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Kaberle's return; Fans reflect the highs and lows of the Leaf fortunes

Tomas Kaberle returns with the Bruins Saturday night to the ACC.  The Leafs have not, seemingly, missed Tomas so far.  And they may not as they build a pretty solid young defense with Schenn, Aulie, Gunnarsson and of course, Phaneuf.

That said, Kaberle has had a reasonably positive influence on the Bruins, it would seem.  He has only 3 assists in a dozen games, but is a plus 5.  The Bruins are 7 wins, 2 losses and 3 OT losses since his arrival.  He's playing between 20 and 25 minutes a night.

Whether the deal turns out to be a productive one for the Bruins has everything to do with whether Kaberle helps them go places in the playoffs, and/or re-signs in the off-season.

 I'm among those who miss Tomas.  Here's my post upon his departure on why I'll miss him.

I’ve enjoyed the debate online and on the air that I’ve been able to catch over the past 24 hours about the leafs’ decision to start Giguere on Thursday night.

My views have been documented (see earlier posts below).  If they are trying to do what’s best for Reimer’s long-term future, I’m good with their decision.  (As many have pointed out, the team didn’t exactly come to Giggy’s rescue, as teams often do when they know they have a goalie in the net who may need a bit of extra help.)

A lot of people are upset that Reimer, after his tremendous game on Wednesday night, didn’t get the start in Sunrise, given that it was one of those “must-win” games.  Others have defended the move.

I don’t believe it was Wilson’s decision alone.  I sense the organization believes there is more than this year’s playoff run on the line.  Reimer may be nicked up and he is a guy they want to see happy and healthy heading into camp in September.

In any event, the team, after that four win-in-a-row start to the season, put themselves behind the eight ball yet again (if I played pool, I’d know what that actually means, but it sounds right…).  So we had the Reimer “out of nowhere” storyline coinciding with that nice run.  At the end, it spears to be too little, too late, but at least the bruins won’t be picking (our choice) second overall again this June.

A lot of Leafs have given everything they have.  I’ll post some thoughts soon on team MVP (I want to wait until the season plays out.  I don’t like what they do in the NFL, select the “Pro Bowl” team when there are still two games left in a 16-game regular season.  Makes little sense to me.) and other noteworthy achievements of the season.

I’ve already posted that Brent or Grabovski (click here to read the story) might be a neat choice for the rarely-awarded J.P. Bickell Trophy granted by the Maple Leaf organization to a deserving player or employee.
Every week there are newcomers to Vintage Leaf Memories, and with that in mind, here links to some stories that give a bit of the flavor of the site, which has been up and running now for 18 months (click on the links to seee the stories):
  • on one of my favorite all-time Leafs, Brian Spencer
  • an audio interview I did in the fall of '09 with ex-Leaf tough guy Jim Dorey
  • my story on the early days of 1967 expansion called "The Original Twelve"
  • my post on the "Top Ten" Maple Leafs from 1959 to the present
  • the memorable day in the mid-1970s when I dropped in (off the street!) to King Clancy's office to try and get a job with the Leafs
  • a piece from January/'10 on the Kessel conundrum
  • what I believe is a unique perspective on the relationship between Maple Leaf legend Dave Keon, the organizatipn and the media
  • when I predicted Phaneuf would be the next Leaf captain
  • one of the all-time playoff series...Boston/Montreal in 1971
  • 10 personal favorite Leaf playoff memories since 1955
  • how Frank Mahovlich achieved even greater heights after he left Toronto
  • Can Ron Wilson ever relax?
  • When I started to change my mind about Grabovski
As always, send your comments along.    


  1. All armchair coaches have 20/20 hindsight! I think it was the right move to play Giguere. We've been alternating goalies on back-to-back nights through out the year, so no surprise for me.
    What has surprised me is the frequency with which the Leafs haven't shown up with their A game when it really matters. Youth? Coaching? Nerves? All of the above? I'm not as down on Wilson as much as many, but I do think the coachng staff has to take some responsibility here. I mean, Jacques Lemaire seems to have motivated his team just fine...

  2. Good post Gerund O...I'm with you on the Giggy decision. As long as the organization was thinking about what's best for Reimer, then I'm fine with whatever they did. As important as getting to the playoffs would potentially be as a great experience for this young team, it's the long-term that really matters most.

    As for their inability to find their "A" game, as you put it, when they need to: I guess we can say they have sometimes, and at other times they obviously haven't. Maybe it's too much to ask of a young team to be great two nights in a row, or two games in a row, when every game seems so critical.

    That said, it would have been nice to see them help Giguere a bit more against the Panthers. They surely understood he wouldn't be at his best, given nagging injuries and his lack of game time. He needed them and they didn't really deliver for him.

    The coaching staff? So hard to figure it out. An experienced, competent staff, for sure. But this could be three seasons in a row without making the playoffs for this staff. In most markets that means changes behind the bench. But I don't think we'll see any changes here, at least not with the Head Coach.

  3. Yes, I think Wilson will stay, and Burke has certainly indicated that'll be the case. We're at the stage that when we're good, we're really good, and when we're bad, we're horrid. Kinda like Chicago a few years ago...
    That said, I think there's been lots of improvement this year. When was the last time we had so many big, hitting defencemen? It seems as if the departure of Kaberle and Beauchemin allowed Dion to really start to lead this team. Schenn looks great, and I expect Aulie and Gunnarsson will equally reward our patience next year. I'm one of the few who thinks Komisarek has picked up his game since January. In truth, he doesn't make that many more mistakes than any other D-man.
    Two or three additions up front over the summer, a little more consistency, a better power play... next year is feeling promising to me!