Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is it Time to Panic Yet?

I know what you're thinking ...We're only halfway through October.  Well I would say to that ... WE'RE HALFWAY THROUGH OCTOBER!  6 games in and 1 point to show for it!  13 goals scored ... 28 goals allowed ... in  6 games!  Phew, that feels better, now let's have a look at what led up to this.

The Leafs went into their 6th game of the season against last years 3rd worst team having scored only 13 goals so far.  Thankfully Coach Wilson decided it was time to shake things up.  His solution,  scratch Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman.  Not exactly a devastating loss to most teams but when you consider Stajan has 3 goals and Hagman 2 we have to wonder whether removing 39 percent of the teams offense was the answer.  Wilson said they haven't been competing for pucks and taking hits.  I thought the idea of signing all these tough, "truculent" players was so the skilled players could play without worrying about the rougher side of  the game.  For the record they only manged 1 goal against Colorado and were out-hit 15-5 in the first period.  So much for a shake-up.

It was great to see Tyler Bozak in the line-up, even if it was at the expense of almost half of the teams offense.  Brian Burke and Ron Wilson told us Bozak, along with Viktor Stalberg, Christian Hanson, Nazem Kadri, are the future of this team.  Burke said having these guys gave them the ability to trade a first and a second round pick in this years draft  and a first round pick next year.  He said he thought we had a playoff team and none of those picks would be in the top ten anyway.  Burke said Phil Kessel, the player he traded for, would be better than anyone he could draft with those picks.  Kessel will be a great player but the way we are playing, those picks are getting better after each passing loss.

Maybe the future is now for these young players.  After all, everyone one of them came though the U.S. college system meaning they're not kids anymore.  It didn't go unnoticed either that Kadri, the only junior player of note was the best forward in camp.  Ron Wilson says this team is lacking energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to compete.  Maybe that's because we left it all behind when we broke camp.

Brian Burke still feels he has a few chips to play.  He says with a wealth of NHL defensemen other teams will be knocking at our door as the trade deadline and even the offseason approaches.  Judging by his first go around last deadline and offseason we have to wonder if this is true.  Last deadline we traded Hall Gill for a for a second and a fifth round draft choice.  In the the off-season we traded Anton Stralman for Wayne Primeau, we also traded Pavel Kubina, our best defenseman last year for Garnet Exelby.  Neither have made any impact whatsoever.  Burke even told us he was going to go after John Tavares.  When that didn't happen he said he would trade down for a better pick like Brayden Schenn, brother of leaf defenseman Luke Schenn.  It sounded great but all he managed to do was draft Kadri, seventh overall, exactly where he was slated to be drafted. 

Is it time to panic yet?  Maybe not, but when you consider all of the boasts, promises and predictions Brian Burke has made so far have been worthless, we have to wonder what our future really holds. I guess all  of  us Leaf fans will go on thinking happy thoughts and pray that Kessel, The Monster and Burke pan out.  In the meantime I'll just pray for a win!

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