The world is filled with people and those people have opinions. Some of those opinions are about the Leafs. I thought it would be fun to take a sampler and to use my forum here to respond to them as if I was Dear Abby and they were addressed to me.
I don’t think God had anything to do with it. I think the evidence suggests that if there is a superior being, he sure as hell is not a fan of the Leafs. As for Josh Gorges, what a stroke of luck that he didn’t come here. Franson is a way better player. Why? Because he moves the puck and he can skate. Sure, he has all the physicality of one of the cute Gremlins, but he still is an effective player with a cannon for a shot. Not sure why the Leafs keep repeating the same mistakes, but it should be clear by now that guys like Schenn, Exalby, Gleason, Komisarik, Polak et al, are not effective in today’s NHL. I don’t know why they think Gorges for Franson would have been a smart move, nor do I understand why it was personally offensive to anyone that he didn’t want to come here.
— Red and Pewter Blood (@AustonPowers34) October 29, 2014
Dion returned to the game and thankfully wasn’t seriously hurt, but I like the sentiment here. The guy is just asked to do too much. Until the Leafs have a guy they can partner with him who is also a top pairing NHL defensemen, people will continue to make him the undeserved whipping boy of Leafs Nation. The fact is, Phaneuf is considered to be a much better player by actual hockey experts than by fans. People just want to hate him for whatever reason, but he’s been great in his time as a Leafs. He has been their PP QB, their go-to offensive dman, their go-to defensive Dman, their #1 PK dman, their shut-down guy, and the guy they turn to with the game on the line. He’s played the most minutes against the best players and he get’s spit on for his efforts.
Yes the Leafs ask him to do too much, and he would be more effective if he played less minutes and was not needed to be an all-purpose do-everything defenseman. I thought partnering him up with Rielly was a really good move and I hope that maybe Rielly becomes that #1 I’ve long suggested the Leafs get to play with Dion. If Rielly excels, Dion will thrive.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 29, 2014
That goal was fantastic. People keep talking about trading Gardiner, but I always say he should be considered untouchable. Him and Rielly are so young that it’s going to be a few years before they truly show what they can do, but you don’t trade defensmen who skate like Jake Gardiner does. Possession wins hockey games and guys who skate and move the puck like Jake Gardiner drive possession. Who cares about the occasional defensive lapse when the kid can do this? What a goal, what a player.
Joffrey Lupul outshot the Sabres himself in the first period. He had five shots reunited with Kessel.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) October 29, 2014
Lupul finished the night with nine shots. He didn’t get a point, but I thought he had a great game. As I said here, the Leafs needed to break up the JVR/Bozak/Kessel line, and last night it paid off big-time. Joffrey Lupul is, in my opinion, a really underrated player and if he get’s going and the Leafs get scoring from two lines instead of just one, then they are going to be a lot tougher to play against.
Though broken up at even-strength, Kessel, van Riemsdyk and Bozak will remain together on the power-play.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) October 28, 2014
It almost seems as if Carlyle is messing with us. He breaks up his top line, but goes back to them for the PP. In my opinion, and I don’t pretend to be smarter than the coach, Kadri is the Leafs most creative player after Kessel and he should be on the top PP unit. In fact, I can’t believe at this point that Kadri is below Bozak on the depth chart. I know Bozak has played well and has ten points, while Kadri hasn’t put up very good numbers so far. I believe this is really situational and that if Kadri stays with Kessel he’ll easily be a point-per-game player. But come on, let’s get him some power-play time too.
This is classic Toronto, right? Everyone is always picking on Kessel and Phaneuf even though they’ve done nothing but be consistently reliable players since they got here. The coach makes a lot of questionable line-up moves, the GM has been horrible at asset management (Colborne) and has refused to address problems at centre and on the top pairing. But Kessel is fat and Dion is an AHLer. The good times never stop around here, I am telling you.
Can I get an amen? The Leafs have no business trading for a 30-year-old centre, no matter how good he is. The fact is, the Leafs are not one Eric Staal away from being Cup Contenders. Acquiring him isn’t going to make Rielly, Kadri and Gardiner develop any faster. All it will be is another band-aid on a team that has made a habit of using band-aid solutions to their problems. The Leafs need to trade for a centre, and it makes sense if they have to move JVR or a first round pick to get it done. It does not make any sense at all to do that to get a guy who is 30 and whose body and game are in decline. Eric Staal will never score 100 points in the NHL again and the Leafs need to acquire someone who potentially can.
That’s all. Thanks for reading.
Covering the Leafs for the Hockey Writers.