Tag Archives: Toronto Raptors

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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Quotes of the Day

“There is a HUGE difference between Hot and Attractive; a painting may be beautiful but I don’t want to bang a painting!” Kevin Malone- on the Office

“”Not quite,” O’Neal said. “We have some help from some teams in front of us. We’re only four [41/2 games] out of a playoff spot. You have to get a little bit of help, but if we do our job and do it at a better rate and more consistent rate, you won’t have to worry about winning 25 out of 30 games.” Jermaine O’Neal saying the Raptors aren’t out of the playoffs yet 🙂

Raptors Heat Deal Seems Imminent

With the Raps in a 7 game slump, on a slow road to nowhere, all signs seem to pointing to a deal being consummated.:

“Medical papers have been swapped. The long view is being stressed. And Pat Riley’s fetish for height remains unsated. After the Miami Heat president commented for the first time in months about his team’s personnel situation, it is difficult to take any view other than that a trade is in the works. Speaking moments after center Alonzo Mourning announced his retirement, Riley said Thursday while he appreciates his team’s current spot in the playoff race, long-term championship aspirations supersede current considerations.”The point is that the big picture always trumps the present moment,” he said. “While the present moment is important, I am not going to do something to take away from what I think we can see down the road.”

That from my favorite NBA writer, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. I used to read Ira and listen to him regularly on the Hank Goldberg show in Miami.

“A move that could satisfy both objectives could be a trade of forward Shawn Marion to the Toronto Raptors for center Jermaine O’Neal, whose contract expires at the end of 2009-10. Asked about the Heat and Raptors having swapped medical information on Marion and O’Neal, Riley said, “It doesn’t make any difference. I could have made the same request to five other teams, also. That’s just the normal process.”

Done deal? Maybe not…coming? Sure sounds like it…

“”I’ve had long conversations with Shawn and with Dan,” Riley said of agent Dan Fegan. “It’s not a very comfortable time for anybody. I value Shawn Marion immensely. He is a tremendous player and I’m sorry that this is going on right now.

“Shawn Marion, right now, he’s our second-best player on the team and I value him as that.”

The Palm Beach Post thinks it will happen soon, maybe not yet, but soon:

“if the trade does happen – and my guess is it will, ’cause Riley loves this stuff and the cart-and-horse thing wasn’t exactly a denial – Miami could use a four-headed center (O’Neal, Joel Anthony, Jamaal Magloire and Udonis Haslem) in mix-and-match style. That wouldn’t scare many teams, but it would only be for a while if the Bosh plan subsequently worked out. The Heat has a dozen games to play before the Feb. 19 deadline, and what’s worth remembering is that Marion-for-O’Neal is about Miami’s long-term future a whole bunch more than it is about the present attempt to remain a viable playoff contender. That, and how much Riley loves this stuff.”

Check out Ira’s article here…
Check out the Palm BeachPost here

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

Mid-Day Ramblings

Hi folks, I have a wicked cold and all the peeps viewing Obamamania this am slowing down the internets didn’t make me feel any better.

Here are some random mid-day thoughts:

1. Someone explain what the hell Lowen is talking about:

“For fans of the television series Lost, it returns on Wednesday with a brand new season.

For fans of the Maple Leafs and Raptors, they will all be reruns.”

HUH??? What the hell does that mean. Is he trying to say that MLSE is lost? Talk about a broken analogy….

2. Bruce Arthur’s article in Today’s national post is as good as I have seen on the Raptors. Consider these:

“Jose Calderon is close to coming back, and Marion would give this roster balance that it hasn’t had since general manager Bryan Colangelo assumed control nearly three years ago. A real small forward: imagine that.”
“No, the chief value of Marion’s theoretical arrival is that he would allow this team to embark on its latest repair job one season sooner — that is, one season before Chris Bosh opts out of his contract and is presented with the option to become a Detroit Piston, to become a New York Knick or to win several championships with LeBron James, in Cleveland or elsewhere.”
“For this franchise’s franchise player to remain, the Raptors will have to have made giant strides from their current state. And that means fielding a team that does not include the rather ridiculous sight of Jamario Moon hoisting up an entirely unnecessary three-pointer with 16 seconds left on the shot clock, and 35 seconds left in a one-point game, as he did yesterday.”

WOW- in depth analysis what a novel concept???

3. Interested in looking for the perfect hot dog down near the ACC??? These guys did a nice job!

4. I see the Toronto Rock fired their coaching staff, just 3 games in to the season. Did the head guy lie about being in Vietnam too? In any event, Mike S tells me that the lineup for Brady and Watters looks something like this:

4-5 the old rock coaching staff
5-6 the new rock coaching staff
6-7 great moments in rock history

5. Thanks to the folks aat Kuklas Korner for highlighting the greatest in arena promotion I have ever heard of (even better then my old favorite, the move of the game), If the blackhawks ever score a goal at exactly 10:00 of the second period one fan is awarded $1,000,000 by the Illinois lottery. Happened at a game last night. How cool is that?

more later this afternoon….

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!

Toronto Sports Radio Tonight

The Fan has the Raptors game- not sure if McCown is on, if so, should be he and Brunt with a roundtable..

On 640:

440 Ron Francis
510 Joe Nieuwendyk
540 Bob “The Bear Cowan”
610 Dreger/Morrison
630 Jonas Siegel
640 Dr. Paul Echlin, Chair of the 2009 Hockey Concussion Summit in London, Ontario