Tag Archives: Toronto Maple Leafs

Out of Place – Wendel Clark, Chicago Blackhawks

4 Feb
1999-00 Upper Deck - Wendel Clark

1999-00 Upper Deck – Wendel Clark

The 1999-2000 season was Wendel Clark’s last ride in the NHL, and it ended as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a 6-game series loss to the New Jersey Devils, which included one of the greatest ovations I’ve ever seen in his last game at the Air Canada Centre.  A lot of Leaf fans remember that one.

A lot of fans, however, don’t remember his 13-game stint with the Chicago Blackhawks earlier that season – and I think we’d probably not remember that.  Actually, let’s just forget about Quebec, the Islanders, Detroit and Tampa Bay as well, and watch this video instead:

And also this hockey card:

1990-91 Bowman - Wendel Clark

1990-91 Bowman – Wendel Clark

There, that’s better.

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Newsworthy – Mikhail Grabovski’s New Contract

8 Mar

2011-12 Score - Mikhail Grabovski

So, my initial reaction on this Mikhail Grabovski signing the other day was, “great, the Leafs signed him long-term.  Pretty good player to lock up, because really, they don’t have anyone else.  Way to go, Burke.”  Then, I found out how much money they were going to pay him.  My opinion changed quickly.  This was a colossal clusterfuck of a bad contract.  $27 million over five years?  Pretty high.

It seemed like a lot of people felt the same way as I did.  I could tell this because Joe Public was saying and writing a lot of things on the radio and the internet and the Twitter.  However, unlike Joe Public, I felt like I was intelligent enough to make an informed comment rather than just venting my emotions irrationally.

So, I went to NHLNumbers.com to see if the contract made sense.  I figured going in that I’d find Grabovski’s deal was in line with comparable players in the league.  Well, that’s what I wanted to find out.  I wanted this to be a good deal for the Leafs.  I wanted it to make sense, because I wanted Joe Public to be wrong.

What I actually found was that, with a few exceptions, he’s going to be getting paid at a level above what he should.  He’s getting paid star money – and in some cases, franchise player money, when in reality he’s a very good player, not a great one, on a bad team.

Grabovski’s new contract kicks in for the 2012-13 season.  In the first year, the cap hit will be $5.5 million.  What I did was look at the 10 forwards above that cap hit, and 10 below, as well as the other two forwards with identical $5.5 million hits.  I realize that there are a ton of factors to take into consideration – player age, stage of career, when the contract was signed, length of contract, and the fact that other players on the list are not available to the Toronto Maple Leafs at this time as teams don’t give players away for nothing (see Nash, Rick and 2012, Trade Deadline).  But, there is also just the simple fact that there is a salary cap in the NHL, and comparing players based on their cap hits is completely reasonable in this money-driven environment.

Here is the list:

$6.300 – Jonathan Toews
$6.300 – Patrick Kane
$6.100 – Henrik Sedin
$6.100 – Daniel Sedin
$6.083 – Henrik Zetterberg
$6.000 – Mike Cammalleri
$6.000 – Patrik Elias
$5.900 – Patrick Sharp
$5.750 – Mike Richards
$5.625 – Martin St. Louis
$5.500 – Mikhail Grabovski
$5.500 – Shawn Horcoff
$5.500 – John Tavares
$5.400 – Phil Kessel
$5.325 – Corey Perry
$5.325 – Ryan Getzlaf
$5.300 – Jason Pominville
$5.273 – Jeff Carter
$5.250 – David Krejci
$5.233 – Marian Hossa
$5.100 – Bobby Ryan
$5.000 – Ryan Kesler
$5.000 – Ales Hemsky

The only players on this list that I would pick Mikhail Grabovski ahead of for my team would be Patrik Elias, because he’s 58 years old, and Ales Hemsky, because, well, because I just don’t think he’s as good at hockey as people think he is.  Oh yeah, and Shawn Horcoff.

I know this list will change in a year or two as contracts expire, new ones are signed, and who knows what the new CBA will bring or what free agents will be available, but right now, I’m really not convinced that this is money well spent.  Prove me wrong, Crosbovski.  Prove me wrong.

Randy Carlyle, Toronto Media Darling Already?

3 Mar

1978-79 O-Pee-Chee - Randy Carlyle

So, Randy Carlyle, you’re the new coach in Toronto.  Good luck with the mainstream media who are already trying to sewer you for not talking to them on your way into the hotel last night.  As @felixpotvin put it,

Welcome back aboard the good ship Maple Leaf.

Haircuts I Wish I Could Pull Off – The Todd Gill

1 Mar

1991-92 O-Pee-Chee - Todd Gill

In my continued efforts to look into the past to take my mind off the Leafs godawful shitstorm of an epic collapse, I found this piece of absolute gold, courtesy 1991-92 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards and one Mr. Todd Gill.

This is one of the greatest hockey mullets ever recorded on cardboard.  You may notice that the flow in the back reaches almost all the way to the nameplate on his jersey.  So, so, so much party in the back.  I feel like it’s trying to will the Leafs to win all on its own.

Blackhawks 5, Maple Leafs 4: Turning to Nostalgic Misery Instead of Current Misery

29 Feb

1987-88 O-Pee-Chee - Rick Vaive

While wallowing in the misery that is being a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs on nights like this, a blown-lead, 5-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, I decided to wallow in some nostalgic misery instead.  The nostalgic misery involves the same two Original Six teams, and took place on September 3, 1987.

1987-88 O-Pee-Chee - Al Secord

1987-88 O-Pee-Chee - Ed Olczyk

On that date, Toronto traded Rick Vaive (their only 50-goal scorer to that point), Steve Thomas and Bob McGill to Chicago for Al Secord and Ed Olczyk.  Sure, Olczyk had a couple of decent years for the Leafs, but Secord was done by then and trading Thomas always stung.

It’s a rough time in Leafs Nation these days.  We’re turning to Ballard-era Leaf trades for our nostalgia.

Mats Sundin – A Hockey Card Tribute

12 Feb

Last night, Mats Sundin had his number 13 honoured by the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Today, I present to you a Mats Sundin Hockey Card Tribute.

Before Mats came to North America, he played in Sweden, where he may have been using Borje Salming’s gloves from a decade earlier.

1990-91 Score - Mats Sundin

In 1989, he was drafted first overall by the Quebec Nordiques, the first European ever to be drafted first overall.  They might have been going for a Euro-pose here, I’m not sure what this was about.

1990-91 Upper Deck - Mats Sundin

Early on, he had success.  This is evident by his being named to some wildly futuristic “Team 2000” by Pinnacle.

1992-93 Pinnacle - Mats Sundin - Team 2000

When he arrived in Toronto, Leaf fans had their doubts.  This mostly had to do with the weird bubble helmet that he brought with him.

1995-96 Upper Deck CC - Mats Sundin

Before too long, he looked more normal.  With all his Nike gear, he exposed a weak stick side on goaltenders, who were then reduced to mowing lawns and driving cabs.

1997-98 Pinnacle - Mats Sundin

For a long time, he had hair.

1997-98 Donruss - Mats Sundin

After we gave him the C, it started to disappear.

2000-01 Upper Deck - Mats Sundin 6th Sense

He led us well, and did what he could, often with questionable supporting casts.  He gave us great moments like this one, and then this one.

2002-03 O-Pee-Chee - Mats Sundin

Even when the jerseys looked like practice jerseys, the effort was there.

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee - Mats Sundin

At the end, he left us, and went to a faraway land and a team everyone hates.  Like Jordan with the Wizards, let’s just ignore this.

2009-10 O-Pee-Chee - Mats Sundin

Thanks Mats, for all the great years.

Haircuts I Wish I Could Pull Off – The Ken Baumgartner

28 Jan

1991-92 O-Pee-Chee - Ken Baumgartner

This haircut is absolutely everything that hockey hair should be.  Short but still a bit of party in the front, trimmed cleanly on the sides, and flow in the back that is a perfect match for absolutely any helmet, particularly the Classic Jofa that Baumgartner sported during his career.  Call it a mullet, call it whatever you like, it belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Fantastic Fashions – Rick DiPietro’s Mask

25 Jan

2011-12 O-Pee-Chee - Rick DiPietro

Last night, the Leafs beat the Islanders for the second time in as many games.  So, I feel entitled to throw some more barbs at them, knock them down another peg or two.  Now, some might say that’s like throwing rocks at someone from a glass house, as I do in fact cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but I’m going to do it anyway.  I mean, come on, the Islanders have become such a laughingstock as an organization.  The way they look is just the tip of the iceberg.

This really is more about the New York Islanders than it is about Rick DiPietro.  It’s not Rick DiPietro’s fault that someone offered him financial security for the next fifteen years (15 years!) when he was already injury prone.  It’s not Rick DiPietro’s fault that the team around him is so awful.  It’s also not really even his fault that the building they play in might fall down.

What is Rick DiPietro’s fault is that during the 2010-11 season, he wore the debacle of a mask you see above in National Hockey League games.  The mask, belonging to Chris Osgood, made sense for old goalies like Osgood or Ken Wregget in 1987, but looked downright silly in 2011.  InGoal Magazine questions this decision perfectly in an article from last March.

Having to wear this mask – not sure I mentioned it, but the Islanders play in the NHL, not Sunday beer league in a small town – might have been some kind of payback.  Perhaps it was karma for being such a cocky youth that veteran teammates informed reporters that two seats were required for “Ricky” DiPietro, one for him, and one for his ego.

In closing, I have some news for you from every season since his 15 year contract was signed back in 2006: Rick DiPietro is currently out with an injury.  Shocking.

Newsworthy – 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductions

14 Nov

1992-93 O-Pee-Chee - Ed Belfour

1994-95 Parkhurst Vintage - Doug Gilmour

1990-91 Pro Set - Mark Howe

1992-93 Upper Deck - Joe Nieuwendyk

Congratulations to Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe, and Joe Nieuwendyk on their induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame tonight.  Rumour has it Belfour was even wearing a tie, which he didn’t do at the Hall of Fame Game in Toronto on Saturday, a move that I respect the hell out of.

Now, quick, one-line memories of each of these four guys:

Mark Howe – Once wore his entire name on the back of his jersey when he played with these two guys, and also wore Cooperalls in the National Hockey League.

Ed Belfour – was “washed up” when he came to Toronto in Curtis Joseph’s shadow and then just absolutely ran the show – and some would say the city – for the Leafs for two years.

Joe Niewendyk – Game Seven, Patrick Lalime.  That is all.

Doug Gilmour – I simply cannot say it as well as this YouTube video which I have forced upon you at least once in a previous post, will surely again sometime.  Enjoy.

Congrats especially to 93.

Too Cool for Cardboard – Doug Gilmour

30 Jun

1992-93 Upper Deck - Doug Gilmour

A couple of days ago, Doug Gilmour, along with Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Mark Howe, were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Leaf fans who watched him at his best know that he is fully deserving of the honour.

Doug Gilmour was the man – a legend among mere mortals, if you want to be more specific – in Toronto after he arrived from Calgary in January 1992.  1992-93 and 1993-94 were Gilmour’s best, and he was one of the top players in the league night after night, as well as deep into the playoffs those two years with the Leafs.

The card above, issued by Upper Deck in 1992-93, showed the world just how cool Dougie was, even before he really peaked.  Looking back though, you had to know that he’d end up in the Hall of Fame eventually.  I mean, look at that blend of cool and tough.  The leather jacket.  The jeans.  The biker t-shirts.  Unbelievable.  You know there’s a 6-pack of Molson product around there somewhere.

Congrats Dougie, and thanks for all the great years.

UPDATE: WATCH THIS VIDEO

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