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Maple Leaf Hangout Episode #2


  1. Wow! Fantastic new venture, Michael! Loved everyone's contributions, and Gus' insights were invaluable. And I love the logo, too! (Did I miss Episode #1, or was that an "in house" pilot?)

    A couple of thoughts on topics you discussed:
    - is Clarkson overcompensating for that big contract and trying to be "more" David Clarkson than he has to? On reviewing the video from Sunday, it's clear that Kessel was already out of danger by the time Clarkson jumped the boards. Carlyle has also said that he doesn't want Clarkson to be anything other than what he already is. Hopefully, his decision to hurt the team by joining the fracas was a one-time thing, motivated more by trying to impress Toronto fans and his teammates than by a permanent trait.
    - As "the other Michael" pointed out, we could have lost Bernier and Clarkson in a meaningless game. We'll need clearer thinking once the season begins!
    - Why is it that even clean checks now seem to warrant goon retribution?

    Looking forward to Episode #3!

    1. I think Episode 1 (which was initially an in-house effort, as you rightly guess) was in fact aired and is on the MLHS web site.

      Agreed, Clarkson just needs to be Clarkson, not some amped up version. And in answer to your last question...I don't know. (I think the code was/is an invention!)

  2. Interesting concept. Gus's comments brought credibility. Imagine improvement this concept could have with guest appearances from former players and coaches who have been there before.

    In my view, hockey is the best spectator sport in the world and cannot see how turning it into WWE through goon hockey is needed. Some observations:

    I obviously misjudged the sophisticated hockey fan mentality in Toronto. Many years ago, I attended my first hockey game in the South when Montreal played the Atlanta Flames. While neighboring spectators did not appreciate me rooting for the Habs, it was only when a fight started that I realized that 'RedNeck Hockey" liked fights more than goals. A fight started and all of a sudden there was this thundering of feet as fans rushed down the aisles to hammer on the glass. I suspect a number of U.S. markets have this same mentality about hockey and believed Canadian cities were different?

    It is sad to see that hockey has evolved to the point where it is considered necessary to have players with minimal talent on a roster. Oldtimers like Ferguson, Probert, O'Reilly had talent as well. Hockey has always had an intimidation factor, but it seems to have gone to excess and Toronto (Carlyle) is one of the primary culprits.

    As it turns out, Buffalo (Rolston) couldn't have planned it better on purpose. Toronto, who will be one of their primary competitors for a playoff spot lose two of their better players for a number of games at no cost to Buffalo.

    While I feel sorry for a talented, offensive player who is goaded/attacked by a behemoth hired for his fighting ability, who can easily whip him, there is no excuse for stick swinging and spearing.

    Not a good start for Clarkson who I assume was signed for his playing ability.

    1. Thanks Ralph (RLMcC). Yes, the show is in its very early days, so enhancements will happen over time. Personally, it's a very different format for me, so the adjustments are many. I'm accustomed to a more traditional radio (or nowadays, podcast audio) format.

      Yes, something has shifted from the days of the enforcers like some of those you mention, John Ferguson indeed being a prime example. He could beat on you if you challenged him, but could also score 20 goals a season when that meant something. Heck, Reggie Fleming was considered a bit of a thug in his day, but Reggie could play, too, and scored 15-20 goals a season several times in the old six-team NHL. Somewhere along the way things changed and there are guys who simply cannot play but still are there for one reason- to fight.

      Yes, we both remember guys in the '70s and beyond who were mostly fighters, but even most of the Flyer and Bruin tough guys in that decade could score goals, too.

      I seem to recall the Leafs had a couple of guys in the '80s who were purely there to fight, but it wasn't good then and no more impressive now.

      Some Leaf fans like that Clarkson "brought the team together". We'll see.

  3. I'm so happy to hear your voice again Michael! I've been listening attentively. I just wanted to comment on one topic you discussed on the second show, namely the impact of brawls on team spirit and winning. If I remember correctly you and your guest agreed that a big brawl does not have an impact on winning even though it may have some bearing on improving the team spirit.

    Of course, I cannot 'prove' a relationship between winning and brawling or brawling or team spirit - these are simply not quantifiable categories, much like the relationship of fights (staged or spontaneous) to winning or team spirit is impossible to quantify. But I cannot not think of the brawl in Montreal early in the last season that happened in the 3rd period of the Leafs' 6:0 rout of the Habs as having something to do with Leafs upsurge and eventual very honorable placement and showing in the post-season. The double beating of Habs that day definitely excited me and many other fans that I've herd from and symbolized the turning of the tide from a team that struggled both to win and win fights for so long to one that can beat anyone on both levels.

    1. Hi leafdreamer- I recall the Montreal game, for sure. And yes, there did seem to be an uptick in the team's performance afterwards. I just wonder how much often this really applies. Besides, we're in an era when we on the one hand are concerned with serious health issues like concussions, yet we continue to support fighting- not only the spontaneous kind of fights but this staged garbage as well. I't's human nature, I guess, but kind of sad, too. Thanks Leafdreamer. And thank you for listening to the new show- we (and I) have lots of kinks to work out!

  4. Your new show is just bloody great, to get that out of the way. I was planning to get interested in the incoming season soon enough, and there you go and push me over the edge.

    What Clarkson did was inexcusable in a sense, that a borderline veteran player should know the rules. What John Scott did was inexcusable in terms of "The Code", period. On the other hand, what John Scott did was not necessarily what he wanted to do, but what he was ordered to do. And John Scott is no Sidney Crosby in terms of hockey. He does what he is told to do, or he's out. Clarkson doesn't necessarily want to see his new team's biggest star get battered and possibly sidelined by someone who is effectively there just to take someone out. What he did was just plain dumb. But I do, to a degree, think that the rule that sidelines him is more dumb than he is.

    Maybe even as dumb as Carlyle is. A man who insists on having a pair of pure enforcers at hand on any squad he ices, with his playing experience, he should have had the presence of mind to not throw a skill line on the ice at that point. Maybe Rolston could have been a bit more patient and sporting about some things that happened prior to, but he wasn't. Carlyle, on the other hand, thought it would be a good idea to defuse the situation by throwing his best and brightest out at that point, trusting the ignition would just sizzle out by a made-up mismatch on the ice. Now, if I'm John Scott (I'm not), my choices are to defensively challenge Kessel on the ice, or go after him. He just made the realistic choice at that point. And maybe Clarkson did as well.

    But yes, in my mind, it's on Randy. He thought he'd placate the situation by throwing salad at the wolves. Even I'm not that dumb.

    But honestly, you have a good group in your panel. Keep it up and keep on writing as well. You hooked me up again, whatever that is worth.

    Opening night star will be Kessel, with a cool 2+1 in a cool 4-1 win over the Habs. Hopefully.

    1. Your point on the idea of a a lesser suspension for coming off the bench to protect a teammate in an untenable position is common sense, CGLN- but that's not something the NHL relies on at times, as we well know.

      Yes, there is a "rule" in place, but surely some circumstances are different than others. Clarkson was trying to protect a vulnerable teammate, though I realize other Leafs had come to Kessel's defense by that point.

      Lots of blame to go around, for sure- Carlyle included.

      Thank you by the way for your comments about the new show. We have work to do but hopefully we'll get there!