Tag Archives: Justin Pogge

Time For A Change In The Morning

I am going to go out on a limb here folks. It is time Nelson Millman to make a change to his morning show over at the Fan 590. I don’t want to call for someone to lose (not loose) their job, but the morning show is just stale. Why do I bring this up today, well, Don Landry was out ill today and Damien filled in for Landry. It was the best morning show they have had in ages. Let me be clear, I don’t know Don Landry from Adam. To quote Pat Burns, “I wouldn’t know him if I hit him with my car.” I don’t dislike him personally, nor the work he does. However, if ever there was a guy suited for a mid day slot it would be him. He can be funny, he likes to do more shtick then substance and I am sure he has a ton of loyal followers. He just isn’t a sports guy. This is a time slot the Fan has all to their own and to be honest most mornings I punt to 550 or god forbid music. If I am not getting sports at 590, there is no reason to listen. Nelson needs to find a replacement for Landry during that show and move Landry to an hour where his talents will be more appreciated. I can’t see the ratings for this show getting any better then they are right now. The show has peaked and I predict will decline until a change is made.

Damien was fantastic this am with Gord. They have amazing chemistry and man, they spent time actually talking about what their sports guests earlier in the am had to say. Damien was saying how he thought wht Burke was doing with Pogge was the right move, that it was part of a plan. He said he disagreed with Scotty’s take from earlier in the am which was great in that I didn’t get to hear all of it. There was a lot less hijinx then there usually is and a bigger focus on sports. Again, for some reason I think Damien’s column has suffered greatly as a result of the other things he does. He is better in his blog and is better then that on the radio. Watching him faceoff against Simmons on Sunday’s is pretty interesting too. In his column he rarely says why leaf fans should be happy that Cliff is gone. It sounds like a personal vendetta, and more so every time he says it isn’t. This morning he actually put some meat on the bones saying that if Cliff were still in charge we would have seen more deals like the one Cliff made for Lee Stempniak, trading away 2 guys who at the very least should have been given a shot with the Marlies to work our their careers. Damien guaranteed that Cliff was going to do everything in his power to get the team to the playoffs this season and deals like that were evidence of such. Now, I have no clue whether that is true or not. Damien also wrote that Doug Gilmour was paying for his players to be at the ACC this Saturday and we have since learned otherwise. At least it makes for interesting radio. It is certainly better then another bit of Ken Dryden in the house of commons! Good on Damien for mixing it up a bit, making it interesting etc.

I would like to see the Fan 590 think outside the box a bit more. In many major cities I have lived in the morning show and the drive home show feature a radio guy and a print guy as permanent hosts. The radio guy is always there (except for vacations) and the print guy is sometimes a little late, sometimes on the road or sometimes absent. They have good chemistry and create a good product. Now Brunt is a part timer on the Fan, not full time with McCown. While I love Brunt’s work, I think he comes across as being to cerebral for radio in this town. He is certainly better then some of the other guys though. I would love for the Fan to find a way to get Damien or someone like him in there with Stellick. Maclean would be a better fit to be honest. One of the problems I think is that we don’t have a huge bullpen of talent (at least known) in this market. It’s not like there are 5-10 guys on other shows who you say, man they would be awesome on the Fan. With the exception of Brady on 640 (and I think he would be terrific with Stellick, but can’t see that happening anytime soon), I really can’t think of anyone. Now Brady came from Detroit and there are probably a lot of folks in the industry looking for work in other markets. I think Nelson really should make a change, move Landry to the mid-day and bring in someone else to work with Stellick. This morning was a tease.

Pogge Up- Down The Stretch They Come

So we are going to see the start of the professional evaluation of one Justin Pogge. It’s a good thing too. At least when he is in net the pundits are going to have lots to write about. One shot, he’s good the next- he’s a bum. Burke and Wilson need to know what they have sooner rather then later and well sooner starts now. If Pogge can’t play in the NHL we had better know now as the planning is well under way. As one scout told me after the last game, Burke isn’t done his evaluations yet, when he is the dominoes will start to fall. One evaluation that is obvious is that of Justin Pogge.

Sorry for the NFL thought, but I am curious, US newspapers are ceasing to cover the NHL in droves, yet our news outlets are all already down in Tampa for the superbowl. Seems odd to me, does it to anyone else?

Doug Gilmour is a favorite. Someone, anyone please explain to me why he told Damien he was paying for his current players to attend the event honoring the former captain this Saturday night while Steve Simmons’s story is that a penguins player is the one who actually paid for the tickets? No really, why would Gilmour lie about something so small, he looks like and would be a liar if this is true.

Suspended not suspended, injured, not injured WHO CARES…enough already. Why was this the only thing being talked about today? There has to be something better to talk about then this.

I will say it again, there is no better player in the game today then Alexander Ovechkin. He is the only player in the league I would pay to see, night in and night out. He is strong, he is tough, he is animated, he is talented, he is the guy the NHL needs to start selling as the face of the league.

Have all the good rumor sources dried up? Garrioch had the Leafs looking at Pronger, Hanky gave the Jay Bo to the buds his highest rating before a deal being done. Where are all the good scoops?

The Avs are coming up this week. Tucker and Red light Raycroft doing battle against their former teammates (or what is left of them). It will be very interesting to hear the interviews with Tucker this week and then to see his sideshow Bob antics take shape against his former club.

Ok sports fans, who pulls the trigger first, Burke or Colangelo? Which player gets dealt first, a Leaf or Jermaine O’Neal?

A random thought

Saws Berger’s post on Pogge getting some playing time over the next couple of weeks. That is great. I think the Buds owe it to themselves and to Pogge to see what if anything he can do. Having said that, what happens to the other 2. One who is clearly over the hill, playing wise and one who just quite can’t stop fighting the puck. The isles are down a goalie and so are the bluejackets. Maybe, just maybe we can sell either of them a Vessa.

44 shopping days left. 44 days for assets to show their stuff (or sail a puck 15 feet over the glass in to the stands and take a dumb penalty). 44 days to meet with scouts, check your list and then go do what you can. It’s nice that guys like Damien find inspiration for us in Boston. They are setting the table for Burke to fail. That is ok. I think Burke will do just fine. Luck will take care of itself. Interested to see how we do against the B’s a team that is really fun to watch.

Have a good night

Quotes & of the day- Warning Adult Content

Before the quotes, a few notes….

The ALL new TSM is coming soon folks!

Did anyone else watching the game tonight have the same feeling I did that the buds were going to lose this one, right after they failed to score on numerous scoring chances in the second period. It was one of those games where you could just sense that the Leafs inability to score was going to result in Carolina scoring almost with ease. Then whammo, Kaberle took the delay of game penalty and the rest was history. Too bad, the boys played well in the early going. Wait, not too bad, perfect. Hard work and a loss. It’s all good after all.

Ummmm the Raptors, anyone, signs of life, anyone???? What the hell is going on???? This team isn’t going anywhere fast. WE expected the leafs to suck, but the raptors???? Man BC do something, show us the team has a pulse…

On to the quotes:

“CBC’s Elliotte Friedman may be the first announcer in TV to work three sports in two days with three different hairstyles.”Chris Zelkovitch

“”Who made Dave Branch the guy who decides how fighting is going to be treated … in the OHL?” Mike Milbury

“Toskala is the 6th best goalie in the northeast division…seriously — wouldn’t u rather have any of the following..

price
halak
t.thomas
m.fernandez
ryan miller…

it’s possible he’s only better than cujo, pat lalime and whomever plays for the sens…but if this elliot kid is for real, then TOSKALA is the 7th best goalie in the division..” Greg Brady

“How do you hire a guy who was the worst at his job (they name bad trades after him, seriously, trust me, they call them Milbury’s) and put him on national television (on both sides of the border) and get him to critique how others are doing his job??!! He was the worst GM in 20 years, save for maybe Punch Imlach!!” Greg Brady on Mike Milbury as a tv commentator

“but not because he’s earned it; it’s because we have to see what we have in him.” Brian Burke on having to call up Justin Pogge this season.

“Only a blind optimist would suggest this off-season has done anything to move the Blue Jays closer to their first playoff berth since the 1993 World Series. It’s not just the profligate spending of American League East rival New York Yankees or that both the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles have made additions. It’s the lack of movement on the part of the team itself. It seems as though this has been a winter of discontent, at least in the media and to a greater extent the blogosphere. Be that as it may, Beeston said that when he is out and about he finds “a lot of people understand … the economy being what it is.” Jeff Blair on Paul Beeston having to explain the hibernation of the Blue Jays this offseason to season ticket holders (all 4 of them) tuesday night

“I enjoy acting, and I really like sex,” says McCarty, “so this was the perfect opportunity to combine two of my passions. I approached Vivid with the idea of shooting a film with a sexy but interesting storyline, and I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of control I was given throughout the production process. I am very pleased with the final edit of Faithless, and I just may do another adult film.” former Miss USA 1991 Kelli McCarty pageant winner stars in the new XXX porn flick Faithless, which goes on sale February 4th. Thanks to Perez Hilton for passing this along!

The Maple Leaf Crystal Ball

Mike Ulmer, writing on the Leafs website does a nice job predicting what the Buds may look like at the start of the 2011 season. Here are a couple of highlights:

“Going into tonight’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens, the Maple Leafs are 16-18-6, 10 points out of the basement, 25 points away from first.”

Always good to have some perspective don’t you think?

“The Leafs desperately need to get younger. To that end, I have limited the top two lines and top two defensive pairings to players 25 years or younger on opening night. Keep in mind, there will always be room for productive older players. Nik Hagman will be nearly 32, but it’s hard to think his game would not be welcome somewhere on the roster. ”

God I hope he is right about the age thing….

“On defence: Luke Schenn. He’s a sure bet. A little below Schenn, put Jeff Finger in the depth chart. Anton Stralman has the talent to be a top four defenceman but it’s impossible to accurately predict whether he will make the jump. I like Jonas Frogren’s mean for the third pairing and based on his ever improving play, Ian White might be considered in the mix. ”

So we are 1/4 right now. I love that Finger is still here if to only shut up a lot pundits.

“At forward: Well, Mikhail Grabovsky is the one sure bet. Nikolai Kulemin is in the minors right now, but he remains a good prospect for second or third-line status. Veteran Nik Antropov would be welcome, but he was a free agent back in 2009 and who knows where he is in 2010.

Ummm I think he is putting that at 1/4 (maybe 2 if you count Nikolai), which is 1 more then anyone would have said at the beginning of the season. No one expected to Grabovsky to be as good or at least to look like he has the upside that he has shown thus far.

In net, Ulmer correctly has a question mark.

“Realistically, the Leafs need nine players who can play on the top two lines and three more defencemen who can man the first two pairings.”

That is going to be a tall order. These players, according to Ulmer have to be under 25. Finding that many players under 25 isn’t going to be easy. I hope the pundits remember this as they grade Mr. Burke. Think about it. You don’t draft players in their young 20’s. Schenn is the exception, not the rule. I am sure the good folks over at PPP can tell us the percentage of players drafted in the first or second round play meaningful games in there first 2 years. I am willing to be it isn’t that high.

“That means the Leafs must depend on a steady flow of players from the development end, the Marlies. They must gamble draft choices for ready for prime time players (hard to find someone who begrudges the second-rounder Cliff Fletcher gave up to land Grabovsky) or trade.”

All this means that Mr. Burke is going to be very busy between now and the start of next season.

You can read Ulmer here

Howie On Cujo Makes Little Sense…Surprised?

So Happy Howie, thinks it’s time for Cujo to hang them up. Or does he? His latest article seems to suggest there is a struggle within his own brain….

Howie starts by stating the obvious, that the buds were pretty brutal. Then he states how sad it is that Cujo didn’t stand on his head last night. Truth be told, Cujo was no worse then TosGoala has been lately.

“if Curtis would acknowledge that his days as an NHL-caliber goalie have come to an end. It is nothing at all to be ashamed of at age 41, and I find it disheartening to watch one of the Leafs’ most valued post-1967 assets hanging on for dear life at the end of his career.”

Look, it takes two to tango. Cliff made the offer, Cujo signed it. How, pres tel is he hanging on for dear life? Have any of you seen a report that he is unhappy or refusing to retire? Its not like, at least yet Burke or Wilson has hinted that he should move on and he is refusing! This is, once again, Howie making a story out of a non-story.

“There is no particular urgency for the Leafs to make a move with their back-up goaltending – nothing of significance hangs in the balance with Joseph floundering – but it would be sad, nonetheless, if Cujo were forced into retirement.”

Ummmm, ok, I am with you, I think…..

“This isn’t to suggest that Burke is anxious to pull the plug on Joseph, but neither is sentiment likely to stand in the way.”

Ok…there is a point here right?

“Having ruled out 29 other cities, it’s clear that Cujo simply wanted one last kick at the can. Unfortunately for him – and the multitudes that admired his brilliance in previous years [myself included] – there is no magic left.”

Wait just one second. It’s not like the guy wanted to go to a winner, or demand that he play for a cup contender. He stated all along it was Toronto or retire. I am not going to say the guy is ready to be a regular. However I am not dumb enough to suggest that anyone, including Berger himself thought similarly of Mr. Clemenson in NJ either. Cujo has been given spot duty at best (and that is no complaint). Giving a guy 2 starts in a row is hardly enough to say he is or isn’t a competent player any more then it is to say that he is. Again I am not bitching about Cujo’s lack of play. To suggest that he is over the hill isn’t news. He was signed to backup toskala. Has he been great? No. Has Toskala? No. What’s the story again?

“What needs to be determined is the direction Burke would take if Cujo were no longer on the scene. ”

Wait you just said there is no urgency. I am confused. Don’t you think Burke knows exactly what he would do in the event of “x” occurring?

“Much more fascinating will be Burke’s handling of Vesa Toskala and Justin Pogge. In the mind of coach Ron Wilson, Toskala is the undisputed No. 1 goalie on the hockey club… but to what end?”

No what be more fascinating would be Wilson’s handling of Tavaras and Nik Atropov. I mean why are we even talking about this right now.

“If I were Burke, I would strongly coerce Joseph into hanging up the pads and becoming a mentor to those that follow in the organization. I’d then call up Pogge and play the living daylights out of him for the better part of a month.”

Ummm, you just wrote 3 paragraphs prior “but it would be sad, nonetheless, if Cujo were forced into retirement” now you are asking Burke to do just that??!! The good news is that Berger isn’t Burke.

“As I’ve previously mentioned, it’s doubly important that Burke audition Pogge, given that Toskala has one season after this remaining on his contract. The GM will likely make a long-term decision on Toskala prior to the draft next June. How can he do that without having a grasp on Pogge’s NHL readiness?
The other possibility is that neither Toskala nor Pogge are capable of leading the Leafs into contention. But, Burke hasn’t yet played all his cards in that hand. To do so, he has to first move Joseph aside. And that will be much easier if the goalie, himself, comes to grips with his situation, and is able to fully appreciate his wonderful place in NHL history.”

I disagree. He first has to get Tosgoala to a point where he has some value, any value. He can’t worry about his number 2 or bury Toskala until he can trade him. Starting Pogge over Toskala does no good. You have to move Toskala first. To do that he needs value. This really isn’t rocket science. If only he watched a few out of town games….I wonder if he knew there was a game at Wrigley yesterday.

Message Abound In Leaf Camp

So everywhere folks are looking for signs that the Leafs have a GM. Brian Burke seems to be as elusive as the current American Presidential tandem of George Bush and Dick Cheney. Seriously folks, is the Great Burke that hard to track down or are the Toronto Press lazier then I was on the cruise??

Whichever it is, perhaps we are today seeing the first moves of the Burke Era. Curtis Joseph has been told he will start not only tonight’s game but also the one after that. This leads to all kinds of conclusions:

1. This is Cujo’s last shot. He has, as have others stated that it is hard to get going as infrequently as he has been called upon. So this is the Leafs saying here’s the ball run with it. If he is no better after 2 then what is left to prove?
2. This is the beginning of a competition/end of Toskala era. What pres tel will happen when (or if) Cujo is stellar in both games? Seriously, what do the Leafs do if the guy stands on his head for the next 2 games. The Leafs win and he is star #1, are they going to yank him? What kind of message does that sound to the kids?

This looks like there be signs of life in the GM office after all. I don’t buy this is about “getting cujo an edge”. This is a test. If he fails he is done. if he passes, bye bye Vesa, call up the kid and let the kid and Cujo carry the torch the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, it would be refreshing as hell to see some real reporting in one of the Toronto dailies….