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Which Maple Leaf—and NHL’er apart from the Leafs—would you miss watching the most if we have a lockout?

If we’re honest, we’d all acknowledge that we will be a bit lost, sports wise, if there is no hockey this fall.  We’d be frustrated, disappointed, angry, whatever word you want to use, but we’d certainly miss it.

In yesterday’s post I asked you when you thought the games would start again (I'm assuming there will be a lockout, but it's not a sure thing, of course).  Your responses ranged from: the season will start on time to ...we won’t see hockey again until October of 2013.  So while we’re all hoping against hope that we won’t miss the full schedule again—as we did just a few short years ago—a lot of us recognize the likelihood that the league will shut down at least a number of games this fall and maybe longer than that.

So yes, we’d miss watching the Leafs in action, but beyond that, we’d also be without the opportunity to follow the ebb and flow of the NHL season, which a lot of us (at least in part) build some of our “leisure time” around.

There isn’t much to say these days, Leaf and hockey-wise, unless we want to micro-analyze every verbal salvo that will likely soon start flying back and forth between the league and the NHLPA.   I don’t really want to do that here, at least on a daily basis—and there are plenty of sites that will provide much better and more insightful blow-by-blow analysis of the soon-to-be-messy talks than I could. Personally, I’d rather talk about hockey, so I have a question today which allows us to do that:  if we do have a lockout, a) which Maple Leaf player will you most miss watching and b) what will you regret most about not being able to see the Leafs in action (e.g. seeing Carlyle in charge with a full training camp behind him; monitoring how Reimer is doing; seeing if Kadri turns it up big time at training camp, etc…)?

Myself, I’m probably most interested in seeing how many of the “youngsters” are actually going to make the big club out of training camp.  And I am anxious to see Reimer back and healthy - and playing like he can.

As a bonus question, what NHL’er (not with the Maple Leafs) will you be most disappointed not to be able to see play this fall, if there are no games?

As they say, let’s talk hockey—for as long as we can, at least!


  1. Michael,

    The Maple Leaf I most enjoy watching play the game is Nikolai Kulemin. He plays hard in all three zones. Is a horse to take the puck away from and does everything I expect of a modern hockey player. I do wish him good luck getting back to the 30 goal plateau.

    What I will miss the most is the games themselves. Every aspect, from watching them have fun during the pregame skate, to the game itself. I will even admit to being a fan of the Satellite Hotstove on CBC. I am a huge Elliotte Friedman fan, as well as a great admirer of his 30 Thoughts column. I even miss Al Strachan. Mainly because I feel like he was honest with his thoughts about the owners, the players and the managers. I never got the feeling that Strach was trying to spin the message. I will also miss having a guaranteed plan for Saturday night. A couple of cold beers and a Leafs game on a cold January or February night is never a bad thing to look forward to.

    I will also miss talking with friends and strangers alike about our favourite team, how they are doing, who is playing well, who isn't. Who they should be trying to trade for, who they should never trade. Telling the Habs fans that I know that their team is worse off than mine.

    I will miss the boys in Blue and White, a lot. More than is reasonable when you sit and think about it for a minute.

    Without a doubt I will miss seeing Sidney Crosby on the comeback trail. There is no one in the game that I enjoy watching play more than #87. If only the ping pong balls had fallen in the Leafs favour that one time. For the first time in my life, and maybe in the history of the Leafs, they would have had the best player in the game.

  2. For me it's two guys.

    I will miss seeing JVR play. I am very curious to see how his size and skill combination changes the Leafs' mix of smaller forwards. I am also interested to see if he can play center with Kessel and Lupul. Could he be the magical missing piece?

    The other guy is Frattin. Last year he played a good two way game at the NHL level but was snake-bitten on goals. He went down for the AHL playoffs and was shooting the lights out: 10 goals in 13 games!

    I think Frattin has his confidence back and is going to have a breakout season. I am thinking 15-20 goals while playing on the third line if there is a full season. Big production from Frattin and Kadri on the third line would do wonders for the Leafs. It's something they were missing last year.

  3. Funny you mention Kulemin, Jim. While he certainly struggled offensively last season, his career arc until then had been really good. He has an all-around game that I like. If he could be consistently a bit more physical and use that size, I'd like him even more!

    I'm with you on the little things, like the second period intermission on HNIC. I too found Strachan a bit less prone to saying the same old, same old and actually providing interesting if not always popular perspectives.

    There are a lot of things that we'll miss.

    You're not alone on Crosby, for sure.

    Thoughtful as always. Thanks Jim.

  4. Of all the young guys, Frattin feels most like a sure thing to me, DP. He is a bit older than some of the other young prospects, but I like a lot about his game. I think he can be a mini-power forward type who can score, as you mentioned.

    I wasn't even thinking about van Riemsdyk when I wrote this short post, but I'm glad you reminded me. He is indeed one of the guys we'll all be watching for....Thanks DP.

  5. Here's some happy hockey talk. If they Leafs don't play, we do have the Marlies. I followed them closely last year and really enjoyed watching the kids progress. Wite the expiry of the CHL under 20 rule the AHL could be terrific this year.

    ...and the Marlies just released their schedule. Start making those plan B's:

    Here is the complete Marlies Regular Season Schedule:

    Sat., Oct. 13 5:00PM vs. Rochester

    Sun., Oct. 14 3:00PM vs. Lake Erie

    Fri., Oct. 19 7:30PM @ Hamilton

    Sat., Oct. 20 3:00PM vs. Hamilton

    Sun., Oct. 21 3:00PM vs. Grand Rapids

    Fri., Oct. 26 7:30PM @ Hamilton

    Thu., Nov. 1 7:00PM @ Abbotsford

    Fri., Nov. 2 7:00PM @ Abbotsford

    Thu., Nov. 8 7:05PM @ Houston

    Fri., Nov. 9 7:30PM @ Texas

    Sat., Nov. 10 7:00PM @ San Antonio

    Tue., Nov. 13 10:35AM @ Oklahoma City

    Fri., Nov. 16 7:30PM @Hamilton

    Sat., Nov. 17 3:00PM vs. Hamilton

    Sun., Nov. 18 3:00PM vs. Abbotsford

    Thu., Nov. 22 6:05PM @ Binghamton

    Sat., Nov. 24 7:05PM @ Wilkes-Barre

    Sun., Nov. 25 5:00PM @ Hershey

    Fri., Nov. 30 7:05PM @ Rochester

    Sat., Dec. 1 3:00PM vs. Rochester

    Sun., Dec. 2 3:00PM vs. Lake Erie

    Sat., Dec. 8 5:00PM vs. Rochester

    Sun., Dec. 9 3:00PM vs. Abbotsford

    Sat., Dec. 15 7:05PM @ Rochester

    Sun., Dec. 16 3:00PM vs. Grand Rapids

    Wed., Dec. 19 7:00PM @ Lake Erie

    Fri., Dec. 21 7:00PM vs. San Antonio

    Sat., Dec. 22 3:00PM vs. St. John’s

    Wed., Dec. 26 1:00PM vs. Hamilton (ACC)

    Fri., Dec. 28 7:00PM @ Grand Rapids

    Sun., Dec. 30 7:00PM @ Grand Rapids (Comerica)

    Wed., Jan. 2 7:00PM vs. Hamilton

    Sat., Jan. 5 3:00PM vs. Rockford

    Tue., Jan. 8 7:30PM @ Hamilton

    Fri., Jan. 11 7:30PM @ St. John’s

    Sat., Jan. 12 7:30PM @ St. John’s

    Fri., Jan. 18 7:05PM @ Binghamton

    Sat. Jan. 19 7:00PM @ Hamilton

    Thu., Jan. 24 7:00PM @ Lake Erie

    Sat., Jan. 26 5:00PM vs. Wilkes-Barre

    Fri., Feb. 1 7:05PM @ Rochester

    Sat., Feb. 2 3:00PM vs. Hamilton

    Wed., Feb. 6 11:00AM vs. Hamilton

    Sat., Feb. 9 3:00PM vs. Chicago

    Sun., Feb. 10 3:00PM vs. Texas

    Tue., Feb. 12 7:30PM @ Hamilton

    Sat., Feb. 16 3:00PM vs. Hershey

    Mon., Feb. 18 1:00PM vs. Houston

    Wed., Feb. 20 7:00PM @ Syracuse

    Sat., Feb. 23 3:00PM vs. Milwaukee

    Sun., Feb. 24 3:00PM vs. St. John’s

    Wed., Feb 27 7:00PM vs. Rochester

    Sat., Mar. 2 3:00PM vs. Binghamton

    Sun., Mar. 3 3:00PM vs. Binghamton

    Wed., Mar. 6 11:00AM vs. Syracuse

    Sat., Mar. 9 3:00PM vs. Abbotsford

    Sun., Mar. 10 3:00PM vs. Peoria

    Wed., Mar. 13 7:00PM vs. Lake Erie

    Sat., Mar. 16 5:00PM vs. Rochester

    Sun., Mar. 17 4:00PM @ Lake Erie

    Tue., Mar. 19 7:00PM @ Lake Erie

    Fri., Mar. 22 7:30PM @ Chicago

    Sat., Mar. 23 7:00PM @ Milwaukee

    Sun., Mar. 24 5:05PM @ Peoria

    Wed., Mar. 27 7:05PM @ Rockford

    Fri., Mar. 29 7:05PM @ Rochester

    Sat., Mar. 30 3:00PM vs. Abbotsford

    Wed., Apr. 3 11:00AM vs. Lake Erie

    Fri., Apr. 5 7:30PM @ St. John’s

    Sat., Apr. 6 7:30PM @ St. John’s

    Fri., Apr. 12 7:00PM @ Abbotsford

    Sun., Apr. 14 4:00PM @ Abbotsford

    Tue., Apr. 16 7:00PM vs. Oklahoma City

    Fri., Apr. 19 7:05PM @ Rochester

    Sat., Apr. 20 3:00PM vs. St. John’s

    Sun., Apr. 21 3:00PM vs. St. John’s

  6. I'd miss Burke and his Burkism and his amazing moves and trades that have strengthened the leafs into a sure thing/playoff contender and maybe more this year.

  7. First, I will miss hockey, period. I can't pick which Leaf I will miss watching the most. It is a team game. However, seeing how many goal Kessel will get to as it goes up every year. I'd too like to see which of the "kids" make the team, I think our #1C is on the Marlies right now. I'm unable to work although I'm still fairly young (45) and I am bored outta my mind most days, so I've come up with a coping strategy. First and most obviously, I'll watch as many Marlie games as possible (maybe buy the online package), I will also watch more Junior hockey (Oshawa) and I have found a site that I think will allow me to watch KHL games, online. Now they will be one at 1 in afternoon, but its better than nothing. I've also picked out my new fav team, Dynamo Moscow, mostly because their color scheme is very close to the Leafs. The blue is a little darker, more like, Tampa's. One way or another I'm watching Leo Komorov play this year dammit(not really). I think they are one of the better teams and have a lot of money to throw around at locked out NHL'ers. A full season lockout will be bad for a few players, like Bozak, Gardnier who looked lost at times on the AHL ice,and of course Nazam. Naz and Colbourne have nothing left to prove at the AHL level and they need to make the next step.

    In the words of Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that. (Go Leafs Go)

  8. Thanks kennyfloyd...I love your strategy. The Marlies should be fun to watch this coming season, whether there is a lockout or not. (I'd like some clarification on which young guys would still be eligible to suit up with the Marlies in the event of a lockout?)

    The KHL is a good league- I do wonder if locked-out players here will simply be able to sign over there, or if there will be some restrictions.

    Colborne and Kadri are, for sure, two guys we'll all be keeping an eye on.

    Good stuff, kennyfloyd. Thanks.

  9. I don't think any of our 18yr olds should play in the A this year. Maybe some 19, but they may as well play Junior, they can always join the Marlies (or Leafs) after their season and still get in 15 games and a playoff run. Marlies should be good again this year. All of the teams in the A will be a little better this year during a lockout, but the Marlies are a team that dominated the West last year in the play offs, so they could be fun to watch. I hope more games are added to the teevee schedule.

  10. I'm with you- I'm almost always a fan of NHL teams keeping their junior-age players with their junior teams as long as possible, then giving them significant time in the AHL so that, once they get to the big-leagues, they are fully ready and stay. Thanks kennyfloyd...

  11. kulemin for the leafs, eberle for the nhl