Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Comedic Nature of Trade Rumours

This is the season of rumours. The Stanley Cup final is winding down, with the Los Angeles Kings holding the New Jersey Devils by the scruff of the neck. 28 other teams are patiently waiting for the games to stop and the  trade negotiations to start flowing. The draft is upcoming and after that the free agency period.

Before delving into that, I want to temper down the expectations of those that believe everything they read. There is the infamous Eklund, who publishes enough trash to make anyone's head spin. Besides him, there are many more who look to deceive.

Here are a few amusing rumours that I compiled. Sorry, if I missed any classics, there were just SO many to go through!

1) "The Bruins might be on the verge of trying to deal Vezina Trophy Winner Tim Thomas" (Bruce Garrioch)

This particular rumour came from Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch. This audacious rumour was made in February 2010. Bruce, at the time stated he had talked to a few executives who said Tim Thomas was on the way out.

What makes this a horrible rumour? How about the fact Thomas stayed and won the cup with the Bruins, the next year? Thomas had just signed a contract with the Bruins and due to a few iffy months became trade bait in the eyes of journalists. Boy was Garrioch off on this one despite being vague to insure credibility!

2) "Stephen Weiss is being traded by Florida Panthers" (RDS)
     "Details are Sketchy..." (Darren Dreger)

You know you are going to cause a frenzy when a player like Weiss is named. Even more so, when Darren Dreger provides back up to the initial rumour. At that point, everyone was starting to name potential teams and shoving crazy trades down each other's throats.

What ended up happening? The only trade made that day by Florida was Cory Stillman going to Carolina for a pick and Ryan Carter. As for Stephen Weiss, Tallon said there was no trade ever in place. In fact, he's still wearing a Florida jersey in 2012, more than a year later. Yikes.

3) "Cammalleri to be traded for one of Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry" (Radio Station: Montreal CKC)

Yeah. Don't have to say much about this beauty. Three top tier players, the so called "big 3" being torn apart to add Micheal Cammalleri of all players? Whatever was being smoked by the people at the radio station must have been good stuff.

What ended up happening? Nothing. Michael Cammalleri wasn't traded until a full year after this trade rumour came out.

4) "Rick Nash + Kristian Huselius for Mikail Grabovski, Luke Schenn, Nazem Kadri & Mike Komisarek" (Bill Watters)

This was a trade announced by Bill Watters as pretty much done. People thought Bill Watters has connections with Columbus, so might be in the know. A reasonable position to hold considering he was a GM at one point (how he got the job, I don't know) so his word held some weight.

What ended up happening? Rick Nash is still in Columbus. Grabovski, Schenn, Kadri and Komisarek are still in Toronto. Brian Burke came out the next day and said he had not even spoken to Scott Howson about  Rick Nash at that point. From what was at one point a done deal, became something that wasn't even talked about between the two GMs. Shocking.

5) "Corey Perry for Cory Schneider + Mason Raymond + Keith Ballard" (Patrice Brisebois)

Yes, another trade rumour involving Corey Perry. I suppose that is what you get for playing in an unappreciated market, Corey. Patrice Brisebois came out with this stunner and said a few Canucks told him "he will be joining us soon".

What ended up happening? None of these players changed teams. I wonder which Canucks, Brisebois was talking to. Must have been yanking his chain or he was pulling these out of his anal cavity.


As you can see, trade rumours come and go. No one should be fully trusted, not until multiple reliable sources have confirmed a piece of news. They are great for discussions, but please learn to take them with a pinch of salt. Just some advice before happy hour comes around again and we see some more shocking trade rumours.

Evgeni Malkin for Mike Komisarek, anyone? Wouldn't be surprised to see someone pick up on this and post it on twitter. This is the world we live in now.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Luke Schenn's Time to Shine?

Luke Schenn has had it rough.

Selected 5th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008, he was expected to become a high class shut down defence man for the team. Everything was going according to plan (even ahead of plan) at the beginning as he made the team right away. Not a tough thing to do considering the abysmal quality of defenders, the Leafs had at that point in time.

He put up a good rookie season, which increased the hype. Since, then it has been an up and down, turbulent type of situation for the young man. Emphasis should be placed on YOUNG because too many people are treating him like a washed up veteran defender, who can't hold a stick any more.

Let's have a look at his stats up to now.

2008-09 -- 2g, 12a & 71 PIMs
2009-10 -- 5g, 12a & 50 PIMs
2010-11 -- 5g, 17a & 34 PIMs
2011-12 -- 2g, 20a & 62 PIMs

It has been a pretty static type performance offensively. He has stayed around the same region in terms of points. The majority of his critics have not pinpointed his offensive game, but his defensive game. There were far too many mishaps by the young defence man over the year. It got so bad at one point, Ron Wilson was benching him for major chunks of games.

A big fall down for a young man who was being called a possible #1 defence man after his first year.

Here is where my opinion comes into play. Ron Wilson's system was that of a run and gun style and he was never shy to express this. There was minimal structure to the defensive side of the game, some of which was his fault and the rest being associated to his assistant coaches.

Randy Carlyle will assist in tightening up the defensive aspect of things. His system once implemented fully will go a long way in improving Schenn's game. Luke Schenn has always shown signs of strong play, the talent is there, it just has to come out now.

A better goal tender will help, as well. Will Burke fix things on that side? Only he knows what direction the Leafs are heading in net.

However, Schenn will have to put in the hard yards to improve his skating. This is a young man with a lot of years ahead of him (health permitting). Don't give up on him just yet!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Marlies Go Down 2-0 in Series

The Marlies powerplay went 1 for 4 in today's game against the Norfolk Admirals. A minor improvement over yesterday's catastrophic performance on the PP.

The result, however was the same. The Marlies lost 4-2 to the Admirals putting them down two in the series and looking down the barrel.

The effort was not to be questioned, the Marlies put in a better performance. Unfortunately, there were a few too many errors along the way that cost the team. They were unable to sustain any sort of defensive hold on the Admirals, who continuously brought the action to Scrivens' crease. A ploy they were determined to maintain throughout the game.

After the Admirals' went up on the Marlies quickly with a goal by Panik. Colborne finally got the power play going with a sniper like one timer that whizzed past Tokarski.

This was all the pressure the Marlies could maintain. The Admirals slowly but surely kept chipping away with their sustained pressure approach. The speed of the Admirals was constantly on display and it gave problems to the Marlies' defenders all game. Gardiner, a defenceman highly talked about had a thoroughly unsatisfactory game as he was left clueless on a few occasions.

The Admirals kept putting goals past Scrivens until it was 4-1. Picard, Segal and Smith were the goal scorers for the three goals. The defensive zone coverage was no where to be found, too many gaps that were constantly exploited by the Admirals.

Juraj Mikus was able to squeak a goal in and the score went to 4-2. However, by this time it was only a consolation prize as the Admirals were well and truly home.

The Marlies now have three games at home in a row as the AHL playoff setup goes 2-3-2 in terms of home games. The next game for the Marlies is on Thursday at the Ricoh Coliseum.

Alexander Galchenyuk | Player Profile

The Toronto Maple Leafs will have the 5th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Nothing to scoff at by any means, in terms of positioning to pick a high calibre player.

I will be providing a little glance into some of the prospects within the Leafs range. Shuffling occurs at the draft all the time, so this is simply an educated guess of who would be available. For all we know, Brian Burke could be wheeling and dealing his way into 1st overall or out of the first round! 

The first prospect I will have a look at is Alexander Galchenyuk.

Name: Alexander Galchenyuk
Position: Center
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 198 lbs
Age: 18

The Maple Leafs' Director of Amateur Scouting had this to say about the young man, yesterday. A positive comment that bodes well for his chances of being picked by the Leafs.

“He obviously looked he was in pretty good shape,” Morrison said. “You know, he looked like a kid that’s worked hard. He’s built himself up pretty good.”
Source: The Star
Galchenyuk has been a victim of injury. Suffering a horrid knee injury as the season just got under way set him back, almost knocking him out for the entire season. He was able to come back for the Sarnia Stings' playoff run. Putting up 2 goals and 2 assists in 6 games played. An average showing for his known ability, but understandable considering his injury.


* Immense skater with the ability to make skating at high speeds look effortless
* NHL quality wrist shot, tremendous release
* Hockey IQ is through the roof, able to read plays before they happen
* Sound defensive game


* Knee injury is a major concern (could chip away at his speed)
* At times caught trying to do to much on his own

NHL Comparison

Looking at his skill set, there is no better comparison than Marian Hossa. The player his agent, Igor Larionov compared him to. Both players play the same style of  game, just smart and effective hockey with high end offensive potential.

The Leafs would be incredibly lucky to find him available at the number 5 spot. This is the same player who would have been pushing Yakupov for the top spot, if he had remained healthy last season. There is no doubt that he will be an effective player as long as he stays injury free. A worry that many will have.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Toronto Marlies Lose Game 1

Shocking isn't a fair word to describe the power play unit's performance. They went 11/11 in not doing a good job with the man advantage.

Norfolk walked all over them.

The goal scorers for the Norfolk Admirals were Cory Conacher, Tyler Johnson and Brandon Segal (empty net). Carter Ashton was the lone scorer for the Marlies as someone finally got something past the solid Dustin Tokarski.

Without the services of Nazem Kadri, Mike Zigomanis and Matt Frattin, the lack of offensive power was visible. These three make a key part of how the Marlies work their offence and Eakins was always going to have a hard time working things out.

The Marlies will now be playing on tomorrow in game 2. Can they step things up?

Lindback? The Forgotten One

Anders Lindback.

The 24 year old, 6' 6'' backup goal tender for the Nashville Predators. A man who has become lost in the shuffle behind one of the finest goal tenders in the league, Pekka Rinne. Sure could use that guy on the Leafs, huh?!

There is enough reason to understand that Lindback won't be sticking around for long. The Nashville Predators won't hold him for long either.

This is where the Leafs come in. Fans will not want to choose this as an option and understandably so. No one wishes to bring in another young goal tender to Toronto. We have had enough dealings with the unseasoned goal tenders of the world, now the fans just want a good ol' veteran. Someone like a Luongo or Vokoun if things don't work out with Luongo.

This blog post stems from Pierre Lebrun's segment on TSN concerning Lindback and the Leafs. This is what he had to say...

Two goalies I believe are on the radar for the Toronto Maple Leafs in their quest to upgrade their goaltending are veteran UFA-to-be Tomas Vokoun and young Nashville backup Anders Lindback (RFA on July 1).
Pierre Lebrun is obviously a trusted source and one who will get people talking. This is why Anders Lindback is the main topic of this post.

The Maple Leafs choosing him as an option would be a dire move. A move out of desperation more than anything else. He is a young goal tender that requires a lot more seasoning, he has only played 22 games at the NHL level.

A lot of question marks surrounding him.

Roberto Luongo to Leafs?

These are the murmurs coming out from  "sources".
BREAKING: can confirm Roberto Luongo will be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Deal will be completed by draft, if not July 1. #Canucks
This was the tweet made coming from a source that has called trades before.

Unfortunately, with the way Leafs rumour mongering goes, you can't believe anyone except the top sources. It is best to keep calm until the trade is done and delivered because it usually comes back to bite everyone in the butt.

 Roberto Luongo will be a great fit for the Maple Leafs. There is a definite need for an elite goaltender, one that can get the job done in all situations. There are some unwarranted reservations when it comes with Luongo's play. I can assure you, his play will not be the issue, if he is truly being dangled by the Canucks.

 The only issue revolves around his contract. He is already 33 years of age and there are many years left on the contract. This is a negative no matter what a Canucks fan might say. It might not warrant a cheap low ball offer that Leafs fan are accustomed to suggesting, but it won't be CHEAP.

 His contract is laid out like this.

 Annual Cap hit = $5.333 Million 

  2012-13 to 2017-18 - $6.714 million 

  2018-19$3.382 million

  2019-20$1.618 million

  2020-2022—$1 million

 The contract has a few years tacked on at the end that might be considered (cap circumventing). This is probably a fair statement on the part of Canuck fans, but it is a hindrance. One that will devalue Luongo's trade value regardless of what anyone says. Those extra years have to be taken into consideration. When Mike Gillis was asked about whether he was mulling over a Luongo trade today, he replied with the following...
“I haven’t contacted anyone with respect to Roberto at all,” said Gillis on Thursday. “I’ve had people call me and ask about him and I’ve told them that we haven’t made any decisions at all about the future of our goaltending. And that’s absolutely the truth. Source: The Province
This is a legitimate statement, now whether he is bluffing or not, only GMs would know. It is only fair to trust his word over that of a source in Vancouver. Will Luongo come to Toronto? No clue, this is going to be a LONG wait. He might even end up staying. Elite goal tenders are not let go of this easily, even if there is a Schneider type back up.

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