Thursday, 24 October 2013

See you later, John Scott

Not quite on track with Toronto Sports here, but Buffalo and Boston are in Toronto's division so I feel like I can justify this blog post...

Did you see that John Scott hit on Loui Eriksson last night?  If you didn't, here it is:



Keep in mind, my blood is still a little bit boiling from John Scott's cowardly attack on Phil Kessel in the preseason which has left David Clarkson out for the last 10 games (will be back in the lineup tomorrow night).

My thoughts on the hit?  Shanahan, THROW THE BOOK AT HIM!  Seriously though, I wouldn't be surprised if Scott gets 10+ games for his late his on Loui Eriksson last night.  Eriksson dumps the puck into the attacking zone, and get's blindsided with a late, a flying elbow to the head from John Scott.  This is the exact hit that the NHL is trying to eliminate.  Late, elbow, blindside, to the head, and from a useless NHL player.  I know Scott doesn't have a suspension history, but he can look to his teammate, Patrick Kaleta, who was just dished out 10 games for checking the head of Columbus' Jack Johnson as an example of what not to do.

Coincidentally, before the game Mike Milbury was talking about how John Scott is a useless player in the NHL and has no business being there.  He is there to hurt and that's all!  I'm not much of a Milbury fan, but he was bang-on with this comment!  Disagree with me that he's a useless player?  Let's take a look at his Hockeydb stats:


He has 5 points in 187 games played, and 0 in his last three seasons... yes, he is USELESS!  Get him out of the league.  


Conclusion: Scott is a piece of trash floating in the NHL who will get 10 games.  Ron Rolston (BUF coach) will get a hefty fine, possible suspension.

Rant done. Peace out.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Hybrid icing... is it working?

A lot of Leaf fans surely have a strong opinion of the new hybrid icing rules in the NHL.  Toronto lost 3-2 to Carolina last night at the ACC, with Carolina's winning goal being one that will remembered for ages.  Not because of any fancy stick handling or passing, but that the puck was send down the ice from Carolina's own end, off Toronto's end boards, off Bernier's skate and in the net.  Somewhere between Carolina's blue line and Toronto's goal line, there was an awkward called-off icing which led to the goal being counted.


Let me start off by saying that I have read over the rule change up, down, and inside out.  I have watched videos showing how the new icings should be called.  As much as I claim to have studied the hybrid icing, I just do not understand it at all.  Sometimes yes, sometimes no, I'm just not sure when the icing gets called and when it doesn't!!

Though, I know one thing for sure... Bernier cannot watch the players, the puck, and the linesman all at the same time.  I will say that Bernier has the responsibility to play the puck until the while blows, but I'll willing to give him the benefit of doubt this one time.

Last night was a perfect example of why the hybrid icing just does not work.

Traditionally, Bernier would be watching for the far-end linesman to signal the icing before the red line, and Bernier would be able to convey that message to his defenceman.  With the hybrid icing, Bernier doesn't know if there is an icing call until the puck is 5 feet away from him!  This was especially difficult for Bernier because the linesman making the official icing call happened to be behind Bernier.  Goaltenders have lost the ability to signal an icing call to their defenders, which leaves defencemen (once again) barreling towards their own end boards at full speed with an attacker on them.

This rule change really only makes a difference when there is an extremely obvious icing with no attacker on the defenceman's back... which at that point, it doesn't even matter!

Summary:

Goalies can't signal icing to their D.
Goalies become confused, defense become confused.
The chance for players getting severely injured on icing calls still exists.


PEACE OUT

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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Back to business.

Alright, alright... so I took some time away from my blog.  I still kept you guys up to date constantly on my twitter feed though!

Here's what I've missed and what I'll touch base on:

Leafs playoffs... we all know what happened there.  Good for them for making it!  I drank way too much beer and ate way too much pizza in that first round, but I was in grade 8 last time they were in the playoffs so I had a lot of catching up to do!  Game 7 broke my heart which I still think I'm recovering from.

The Blue Jays had yet another season to forget... so unfortunate after such a promising off-season.  I, like many other Jays fans, and even Las Vegas, thought that THIS was the season.  It was not the season.  The Blue Jays finished with a disappointing 74-88 record; their worst record since 2004.  I guess we all fell in love with the team on paper and forgot that they still had 162 games to actually play out before we could celebrate.

Jays announced yesterday that they would be relieving hitting coach, Chad Mottola, of his duties.  I don't think that he was the right scapegoat in this situation.  No hitting coach in the world is going to stop Arencibia from swinging at a low and away pitch on an 0-2 count.  Gibbons and his Boomhower-like accent should be the one to go.

I feel like John Gibbons' pre-game talk goes something like this:

Bring in Sandy Alomar Jr. as the next manager of the Blue Jays.  A guy who speaks English and Spanish and can communicate better with everyone on the team!  I've been called racist for making that suggestion before, I don't think I'm being racist though; you be the judge.  But whether you like it or not, there are two teams within the Blue Jays clubhouse: the Spanish speaking players and the English speaking players.  Unfortunately, the Spanish guys only mingle with their own kind, as do the English speaking guys!  I would like to see a manager come in and make these guys more of a team... cue in Sandy Alomar Jr.




Back to the Leafs...

They're off to a hot start right now.  3 wins and one loss, as of tonight.  I'm excited for their win total, but to be honest, they're not looking like a team that's 3 and 1.  I heard on TSN 1050 this morning that they're leading the league in turnovers, which really doesn't surprise me!  Sloppy defense has led to unforced errors.  Fortunately, we have found our savior in net with Bernier (or so I hope).

Speaking of sloppy defence, I'm still not sold on Jake Gardiner.  He has the ability to skate and stick handle his way of many situations.  Very fluid with the puck and glides smoothly through the neutral zone.  Though, sometimes I feel like he forgets that he's a defenceman and often goes to areas of the ice where he has no business being.  He has many mental lapses and tries too often to make that one-in-a-million cross ice pass which almost always gets picked off.

Nonis said this morning that they're looking to part ways with one of their defenceman to prove their strength up front, even though most fans would think they need to be doing the opposite.  We already know that Carlyle isn't a big fan of Gardiner's play... I wouldn't be surprised if he gets shipped.



Sorry for being a little bit negative there, the game just ended and I'm still in a sour mood from the loss.  I just had to rant a little bit because, as you can see, it's been too long.

Happy to be back everyone!  See you again soon!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Raptors - Time for Bryan Colangelo to go?

The Toronto Raptors have gotten off to yet another disappointing start to their season.  Their loss last night to Memphis was their sixth in a row, and have them sitting at a division-worst record of 3-13.  

I had looked at 2012-13 projections on various websites during the off-season, many had pegged Toronto to be a better team than last year, and quite a few had Toronto squeezing into the final playoff spot.  If their current record is any indication of how they'll end up, I wouldn't be betting on a championship.

One has to wonder why the Raptors have been performing so poorly this season, and seasons in the past.  My thoughts - it may be time that the Raptors part ways with President and GM of the Toronto Raptors, Bryan Colangelo.  Truthfully, it's hard to even hear myself say those words.  I like Colangelo as a front office face.  His knowledge and sports/business sense stems from his sports guru father, Jerry Colangelo, former owner of the Phoenix Suns, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, the Arizona Sandsharks of the Continental Indoor Soccer League, and the Arizona Rattlers of the AFL.

Colangelo came to the team in February 2006 and made a flurry of trades within a few months of being hired which turned the Raptors from a 4th place team to a first place team. But lets take a look at their seasons after that: 


As you can see the Raptors did well in his first season, but their record has slowly gotten worse since he began.  

So could coaching be the problem?  Let's examine that.  

Coaching
There have been three head coaches that have lead the Toronto Raptors in the Colangelo era: Sam Mitchell, Jay Triano, and Dwane Cassey.  The team started to under perform when Sam Mitchell was a coach, so they fired him.  They continued to under perform while Triano was coach - fired.  And now that Cassey is the coach, and they are still under performing!  Do you see what I'm getting at here?  Coaching is NOT the issue with the Toronto Raptors!

Players
Could it be the players' fault?  Should Bargnani be blamed for all of Toronto's woes, having been drafted first overall and being constantly injured (by the way, he was out of the game last night with a sore ankle).  DeMar DeRozan is an up and comer, but even he has shown inconsistency and is not overly progressing in his young career... but I'm patient and can wait a bit longer on him.  Colangelo's big off-season moves were acquiring Kyle Lowry and bringing aboard Jonas Valanciunas.  This wasn't really the ideal off-season that I was expecting from the Raptors.  No big-name signings, no blockbuster trades.  Lowry has been injured most of the season but returned last night, so should Lowry be blamed for the poor start to the season?

Taxes
Rumours suggest that players do not want to play in Toronto and have to pay higher income tax than if they played in the USA.  Fair enough.  So MLSE, open up the cheque book and start spending!

Ownership
We all know that MLSE has plenty of money to spend with the financial backing of Rogers Communications and Bell Canada, but they're just afraid to spend.

Anything can happen in professional sports, but it is up to the GM to cut the loss of an injured-prone player or a poorly developing player and continue to build.  A good GM is one who can recognize when he's beating a dead horse before it becomes obvious.  I have painfully watched the Raptors lose (seemingly) every game for the past two seasons and was excited for them this year because they were "supposed" to be better.

Brian Colangelo. Source: CBC.ca

At the end of it all, you can point the finger in so many different directions, whether it be the coach, the players, the Canadian taxes or the ownership.  But the one person who is supposed to generally manage all of those components isssss... the GENERAL MANAGER!  The GM is supposed to show players why they do want to play in Toronto and build a team with depth where injuries are not a huge fear.  This is the GM's job, and if the team is continually losing and players don't want to come here, then I think the GM is doing a poor job and it might be time for Colangelo to be replaced.


Joseph Della Mora - Twitter