave Perkins took Jeff Blair’s Toronto The Bad story and raised it with a feel good spin:

“The Maple Leafs have hit the all-star break losing 11 of 14 games, the Raptors have dived straight into the tank and, with pitchers and catchers on the horizon, the Blue Jays seem to have already surrendered their season, publicly managing expectations downward the way the Maple Leafs did so successfully last fall.”

9 am, who is ready for a drink?

“So, what to do? Not much except wait it all out and believe that this time, pain will bring gain. In the case of the Leafs, most fans expected this kind of situation and many wished for it; blowing it up is the best way to start over again.Raptor people would feel differently. This team began the season with reasonable expectations, but fell apart terribly. A flurry now and a finish from seven through 11 in the conference would put them into that wheel-spinning ground the Leafs inhabited for so many years; if you can’t be good, be really bad and start building again with a nice draft pick.”

No, I swear I didn’t write the piece. Perkins is right on though….

“The good news for the Raps is that it’s a shorter road back in the NBA and Bryan Colangelo still is a smart guy, even though he’s now on an extended hitless steak. If he can trade Jermaine O’Neal for a large expiring contract, they would have money to spend in the off-season. A 2009-10 team with Chris Bosh, a healthy Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, a lottery pick and a decent free agent, along with the usual spare parts, isn’t so bad. Things can change quickly in the NBA – in either direction.The Leafs, in the big picture, are actually having what sensible people would call a successful season. They’re losing with effort, most nights at least playing decent games while dropping points. As new GM Brian Burke undertakes what a friend calls “a de-Communization” of his team, they are inching toward the bottom and the subsequent potential draft bonanza.”

Ding ding ding ding…give the man a prize. As I have said before, this common sense thing, it’s really not that hard. this isn’t rocket science. “They are losing with effort, most nights at least playing decent games while dropping points” yes, I did just repost that. That is what we want them to do. Raise your hand which team you prefer, the Muskoka five effortless group of last year, or this years group???? This is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered.

“The Islanders are in control of the John Tavares Sweepstakes, but the Leafs are only three points out of 29th place and who knows how the ping-pong balls will bounce? If both Tampa Bay and Ottawa make little runs, the Leafs will benefit. They potentially have chips to play with at the trade deadline. If either or both of Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky get rolling, they could depart for a taste of future. Jason Blake, who has been playing with interest lately, has three more years on his contract, but is looking as if he could help somebody else. He doesn’t have a no-trade contract.”

The Obama factor…The most dangerous word in the English language is HOPE…Perkins is using it now. We don’t mind the losing (not loosing) if there is HOPE! “A Taste of the future” EXACTLY!!!

“There are things Burke can do with an eye two or three years down the road, which is, realistically, when they might become competitive. Resurrection begins with good results in the draft, commencing in the lottery, which is why being bad – and .363 is as bad as it gets – doesn’t necessarily need to be the end of the world.”

Stop telling us how bad we are. It isn’t becoming and frankly it pisses us off. It’s interesting that Perkins rightfully leaves the Jays out of the discussion. Maybe he knows what we (with the exception of Eye) believe, that the right guy isn’t at that table. Hope, all we need is a tiny morsel of hope. If the right people are around the draft table there is hope. Guarantees? Nope. No such thing (death, taxes and self serving Berger Blogs excepted). Being so bad should have it’s payoff…Let’s see if the right guys are at the table.

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As Bad A Night As I Can Remember

Wow- something is in the water today? No no, not the Leafs, a good game and a shutout loss…too bad we picked up a point. The Raptors? Hell no, the way I figure they are going to be right in the thick of the John Tavares lottery. Once again I am totally puzzled by the media… It’s like one big Seinfeld episode, except I don’t care for many of the characters, actually the only similarity is that their articles are about nothing… NOTHING…

First, Berger writes a totally useless article about Matt Stajan wanting more noise at the ACC. This is news how? No really, has any player ever not wanted that? The fact that team isn’t that strong at home has nothing to do with the fans. It has everything to with character. That isn’t a shot against Stajan. It’s the whole group. The team that Sundin, McCabe, Tucker lead wasn’t very good at home either. It’s not easy playing here in Toronto in front of the home crowd, it takes character to do it well. When a player messes up he hears about it. Sometimes unmercifully . So to hear that one guy would like more noise is totally irrelevant and not the least bit newsworthy. To write an entire blog about it????? Come on Howie, how about a review of the All Star Official uniforms, I gave you everything you need. Hell, as a member of the media you can probably get a preview too- you got the scoop on the 3rd jerseys after all.

What’s worse then Berger writing about Stajan asking for more noise, Paul Hunter of the Star writing the EXACT same story…. Complete with the same predictable Dave Winfield analogy. Tomorrow, whichever station books Winfield to talk about asking for noise wins the prize. Come on folks…this is really pathetic.

Then, Hunter’s buddy Damien wrote a totally useless article about Luke Schenn. Let’s see, he thinks, maybe, Burke wouldn’t have kept Schenn up had he been GM at the beginning of the season. Wow! How interesting. Funny, because I don’t think Burke would have resigned Ed Belfour after the lockout if he were GM back then either. Oh yeah, and under the same relevance theme is my favorite, Pat Quinn wouldn’t have yanked Toskala in favor of Joseph for the shootout like Wilson did earlier this year. The usual Damien anti-leaf article is, about, n o t h i n g. A new reader wrote a funny post about LT’s post today being both the argument and the counter-argument…Damien did the exact same thing here:

“the decision to keep the 18-year-old defenceman in the big leagues this season has certainly not been a disaster. In fact, in a season that has become increasingly gloomy, Schenn has been one of the bright notes all year. ” He likes him…..

“What will never be known, of course, is what it has cost the Leafs to keep Schenn in the NHL this season rather than returning him to Kelowna of the Western Hockey League for another season of competing against his peers. ” He doesn’t…

“Perhaps nothing, and it’s true, Schenn has rarely looked outclassed in the NHL this season, and the manner in which he shrugged off a 12-game absence due to a knee problem was a sign of maturity. On Wednesday night he was paired with Ian White most of the night and out against Boston’s tricky line of David Krejci, Mike Ryder and Blake Wheeler, a challenging assignment against the Eastern Conference’s top squad. ” He likes him….

“At the same time, particularly for a player drafted fifth overall, and one for whom the Leafs traded away first, second and third round picks in order to position themselves to get him, there haven’t been many signs of offensive potential. ” He doesn’t

“What the Leafs don’t know is whether this is the Luke Richardson story all over again. Richardson was the seventh overall pick in 1987 and played for the Leafs as 18-year-old, actually potting four goals in his rookie season.The club maintained over and over that, like Schenn now, Richardson had offensive potential that he’d shown as a junior in Peterborough. But it never shone through in the NHL, and Richardson never managed more than 21 points in a season. ” Ummmm, he doesn’t like him…

“Would the Leafs be happy if Schenn turned out to be Richardson? Somewhat, but it wouldn’t be the kind of home run they’d hoped to hit with such a high pick. He’ll never be a bust, it would seem, and the Leafs can only hope he might one day be an all-star.” He likes him

“Schenn hasn’t been eaten alive by the pressure of playing on a weak team in this hockey-mad city, and that’s a good sign. There’s obvious poise, and a willingness to play a physical game and even stand up for teammates, commodities in short supply on the current edition of the Leafs. ” He Likes him

“The older Schenn boy, meanwhile, is still learning as he goes in the world’s top hockey league. He was solid for two periods Wednesday night, but with less than seven minutes to play he was schooled by Bruins blueliner Dennis Wideman on a rush, then was caught napping when Marc Savard hit Zdeno Chara with a goalmouth pass to tie the game 3-3 and create overtime.” He doesn’t…

“He’s a big kid finding his way in a tough league. Whether he should have been in the league so young or not, no one can argue he’s a big part of the Leafs’ future.” WHAT- That’s it???? That’s the conclusion??? Talk about 3 minutes of my life I will never get back… What kind of crock this is. The headline is Burke Likely Would Have Sent Schenn Down..there is no quote from Burke, it’s Damien’s hunch. I know, Damien didn’t write the headline… Talk about an article about NOTHING!!!

Then, to top it all off, the guy I think had really been rising to the top wrote a totally useless article. Jeff’ Blair’s piece in the globe is about 19 segments too long. I actually think I captured the gist in 1 paragraph in a post yesterday. Blair wrote an entire page on the losing records of our teams! An entire page. Complete with quotes from Beeston and Burke. Get this:

“”One of the problems the city has right now is that nobody’s excelling,” said Blue Jays interim chief executive officer Paul Beeston, a committed Toronto booster.” Ummmmm YA THINK???? This from a guy I REALLY like (Beeston)….This from the guy who has “just about finished the Blue Jays President job description”….. What I think Beeston meant was, that the problem is the teams in cities not named Toronto score more points then those teams from Toronto!

“When will the bulls run rampant again in the Toronto sports market? Not soon. Let’s be honest. Of the current crop of Maple Leafs, it’s hard to imagine general manager Brian Burke wanting anybody other than Luke Schenn around in two or three years.” Ok, I am waiting for something I don’t already now…..

“The Raptors have, what, three legitimate NBA starters (four when Jermaine O’Neal’s healthy) and a bunch of guys who wouldn’t be a first option off a contender’s bench? Andrea Bargnani looks to be developing the way general manager Bryan Colangelo expected, but the Raptors have always seemed a day late and a dollar short, and that sometimes happens when you just give away a franchise player such as Vince Carter.” Uh huh, and????

“The Blue Jays’ window of opportunity — created when the late Ted Rogers made his famous three-year commitment — turned out not to be as wide as anticipated because, with the game’s revenue explosion, a $90-million payroll didn’t buy as much as it once did and the Blue Jays didn’t have enough high-calibre young players to fill in when injuries hit.” The part with the news, the actual original thought is coming right?

“Those are some of the reasons for the drought. The good news is no cause is lost, as is clearly demonstrated by what’s happened in Boston since the Patriots won their first of three Super Bowls in 2001. The Red Sox — the Red Sox! — ended the Curse of the Bambino and won their first World Series in 86 years and the Celtics won the 2008 NBA title, and don’t look now, but the Bruins, who haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1972, are leading the NHL Eastern Conference.” TIME…that’s what you got Jeff? TIME, so this drought will end because the coin that has landed 1 million straight times on heads will eventually fall to tails????? Because it just has to???? Sorry, I had hoped you could do better then this ending:

“Mostly, though, it’s a hungry market. Kicked in the pocketbook, its psyche battered, and tired of having to go through it all again after the TSX closes. Hey buddy … got a win?”

So the Leafs lost in a shutout, earned one too many points, but that is ok. The Raptors got shelled…stick a fork in their season…the TV show Lost started and I am confused as ever….and I am going to bed disappointed by 4 brutal articles… Here’s hoping tomorrow’s a better day 🙂

Berger is here
Cox is http://www.thestar.com/Sports/Hockey/article/575293
Hunter is here
Blair is here

Kaberle, Modano, Hull, Avery, Rentals, Caps & Raps… Oh My

I love this quote from Bruce Arthur. Can’t you just picture the scene in the Leafs locker-room, all the regular’s are gathered around Kaberle’s locker, they ask him about his NTC:

“”We haven’t spoke about anything, and obviously my status stays the same,” Kaberle said with an air of finality. “We can talk about tonight’s game if you guys want to.”

After a pause, one sharp reporter said, “Not really.”

That is right out of a SNL skit… whom do you think the “sharp reporter” 10:1 Howie 5:1 Jonas

Oh to be on the Dallas Stars next flight with Modano and Brett Hull… Let’s see, sitting in 11 a is Mike Modano, here is your boarding pass and in 11 C is Brett Hull, here you go…

“”I think we would have analyzed (the signing) a little bit more over the summer before you go into the free-agent market. Do a little more homework and detailed analysis (and get the opinions) of players who have played with him, or how guys feel about it,” said Wednesday the 19-year veteran.
“It could have been avoided, I think, but I think (co-GM) Brett (Hull) felt having him as a teammate (while with the Detroit Red Wings), he saw something in him. “Talent-wise, he’s a very skilled kid. But I think character-wise and his personality didn’t blend with the criteria that we’ve always had as Dallas Stars. Since Bob Gainey was here, we implemented a kind of personality and character-figure in Tom Hicks. That’s kind of where it went off and tail-spinned, and got corrected.”

One word…. Ouch…Gotta love when a guy like Modano suggests that maybe, just maybe it would be a good idea to do some , ummmm, what’s the word for it, oh yeah HOMEWORK before signing a player…. The fact that he references Bob Gainey is even more classic.

Good job of accumulating a list of rental players from Kevin Allen in his USA Today hockey blog:
Jay Bouwmeester (Florida)
Keith Tkachuk (St. Louis Blues)
Mathieu Schneider (Atlanta)
Andy McDonald (St. Louis)
Nik Antropov (Toronto)
Doug Weight (New York Islanders)
Bill Guerin (New York Islanders)
Gaborik (Minnesota)
Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo)
Sean O’Donnell (Los Angeles)

Another great quote: “Citing declining sales, the CBC has pulled out as a carrier of Toronto Blue Jays telecasts.” William Houston, Globe and Mail. There is no surprise that the CBC balked at a rate of $150k per game to broadcast the Jays games. “Beeston said 145 of the Jays’ 162 games will be televised, 125 on Sportsnet, which is owned by Jays proprietor Rogers Communications, and 20 on TSN.” By the way, did anyone else here this gem from Mr. Beeston while on with Pad Thai (Watters) and Brady ” I am almost finished writing up the job description for Blue Jays President.” Please, someone tell me just how long that should take and what Mr. Beeston (whom I am a huge fan of) has been doing since he took the job???? I guess with the rate of signings and trades he realizes there is no rush to do…..ummmmmm, anything

A subject that drives Howard Berger nuts seems to have been resolved in the media’s favor in Montreal:

“Growing weary of widespread rumours and gossip surrounding injured players, Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau on Wednesday said anyone sidelined indefinitely will now have the nature of their injuries released to the media. No longer will the team report such players have upper- or lower-body injuries.Carbonneau said the decision was reached following a meeting between himself, general manager Bob Gainey, vice-president (hockey operations) Julien BriseBois and the team’s communications department.”

I have heard the arguments from both sides. The anti-reveal argument is if you reveal a player’s injury the opposing teams will attack that injury every chance they can. The pro-reveal argument is simply, we have a job to do and you shouldn’t hide information from us. If the former is true then the injuries shouldn’t be revealed, the hell with the latter.

Tonight’s shows on both stations were the worst I have heard since I have been pre-viewing/reviewing the drive home radio shows on both the Fan and 640, The interview with Steve Nash was pretty dull and almost unlistenable seeing how Nash sounded like he was in an aquarium for it. Kudos to Mccown and Kelley for interviewing an athlete (they rarely do) and for admitting that they taped it earlier (not that it would have made a difference to any of us listening), which they also rarely do. Those who preceded Nash and followed were equally as uninteresting. Over on 640 the lineup with the exception of Dean Lombardi was really dull. Perhaps it was the cold weather, but it seemed to be a night when both stations should have punted. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better.

You know the old saying about a sucker being born every second…
“Sources say the team is expected to be sold within the next two months with current owner Jerry Moyes retaining as much as 20 percent.” That according to Darren Dreger, speaking on the issue of the Phoenix Coyotes. With all the issues facing this team, most importantly a 30 year lease with brutal terms (no parking revenue for the team AND a share of each ticket sold being shared with the city) it’s hard to phathom who would buy the team. That is not to suggest that the team isn’t valuable. Truth is many would leaf fans would gladly change rosters wth the Yotes in a heartbeat… Why someone would buy this team is beyond me…especially right now…

Hats off to Jay Triano for finding Andrea Bargnani’s game. Man, anyone else see him put up 31 tonight in another loosing effort?? Quite an impressive showing for the Big Euro.

If you are a hockey fan, you had to watch, with a smile on your face the play as the Caps defeated the Pens 6-3 tonight. Way to go AO and my adopted 2nd team the Washington Capitals!

Have a good night all

Andrea Bargnani~ Not a bust

That was the big statement from Bryan Colangelo, President and GM of the Toronto Raptors. Not much else was said of significance.