I Think This Man Might Be Smiling. Source: Sportsagentblog.com

Around The NHL In 30 Days: The Center Of The Universe.

One of Little Miss Rat Trick’s favourite cities is Toronto.  I’ve been there are at least half a dozen times, but never when the Toronto Maple Leafs were in town.  Just once I’d like to see a game at the Air Canada Centre and feel the electricity in the building and feel the buzz in the streets.  All things hockey seem to come from here, and with the Hockey Hall of Fame in walking distance of the ACC, and the CBC studio’s nearby as well, it’s no wonder some call it the center of the universe.

Myles Robinson the lead writer of our Toronto Maple Leafs site Editor In Leaf is the man on tap today as he previews the fortunes of Leafs Nation.  One of my favourite “Canadian Teams”, the Leafs seem to be on the rise.  But then again, they always seem that way.  I’ll never forget Brian Burke’s press conference after he was hired as the team’s general manager, when he promised to build a team that would have the proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence.  Well, it sounded great, but I think it’s taken a bit more time for him to have the right “chemistry”, as Toronto still finds itself on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

Here’s the opening to the review that Myles has typed:

It’s no secret Leaf fans are known to be some of the more overly optimistic fans in the entire NHL, but they may finally be justified in doing so as the league’s youngest team is finally showing signs of promise. One of a very small number of teams that has yet to make the playoffs since the lockout, Toronto has now gone six straight years without making the postseason tournament, a streak they’ll be hell-bent on ending this season. Led by captain Dion Phaneuf and a monstrous blueline, the Leafs will have a lot of question marks surrounding their season – questions that will only be answered as the season progresses. Will James Reimer be able to repeat his impressive performance in the second half of last season? Will Tim Connolly finally be the playmaking center that will push Phil Kessel over the top and keep him out of those 12-13 game scoring droughts? Can the coaching staff finally fix the special teams?

There are quite a few question marks on this team, and coaching is one of them.. While head coach Ron Wilson and Burkie are very good friends, one has to wonder how safe Wilson’s job is if the Leafs don’t make it into the post season.  At times Ron seems completely sour and depressed.  At others, he seems about as jovial as Mr. Garrison on South Park.  In any event, the Leafs want to be optimistic as always, and with all the changes to their roster they should be. If  Tim Connolly can stay healthy, and the same for Matthew Lombardi, the Leafs will have a couple of solid pivot men.  Phil Kessel should benefit from one or both of those players dishing him the puck, since we all know that’s what he thrives on.  On top of that Clarke MacArthur,Nikolai Kulemen and Mikhail Grabovsky provide some additional scoring to round out the top six.

On defence I just love Dion Phaneuf.  I honestly feel that Burke stole him from Calgary and felt that the Panthers should have made a trade offer for the big bruising defender.  Oh yea, that was when we had the old regime here….never mind.  Truly I feel that Calgary traded away the wrong defenceman, but so it goes.

Enough from me, here’s the entire Leafs preview for you enjoyment.

Next up is the Vancouver Canucks.  I’ll have a nice time with this one!

As always thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.

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Tags: Around The Nhl In 30 Days Brian Burke Hockey Hall Of Fame Matthew Lombardi Phil Kessel Pugnacity Testosterone And Belligerence Toronto Maple Leafs Trucluence

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