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Marlie, Leaf and NHL quick-hits and 15 questions

A few across-the-board thoughts on current happenings with the Marlies, Leafs and around the NHL…

(I won’t be able to post or respond to your comments until later than usual on Wednesday.  I’ll respond as soon as possible!)
  1. I wonder if  Kadri’s injury concerns mean the Leafs will not be able to include him in a summertime trade?
  2. Does Scrivens' fine work this spring establish him as a) a back-up in Toronto, b) a contender to vye for the top job with the Leafs, c) make him a likely candidate to be traded— or d) spend another season playing at the Ricoh?
  3. Other than the “already-Leafs” (Frattin, Gardiner) which Marlies do you believe are certain to crack the opening-night Leaf roster next October, based on what you’ve seen the last few weeks?
  4. Frattin and Gardiner aside, which Marlies have impressed you the most this spring—and why?
  5. Can the Marlies come back against the Admirals?
  6. After writing glowingly about the Devils (and Kovalchuk) here a week or so ago, they have struggled mightily in the finals.  Have the Devils hit their wall, or are the Kings on a roll that just can’t be stopped?
  7. As for Kovalchuk, he has been largely invisible.  Is he just frustrated—or playing hurt?
  8. Do you think Sutter will win the Cup in LA and then go back home and retire?
  9. Who do you think deserves the Conn Smythe?
  10. Do you agree with Gretzky that they should re-name the Conn Smythe after Jean Beliveau?
  11. Were you surprised to see the Pens step up and grab Vokoun for nothing—and then sign him to a low-cost two year-deal to back up Fleury?
  12. Will Tim Thomas really stay away from hockey in 2012-'13, or is he trying to force a trade now?
  13. Do you wish the Leafs had signed Eakins instead of Carlyle?
  14. Are you surprised the Habs choose Therrien as their coach?  Good move—or not?
  15. We’ve discussed the “Luongo option” here.  Where do you stand now?

Bonus question:  Do you think Burke will move up from the number five-draft slot?

Quick aside on the Smythe Trophy mention above:  as much as I have tremendous regard for Beliveau (as you know, I've written about him here many times and would indeed like to see the NHL honour him in some fashion with an award named after him) I'm not a big fan of "re-naming" existing trophies. There is great tradition in most cases, and I particularly dislike the notion of losing the Smythe name. (Check out the great old photo by Harold Barkley at right of Beliveau in early '60s action against the Bruins and goaltender Bob Perreault...)

While the Smythe trophy only originated in 1965 (can you name the first ever winner?), the name Smythe means hockey for me.  As a lifelong hockey and Leaf observer, it is vital that we pay homage to our traditions.  Smythe was behind the building of Maple Leaf Gardens and the Maple Leaf franchise as we know it.  He presided over the only Stanley Cups this franchise has ever won, albeit in a less prominent role in the 1960s.

Beyond that, he is one of the true pioneers and builders of this great sport.  His name has to stay on a trophy.

Again, I’d rather incorporate a new award than change the name of an existing one. (I realize that the Lester Pearson trophy is now named after the all-time Red Wing winger Ted Lindsay, but I accept that as a bit different.  It’s an award sponsored by the players.  Pearson was a respected Canadian politician and diplomat who loved hockey, but was not one of the great builders of the sport…) But if an award were to see a name change, I could accept changing the Lady Byng Trophy, if necessary.

And for that, Beliveau—as one of the finest gentlemen in the history of our great sport, on and off the ice—would indeed be the perfect choice.

Again, send your comments along, and I will aim to respond later in the day on Wednesday.

Thank you.


  1. don't change the name of the trophy... there's enough 'revisionist' mentality in society today and it's a slippery slope... 'pepsi presents the jean belliveau-netflix trophy.'

    with kadri and frattin injured, i don't see a comeback for the marlies... shame. still, at least they're in the finals of their league... more than can be said for the leafs since 1967 (a depressing note i read on another blog this morning). on the same note, i think tonight the kings'll seal the deal.

    i think tim thomas is done for the season, perhaps forever. he's really developed a passion for his political beliefs (which have been largely criticized in online commentary, but i for one respect him for taking a stance, especially against the grain).

    hiring carlyle was a rush-decision, and i think the wrong coach for the type of team toronto has iced the past couple of years. patience is a virtue burke should start to consider more seriously.

    i bet luongo signs with the leafs... and i bet our collective excitement for him will fizzle/turn by next spring.

    phew... i'm grouchy this morning. cheers michael!

  2. Lots of stuff to chew on even as the off-season is young.

    1. No I don't think it will have much effect. Kadri just is 'smallish', I think anyone interested in him would have taken into account his stature and potential for injury (and yeah I think hockey people still have that bias, they decided you are a Gilmour/Fleury or not early).

    2. I think Scrivens should remain a Marlie next season. I don't see a benefit to him splitting the starting duties with Reimer when he could play 60 games as a starter.

    3. If they can clear a spot on the blueline, Holzer makes it, and maybe Jerry D'Amigo can steal a spot. Again, all depends on what BB can move over the summer.

    5. Ennnhhhh... I think they can make a series of it anyway.

    6. Kings are just that good, and yeah, Devils hit a wall to some extent.

    9. Gotta be Quick. Just consistently good night in night out.

    10. Truly just not a fan of renaming things. It's really just a trophy and all, but it's not like a moved franchise or something that is awarded from time to time. Why not rename the Stanley Cup the Jean Beliveau Award, he's among those who've won it most...

    11. Somewhat, but I think the Pens lack confidence in MAF after last year. And while $2M is sort of 'low-cost', it means the Pens have $7M tied up in goalies - kind of a lot on a team that also must pay Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Letang et al.

    12. If he leaves for a year I think he's done.

    15. I think BobbyLu is not as bad an option as folks think. He's still a very good goalie, though he's got his baggage. Yes he has tons of term left on his contract, but 10 years just means if they play him here for 3, then he only has 7 left, etc. He doesn't have to win the Cup here, but he's good enough to get them into the playoffs, and isn't that really the next step? There are other good options out there, yes, but I am not against exploring acquiring Luongo.

    Bonus... I don't see it. I could see him moving down though. I am not sure I'd like that idea, but I could see it.
    Bonus question: Do you think Burke will move up from the number five-draft slot?

  3. Thanks Alex C...sorry to be so late in responding!

    You're not grouchy, just honest and realistic...

  4. Good stuff as always, Mark. The Luongo "debate" will continue for the next couple of weeks, I'm sure....(Can you imagine if they tried to re-name, as you mentioned, the Stanley Cup!)

  5. 2. He may push Reimer. He is putting the Leafs in a difficult position.
    6. I have to admit that I loathe the Devils, they were one shot away from being gone in the first round. Everything about that organization reminds me of a cult. And, while it is technically within the rules, it still annoys me to see yet another bogus contract being signed (Kovalchuk). In fact, just like the Ottawa Anaheim series I have been unable to watch this one, because when I do it seems to benefit the team that I wish to see gone. Case in point, last night I watched for the first time and look what happened.
    7. See 6.
    8. Sutter will stay
    9. Quick deserves the Conn Smythe.
    10. I don't like this idea at all. Next we will be renaming the Stanley Cup (maybe the Bridgestone Cup?). I don't think that you rename a trophy to prevent people from booing Bettman. He deserves it, let the people have their fun.
    11. Absolutely. The Leafs better have some sort of plan for the goaltending this year, we have to at least attain league average. This would have been a pretty inexpensive fit. See question 2 above for possible reason for passing on him.
    13. You bet I do. A young team needs a teacher and motivator, not a hard ass.
    14. Surprised? Not really, he speaks French. Good move for Toronto I think.
    15. Don't want anything to do with Luongo or his contract, this is not the market for him.

  6. Thanks for that cbh747- always enjoy hearing from you! (I wonder if the Devils are now "alive"?)

  7. 1. I'm not too eager to trade Kadri quite yet. Definitely not when injury troubles are likely to affect the return in a negative way. Unless someone comes offering a good deal and absolutely insists on Kadri being part of a deal, I'd say let's get him healthy and keep developing him the best we can. Then, if he's not making progress, we'll need ro reassess the situation.

    2. Absolutely keep Scrivens, he's our prospect and looking good right now. I'd not be uncomfortable starting with Reimer-Scrivens. We have a promising-looking tandem in those two, and there's just no goalie in the world who can bail his team night in, night out, if the team defensively doesn't give him a break every now and then. And the Leafs haven't been doing that in, goodness me I can't remember for how long.

    5. Yes, if they win the next two. They'll have to play really, really well, and it's a big mountain to climb, but it's still doable.

    6. Devils are exactly deserve to be, mainly because their powerplay has been abominable. But having said that, how Sutter has organized his team when they're man (or even two) down has been pretty amazing to watch. They are closing down the passing lanes effectively without losing position. Their shorthanded units are just wonderfully organized, and Quick gives the the confidence to perform the way they do. Where Brodeur has been great, Quick has been amazing.

    Devils might not be done quite yet, but it's hard to see them come back to win it all even if they win the next game at home.

    7. He's hurt, no doubt in my mind about that. But obviously you'll play at this point as long as you can just lace up your skates. Not sure how I personally feel about players doing that nowadays, as there are some pretty scary painkillers and injections available. Also, you go out there for the sake of being part of it, but is your on-ice presence actually benefiting the team?

    8. I kind of don't see him being done. He might get a great deal, as Stanley Cup -winning managers tend to get, and I'm sure he'd have something to offer still, in whatever capacity (well, maybe not as GM), but will he have the motivation?

    9. As things stand, Quick gets it. Deservedly. If Devils somehow turn it around, I can't see it being for any other reason than Brodeur, who has been very good thus far, closing the doors completely.

  8. 10. I don't want to rename anything, ever. Actually, I want the old conference and division names back. IF Conn Smythe should be renamed, Jean Beliveau is an admirable choice. BUT I don't believe having Beliveau on the ice presenting the trophy would stop anyone from booing Bettman. I mean, they could test run it by having Beliveau presenting the Conn Smythe, and see if it works. My prediction: people will applaud Beliveau, whether they know who he is or not. But once Bettman touches the Cup, he'll get booed. And until he brings the original division- and conference names back, and ditches the shootout, this is as it should be.

    11. Not after Fleury's playoff showing. To be honest, the whole of their team looked like looked like lost toddlers on a mall against the Flyers, but Fleury was probably the worst of them. You don't want to see that from your starting netminder.

    12. He might be trying to force a trade, but let's face it, that'd not not be the smartest way to go about it. He won't force a trade if he actually sits the season out, more like he makes a trade impossible, in which case he's just pissing on his current franchise and his teammates. Wouldn't be the first time, though. If he communicates he's willing to play if he gets traded, well, then he's trying to force a trade, obviously, but his contract and past antics both guarantee he might not bring all that much in return.

    13. Yes, but you know that already, and do I have the tendency to repeat myself, so I'll not go into details anymore.

    15. No. We have a promising duo, and the team needs to help the netminder every now and then, before we can even tell who's good and who's not. And Luongo's contract is just something downright unholy.

  9. Great stuff, CGLN.

    I won't respond to all your comments, but simply say that I hear you on question 13...and thank you for raising the issue of the shootout. (As I've posted here often, I'm more than ready to return to the days when a tie was a tie- both teams take a point and go home...)