Monday, March 31, 2008

2008 Baseball Predictions..

I know I'm wicked late with my baseball predictions for 2008 . Things are quite active here in Boston sports scene these days. Boston Boys of Winter the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins are doing something we haven't been used to in a while-head towards the playoffs.

Plus our defending World Champion Red Sox were sent on this ridiculous season opener trip to Japan by the MLB to promote baseball and player transations.

Anyway lets get to the predictions....


The offense will be fine. The concerns are the rotation. Ace Josh Beckett needs to avoid the DL-Dice K needs to be the pitcher the Sox shelled out big money for,Tim Wakefield must thrive better than last year with new personal catcher Kevin Cash,rookies John Lester and Clay Buchholz must live up to lofty expectations. If the rotation of offense struggles in mid June- GM Theo Epstein has the desired farm talent to trade to plug the holes in the ship.

2-TORONTO BLUEJAYS: A lot of writers think they'll beat Boston to win the AL East. They certainly have the arms. I think this club is better than the Yankees but injuries will be their downfall down the stretch.

3-NY YANKEES: The rotations a horror show. You'll see set up guy Joba Chamberlain in the rotation by June.

4-TAMPA BAY RAYS: This is a young team to watch. Making my predictions I had them number 3 but the Yankees front office won't let it happen. Looking forward to seeing rookie 3B Evan Longoria up in the bigs by mid April. Heckuva hitter!

5-BALTIMORE ORIOLES.. 1B/OF Kevin Millar hoping to improve his hitting so that the Red Sox reacquire him for the stretch run of a WS ring.


1-DETROIT TIGERS: Their line-up is better than anyone elses in the AL possibly the NL too.

2-CLEVELAND INDIANS: They to have a great line-up but not as good as Detroits.
They'll take the Wild Card home though.

3-MINNESOTA TWINS:Rotation could use another 2 statrers. Good hitting line-up though and I like set up guy Pat Neshak.

4-CHICAGO WHITE SOX: What a disaster after winning the WS . They've been free falling ever since.

5-KANSAS CITY ROYALS: Those George Brett years seem light years away for KC fans.
Most AAA teams and AA teams are more talented.


1-LA ANGELS: They squeak by the Seattle Mariners at the end of Sept. Expecting a big year from Vladdy Guerrero now that he's got Torii Hunter protecting him like Ramirez does Ortiz in Boston. They need SP Jered Weaver to return to step up.

2-SEATTLE MARINERS: Seattle will need to go shopping in the FA pool next season for a slugger. Richie Sexson is horrid,Brad Wilkerson is a shade above mediocrity .

3-Oakland A's: Massive rebuilding here. Look for Rich Harden to get dealt by July trade deadline.
4-TEXAS RANGERS:If team president and HOF Nolan Ryan were able to come back and pitch-they'd surpass Oakland. Pitching here is dreadful.




Runner Up.........Alex Rodriguez

Runner Up........Erik Bedard Seattle

Runner Up Jacoby Ellsbury -Boston


Runner Up: Terry Francona Boston


1-NY METS: Without question the team to beat in the NL if not all of baseball. A great hitting line-up and a pretty good rotation too. I'm not big on Willie Randolph as a mgr. though.

2-ATLANTA BRAVES: They have a great hitting line-up too. Tom Glavine rejuvenated to be back finishing his career in Atlanta. Bobby Cox is one of baseballs best mgrs.

3-PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: Need to shop for a couple starters and a healthy closer and hope the Braves rotation gets taken back to the nursing home to get in.

4-WASHINGTON NATIONALS:Better hitting line-up than Florida but their rotation flat out sucks.
5-FLORIDA MARLINS: This team needs to be sold to an owner who will spend some money.

Ya think?


1-CHICAGO CUBS: This kid Kosuke Fukudome has the best name in the majors.
I really want the Cubbies to win this year.

2-MILWAUKEE BREWERS: Have the line-up to survive even the acquisition of washed up closer Eric Gagne. Look for David Riske-Salomon Torres and Derrick Turnbow to take turns as a closer throughout the year.

3-CINCINNATI REDS: Good hitting line-up but the rotation is just below average.

4-ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: Albert Pujols elbow might not survive past July. Think you'll see Cards front office convince Pujols to shut it down by July-have surgery and be ready for next years.

5-PITTSBURGH PIRATES: Hopefully the hockey Penguins can keep playing til June and the football Eagles will start training camp early to take sports fans minds off this below average club.

6-HOUSTON ASTROS: Houston fans we have a problem. Our rotation is missing.


1-LA DODGERS: I like the Dodgers aka the Western Yankees better than the DBacks this year based on they'll have a better Mgr. in Joe Torre. He's simply the perfect guy to guide this club back to prominence. Torre brings his winning Yankee coaching staff with him to get these underachievers back in Oct. Good solid club.

2-ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (WILD CARD) Their 1-2 punch of Webb and Haren are the best in the NL even the Mets and Braves. May need to deal for some offense come July.

3-SAN DIEGO PADRES: Will make it another fight for the Wild Card. Another team offense shopping at the trade deadline in July. Ancient SP Greg Maddux had a great spring.

4-COLORADO ROCKIES: Those 2007 World Series DVDs are proof they didn't dream they were in the fall classic. Welcome back to earth Colorado.

5-SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: Barry Zito on the DL from carrying that pressure of carrying that huge paycheck he hasn't been earning. This team may be worse than Kansas City.




Runner Up Mark Texeira Atlanta


Runner Up: Brandon Webb Arizona


Runner Up: Joey Votto -Cincinnati


Runner Up: Bob Melvin Arizona


Hope springs eternal

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

Leaf Nation joins the legions of baseball fans across the continent in welcoming Opening Day in Major League Baseball – for the third consecutive year, our focus shits to baseball much earlier than we would have liked. Following the MLB in April really sucks – but with no playoffs to look forward to, there's not much choice until the June entry draft.

Before we here on the page move to the MLB – one last Maple Leafs focused post for the season. The Leafs served notice Saturday night that, while they aren't going to the playoffs, there are no freebies over the last few games of the season. After a couple of poor efforts against the Bruins, the Leafs played with some passion and intensity in a 4-2 win over the Canadiens at the ACC.

The critics are all to happy to point out that Saturday's game is shining example of what is wrong with the Leafs – they are capable of playing great hockey when there is nothing on the line. With two consecutive late season runs at the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference falling short, it is hard to argue the point; unless of course, Cliff Flecther and his eventual successor go into the off-season with a view to making difficult, but necessary changes in order to move forward.

The Leafs cannot go into the off-season like they did last year – former GM John Ferguson Jr. felt he had a playoff team going into this season and chose to keep the team in tact and try to improve their chances with the addition of a key free agent – Jason Blake. It is incumbent on the new management – still thinking Cliff Fletcher is "INTERIM" GM until Brian Burke moves over from Anaheim – to get out from under some of JFJ's most grievous mistakes, and build on a few of the positives JFJ left behind.

Vesa Toskala's first year in the blue and white was, for the most part, a successful one – he had some shaky moments (see youtube), but there were many more nights where he was the star of the game. While I questioned the wisdom of giving him a contract extension prior to playing a single game with the Leafs, I'll admit that the extension worked out well, as it looks like Toskala will be getting less than market value for being a solid number one. Leaf Nation is calling for Andrew Raycroft to be bought out and Justin Pogge brought up to be Toskala's back-up next year – is it worth is to bring Pogge up for 20-25 games next year? Don't think so – Raycroft will likely be back and given an opportunity to build his trade value…which stands at zero right now.

The Leafs defence, which was porous on far too many a night, should not be kept in tact. The 2008/09 Maple Leafs cannot afford to feature Bryan McCabe and Pavel Kubina as top 4 defencemen – while both, especially Kubina, have picked up their play of late; the evidence against them consistently playing that was is overwhelmingly against them. It was widely speculated that Fletcher had deals in place to move both of them before the trade deadline – but as we all know, both refused to waive their no-trade clause. Kubina would likely be the easier one of the two to move – his play over the last month has been top 4 like and his NTC is voided this summer after the Leafs failed to make it to the playoffs; but the Leafs management shouldn't let McCabe skate by on this one. His salary was based on his, then perceived, status as the team's number one D – it was an obvious miscalculation on JFJ"s part; it was speculated that McCabe was ready to OK a trade to Long Island (where he played before), those talks need to be reopened and a deal completed.

The feeling here is that McCabe should go and the Kubina should stay – Kubina's contract is far less burdensome than McCabe's. Tomas Kaberle, Kubina and Anton Stralman, who has shown steady improvement this year, make up three of the Leafs top 4 defencemen next year – it may be too much to hope that Carlo Colaiacovo play one injury-free season. A free agent signing may be in order with Ian White and Staffan Kronvall rounding out the top 6.

The Leafs had a few pleasant surprises up front, most notably the emergence of Nik Antropov as a legit FULL SEASON top 6 forward, followed by the Matt Stajan and Alex Steen showing they are more than depth players. Stajan, touted as a future captain, really showed down the stretch that he deserves a serious chance at being the team's number two center next year – his play over the last month reminded many of the emergence of Alyn MacAulay in a playoff win over the Tards a few years back. Alex Steen stepped up his play in the absence of Mats Sundin to prove he can be a solid second line winger or very solid third line center. Rookie Jiri Tlusty has also gotten better as the season has gone on, showing a lot more confidence taking the puck in past the opposition's blue line – the kid has some nice scoring tough going for him. . Some of the AHL call ups also showed well in brief stints.

Jason Blake gets a pass on this year – it wasn't a good year for the free-agent signing, but he gets a pass for playing through his medical condition. Darcy Tucker doesn't get a pass though – still a favourite amongst Leaf Nation, Tucker had a very disappointing season. The speculation was that he played hurt most of the year – who is to say – but from what he showed this year, he was unwilling or unable to bring a physical element to his game. In previous years, Tucker got first line PP duty – which was reflected in his goal totals; the emergence of Antropov has taken much of Tucker's PP time and with it, much of his effectiveness. There is talk the Leafs will buy him out if he doesn't waive his no-trade clause; can't suggest the buy-out as a good option. This is a tough one – but the preferred option would still be to trade him. Alexei Ponikarovsky had a so-so season – you always expect more from a guy with his skill set; but he seems to be missing something. His contract isn't bad – which makes him a candidate to stay, but a new GM (cough cough Brian Burke) might look to move him.

Mats Sundin showed he has plenty of game left – so signing him to a two or three year contract should be a no-brainer. Re-signing the captain should be the first order of business for management. Dominic Moore, who was picked up off of waivers is a guy who has earned a shot at next year's team – Moore had some great games this year and was one of the Leafs' steadier forwards night in and night out. Boyd Devereaux should be brought back as well.

After the projected top 6 of Sundin, Antropov, Stajan, Steen, Blake and Tlusty; it's open for the like of Robbie Earl, Jeremy Williams, Nikolai Kulemin and others to show they can play.

There isn't a lot of wiggle room up front – Leaf Nation can only hope Tucker gets moved and a few guys continue to build on improvements realized this year. What will next year bring to our Toronto Maple Leafs? Who knows…today, all I can say is


Go Big Blue!


Toronto Maple Leafs rookies Anton Stralman and Jiri Tlusty had two goals a piece to lead the Leafs to a 4-2 win over Montreal on Saturday night.

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo scores AGAIN.


The week ended off on a positive note – bringing down the, still ugly, total a bit closer to respectability (- $2,800). MLB always brings some good options. Today's suggestions:

Seattle over Texas – gotta back local boy Eric Bedard in his first start for the M's. Lay $100 on Seattle - $185.

Enjoy opening day gang -thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Upon further review

The Boston Bruins just punk'd the SenaTards by a count of 4-0 - ensuring that, for at least another day, they stay ahead of Ovechkin and the Caps irregardless of what Washington does tonight. Boston need the game today and they'll need a couple more as the Caps final three games are all at home.

Good win by the Bruins, is it enough to get them into mid-April - we'll see what Ovechkin has to say about it.


Tough night on Thursday going 2-1 and still finishing the in red for the day - the total for the week is still a respectable + $310. Tonight's suggestions:

Philadelphia over NY Islanders - the Islanders have shown a bit of fight since being eliminated from playoff contention, but the Flyers will be up for this one after dropping a tough one in Jersey last night. Lay $100 on Philadelphia - $140.

Calgary over Edmonton - shock of the night yesterday, the Oilers actually lost in a shootout to Colorado; the extra minutes at altitude likely sapped them of a lot of energy - something the Flames will be playing with as they jockey for playoff positioning. Lay $100 on the Flames - $225.

Carolina over Tampa Bay - the Canes have been rolling this month and they should carry momentum from last night's 7-1 pasting of the Thrashers into tonight's game against the Lightning. Lay $100 on the Canes - $135.

Good luck if you play them.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

I'm Out!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Fox - What a way to end March

Straight from the pages of FHM magazine...who wouldn't want to get tangled in those sheets with Anita...


Lucky me - the counterpart posted a recap of last night's game, so I don't have to.

Leafs are out of the playoffs, but the last 20 games were very telling and there are some bright sports as we look ahead - just too gutted to do it today.

Really hoping today is the day that my man Tilt resurrects his Friday Fox posts - really really really hoping.

Back later with tonight's three play.

I'm Out.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Leafs Fail To Cash In At The Bank VS Bruins...Toronto Officially Iced

The Boston Bruins officially pulled the plug on the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff hopes 4-2 at the Boston Garden to win the home at home series.

My "counterpart" can't blame Dan Marouelli or any refs for the Leafs loss this time.

Toronto skated out injured stars Sundin and Antropov to inspire their troops.

It wasn't enough. I give Sundin and Antropov credit for playing. It was clear from the way they played they were not at their physical par -Sundin normally burns the Bruins almost single


The highlight of the game was the first period. There wasn't a whistle blown or any stoppage for 12 and a half minutes. It was old fashioned style of pond hockey.

Constant fluid hockey. Clean hits and transitions through the zones. You wondered if for a moment if the refs forgot their whistles.

When the whistle finally blew for a stoppage,you wished every game of hockey could be played like that for 3 periods.

Goals earned by good clean action filled 5 on 5 hockey. Score-face off at center ice put away the whistles and let the boys bang the shit out of each other til the defending team makes a mistake

and coughs up a goal.

It was great stuff.

The Bruins will go to a dogfight to the last game of the season to see if they make the playoffs.

Its no fun clinching your playoff ticket 3 weeks before the season ends.

The real fun is watching your team play as if every game could be their last and sneaking peeks at the scoreboard to see if you're teams competitor for the playoff spot is winning or losing.

All the Bruins did tonight is beat the Toronto Maple Leafs by two goals and officially bury them in NHL's 07-08 graveyard for the season.

The Leafs were headed to their graves anyway-its just the Bruins had the honor of knocking them out and burying them.

The Leafs wake was on Tuesday and the funeral and their burial at Boston Garden on Thursday.

Toronto can now focus on ping pong balls,draft lotteries and mock drafts for a talented group of rookies in this years NHL entry draft.

They can start dealing with their roster and the fate of Mats Sundin.

Boston can concentrate on one thing the Leafs don't have to anymore-making the playoffs.

Maybe Toronto fans can blame the loss on their native girl Hazel Mae not being at the game.

So much for Hazel Kharma-eh?

Look at this way Toronto-your baseball Blue Jays host our defending World Champion Red Sox next weekend at Skydome. If you couldn't beat us on the ice-try beating us on the diamond.

Now that the Air Canada Centre will be locked up after next weekend til next season-you have no excuse not to see the Blue Jays play baseball.

Takin' it to the Bank tonight

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

The Maple Leafs travel to Boston to play the back end of what started out as a crucial home and home for both teams – two days later (and a beatdown) and the game has lost most, if not all, of the significance for the Maple Leafs…or has it?

Reports after the morning skate are speculating that Leafs’ Captain Mats Sundin and winger Nik Antropov will both suit up tonight at the Banknorth Garden. The twin towers combined for three goals and two assists when the Leafs humiliated the Bruins by a count of 8-2 on March 6th at the Banknorth Garden (with Hazel in attendance of course).

The Leafs may not have anything to play for – the chances of them coming back are astronomical – but what better way to wipe out the bad taste of a horrible performance on home ice than to take out your frustrations on the team that smacked you around; an added bonus would be derailing the Bruins’ hopes for a playoff spot with Ovechkin and the Caps hot on their heels.

The Leafs can do hockey fans across North America a big favour tonight by beating Boston – for the good of the NHL, and the “watchability” (I know that’s not a real word) of the NHL playoffs, Ovechkin has to be playing come the second week of April. Ovechkin has been far and away the best player in the league this year, having put a below average team on his back and willing them into playoff contention, and he deserves to be playing into April.

The Bruins would be little more than chum if they faced the Canadiens in the opening round – and without Marc Savard, their chances aren’t much better against the Penguins or Devils if they are the first round opponents.

All this to say – Boys, beat the damn Bruins tonight and make it hurt real bad. I’ll be watching for my counterpart’s response to tonight’s game.

Minnesota Wild C Mikko Koivu assisted on all three goals as the Wild got by the Oilers by a 3-1 count.

Colorado Avalanche RW Milan Hejduk had two goals and an assist in the Avs’ 6-3 over the Canucks.

Anaheim Ducks rookie winger Bobby Ryan had the lone regulation goal in the Ducks 2-1 shootout win over the Kings – he would have looked good in blue and white next year.

A perfect night (see above-noted three stars), another one on tap. Tonight’s suggestions:

Pittsburgh over NY Islanders – putting the total for the week at risk with this one, but you have to think the Penguins will be out for revenge after an awful performance against the Isles on Monday. Crosby comes back tonight, while he may not yet be 100% he will certainly give his team a lift. Lay $100 on the Penguins - $300.

Washington over Tampa Bay – the Ovechkin show continues. Lay $100 on the Caps - $140.

Florida over Atlanta – the Panthers face a must win to keep their slim hopes alive, they aren’t going to make it, but they’ll produce enough to pull out a win tonight. Lay $100 on the Panthers - $240.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world – enjoy the game tonight.

I’m Out!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Italian Job

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

You can probably guess what the feeling around here is today – disgust. The under-manned Bruins beat the equally under-manned Maple Leafs by a score of 6-2 last night; effectively dealing a deathblow to the Leafs 2007/08 playoff aspirations. It was a game of seventh men – the Leafs had a packed house of rabid Leaf fans on the ice with them, the Bruins had Referee Dan Marouelli on their side.

In games with playoff implications, the prevailing hope is that the officials will let the players decide the outcome of the game and avoid influencing the outcome of it. Dan Marouelli doesn’t want to hear about what fans want – when he “officiates” a game, he is going to be as important as anyone else on the ice with him over the next two to three hours.

Admittedly the Leafs came out flat, save for a burst in the opening minute or so where Darcy Tucker missed a scoring chance on a play that Marouelli calls a penalty 9 times out of 10. It looked like Dan was going to let the players decide the outcome of the game; until the 2:24 mark that is.

Marouelli, obviously kicking himself for not calling a penalty in the opening minute, called Leafs forward Mark Bell for roughing for punching Bruins D Shane Hnidy during a scrum. You would think that a seasoned official like Marouelli would have a pretty good book on most of the players in the league and would know that the MO on Hnidy is that he gets in people’s faces during scrums and goads them into taking a shot at him. That is Hnidy’s niche in the NHL – that and being the toughest looking pussy in the league – he practically begs someone to touch him before his head snaps back at the ref looking for a call. On the odd occasion that he is feeling like a tough guy, he can be spotting jumping someone from behind during a scrum and pounding on them when they are in a prone position – ask Alexei Ponikarovsky (or Hazel, she was at that game a week or so ago).

Marouelli makes the call; the Bruins score on the power play and go into shutdown mode. It was going to be that kind of night for the Leafs, they knew it and played like it. Bryan McCabe was particularly bad last night – but we in Leaf Nation have become accustomed to that. McCabe picked up a delay of game call for flipping a puck into the stands after Boston made it 3-0, and looked like a donkey on an ill-advised pinch in the third period that lead to a Shawn Thornton goal to make it 4-1 Boston.

Be happy B’s fans, you pretty much ended our season – call it The Italian Job. We’ll be sure to return the favour tomorrow night when we visit Boston. Two words gang – Hazel Karma.

Forget Joe Thornton’s hat-trick, Dan Marouelli was the man last night.

A very tough 2-1 last night, while the balance sheet is in the black, I’m feeling particularly blue. Tonight’s suggestions:

Minnesota over Edmonton – the Wild will be looking to avenge a loss to the Oil; they are always a good play at home, especially considering they have won six straight at home against Edmonton. Lay $100 on Minnesota - $220.

Anaheim over Los Angeles – the Ducks have been scuffling a bit of late, but they’ll get things back on track tonight against the Kings – the Ducks have won nine straight at home. Lay $100 on the Ducks - $250.

Col0rado over Vancouver – the Avs have dominated the Canucks this year, and they’ll need that to continue tonight. Avs and Canucks are tied right now, with a head to head game scheduled to take place in Vancouver next week – they absolutely need this game. Lay $100 on the Avs - $170.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bruins Still Watching Out For Maple Leafs Cuz The Leafs Didn't Show Up Tues, Night

Damn it! I've been watching out for Toronto Maple Leafs Tues. night and I didn't see a damn thing all night. I did smell burning Leafs though.
Yep those ashes are them. We'll put them in the Maple Leaf urn for The Air Canada Centre mantle.
The Bruins were never expected to make the playoffs this year.
Our Boston Bruins looked like dog shit on paper.
When Manny Fernandez,Patrice Bergeron,Glen Murray and Zdeno Chara all got injured-we looked like we'd be playing for a great lottery pick in the NHL draft-again.
Our AHL team the Providence Bruins are ruling minor league hockey. Ruling minor league hockey is like telling PGA pro golfers you won the after work beer drinking golf league championship 5 straight years. Don't mean shit!
Gotta give Boston credit this year for hanging tough. We have something good going on here.
Some very talented young kids who are stepping up for the wounded parent clubbers.
We've heave ho'd Dave Screwus I mean Lewis and got a great coach in Claude Julien.
Yeah we're struggling to get in the playoffs -but at least we're hunting and not on vacation early this year.
They've been showing the Canada vacation commercials a lot here in Boston from the Canada tourist bureau. "There's no place like this.." the song goes and shows the entire Toronto Maple Leaf hockey club from management the team and fans all in Leafs regalia snoozing on a park bench with 2008 NHL entry draft scouting reports keeping them warm.
Baseball seasons on its way Toronto...cheer up. Your Blue Jays actually look good this year.
Better than your hockey club.

D-Day and the irony of it all

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

Leafs and Bruins tonight at the ACC - a loss for the Leafs and they can kiss the 07/08 season goodbye, a win and they are still in the thick of things. The same can be said of the Bruins, playing without Marc Savard tonight, a loss and they are pretty much a sure bet to slide right out of the top 8 and into the category of also-rans - which is where they should be.

The irony of it all is that the Leafs missed the playoffs by a point last year - due in large part to a few very poor games against the Bruins; payback comes tonight Boston...and it's a bitch.

SenaTards owner Eugene Melnyk started out the 07/08 season telling anyone who would listen that his team would win the 07/08 Stanley Cup - and that he would do anything in his power to make it happen. News broke yesterday that Melnyk, along with three other senior executives of his Biovale Corporation, were being investigated by the Securities Exchange Commission for, among other things, "chronic fraud". Sounds like Melnyk's team alright - chronic frauds.

The irony of it all is that Leaf Nation has to put our hatred of the SenaTards aside tonight and root for a win over the Sabres. After laughing at the Tards for getting punked at the Bell Centre last night - we have to change hats and hope these donkeys pull one out against Buffalo.

Oh yeah, Sox beat the A's today - touching up Huston Street for three runs to get the game into extra innings; they're blessed I tell ya.

Last week ended off on a good note - but the total for the week was minimal; the total for the year is still ugly, but it is going down. It'll be right before week 1 of the NFL. Tonight's suggestions:

Toronto over Boston - the Bruins demise continues tonight. Lay $100 on Hazel's team (the Leafs) - $150.

Nashville over Columbus - a bit of a scary game, but I like the Preds to win at home tonight against the Jackets who are out of it. Lay $100 on Nashville - $175.

SenaTards over Buffalo - the Tards face a big game tonight, a loss brings more questions about whether or not they are a complete fraud - Sabres are banged up pretty bad. Lay $100 on the Tards - $140.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out

Sunday, March 23, 2008

You're next Boston!

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

What a game at "The Bank" last night - the Leafs come back from a 4-2 deficit to win it 5-4. Happy Freakin' Easter!

The Leafs withstood a 1st period barrage by the Tards and kept themselves in the game - things were a little shaky, but as has been the case many a time this year, Vesa Toskala made a few key saves to keep the Leafs in the game. The Tards who were the beneficiaries of a few gift penalty calls, couldn't capitalize on a number of power play chances in the first period.

They thought they were home and cooled with Dany "the floater" Heatley scored late in the second to make it 4-2 - but a goal late in the period by Darcy Tucker brought the Leafs to within a goal and goals by Jiri Tlusty and Matt Stajan 41 seconds apart in the 3rd, shocked the Tards and their faithful!

Tough day yesterday, we'll look to get the total for the week back to even.

Philadelphia over NY Islanders - lay $100 on the Flyers - $240.

Chicago over St. Louis - lay $100 on the Hawks - $155.

Oh baby, bring on the Bruins - Hazel, if you are checking in, REPRESENT this week at the Banknorth (wear blue).

Happy Easter everyone - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Out the window

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in today. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

Leafs vs Tards tonight at Scotiabank Place - forget the standings, forget the playoffs/Stamkos sweepstakes, forget the win over the's always personal when it is the Leafs and Tards. Leafs may not make the playoffs - but playing spoiler against the likes of the Tards would be sweet, especially with a AHL roster.

Tough night on Thursday going 2-1, Gretzky's decision to play stinking Mikael Tellqvist cost me HUGE on Pro-Line...thanks for nothing Gretz. Total for the week stands at a very respectable + $235. Today's suggestions:

Colorado over Edmonton - the Avs have dominated the Oil this year, expect it to continue this afternoon. Lay $100 on the Avs - $130.

Calgary over Minnesota - game for positioning and the Flames have played the Wild tough all year. Lay $100 on the Flames - $160.

Dallas over LA Kings - hating the Kings these days, expect them to get pounded by the Stars today...the Kings won't be facing the likes of Tellqvist today. Lay $150 on the Stars - $235.

That's it for today - may check back in before 6 pm to post more night games. Thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What to do?

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

“March Madness” - to friends south of the border, it means the beginning of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament; to Leaf Nation it means something entirely different, go to Youtube and type in “Vesa Toskala”. That clip pretty much sums up how maddening of a season it has been for Leaf Nation.

The Leafs are faced with an interesting dilemma as they head into the final eight games of the season – the dream for a playoff spot was dealt a death blow last night when the Buffalo Sabres scored SIX third-period goals to erase a 4-1 deficit and beat the Lightning by a score of 7-4. Do they continue to play for that final spot in the draft? Or do they look at the probability of making the playoffs and call it quits?

Any rational member of Leaf Nation would advise that it is time to call it a season and try to fall far enough in the standings to get a shot at picking Steve Stamkos (the consensus number one pick) in the June Entry Draft.

However, with the Leafs’ remaining games being against divisional opponents, who are all jockeying for playoff positions, it is incumbent on them to show some integrity and play to win? For the record, I still think the Bruins are going to trip up and choke down the stretch, but notwithstanding all that – isn’t it incumbent on them as professionals to play to win?

The Leafs still find themselves as far out of a playoff spot as they are from falling to 26th place – and with it, a shot at Stamkos; with the Islanders announcing that Rick DiPietro is gone for the season, and the Blues looking hard-pressed to make up five points on the Leafs, their chances of finish 26th are about as good as they are of making to the playoffs.

With all that said, tanking the season sends out a bad message to everyone – especially if they wind up in the same position they are now, out of the Stamkos Sweepstakes. Plus, could “we” as Leaf Nation stomach seeing the boys lose to the likes of the Tards, the Habs, the Bruins and Lindy’s Sabres? We can’t do much about the Tards and the Habs, but derailing the Bruins and the Sabres would be sweet.

Go Leafs Go!

Quickly, the 2008 Boston Red Sox deserve a round of applause for standing up to MLB and refusing to play in Asia if their coaches weren’t compensated with appearance fees. While I (and everyone else I think) could have done without all the hype – and seeing DL Schilling’s mug everywhere – it was good to see this “team” (emphasis on team) stand up for their support staff. Can we all start singing “We are family’?

Manchester United Winger Cristiano Ronaldo scores again, not once but twice, in the Red Devils 2-0 win over Bolton. Ronaldo is THE man.

Detroit Red Wings LW Henrik Zetteberg had a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Columbus – good for the Maeple Leafs in the second round of the playoffs against Quikdraw’s Leprachauns in the yahoo pool.

Tough night on Tuesday with the stinking Habs dropping on e in a shootout to the pitiful Blues. Total for the week stands at + $160. Tonight’s suggestions:

Ottawa over St. Louis – the Tards won’t drop this one after watching the Blues shock the Habs. Lay $100 on the Tards - $280.

Pittsburgh over Tampa Bay – see above about Sabres comeback win. Lay $150 on the Pens - $240 – pick of the day.

Phoenix over Los Angeles – the Coyotes are down to their last breath , plus they have dominated the Kings at home. Lay $100 on the Coyotes - $175.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Upon further review

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are facing an interesting dilemma as they go into tonight’s game against the New York Islanders. The Leafs find themselves at somewhat of a mid-way point – six points out of a playoff spot and three points out of the draft lottery and a shot at consensus number one pick Steve Stamkos.

While I would never advocate throwing in the towel and quitting, logic dictates that any potential run at a playoff spot without Mats Sundin, who may be more seriously injured that many believe, and Nik Antropov is next to impossible. Leafs Coach Paul Maurice insists that the Buds are still in the hunt and they are going to play like it – Maurice has no guarantees beyond this year, so his stance is understandable – anything short of a playoff berth likely spells the end for him.

The irony of tonight’s game is that a win doesn’t guarantee any traction in the standings, while a loss would move the Leafs one step closer to the lottery – a win by the Islanders (in regulation) would leave them one point behind the Leafs for 24th spot and no lottery balls in June.

The interesting thing about tonight’s game is that Isles coach Ted Nolan is in the same boat as Paul Maurice – with speculation that there is a huge rift between Nolan and G Rick DiPietro, anything short of a playoff berth would likely result in Nolan being fired, so he’ll be coaching to win games from here on in.

Tonight’s game will determine how the Leafs play out the season – a win would mean they have to go full boar for a playoff spot, a loss SHOULD result in Andrew Raycroft finishing the season as the Leafs starting goalie and inverting the depth chart to give the AHL call-ups the majority of available ice-time. You can call it tanking the season – I’ll call it, evaluating your farm system and seeing if any of these guys are going to be legit NHLers. A loss tonight should result in Paul Maruice being relieved of his duties, as it is the only way to ensure that the final seven games unfold as they should.

While this will come off as a 180 degree turnaround from yesterday’s post – it isn’t; it is simply a realization of the facts.

All about yesterday’s suggested plays.

Vancouver Canucks C Henrik Sedin scores two goals in a 3-1 win over Phoenix – a game that saw Wayne Gretzky lose it on the officials…Leaf Nation hears you Gretz.

Minnesota Wild D Brent Burns had a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win over the Avs – nice to see Foppa is up to his dirty old tricks of blindsiding guys into the boards; someone needs to smash his face in.

Another good night here with two winners last night – total for the week (starting yesterday) is + $200. Tonight’s suggestions:

Montreal over St. Louis – the Blues have packed it in the for season; they are 1-8-1 in their last 10 and it looks like the players have quit on coach Andy Murray. Expect the Habs to roll over St. Louis tonight, they’ll play hard for Jaroslav Halak who is getting the start tonight. Lay $100 on the Habs - $24.0.

Edmonton over Phoenix – th e Coyotes playoff hopes are bleak, even more so that Toronto’s. The Oilers aren’t in a much better position, but will be motivated by trying to avoid falling into the lottery, since their 1st round pick belongs to Hockey God and the Ducks. Lay $100 on the Oilers - $130.

San Jose over Los Angeles – a bit of a scary pick considering the Sharks are coming off a loss to end a long winning streak – but they are the league’s best road team and have won both games in LA this season. Lay $100 on the Sharks - $180.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Code Blue In Toronto

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

While many of you are likely full St. Patrick’s Day party mode, some of us in Leaf Nation aren’t feeling so festive after the events of this past weekend.

A candlelight vigil is being planned for later this week as Leaf Nation gathers at the bedside of the Toronto Maple Leafs who are now on life support after a weekend where a series of worst case scenarios were realized.

While players and management still maintain they have an outside shot at the playoffs (six points back of the Flyers and four teams to leapfrog), even the most die-hard members of the Nation can’t be feeling too good about their chances – especially with Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov on the limp. Saturday night’s loss to the Sabres pretty much sealed the fate of the 2007/08 Maple Leafs, particularly when coupled with the fact that the teams Toronto is chasing all managed to pick up points.

The numbers say that they are still mathematically alive – however, the numbers don’t take into account the NHL’s focus on divisional rivalries. The last 9 or 10 games of the season will be made up mostly of divisional games – meaning the potential for (probability of) a number a three point games. The likelihood of Toronto running the table with nine straight wins to close out the season is not good; the odds say that it is next to impossible for them to do it without Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov being healthy. The Leafs are in the position of needing a miracle to qualify for the playoffs – and I’m not talking Hazel Karma; while Hazel is certainly divine, Leaf Nation needs divine intervention. Leaf Nation is about to find out if we are, as we would like to think, “God’s team”.

For members of the Nation or are practicing (or lapsed) Catholics – Easter weekend is coming up…can the Leafs’ playoff hopes be resurrected? We’ll see.

Many thanks to those of you who left reminders in my inbox about the Bruins’ three-point weekend, if you really think that is enough to separate them from the oncoming pack…ummmm, ok then.

It was a red letter kind of weekend.

Manchester United Winger Cristiano Ronaldo scores the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Derby, moving the Red Devils to the top of the standings in the Premier League – the man keeps scoring.

Athletico Madrid M, and Portugal international, Simao Sabrosa scores the opening goal in a 3-0 win over Levante in the Spanish Liga.

Former SenaTards D, Joe Corvo scores his first career hat-trick to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-1 pounding of the Tards…prompting SenaTards faithful to question why they ever traded the man they loved to hate. Tards fans…go figure.

Last week wrapped up with a positive balance; + $255 for those of you keeping track. The total for the year is still ugly, but it is coming down slowly. Tonight’s suggestions:

Minnesota over Colorado – the Wild absolutely have to have this game, they are tied with the Avs and can’t afford to give away points on home ice where they are usually lights out. Lay $100 on the Wild - $130.

Vancouver over Phoenix - Don’t think much of Luongo and the Canucks, but you have to think they’ll pull it out tonight, especially with their backs against the wall and fighting to stay in playoff contention. Lay $100 on Vancouver - $150.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day – for those of you who celebrate on the basis of ancestry, or because you are looking for any excuse to drink your faces off and pretend to be Irish…the song of the day

A Pair of Brown Eyes – The Pogues

For Leaf Nation, thinking about what needs to happen for the Buds to play into April and beyond –

E=MC2 – Big Audio Dynamite

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Welcome Damien Cox

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

Today's entry was going to be about the TWO must win games today - obviously the Leafs have to win, with or without Mats Sundin, against the Sabres tonight at the ACC; with the second being the Bruins over the Flyers. Earlier this week, I mentioned that the Leafs would be better served (should be) focusing on the Bruins rather than the Flyers, the reasoning being Toronto had two games against Boston and the Bruins fading quickly.

Well, imagine the shock when reading this morning that Damien "the donkey" Cox wrote "Bruins slide may be Leafs ticket to ride." After weeks (months) of telling anyone who will listen, or read, that a playoff run by the Leafs is a fantasy (utter joke), Cox finally takes a look at the state of the NHL (not just Toronto) to see who is playing well and who isn't. Is Damien reading this page?

I'm just going to leave it at that for today - oh yeah, one more thing for Bruins' fans. A loss today and you guys are toast, with the Caps, Sabres and Panthers all having won last night, things are looking a little tenuous for the B's; the majority of their remaining games are against divisional rivals which doesn't bode well for you. The Bruins, who are poster boys for the new NHL - average to below average team with a deadly power play - are entering a time of year where the officials have historically "let players decide the outcome of the game"; translation? No ticky tack penalties now, fight through it and win on your own. The Bruins, Flyers and Habs - three playoff teams in the Northeast - are where they are because of their power play. They are all woefully below average teams playing 5 on 5 - all three being minus teams; they may (or may not) make the playoffs, but the thinking here is that none of them will be serious threats to get beyond a round (or two in Montreal's case) when "old-time playoff hockey" starts up in a few weeks.

San Jose Sharks C Joe Thornton had two assists in a 4-1 win over St. Louis.

No love for anyone else as the wrong teams won last night.

Tough night on Thursday, 1-2 meaning the total is down to a minimal plus for the week. Tonight's suggestions:

Montreal over NY Islanders - the Isles have nothing left to play for, while the Habs are still fighting for first place; expect them to get the benefit of most iffy calls tonight - translation 7 or 8 power play chances - and win big over New York, best game of the night. Lay $150 on the Habs - $230.

Anaheim over St. Louis - this game is expensive for a reason. The Blues have pretty much mailed it in now - having played the Sharks last night, they'll go into tonight's game batter and beaten, expect more of the same. Lay $100 on the Ducks - $280.

Minnesota over LA Kings - the Wild have been an iffy proposition lately, but you have to like them at home against the Kings tonight. Lay $100 on the Wild - $220.

Dallas over Vancouver - not liking the Canucks at all these days, they can't score; the Stars, who need the win, should grind them into the ice tonight. Lay $100 on Dallas - $160.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in...especially YOU Damien Cox - looking forward to seeing your mailbag this week.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Staj(an) is set

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

So what to make of the Leafs win over the Flyers yesterday?

Many members of Leaf Nation, including my man Tilt, much to my chagrin, cringe with each Leafs victory; the thinking is that each victory takes them further away from the lottery draw of the June 08 entry draft, with no real hope of making the playoffs.

Yesterday's game meant much more than 2 lousy points is being viewed as an impossible run at a playoff spot - with Mats Sundin gone midway through the first period, the team could have quit...they had every reason to quit with their leader out. They didn't quit, they fought through the adversity, and had a few guys step up - can they continue to win without Sundin? The answer is no - however, what last night's game did was force some players to prove they are ready to take on expanded roles as this team moves forward.

The star of the game, from my humble viewpoint was Matt Stajan - without a doubt. With Sundin gone, Stajan was forced to take most (if not all) of the big face-offs in the second and especially third periods. Stajan not only won the majority of the big face-offs, he managed to create some offensive chances as the Leafs were pushing for the final goal. Stajan's performance was reminiscent of the playoff performance put in a few years ago by former Leaf C Alyn MacAulay, who stepped up HUGE in the absence of Mats Sundin in a playoff series victory over the SenaTards. Carlo Colaicovo was also very good - he was physical in his own end and composed when he skated the puck out of trouble; by the third period, Bryan McCabe was deferring to CC on rushes out of the Toronto zone.

Jiri Tlusty didn't score, was partly responsible for both Flyers goals - the first was failing to get himself in position to be an outlet pass out of the zone, the second was taking a stupid penalty in the Flyers zone - but the kid responded when Paul Maurice bumped him up to first line duty with Antropov and Ponikarovsky in the third period - flattening Scott Hartnell will endear the kid to Leaf Nation.

The Leafs might not make the playoffs - they can point to at least five games where they gave away points they should have had - but this team isn't nearly as bad as the media and some disgruntled fans would have you believe.

Big game at the Banknorth Garden tonight - the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning. For the record, I have stated that I think the Bruins are in free-fall mode - so I think they are going down tonight to the Lightning. Mark my words gang - a loss at home tonight to Tampa Bay WILL doom this team for one of the bigger regular season chokes in recent memory. Not surprising to members of Leaf Nation, considering the contingent of former SenaTards that have made their way to Boston and Claude Julien behind the bench.


Toronto Maple Leafs C Matt Stajan stepped up huge last night - while Pavel Kubina scored his second consecutive game winner against the Flyers, the Leafs aren't in the game without Stajan. Goalie Vesa Toskala wasn't overly busy last night - but he came up with some great saves to keep the Flyers at bay.

Your three stars - all Maple Leafs. Yeah, yeah, Ovechkin had two goals...but since we are chasing Washington, he gets no love today.

Another good night, going 2-0 and raising the total for the week up to + $300; let the good times roll as the total for the week goes up and the total for the years starts the climb up to respectability. Tonight's suggestions:

Nashville over Los Angeles - still hating the Kings for blowing it against Vancouver on Monday night. The Predators are scrapping for a spot at the playoffs, so they won't be caught off guard by the Kings. Lay $100 on the Preds - $225.

Calgary over Atlanta - after falling to the Caps last night, the Flames will respond with a win over the Thrashers...count on it. Lay $100 on the Flames - $155.

Colorado over Edmonton - the Oilers have been playing well of late, but they don't have enough to keep up with the Avs who are finally healthy (relatively). Lay $100 on the Avs - $210.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

When this happens, you know they mean business

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Scott Hartnell claims to be a player who "finishes his checks" - Hartnell was on the receiving end of someone "finishing his check" (flattening him), and that someone was Leafs rookie Jiri Tlusty. Funny thing about Hartnell, being the punk that he is, his first reaction was to hold his face and look at the referee for a penalty call. Typical of the Flyers - Briere, Upshall et al.

Leafs lose Mats Sundin in the first period and still win - they answered the bell last night.

That's it for this morning - back later with more and the three play suggestions. Thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Point Taken? Or Point decide

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in from Florida.

It could only happen in Toronto – the Maple Leafs staged a huge third period rally to come back from a 3-0 deficit and beat the hated Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime; the point gained by the Flyers prompted the media to call a priest to administer last rights to the boys in blue and white. Granted, yesterday’s result wasn’t the optimal one – especially with Alexei Ponikarovsky blowing a chance to end it late in the third period – but on a much more important note, it brings another team into the picture. Yes, I’m talking about YOUR Boston Bruins, assuming of course that most of you check in from New England.

The Bruins are officially in free fall after dropping a 4-1 decision last night to the SenaTards – playing without Zdeno Chara (“Upper body injury” cough cough bad shoulder ) and turning to Alex Auld to replace floundering Tim Thomas, the Bruins rolled over at Scotiabank Place; perhaps most telling was that the game was a good indication of what the Bruins are (and have been all season long), a below average hockey team that relies on the power play to win games – limit their opportunities and shut them out when they have the PP and make them rely on their relatively non-existent offence and you can beat them rather easily.

For the most part, the Bruins loss last night was largely ignored by Leaf Nation and the Toronto media . Tat is a huge mistake, as the Leafs should be focusing on catching the Bruins. The Bruins have been awful over the last couple of weeks and show no signs of getting their game back, especially if Chara is out for any length of time – factor in three games with the Bruins and you have the team Toronto is most likely to catch if they are going to make the playoffs.

The Leafs go into Philadelphia tonight riding the momentum of dominating the Flyers last night – a win tonight, even in overtime, really brings the Bruins back into play as the team to be caught…the team that will be caught. You read it here first, the Bruins are going to follow in the footsteps of Claude Julien’s Montreal Canadiens teams who packed it in during stretch runs to the playoffs. The Bruins have an easy game coming up against the Lightning, but it gets considerably tougher after that; Toronto or Washington will overtake them, the Panthers will hang around for a while, but would you trust a team coached by former SenaTards bench boss Jacques Martin?

As things unfold between Toronto and Boston, there may have to be a song of the day dedicated to Hazel – I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash; it is a stretch, but the song title works.

Toronto Maple Leafs D Pavel Kubina scores two lucky goals, including the O/T winner against the Flyers last night. Thanks for the memories Pav, Leaf Nation is going to miss you next year (not really).

Tampa Bay Lightning C Vincent Lecavalier had three goals in a 8-4 win over the Islanders, allowing the Leafs to leapfrog the Isles.

Edmonton Oilers C Andrew Cogliano scored his third consecutive O/T winner in a 4-3 win over St. Louis last night – good for the kid, good for the Three Play.

New Jersey Devils G Martin Brodeur celebrated his second star of the week by stinking the joint out at the Bell Centre – four goals on 29 shots…thanks for coming out Marty, go do another Delissio pizza commercial you donkey.

Seattle Seahawks grand poohbah Mike Holmgren did Dallas Cowboys fans a big favour, while simultaneously showing how dumb he really is, when he signed Cowboys free-agent RB Julius Jones to a multi-year deal. Jones’ time in Dallas can be summed up in one word – disappointing; he regressed a little more each season after a good rookie year.

Before posting, and after having heard that Chara was out and Auld was in for Boston, I took them out of Three Play and put in Edmonton instead – 2-1 last night meaning the week starts off on a good note – the good times keep rolling tonight.

Pittsburgh over Buffalo – on the surface, this looks like a bit of a trap game – but the reality is that Buffalo has been ordinary to bad after the Brian Campbell trade, Pens win even without Crosby. Lay $100 on the Pens - $160.

Anaheim over Vancouver – still hating Ryan Kessler and the Canucks, the fact that Anaheim blew a third period lead and lost to Phoenix in a shootout should have them in a bad mood as they take on Hockey God’s former team. The Ducks get it done tonight by overpowering the soft Canucks. Lay $100 on the Ducks - $160.

Leaving it at that for today. Thanks for taking the time to check in - have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world – Go Leafs Go!

I’m Out! .

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's Not Over Until We Say It Is

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

The vultures, aka the media in Toronto, are hovering over the Air Canada Centre waiting to pick at the carcass of the 2007/08 Toronto Maple Leafs – while they have written countless words and expended much energy writing off the Buds’ chances, they are waiting for the deathblow to be struck. The Leafs host the Flyers tonight in the first of a home and home series in what is absolutely a must win (no O/T win) situation. The Leafs are now in a position where they can’t even afford to give up a single point to the Flyers in either of the game – its two regulation wins, or else.

Toronto teams of years past have been characterized by heart, grit and determination – while the last 15 games have been good ones, the final twelve will determine what this group of players is really made of. It sounds cliché, but there really are some guys playing for jobs next year, and it isn’t who you would expect.

The five Maple Leafs who refused to waive their no-trade clauses have been sarcastically dubbed the “Fab Five” by the Toronto media – Sundin, Kaberle, McCabe, Tucker and Kubina. The final twelve games will be huge for all of them, particularly with a new GM coming on board this summer (Welcome Pope Brian I).

In Mats Sundin’s case – his teammates will actually be auditioning for him, looking to show him that this group of misfits have enough upside to convince him to come back for another two years – as things were at the trade deadline, it is all up to Mats.

In the case of McCabe and Kubina – they will have to produce Herculean efforts to convince a new GM that they deserve to be on the 08/09 team at their salary level. While McCabe’s no movement clause still stands – the next GM will likely convince McCabe that it is better to move on, rather than risk the embarrassment of being a healthy scratch. Kubina’s situation is much more tenuous – his NTC is waived if the Leafs don’t make the playoffs, and a guy like Hockey God will look to move him quickly and for just about anything in order to get that $5M off the books.

The talk is the market for Darcy Tucker was limited and lukewarm at best last month - while that likely guarantees that Tucker sticks around in 08/09, these last twelve games could go a long way to determining where he ends up on next year’s depth chart – as things stand right now, he can’t be considered as much more than a 3rd line LW; a poor finish could see him drop down to fourth line status (call it the Tie Domi effect – Leaf Nation knows of what I speak).

Two other players should be feeling the heat – forwards Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky could be moved in the off-season (remember Pope Brian I’s penchant for North American players). Ponikarovsky is in the midst of yet another season of not reaching his potential and is now a candidate to be moved, a la Freddie Modin; Antropov is having a career year, but the question is can he stay healthy enough in the future to show that this year wasn’t a fluke?

As mentioned, the last twelve games will go a long way to sorting things out for the 2008/09 season (if not a run at the playoffs). While everyone wants to write them off – I leave you (Leaf Nation) with the immortal words of Bluto

It Ain’t Over

Two of the shakiest teams in the NHL face off tonight in the land of the Tards as Ottawa hosts Hazel’s SECOND favourite team, the Boston Bruins. The Tards go into the game with the distinction of being one of the NHL’s Worst teams over the last fifty games (that 15-2 or 16-3 start saved them from being a complete embarrassment) and the worst since January 1. The Bruins are scuffled hard to get back to being respectable after being humiliated by the likes of the Caps and Hazel’s Maple Leafs – being the beneficiaries of Donald Brashear’s brain fart late in Saturday’s game against Washington and dropping one to the Rangers.

Speaking of Saturday’s game – nice to see that Bruins D Shane Hnidy is still the same piece of crap he was when he played for the Tards. Hnidy was a tough guy on Thursday night, jumping Alexei Ponikarovsky from behind and wailing on him – but not showing the same toughness against Brashear and taking a shot to the face for his troubles. Before anyone talks about taking one for the team – Hnidy is a crapheell, he took the shot in order to avoid being fed his lunch by Brashear, plain and simple.

Calgary Flames RW Jarome Iginla had a goal and two assists in a 7-3 pounding of the St. Louis Blues – good for the Maeple in the opening round of the playoffs in the yahoo pool, oh yeah, he became the Flames leading goal scorer in franchise history...that's good too.

Vancouver Canucks C Ryan Kesler scored two goals in a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings – what makes him a donkey? His first goal to tie the game cost me $110 bucks on a $5 dollar lottery ticket (LA win), his second goal to end the game and prevent a shootout cost me $900 bucks on a $3 ticket. Donkey.

The week ended off on a good note (finally) with three winners on Saturday – Sunday and Monday would have been good too, had I posted. Total for the year is still ugly – too ugly to print, but hey, it is what it is (-$3,400). Staying in the NHL’s Northeast tonight for the suggested plays

Toronto over Philadelphia – see above. Leafs have to have this game tonight and Flyers have injury concerns. Lay $100 on the Buds - $125.

Edmonton over St. Louis
- see last night's Flames/Blues game? Enough said. Lay $100 on the Oil. - $150.

New Jersey over Montreal – see Boston/Ottawa. Brodeur was named one of the NHL’s Three Stars for the week, due in large part to his role in screwing the Leafs – donkey. Lay $100 on the Devils + $105.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Not do or die yet, but ...

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

The Maple Leafs host freakin' Martin Brodeur and the Devils tonight at the ACC, with the Buds looking to get revenge on Brodeur for stoning them on Wednesday night. The Maple Leafs outshot, out-chanced and outplayed the Devils and still lost. A loss tonight wouldn't be the end of the world, but it wouldn't help the cause. The Leafs have an uphill climb, some would say insurmountable, to get to the playoffs; but some teams who looked home and cooled a couple of weeks ago are probably starting to feel a little antsy these days.

The Boston Bruins have dropped three games in a row, being outscored by a count of 19-4 and look to be in free fall mode. The Bruins host the Capitals today in what has to be looked at a must-win game for them - lose to Ovechkin and the Caps twice in one week and this team will really be questioning themselves and G Tim Thomas who has been unraveling like cheap threading. Be afraid Bruins fans - don't forget that your team was built on the model of the Ottawa SenaTards, a team noted for quitting and giving up when the going gets tough...just remember that in a couple of weeks. Three games against the Maple Leafs might seal your fate AND OURS.

The Tards are also reeling after losing to the league's worst team, the Los Angeles Kings, with a rookie goalie making his third career start. The Tards are wallowing in their own misery - pointing to the loss of their captain Krusty the Klown (aka Alfredsson) as one of the main reasons for their poor play. In the immortal words of former Maple Leafs RW Owen Nolan - BOO HOO. Deal with it Tards - every team has to. Are you reading this Bruins fans? This is the kind of make up your team has...quitters.

Hazel Karma at the ACC tonight.


Not gloating about the Maple Leafs pounding of the Bruins - but have to give props to the whole team and in particular:

Nik Antropov who was dominant every time he stepped on the ice
Bryan McCabe who tied a career high four points (he's still a bit of a donkey though) and
Jason Blake who is finally playing some good hockey.

The total for the week stands at - $150 after a 1-2 night on Thursday. Today/Tonight's suggestions:

Montreal over Los Angeles - the Habs won't have any trouble solving the Kings. Lay $150 on the Habs - $140.

Carolina over Buffalo - the Sabres look like they've pretty much packed it in after losing Brian Campbell, while the Canes are looking to win their division. Lay $100 on the Canes - $130.

Vancouver over St. Louis - Canucks finally won (much to my chagrin) the other night, they should keep things going against a Blues team that is pretty well looking to next season. Lay $100 on Vancouver - $170.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - be thankful you got the hell out of this winter hinterland, 50 cms of snow this weekend.

I'm Out!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Leafs Vs Bruins Tonight - Hazel Karma?

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in on this big NHL night.

A quiet day here - not much to say; aren't you thankful?

Tough day in Europe yesterday, FC Porto threw everything (and I mean everything) at Schalke 04 but could only manage a 1-0 win in regulation - and 0-0 in extra time, despite launching 31 shots at goal. The game went to penalty shots and the boys in blue and white lost - meaning they are out of Champions League.

If that didn't suck enough - everyone the Maple Leafs are chasing picked up at least a point last night. There isn't much to say - they have to win tonight. They WILL win tonight. Note to Hazel if she is reading this - if you are going to the game, Leaf Nation wants to see you with something blue - we need Hazel Karma at the Banknorth Garden tonight.

Washington Capitals LW Alexander Ovechkin had two goals in a 3-1 win over Buffalo - from a Leaf Nation perspective the bright side is it wasn't a three point game, the down side is Ovechkin is heating up again.

San Jose Sharks C Patrick Marleau had two goals, including the winner in overtime to beat the Tards by a count of 3-2. Tards and their fans still celebrating moral victories - "pickng up one point is huge for us" ya right.

Chicago Blackhawks G Cory Crawford stopped all 19 shots in a 3-0 win over Anaheim - Ducks must have been looking ahead to tonight's game.

Tough night last night, splitting the picks and winding up even for the week - Dallas killed my pro-line last night, so if you played them, I feel your pain. Tonight's suggestions:

Montreal over Phoenix - the Habs can take over first place in the Northeast division with a win over Phoenix tonight - the Coyotes screwed the Three Play last night (they always do), but you have to think Dallas took a good piece out of them. Last time I pick a game involving Phoenix. Lay $100 on the Habs - $120.

Nashville over Vancouver - the Canucks are a mess right now, they can't score and Roberto Luongo hasn't been superhuman lately; meanwhile the Predators have been playing some pretty good hockey - expect them to carry over the momentum from pounding the Oilers and win tonight. Lay $100 on the Predators + $120.

Pittsburgh over Florida - with Crosby back, the Penguins are almost at full strength - almost, but still more than enough to beat the Panthers. Lay $100 on the Pens - $150 (this one is a gift)

I'd suggest Minnesota over Carolina, but I'm hating the Wild for costing me on Pro-Line last night - oh yeah, for those of you who are college hoops fans...I hate Vanderbilt now, they killed me too.

That's it for today gang, thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Go in peace...not "piece"

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

Getting away from the norm here - meaning no NHL; can't bring myself to discuss last night's loss to the Devils. The Leafs completely dominated the Devils for 50 minutes but couldn't solve Martin Brodeur. An unjust result - the lone silver lining was that the Flyers lost (albeit to Buffalo who gained two points on the Leafs) and the Rangers lost in a shootout (to the Isles) so we're still in striking distance - a win over Boston tomorrow is crucial. Let's hope Hazel doesn't sit behind the Bruins' bench tomorrow.

So Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre retires - finally? There is no question he had a good year last year, but going into last season he had come off two or three average to below average seasons. Anyone else find it funny that for guy with the number of records he holds, he leaves the game not with the tag of "one of the greatest, if not THE greatest of all time", but rather as "the gun-slinger".

Favre's longevity and the offenses he played in were huge factors in his record setting career - he was a very good QB, but not one of the greats. Favre didn't win enough to be considered one of the greats of all time - for all intents are purposes, his record in big games was average to well-below average if you consider what the Packers should have accomplished. Go in peace Brett, but for God's sakes just go.

Speaking of a guy that didn't go in peace - but rather held on to his piece. Red Sox Nation needs no explanation of who this person is. A chump if there ever was one.

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo scores Manchester United's lone goal in a 1-0 win over Lyon in Champions League yesterday. The win means that the Red Devils move on to quarter final stage.

Calgary Flames G Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 39 shots he faced in a 1-0 win over Columbus yesterday - good for the Three Play and even better for Maeple Leafs in yahoo pool.

Nashville Predators RW Martin Erat records his first career hat-trick in a 5-1 win over the Oilers last night - never mind the other stinking Martin who had a good game yesterday.

The play of the day is FC Porto, the little team that could, over Schalke 04 in Champions League this afternoon - but "football" plays don't count here. Still, FC Porto will win today - if you are on -line gambler, do it.

The Bruins killed the night last night - losing 1-0 to Florida at home, after the beatdown they got in Washington is inexcusable, unforgiveable, and infuriating. The total for the week is down to + $100 - as the Bruins were - $150 yesterday. Thanks for nothing donkeys. Today's suggestions:

San Jose over Ottawa - I swore I wouldn't trust the Sharks again, but they have to get the nod over a Tards team that is overrated and questioning themselves with each passing game - they are at the point of celebrating moral victories like "we played with emotion"; not good when you are facing a red-hot Sharks team. Lay $100 on the Sharks - $150.

Dallas over Phoenix - the Stars are trying to stay ahead of the Ducks and Sharks in order to avoid a first round matchup with the aforementioned - they'll get it done tonight. Lay $150 on the Stars - $200.

That's it for now - there might be a pick or two added this afternoon. Thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A little something extra

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

A big night in the NHL to be sure, with almost every game having playoff implications – yes, even the Devils/Leafs game. In keeping with the subject line of today’s post, should a run at the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference not be enough motivation for our Toronto Maple Leafs (still counting Hazel as a member of Leaf Nation), they need look no further than within for a little extra motivation.

Of course the “within” means their AHL team, the Toronto Marlies, who have former Devils G Scott Clemmensen on the roster. On the final game of the 06/07 season, the Leafs needed a Devils’ win over the NY Islanders to get into the playoffs – Devils GM (and occasional coach) Lou Lamoriello opted to rest Martin Brodeur in favour of Clemmensen – citing that he had to do what was in the best interests of his hockey team and he couldn’t worry about the plight of the Leafs. The Devils lost the game in a shootout – Leaf Nation won’t forget.

Paul Maurice’s pre-game speech tonight should focus on that game between the Devils and the Islanders – he might also want to remind them all of the cheapshot former Devils F Cam Janssen laid on Tomas Kaberle, knocking the Leafs number 1 defenceman out for a few games. The Leafs face a tough road ahead this week – Devils tonight, and a visit to Hazel on Thursday as they play the Bruins at the TD Banknorth Garden on Thursday – to compound things, the teams they are chasing all play each other, so gaining ground will be difficult. Leafs lay one on the Devils tonight at the ACC – count on it.

Before moving on, a look back on the night that was in the NHL last night – with the top three teams in the Northeast division all suffering beatdowns of varying degrees. The Bruins were humiliated by Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps last night – enough said, no sense in rubbing it in…it happens, not often, but it happens.

Two of the Eastern Conference’s “best” (emphasizing quotation marks) were humbled on the west coast last night. How ironic was it to see the Canadiens, a team that has lived and died with their specialty teams, go 0 for 7 on the power play and give up two goals in six shorthanded situations? The Habs are counterfeit – they are the Philadelphia Eagles of the NHL. Their “future”, goaltender Carey Price, looked pretty ordinary last night – as did most of their players.

The SenaTards fell 3-1 to the Ducks last night – prompting their fans to flood the sports radio station with calls about moral victories, “playing with emotion”, and missed penalty calls. The most interesting part of the game came when coach Bryan Murray got himself thrown out of the game for harassing the officials for a call on Tards C Mike Fisher in the third. Murray passed it off as a mistake, but it was definitely calculated on his part – he got himself tossed so that he could take the bullet for the loss. Murray has likely come to realize that the Tards aren’t Eastern Conference favourites anymore and to protect the team’s fragile psyche, he got himself thrown out so that people would focus on his ejection rather than his team’s loss. Murray threw in the towel – no doubt about it – he knew they weren’t going to come back from a one goal deficit. The Tards can talk all they want about how they were in the game and had a chance to win – but they were going nowhere; another game where Spezza and Heatley were invisible – funny how these two disappear when the going gets rought.

The question of “who is the fairest of them all” was answered in spades yesterday – the Pittsburgh Steelers, that’s who. According to Ben Roethlisberger’s agent – he didn’t ask to be the highest paid QB in the league, he just wanted “a fair deal”. Well, apparently the Steelers think that an 8 year/$102 MILLION ($36 million guaranteed) deal is fair.

Did I miss something here? When did that donkey become one of the league’s best players? Apart from his Super Bowl season – where the stars lined up – has this guy ever established himself amongst the elite? Wonder how the Colts and Patriots feel about this deal? How long before Tom Brady stops being Mr. Nice Guy and looks to get paid like the top QB in the league? Tony Romo is looking like a bargain now.

Almost ask ridiculous was the Houston Texans signing of Dallas Cowboys unrestricted free agent CB Jacques Reeves. Reeves cashed in big time with a five year/$20M deal from the Texans – speaking on behalf of all Cowboys fans, “Go in peace Jacques, but for God’s sake just go”.

Patriots WR got a little something extra – compared to what he played for last year – signing a 3 year/$27M deal to stay in Boston. Good deal for both sides – a FAIR deal.

Washington Capitals LW Alexander Ovechkin had a hat-trick and two assists in last night’s game against a team that shall remain nameless and a score that won’t be rehashed.

San Jose Sharks C Joe Thornton had two goals and two assists in a 6-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens…good for the Maeple Leafs in the yahoo pool.

Toronto Maple Leafs C Mats Sundin was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week for scoring four goals and assisting on four others to lead the Leafs to a 3-0-1 week. Pretty good response to those who criticized him for not waiving his NTC.

Finally, a week that starts off on the right foot – the total is at + $200, and will continue north with tonight’s suggestions (the money lines will be posted later:

Boston over Atlanta – a no brainer, when a team gets hammered like the Bruins did yesterday, they usually respond with a great effot – the good thing for Boston is that they don’t have to wait long before trying to put last night behind them. Lay $200 on the Bruins.

Calgary over Columbus – the Flames have Blue Jackets have split their first two games with both winning on the road – the trend gets reversed tonight with a Calgary win at home. Lay $100 on the Flames.

St. Louis over Los Angeles – time is fast running out on the Blues (it probably has already run out) so they’ll leave it all on the ice tonight. Lay $100 on the Blues.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Not all doom & gloom in Leaf Nation

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

The NHL is into the stretch run, with roughly 15 games to be played and all but a few teams still in line for a shot at the playoffs – this is what the NHL had in mind with rule and schedule changes over the last few years.

If you count yourself a member of Leaf Nation these are particularly interesting times, with a number of story lines to follow – over and above this mini-run the boys in blue and white have been on, which has seen them creep to within six points of a playoff spot (albeit with a number of teams to leapfrog). Is this what the media in Toronto characterizes as a bunch of losers who play well when the pressure is off and there is little left to play for, or is it more of a case of a team that has finally gotten relatively healthy and is making a serious push to play past the first week of April?

The next five games will pretty much sort things out for the 2007/08 Maple Leafs, but you can’t help sense the unease on the part of the media who were quick to write this team off for dead after the trade deadline and lambasted them for ruining their chances at a lottery pick in the 2008 draft by actually having the audacity (they portrayed it as “stupidity”) to try and win games. You can sense the discomfort some of their harshest critics are experiencing right now with the Leafs seemingly unbeatable, while some of the teams the Leafs are chasing have fallen on some tough times.

Whether or not the Leafs make the playoffs, they are still front and center in hockey circles. Again, this has proven to be some uncomfortable times for the men and women who claim to be plugged into the NHL. When the Anaheim Ducks paid a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame in January, Brian Burke was asked about his interest in taking over the Maple Leafs in 2008/09 – Burke was his customary abrasive self when he proclaimed that he was not interested in the job. Many Maple Leafs haters in the media were overjoyed to hear the news that one of the best GMs in the league had no interest in the job – a good number of them took Burke’s statement to take a shot at the organization and claim that it was no longer the plum job many in Toronto tried to make it out to be.

Well, haven’t things changed over the last 6 weeks (or so), there is a great deal of speculation that Burke is indeed considering the job of GM of the Leafs; once this season is over and Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment makes a formal offer. According to our esteemed (insert sarcastic snicker) members of the media, Brian Burke has already received a contract extension offer from the Ducks but has not put pen to paper to finalize things. Word has it that Burke has other considerations before making a final decision on where he is going to work, namely in the form of his wife who has career interests which could quite likely bring her back to Canada.

Of course, this nugget of information wasn’t found in the daily columns of those who rejoiced when Burke issued his unofficial (albeit extremely passive) rejection of any speculation that he was interested in working at the ACC – no, these people have moved on to other “non-Leafs” stories (The Star’s Damien Cox has been particularly quiet on this front – even though he has been extremely vocal in calling for a strong GM to fix the Leafs woes). The story was part of the CBC’s Hot Stove segment during the second intermission of the Devils/Habs game (for those of us stuck in the land of the SenaTards). Al Strachan, who rivals Cox in terms of being a curmudgeon, was noticeably disgusted that it seemed like Burke was going back on his word when he denounced any interest in the Leafs. It looked like Strachan had thrown up in his mouth when CBC’s host Ron McLean said he really believed Burke would wind up in Toronto and got some level of agreement from Scott Morrison (one of the few very very good hockey writers).

I’m not going to say I called this – I’ll just point you to the entry entitled “Pope Brian I” for my reaction after Burke’s informal press conference at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Hot Stove segment was also particularly interesting in terms of information revealed about how close Cliff Fletcher was to completing trades involving Bryan McCabe and Pavel Kubina – there was surprisingly little talk about Sundin to Anaheim for a top prospect and the 1st round pick acquired from Edmonton (which makes me think it might not have been on the table). According to the panel, the Leafs almost had a deal with the Islanders for McCabe but couldn’t sort out the contract stuff – the feeling is that McCabe will be moved to the Isles over the summer. In terms of Kubina, the talk is that Kubina was about to be sent to the Sharks for former Bruins D Kyle McClaren – but as we all know, Kubina wouldn’t waive his NTC. This lead the panel back to talking about the Leafs moving the likes of Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Alex Steen this summer – likely to be spearheaded by Hockey God himself, who has shown a penchant for building around North Americans. It was right around this time that Strachan blurted out that Colin Campbell would be the Leafs next GM because Bettman wanted it that way.

Good times if you are a member of Leaf Nation – never a dull moment.

The 5-0 vision I had for Saturday night was actually for Sunday’s games and a great Pro-Line ticket; unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to post here so it doesn’t count on the total (which is still ugly). Tonight’s suggestions:

Anaheim over Ottawa – only in the land of the Tards could they feel good about winning one game, against a team missing two big guns; but that is how it goes up here. The Tards will be reminded how tough it is to win in Anaheim. Lay $100 on the Ducks - $140.

San Jose over Montreal – the Habs will find things decidedly tougher on the West Coast where the play is a bit more physical and they don’t have 20,000 hockey-crazed francophones screaming for a penalty every time one of their players is touched. The Sharks win this one tonight – Lay $150 on San Jose - $130.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Still lovin' the new NHL

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

So this is what the NHL wants - GOALS - and quite frankly they don't care how they come about, they just know they want them to make the game more exciting. They must have been jumping for joy when the league's poster boys for the new NHL - the Montreal Canadiens - won again; last night in Buffalo by a 6-2 count with three of their goals coming on the power play. Imagine that, the stinking Canadiens - who are a minus team when playing 5 on 5 - are the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. These punks would be chum for any of the Western Conference's top teams (save Detroit who are just as big a bunch of wusses as Montreal) were they to make it to the Cup Final.

In all too familiar fashion this year, the Maple Leafs dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning with ALL THREE of Tampa's goals coming on the power play - two of them on very questionable calls. The heartbreaking loss leaves Toronto five points out of a playoff spot - could they catch lightning in a bottle and make a run for a playoff spot, or is this just what many haters in the Toronto media pass off as a bunch of losers playing with no pressure who will tease their fans with "almost making the playoffs"? We'll hope for the best, and hope for some Hazel Karma.

The media, not wanting to acknowledge that the Leafs have an outside hope at a playoff spot - and with nothing good to fawn over with respect to the SenaTards - have moved on to speculating about what Mats Sundin will do when he becomes a free agent. A week ago, the donkeys were saying that Mats should waive his no-trade and allow the Leafs to build for the future by obtaining drafts picks - in their simple world, Mats would waive his NTC and re-sign with the Leafs on July 1st. The same donkeys who thought re-signing with the Leafs in July was a slam dunk are now floating out the theory that Mats won't be back.

Darren Dreger of TSN, a donkey is there ever was one, is following in the steps of Bob McKenzie in floating out garbage theories about what might happen (with the caveat that he doesn't know for sure - thanks champ); according to Dreger there are a few scenarios for Mats
  • he signs as a free agent with another team;
  • he tells Toronto he doesn't want to sign with them and retires;
  • he takes the first half of the season off like Selanne and Niedermayer and comes back to the team of this choice.
Dreger doesn't know for sure, but he KNOWS Mats isn't coming back. This is particularly funny that Dreger knows Mats is coming back when it has been proven time and again that Mats doesn't divulge anything to anyone in the media. Another case of Darren the Donkey trying to be provocative.

The Leafs will resign Mats this summer - he knows this team isn't as bad as the media has made them out to be. The special teams have been awful this year and is the primary reason why they are where they are - yes, special teams are part of the game, but it is one area that can be corrected with good coaching. Sundin says he is going to think about it over the summer - the guys in the dressing room could help his decision making by closing out the season on a good run.

It has been a while - but I'm back at it. Tonight's suggestions:

Carolina over Tampa Bay - the Lightning didn't deserve to win last night's game; they won't get the same breaks tonight on the road against the Hurricanes. Lay $100 on the Canes - $170.

New Jersey over Montreal - the Devils are disciplined enough not to take too many penalties against the Habs - they'll win it 5 on 5. Brodeur usually saves his best for Montreal. Lay $150 on the Devils - $105

Calgary over Phoenix - the Flames dropped a tough one last night to the Ducks, so expect them to respond against the Coyotes. Lay $100 on the Flames - $105.

Colorado over Los Angeles - the Avs are starting to get their injured players back, expect them to start a late season push for the playoffs against the over-matched Kings. Lay $150 on the Avs - $230.

Dallas over Nashville - the addition of Brad Richards was huge for Dallas, expect them to keep playing well. Lay $100 on the Stars - $200.

I'm feeling a 5-0 night tonight...really.

That's it for today gang - I'll recap my time in Los Angeles in another post. Thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - word from the peeps are you are feeling under the weather...get well soon.

I'm Out!

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