Tag Archives: Paul Hunter

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

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Pre-Airwaves Post

A happy Sunday morning to all of you. Here are some random thoughts before taking to the airwaves on The Sunday Showcase on 740 AM here in the GTA at 11:30:

Howie and I disagree on one more thing, fashion. I was yapping at LT at how ugly the Flyers jersey was, way too florescent for me. Howie said it was his favorite of all the third jerseys. I realize this is biased, the Leafs jersey that has the old style maple leaf is my favorite. Followed by the Pens blue one.

Nice move by Lou and the Devils to ink Brendan Shanahan. He is happy being the New York area and may still have something left in the tank. Time will tell if it was a good move.

Anyone have a tape of hockeycentral from last night. I hear there was another near dust-up between Nick Kypreos and Bill Watters. An emailer sent me this account:

Kypreos: Hartsburg has worst body language I’ve ever seen in a coach, calls out his star players, Eugene – do something!

Watters: Hold it, Nick, HOLD IT….You can say what u want about Hartsburg, but he is as fine a young man as I’ve known..

Kypreos: So what, Bill….

Watters: And he’s a better coach than you’ve ever had!

Kypreos: Really????? (getting right pissed)

Watters: Yes, that’s true!

Kypreos: He is a Junior A coach….He is a Junior A coach..

Watters: NO HE ISN’T! NO HE ISN’T! He is an NHL COACH!

Kypreos: He isn’t. He’s proven that.

Watters: Do you think he’d call you a Junior A Player (screaming)??? You couldn’t carry his jockstrap!!!!!

Kypreos: Well….(then just sits there steaming…)

Honestly — Kypreos just looked like he’d gotten kicked in the balls.”

Here’s hoping someone out there has it so I can post it.

You know- us leaf fans and the franchise itself just can’t win. When the team was winning, Cliff did a lousy job because the team was performing too well. When they are losing the sky is falling. It’s no wonder someone hasn’t started a site devoted to bashing the media in this town 🙂

“The Maple Leafs continue to rediscover their backbone, but victories, well, that’s a different matter.” That from Paul Hunter in today’s Star. The undertone is blatent. What happened to the leafs need to tank sentiment? I mean as an old boss loved to say, you can’t suck and blow at the same time. The media just can’t have it both ways. I didn’t see the game last night, but for the opening 5-7 minutes. From all accounts it was the game we as fans should hope for every night. The boys played hard, really hard. A strong effort especially in the physical department and they lost. Isn’t that what we want from this team this year? Compete hard yet not enough to advance in the standings. The best part is the players we want to move are all playing reasonably well, therefore hopefully raising their respective values. Let’s hope they don’t peak too early or get hurt.

Love the bit in Ottawa Sun today that Brian Burke won’t be afraid to trade with the Habs or Sens…Man would #55 look great in white, red and black!

Type at you after the show

Perspective on the Burke Era

That didn’t take long did it? Paul Hunter and the brains at the headline writing desk at the Star did some homework and actually spend some time researching Brian Burke’s draft history while at the helm of the Vancouver Canucks. As the old latin saying Res ipsa loquitur goes, his record speaks for itself:

“Burke’s ‘Nucks made 18 picks over two drafts in 2000 and 2002 and came up with exactly zero players who proved to be legitimate prospects. Those 18 players went on to combine for a mere 31 NHL games over their careers. Heck, Carlo Colaiacovo plays almost that many in one season.”

Let’s get a few things clear right from the get go. He owns that distinction. He was the GM, they were his picks and he takes the blame. Having said that we all know the difficulty in grading the NHL draft, unlike the NBA or NFL the NHL draft is a total crapshoot. Also, most GM’s don’t see much of the players being picked, they rely on their staffs. The one thing everyone has said about Burke is that he allows his people to do their jobs. Remember though the buck stops at the GM’s desk.

“Burke’s draft day work hasn’t been all terrible. While he hasn’t historically done well at mining the depths of the draft – those later rounds when some teams unearth gems – the new Leaf GM has shown himself to be a master of aggressively working the draft floor to get a prospect he covets. While with Hartford in 1993, he and his staff identified gangly defenceman Chris Pronger as that year’s must-have junior. With a sixth-round pick, however, Burke realized he didn’t have a chance at the impressive Peterborough Petes’ product. So Burke traded his top three picks along with future considerations (Sergei Makarov) to San Jose to move up into the two hole and grab Pronger. Despite not picking again until 72nd after that trade, Burke had perhaps his best draft, following the selection of Pronger by drafting Marek Malik, Nolan Pratt and Manny Legace.”

Funny how that type of analysis goes near the bottom of the story… Must be those damn headline writers at the Star again….

“Burke pulled off a similar coup in 1999 when, determined to keep the Swedish Sedin twins together with Vancouver, he worked the draft floor like he was playing a game of chess. He had the third pick overall but completed three separate deals – one that had him briefly holding the No. 1 pick – until he had the second and third selections, which he used to get the twins. Apparently spent by those machinations, they were the only two future NHLers the Canucks would draft that spring.”

The reality is there are but two ways of looking at the world The cup is either half empty or half full. As the Burke era begins, each of us will have to decide which way we go with respect to the Brian Burke era. I don’t think anyone should look at any one of his last positions as that much of an indicator of his future performance. Each job presents its own scenario, complete with their own challenges and goals. I would think that coming to the Leafs as Burke does know presents the artist with as clean a canvas as a GM could want. The current roster isn’t perfect or even very good (if it were would Burke be coming?) so I am sure the one thing that would make the job more ideal is there were a few more A level prospects. other then that what more could a GM want? All the resources he could ever want. He will be able to hire whom he wants, add scouts, coaches etc. Make whatever deals he wants. Buy out whichever Blakes he wants, I mean players. A starving fan base that will tread on every move, every step he takes. The guy has landed in hockey heaven. The only downside is having to deal with the dipsticks in the toronto media he will have to deal with on a regular basis.

Is The Toronto Media Confused? I should have yelled 2!

Good morning from Seattle, where, what a surprise, it is raining!

In any event, what a surprise to find evidence of confusion in the maple leaf world this am. The good news is that at least the media is admitting that they are confused. The bad news is that in the confusion comes suffering, great suffering. If we thought there coverage sucked before, just wait until now.

You see, Cliff and Ron have been very consistent in their messaging. This is not a season to compete. This is a season for building a foundation. That, my friends doesn’t sell newspapers. That scares the shit out of scribes. You see the more times Damien et all scream, and jump up and down, the more papers people buy, well not really, the more clicks on the star website, the more calls to the call in shows etc. The problem is, if the powers that be, are from a results perspective(wins and losses) waiving the white flag, how much jumping up and down can the usual suspects do. The bar has been set pretty low. The goals and expectations won’t be judgable for months, and that just isn’t good media.

The results are everywhere:

“On The Same Page

“We will make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup.”
–Former Leaf head coach Paul Maurice, Sept. 14, 2007.

“If you asked us if you were to pay for a Stanley Cup team this year but you were to be lousy for the next five years would you do it? The answer from an ownership point of view, absolutely not.”
–MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum, Sept. 26, 2008

“”Win this year and then next five years be last? For sure I’ll take it.”
–Leaf defenceman Pavel Kubina, Sept. 26, 2008.

“Wins and losses don’t matter.”
–New Leaf head coach Ron Wilson, Oct. 6, 2008

“Not hard to see why people get confused.”

Actually Damien, it is. The first quote is from last years coach, since fired. So let’s forget that one. The next, we can debate until the cow comes home. The attempted point was, it’s time to take a deep breath, suffer some more, and build thing properly. The quote from Kubina, is what I expect from any player. I don’t want a player on my team who says we aren’t here to win every game. The quote form Wilson is a gift, a relief even. Where is the confusion? Maurice’s quote isn’t even relevant.

“While the coach’s words will likely singe some citizens of the Leafs’ Shangri-la, now virtually guaranteed a 42nd consecutive Cup-less spring, Wilson’s bark is often not as bad as his sound bite. But in the modern world of basement bloggers where context is less important than text messaging, Wilson’s tantalizing snippets sometimes take on a life of their own.

That gem from Paul Hunter. Here is hoping Wilson’s bark is as bad as his bite. I love what Wilson said. I hope he means every friggin word. Oh, and by the way, I don’t have a computer in basement from which to blog from!

Back here on the ground floor Damien Chirps:

“The concepts, objectives and goals around the Maple Leafs are like shifting sands, more now than ever before. Clearly, much has changed in a calendar year, and while Ron Wilson was clearly being honest and straightforward through his “wins and losses don’t matter” mantra for the season, that’s not going to be easy for proud, veteran players to ingest before an 82-game season even starts.”

I assume he means the objectives from year to year, if so, ok, I can kind of live with that, except, everyone has called for the buds to do what they are doing for years, now that they are doing it, you don’t like it? With respect to the players not liking it, as I said before, I don’t want a player on team who doesn’t play to win every night. The difference is playing the kids A LOT. So if the veterans don’t like it, you know where they are headed. Fact is, if Jamal Mayers is leading the team in ice time, we got a problem.

Back over to Mr. Hunter’s text messages:

“”You’re going to see Mikhail Grabovski and Jiri Tlusty and the list goes on and on with our young players, maybe Luke Schenn, play a ton of minutes as we try to make them better hockey players. Period,” said Wilson.”I will not play veterans 29 minutes in order to try to find a way to keep the game close. I think in doing that, with these young players, their confidence will grow and we’ll be a better team. It’s all about the process with me.”

I believe, I believe, and I won’t bitch at you for doing it either!

Now, are you sitting down for this one ladies and gentlemen:

“The concept of a slow, painful re-build is a noble one, one that should be supported after years of quick fixes and patches. When Wilson says “you guys can’t be all out there bleating and writing in your papers that this team needs to bottom out and get high draft picks and build and then turn around and say they better win or else,” he’s sure not reading the right papers. There’s nobody in town, really, suggesting the Leafs are pursuing an incorrect strategy by starting at the bottom again. Go ahead. If there’s a commentator in the city who is arguing the Leafs should be trying to win now and make the playoffs, I’d like to know the name.”

Damien, look in the friggin mirror. Here is an idea, go back and read the crap you have been writing. You want to know the name look at the byline under your most recent column!

“It’s how they go about it. And whether they have the internal discipline and sense of direction to get it done, not to mention the corporate will to get it done. Tanenbaum’s pre-season comments, for sure, raised many an eyebrow, as did the apparent willingness of the front office to trade away next year’s first round pick already to land an appealing but older prospect after trading off eight other draft picks over the past five months.”

We have just finished the pre-season, not yet played a single game and you are questioning the internal discipline? With respect to the rumored offer, unless anyone was on the phone, let’s not jump the gun. For all we know that was the ask by the Ducks, who knows, perhaps Cliff threw out a concept, all I am saying is who knows, no one and guess what the trade didn’t happen. Remember the old mantra, sometimes the best deal you ever make is the one you don’t actually make…. If you aren’t happy with how the foundation is being built, you are entitled to that opinion. You too have a record of flip flopping that would make John Kerry smile. I challenge you to put finger to keyboard and suggest what you would have done if you were in Cliff’s shoes. All we have is the information that is out there, so don’t say you would signed a guy for less money then he received somewhere else. Build your team as we go into the season, we would all LOVE to see what GM Cox would do….

“If Wilson thinks nobody’s going to have an opinion about his team’s methods, he’s wrong. If he’s hoping the scores don’t get reported in the papers, or hoping nobody will say his team has played a bad game after it has played a bad game, he’s wrong as well. But nobody is saying “win or else,” that’s for sure.”

Ummmm, has anyone seen Wilson or Cliff make that suggestion. He knows all to well, as do we, that the usual scrum will be hanging around the locker room digging for that nugget everyday until the season is finally over…. While you are opining about his team’s method’s write a column about that too, what Coach Cox would do as opposed to coach Wilson. That will be another classic read.

“But a forever hopeful Leaf fan would have reason to wonder why his or her team was trying to win the Cup last year, and now isn’t even worried about winning any games at all, while the team’s chairman apparently isn’t willing to pursue the ultimate prize in the game if significant sacrifice goes along with it. The players are, just not the suits.”

I don’t wonder at all. I think FINALLY, they are doing the right thing. I am hoping that FINALLY they get it right. As for the last column, you just said that blowing it up is the right thing to do, and if you can find a person who suggests the leafs try to win it all now to let you know his name! The players are, just not that suits???? That points the finger right at you! The team’s chariman isn’t prepared to make bonehead moves to finish 9th or 10th anymore, read what he said, or here is an idea, pick up the phone and call him.

“Oh yes, and the current GM is in power until, uh, when? Next week or next June or indefinitely. Yet interim/non-interim Cliff Fletcher is the one deciding that Luke Schenn must start in the NHL this season, again ignoring all the history of this team and the obvious reality that life for an 18-year-old NHL defenceman in Toronto is enormously different than for the same player in St. Louis, Atlanta and Los Angeles. It’s nice that Alex Pietrangelo, Zach Bogosian and Drew Doughty get to start in the NHL this fall, but that has no bearing on the Leafs and Schenn, or should have no bearing. Nobody will even notice what those kids are doing right or wrong in those towns, while Schenn is going to find out what life is like under the microscope. Sure Scott Stevens broke in successfully as an 18-year-old blueliner in Washington a lifetime ago, but c’mon, nobody was even watching those Caps back then. Stevens could’ve shot the puck into his own net every night and it wouldn’t have been even a note anywhere else.”

Too much stupidity to comment. All I can say is that to the world right now Cliff is the GM. You seem to be the only one with a problem with that situation. With Schenn, I will reserve any comments until he stays here past the 9th or 10th game of the season. As for your last point, with respect to the Toronto Sports Media, yes there are a lot of you, but remember, quality over quantity! Most other markets have us dead to the water!

“Nobody wants to see Schenn fail, certainly not me. When I receive emails suggesting that I just disagree with whatever the Leafs do, or want the team to be unsuccessful, it is to laugh. Clearly, 41 years of losing and being in the predicament they are now means they generally make the wrong decisions. When they start making better ones, I’ll agree more often, I’m sure. Otherwise, it’s the same old story. Been there, got the t-shirt.”

Damien, the story is the same most days. A Toronto Sports team says it’s black, you write that is has to be white. You have made a very nice career out of being a critic. There is nothing wrong with that. We all know, that should this team get built properly, and go on to a nice run of success, which includes a stanley cup, even then you will find a dart to throw. It is who you are, it is what you do. You aren’t a hockey writer, or a reporter for that matter. You are a critic, and what do critics do? They criticize. As Ty Webb said to Judge Smails, “Face it Judge, Your a tremendous slouch”!

Read Smails here
Read Hunter here

And if you don’t know Caddyshack read here