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Topics - Highlander

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1
Former Leafs: Ex-Files / RIP Rene Robert
« on: June 23, 2021, 12:15:07 PM »
Rene Robert has passed at age 72 from a heart attack in Florida.  A member of the famed French Connection line in Buffalo, Rene also played 5 games for the Leafs in his rookie year.
RIP Rene.

2
Former Leafs: Ex-Files / RIP Tom Kurvers
« on: June 21, 2021, 02:09:41 PM »
Tom Kurvers has passed at age 58 from Cancer..sad, so young.

3
Can you tell I have lots of time to kill.  No I don't drink before 4PM so here goes:

Auston Matthews
Total Beast, has become a defensive force in addition to his Offensive monster abilities.  Wrist injury is unfortunate but according to some esteemed members of this site, is something that most likely will not get worse or get better in time, so its play with and through it.   He will.

Mitch Marner
Great player, a magician.  Sometimes seems to try too hard and take it all on his back.  Only going to get better and better.

Wild Bill Nylander
Slow start to the season. I have always believed Willy has another level which he has entered in the last two weeks.  He has the ability to dominate with his puck and skating skills. I still feel he is only scratching the surface of where he will end up. 

John Tavares
Not a fan of the signing at the time, but understand the Leafs wanted to make a statement to the league and its fanbase.  Still not a huge fan, however in the last two weeks he has been much better, perhaps its Nylander who is providing the spark.  Hope he can keep up his play.
The contract may become more burdensome in a couple of years. Oh and don't you love his effervescent personality?

Zach Hyman
Motorman, got him for a Keg of Greg McKegg, what a steal!  Perhaps one of the best fore-checkers in Leaf history. And the hands have come along in the last two years. 
Not too many nights off, if any.  Needs a raise, hope we can keep him.

Jumbo Joe Thornton
At 41 Joe is still able to do the passing magic. I was a bit wary of the signing, but he has been great…for the most part.  I think he needs to be time managed more, although I am sure he wants to play every minute he can.  Think a rest every three games would benefit him greatly.

Alex Kerfoot
I like Kerfoot, you can tell how intelligent a player he is which makes him a touch more frustrating to rate. Great speed, good motor, needs to finish better around the net, which can be said for most of the remaining forwards.  Won’t make a bonehead play in the playoffs running someone into the boards, like someone we used to know.

Mikheyev the Souperman
Came on the scene last year like a bolt of lightning, speed to burn, had the hands and then he was injured.  The speed and motor are incredible and hopefully the scoring touch will return. Not sure if it’s still the injury but his PK ability is unbelievable.

Pierre Engvall
Another 7th round steal.  Great speed and reach, deceptive moves and goes to the net. Needs to upgrade his defense.  He is an enigma as he seems to have another level in there that he hopefully will reach. If he does, then he could be a force in his own right.   Should be used on the PK a bit more.

Jason Spezza
What do they say about Wine?   The hatty a few weeks ago was extraordinary. Smart addition to a young team.  Face-off expert, leader by word and example. Glad to have him.  He will know when it’s time to hang up the skates.

Wayne Simmons
Great signing, Simmons came into camp in shape and looked lean and mean.  Good net front presence, then injured.  As he is a team motivator, we need him back asap, which I heard is close.

Travis Boyd/Nik Petan
Good energy and decent motors, not sure about them long term.  Excellent AHL players. Good depth pieces for when injuries happen.

Defense

JT Brodie
Biggest surprise of this season for me. I had read a lot about him making 3 or 4 bonehead plays every game in Calgary. I admit, I don’t or didn’t pay much attention to the Flames in the last 30 years.  Brodie has been a revelation, an anchor for our D.  Fantastic with the stick, poised and still has gas in his tank.  Great pick up and wish we had gotten him last year until Kadri foiled that deal.   Last year with Barrie and Ceci was bad, bad, bad.

Morgan Rielly
I love Morgan so don’t get me wrong, he is a teeter-totter player.  Horrible defense balanced with great offensive instincts (most of the time).  Eats ice-time and is entertaining to watch when he is rushing the puck and in the O zone.  In the D zone it feels like Titanic time, all the time.  Going to be too expensive to keep with the free market.  We may want to move him (at some point) to Vancouver for prospects or picks and let him go home.

Jake Muzzin
I call him Muzzface, big fan at the time of the trade, but is the rust already starting to hit his wheels?  Steady player, unfortunate the bobblehead guard is affecting his play. Not sure how much longer he needs to wear it, but he needs his full vision restored and fast.  Makes it harder for him to carry Holl without it.

Justin Holl
If this was a popularity contest Holl may have been the winner. A feel-good story that may be going off the tracks.  Have to say before the season I would have traded Holl or hoped Liljegren or Lehtonen would take his place.  Then the season started and Holl started playing like a man possessed.  Using his speed and frame, boxing out on the D, closing gaps, making smart plays. Damn he was good, how could I have been so wrong? Then something happened, was he injured or was it Muzzin’s injury?  Outside of a good series against the Oilers, his last month has been a total regression by my eye. I could be wrong, but I hope this rest will work wonders for Holl. If not, he could be packaged in a trade or exposed to Seattle in the draft.  We got to make some space for some of our prospects maybe sooner than later.

Zack Bogosian
Another astute pickup by Dubas.  Plays a tough, solid game.  For the money another steal.  However, like Jumbo, I think some play management would do him the world of good.

Travis Dermott
Interesting player, the Leafs clearly believe in him and he has the speed to play the game. Some of his choices seem ill advised from time to time, but overall, he is solid.  Just keep him playing and trust he will become a force.  His gap control is miles ahead of Morgan already. 

Goaltending

Freddie Anderson,
I think we all feel the same about Freddie, again we want him to succeed, we want him to be the guy who takes us to the promised land.  But the faith is weak, and he is not Moses.  It’s a little frustrating as when Freddie is at his best, he is an excellent goalie.  It’s just the playoff thing where it falls apart.  Just has to let in that one softy.

Jake Campbell
Another very good move by Dubas. When Hutch was falling apart last year, Campbell arrived to shore up the backend.  The promising thing about Jake is he has a great pedigree, seems to be very steady. Has a fantastic personality and has won over his teammates.  I think they would go to war with him.   Right now, my major question is about injuries and will he continue to be prone to spending time in the sick bay? 

Hutch
Not much to say.  Thanks, Hutch, for several good backup games.  But you are not the answer and you weren’t meant to be.  Supposed to be a Marlies mentor for sure.

Coaching and GM

Keefe
Winner wherever he goes, turns teams around and makes them outstanding.  Did it with the Lumber Kings, Soo Greyhounds and a Calder Cup winner with the Marlies.  Seems to be a pattern of success, that is a pattern for a reason, he simply is a very good coach.  Now Sheldon, take us to the Parade. 

Dubas
Seems to make all the right moves although many argue against the hefty contracts awarded Marner, Tavares and Matthews. It could be argued he overpaid for Marner, but Tavares was the price you had to pay to get him. Ditto for Matthews who may be one of the best Leafs of all time when his tenure is over.  Nylander contract will look very good by the end of it, its starting to really look that way.
I don’t have a problem with the big 4 as Dubas is gleaning great value from older vets, reclamation projects and timely trades, Muzzin and Campbell.
My feeling about him is that he has brought the future into the present with the additions of all supporting personnel and training and development programs.  His 3-tier approach to development with the Growlers as place to give the raw prospects lots of time to play.  Of course, Covid has derailed that for the time being.
Calder Cup GM.
Where I see Dubas being most effective is the approach to prospects and drafting.  No longer a race to bring in young D and fry them in the NHL, he lets them have time to develop and become full two-way players.  The move away from the Hunter mentality that drafted huge lumbering players who had little to no chance of reaching the NHL.
The last two drafts have been a move away from the dinosaur mentality  to straight hockey smarts, speed and talent.  We have moved from practically last in the leagues to the top echelon of prospects in his tenure.



4
Marlies & Prospect Talk / Where are we playing this year? Prospect thread
« on: November 13, 2020, 11:41:14 AM »
I like Kyle, trying to turn a positive spin on these kind of situations.  Where is Nick going to play? 

https://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/toronto-maple-leafs-prospects/2020/11/12/21563220/nick-abruzzeses-hockey-season-is-cancelled-maple-leafs-prospects

5
Non-Hockey Chatter / Alex Trebek has just passed away at 80
« on: November 08, 2020, 12:56:11 PM »
Alex Trebek just passed away after a fairly short battle with Pancreatic cancer. I remember watching Alex on "Reach for the Top" when I was a kid.  The show was like Jeopardy, two high schools would compete by being the first to answer questions from Mr. Trebek.  He was I believe an Ottawa boy where I took some education. It feels like a 54 year association is gone.  He will be missed.

6
Non-Hockey Chatter / Sean Connery has died at age 90
« on: October 31, 2020, 11:31:29 AM »
The original James Bond has passed.  Sean Connery died in his sleep at his home in the Bahamas.  One of the true greats has died. Scotland especially mourns.

7
Former Leafs: Ex-Files / Spot the Goat
« on: October 27, 2020, 06:43:44 PM »
Man I already miss the Goat, I can't say why, but I do.  I want him to stay in the league if not with us, then I hope he ends up somewhere else.  Why not Montreal, don't they need someone who is 6'5" all the time?
He was born in Laval, he grew up cheering his home team.  Come on Habs, hire a Goat, do the decent thing.

Where does the Goat end up?  Spot the Goat, the contest starts today.  I say somewhere in Switzerland, perhaps Davos.  Goats are very popular there. 

8
Former Leafs: Ex-Files / Josh Leivo is a Flame
« on: October 25, 2020, 02:45:39 PM »
Welcome to Calgary Josh!  Hope he does well in his new home. Always liked the kid.

9
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Dubas drafts without Hunter
« on: October 07, 2020, 03:37:13 PM »
2018
29th overall: Rasmus Sandin (defender, OHL)
52nd overall: Sean Durzi (defender, OHL)
76th overall: Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (forward, OHL)
83rd overall: Riley Stotts (forward, WHL)
118th overall: Mac Hollowell (defender, OHL)
149th overall: Filip Kral (defender, Czechia)
156th overall: Pontus Holmberg (forward, SHL)
209th overall: Zachary Bouthillier (goaltender, QMJHL)
211th overall: Semyon Kizimov (forward, Russia U18)

Out of this draft we still have most of the players in contention or at least still in the system.  Sandin is the obvious gem, Durzi was part of a trade piece with LA. SDA, Hollowell and Kral are all being developed and Kral could be a piece of the future. I believe only Stotts, Bouthillier and Zizimov are gone.

2019


Draft   OA   Round   Player   Pos   Drafted From
2019 Entry Draft
2019   53   2   Nick Robertson   LW   Peterborough (OHL)
2019   84   3   Mikko Kokkonen   LD   Jukurit (SM-Liiga)
2019   115   4   Mikhail Abramov   C   Victoriaville (QMJHL)
2019   124   4   Nick Abruzzese   C   Chicago (USHL)
2019   146   5   Michael Koster   RD   Chaska (Minn. HS)
2019   204   7   Kalle Loponen   RD   Karpat (SM-Liiga)

Robertson is the gem,  Kokkonen, Abramov and perhaps Abruzze may see some time in the show.. Who knows about Koster or Loponen at this point.  But all are still involved in the process.  Small draft for sure.

Much better than Hunters record of drafting huge hulking D men who didn't last a minute in the system. At the time everyone was touting Hunter's horn so loud, not saying he would have been a disaster of a GM but probably more of the dinosaur class.  Dubas has seemed to choose well so far, certainly coming at it from a different angle.

10
Former Leafs: Ex-Files / Bob Nevin dies at 82
« on: September 21, 2020, 11:28:16 AM »
Bob Nevin has passed at 82, won two Cups with the Leafs and then went on to be the captain of the Rangers.  Starting to see a lot of the old Cup winning guys passing away.

11
Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Kapanen traded
« on: August 25, 2020, 01:07:41 PM »
Just heard Kapi was traded to Pittsburgh, not sure of anything as yet but looks like we get 15th 1st round pick and some Kapi space.

12
Non-Hockey Chatter / Hockey Fan where are you?
« on: July 28, 2020, 12:36:02 PM »
Hi Hockey Fan,
Are you OK, you haven't posted in a long while and was concerned about you.  I know you mentioned you had some underlying conditions.  Please post and let us all know that you are still with us.
thanks
Highlander

13
Marlies & Prospect Talk / Where does the AHL rank as a league?
« on: July 19, 2020, 12:22:27 PM »
Just wondering, where does the AHL rank as a league?  Is it better than the KHL? Or top Swedish Leagues?
Would the Marlies be able to beat a KHL team? 

14
Non-Hockey Chatter / Hand Sanitizer Ontario Made available
« on: June 15, 2020, 06:32:25 PM »
Not sure the sites policy on this, but as I am unemployed because of Covid, I said I would help out a Buddy up in my old home town.

A good friend of mine up in Collingwood, has adapted his plant to produce Hand Sanitizer to World Health Organization standards and is approved for use across Canada.  If you could be so kind as to pass on this URL:
 
https://www.healthguardmed.com/?affiliates=2
 
to all your friends and ask them to send onto all their friends and family I would greatly appreciate it.  All they have to do is press on the link or copy and paste it onto their browser, then can shop for the sanitizer on line.   
The product is sold in cases of 24, which could be split up between, family, neighbours and friends.

Thanks,
Highlander

15
All Sports But Hockey / Don Shula dies at 90
« on: May 04, 2020, 05:07:28 PM »
The great Don Shula dies at 90 as the winningest coach in NFL history, with I believe is a prefect record on the 73 season (what a team).  He never compromised on honesty, one of his players found their opponents playbooks before a game in their dressing room. The Dolphins lost that game, Shula never looked at the playbook and it was thrown out. That is honesty my friends. 
I often eat on my way through Miami airport at the resto that bears his name..a very good burger for sure. 

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