Posted in Canada, hockey, news, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Put Up Or Shut Up: William Nylander


What are the Toronto Maple Leafs going to do with William Nylander?  Sign him by 5pm today, December 1st, 2018, let that time pass and force him to sit out the entire NHL season, or trade him?

The saga might end today, or maybe it doesn’t.

The team certainly could use him, but then again, Kasperi Kapanen has been great in Willie’s spot.

The Leafs could let him sit out the entire season to teach him a lesson?  He’s an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so he belongs to the Leafs and just has to agree to the dollars and length of a contract and play, but he wants a lot of money and the Leafs don’t want to pay him a lot.

That’s a problem.

Maybe the Leafs make him sit out.

People keep saying that Willie needs to take the most money he can get because hockey careers are short and he should maximize his earnings and while we might think that’s greedy, and not best for the team, maybe losing the million or so he would have earned this season, plus the $4-5 million that he would have earned had he signed could be money he’ll never get back, especially if he can’t recapture his touch, or produce at a level he thinks he can while playing for the Hurricanes or Coyotes after the Leafs ship him out of town.

Personally, I think he’s got to sit, or go.  I think that he’s producing at his rate because he’s skilled but also so is the team, and while he might think he’s comparable to Dreiseitl in Edmonton at $8 million per year, if you were to remove Leon and place him on, say, Arizona, does he produce on his own at the rate he is now?  We know that to be a resounding no.

So what happens to Willie after 5pm today if he doesn’t sign, you ask?

Well, he’s only 22-years-old, and has only played in 2 NHL seasons so he falls way short of the 27-year-old / 7-season threshold needed to become an unrestricted free agent (meaning he could then sign with any team).

As for next season… He would still be a restricted free agent (RFA), meaning he would be in exactly the same spot he is in this year, but he would have missed an entire season and not been paid at all.

How about arbitration?  Maybe an arbitrator could solve this?  Again, no.  Willie hasn’t met the NHL requirements of playing 4-seasons, so he is ineligible.

Ouch.

He can be traded at any time, but he can’t then sign a contract until July 1st, 2019 because he’s ineligible to play this season if him and his daddy decide that money takes precedence over everything.

The Leafs are hoping that faced with these options Willie will take their offer.  Willie, I’m sure is being told that the Leafs need him (they do and they don’t) and that they’ll cave as the deadline approaches.

If the Leafs cave, what does that say to Marner and Matthew’s agents?

As a fan of the team, I’m positive that there are players on the team who would like to see him moved.  No player is bigger than a team – see Las Vegas last season – and his actions at the end of the day may be his right, but they’re selfish.

Sure, the team could trade him at a moment’s notice, blah, blah, blah, but that’s the price you pay for making it to the NHL.  You get a ton of money if you’re good.  But somehow, if suddenly you suck, the players don’t seem to be offering it back to the team, do they?

Today is put up or shut up time for Willie, but I really feel the damage has been done.

Posted in Life, Sports

Shake up in Leaf Land… TML Trade Caption Dion Phanuef to the Ottawa Senators in a 9-player deal


Just when I finished telling people that the Toronto Maple Leafs were going to forge forward with Captain Dion Phanuef, the team proves me wrong as they ship out Caption Dion, along with Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey to the Ottawa Senators for Jared Cowan, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Tobias Lindberg and a 2nd round pick in the 2017 NHL entry draft.

Early reports indicate that neither team will be eating salary from their departed players.

I’m a bit, okay a lot surprised that the Buds found a taker for Dion’s salary which represents a $7-million cap hit through the 2020-2021 NHL campaign.

Clearly the Leafs are serious about re-building for good (finally) and while I’m not a fan of Dion, I certainly can appreciate the difficulty of playing in Toronto and being named captain so quickly.  With Karlsson the bona-fide #1 defenseman / rover in Ottawa and Boroweicki the tough-to-play-against hit machine, Phaneuf will fit in just fine there on the 2nd line where his value and contribution will be significant.

This is a great deal for both teams, as the Leafs get rid of salary, they get a 2nd round pick, and they get younger.

The Sens get a stud who will shine in Ottawa as they serve notice to the league that they are for real!

Question: Who will the next captain of the TML be?

Posted in family

A funny story about collectibles and Switzerland…


A fried of mine, let’s call him K-Hof, and I were in my basement on the weekend looking through a box of my old collectibles. I had some Kraft dinner boxes with NHL player card on them, cereal boxes commemorating Wayne Gretzky’s achievements, even a cereal box welcoming the Vancouver Grizzlies to the NBA.

I also had a pile of old Hockey News magazines, http://www.thehockeynews.com/ from many years gone by.  I picked up a back issue to explain to him why I felt I needed to keep this issue (since all the info is online already) and I flipped open the 1999 Future Watch issue to see who THN was predicting would be the next round of stars in the NHL.

Sure enough, there under the 24th pick in the NHL draft was the player the Toronto Maple Leafs took. His name was Luca Cereda (born September 7, 1981). He was playing in Switzerland at the time the Leafs took him so high in the draft, and many questioned the pick (well maybe everyone questioned the pick) as Switzerland is not exactly the hockey hot bed for budding stars.

“Maybe the Leafs got Switzerland confused with Sweden?” my friend said aloud.

I laughed, thinking that was totally plausible, knowing the Leafs.

“Cerada”, I told him, “Is retired. He was drafted in the first round, 24th overall, of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He came to training camp and 2 days into camp was sent to a specialist after being diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. He had surgery in Toronto and never played hockey again.”

Brutal!

“Ohhh”, my friend replied. “That’s really too bad. I suspect he would have played great in the neutral zone”.

ROTFLMAO

Get it?

Neutral zone… Switzerland…

If not, comment and I’ll explain further.

K-Hof, you rock!

Posted in family

My weekend thus far


This has been an interesting weekend for me so far, half-way through Sunday.

On Friday night we had Shabbat dinner here at the house with my mother and sister.  When they arrived there happened to be a stranger in the living room taking pictures of my kids – mainly the baby.  This place takes a bunch of pictures for free then tries to sell them to you.  I like the concept since it’s such a pain in the ass to book photo shoots for the kids and usually are very far away.  I hope they turn out.

After dinner my sister helped me prepare the T4 and T4 summary for our previous nanny.  Actually she did it while I slept on the couch.  We watched the 1st period of the Men’s Olympic semi-final game between the Slovaks and Canada.  I nodded off at 3-0 Canada.  They won 3-2.  Whew.

Saturday saw skating first thing in the am, well, skating for the oldest boy, the youngest spent most of the time laying on the ice having a meltdown.  I think he needs new skates with more ankle support. 

Both boys got their skating progress report cards.  Neither had been on the ice prior to the start of this program about 2 months ago so I not surprised to see Linus did well but Stewie… Not so well at all.  Oh well. 

After skating I dropped Stewie off at my mothers and Linus off at my in-laws and my wife and I took the baby and headed downtown to walk around.  It was a lot of fun!  She went into the bead stores and the baby and I walked around the streets looking at stores and a lot of weirdos.  LOL. 

I did, however, make a HUGE mistake and walked into the Second Cup… UGH.  I was hungry so I bought a morning glory muffin (ugh) and a really gross double Americano.  Had I walked another block west I would have found the Tim Horton’s.  At least the second cup had a change table in the woman’s bathroom where I could change the baby explosion (poo).  It was everywhere!

We strolled over to Chinatown for some dim sum (in the rain of course) and headed home to gather the other kids in time for bed.

Needless to say all of us passed out early, but I woke up to hang the laundry and could not get back to sleep.  Too much on my mind.  I finally dozed off at 3:30am.  I was up at 5:30am to help burp the baby and 7am with the boys, but managed to get them to hang out in the bed with my until 7:30am. 

We skipped karate and instead went to a Purim Party at the Temple where my son goes to nursery school.  Knew a ton of people there and had a blast.   The highlight for me was tossing a football through a hole 3 times while others tried dozens of times without success.  Each person who failed grumbled that the hole was too small.  Giggle.

So now the kids are bathing and soon we’re off to watch the Olympic Gold medal hockey game between Canada and the USA.  For some strange reason Linus is voting for Team USA.  Hope he’s doing that just to bug me.  Sure, team USA was put together by Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and coached my TML head coach Ron Wilson, but come on, Linus!  Go Canada Go! 

 Did you know that the most ever gold medal won by a country in one winter olympics is 13.  Guess how many Canada has right now?  Yup.  13.  So if we win the hockey game we set a record.  No pressure, eh?  I may not be able to watch the game.  I don’t want to be disappointed.

Posted in hockey, Sports, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

The Urban Daddy’s Official Cure for the Toronto Maple Leafs from January 16th, 2008…


Breaking news!

You are reading it here first, but I have determined the cure for the illness that is Toronto Maple Leafs hockey, and I might even apply for the General Managers job as soon as the Leafs fired JFJ when he is jettisoned to the unemployment line after butchering this team.

How JFJ, or anyone else in Leaf management  could possibly think that last year’s team – which missed the playoffs –  was good enough to bring back this year almost intact, save for the additions of Jason Blake, Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell.

I want to know who approved this?

They need to go too.

So let’s dive right in to The Urban Daddy’s plan for turning around the sad-sack Leafs and turning them into a winning team in my lifetime.

First, the CBC gets it all started as they yank the Leafs from the Saturday night slot and replace them with the Ottawa Senators or Montreal Canadiens.  I’m a huge hockey fan first and foremost and would enjoy watching the Sens or the Habs just as much. They both have good, young teams, they know how to win and they won’t break my heart because I’ll be rooting against them but okay if they prevail.

The fallout of not having the Leafs there, the slap in the face heard across the country would prompt the egos at MLSE to take action. Bye bye Peddie, Tenanbaum, JFJ and sadly the coach, Paul Maurice. Temporarily in comes a management team of former GM Cliff Fletcher and if the price is right, the Leafs need to buy the most respected coach / GM available (or not available) to change the mentality of the players, which right now would be Scotty Bowman. Include Glenn Healy, Doug Gilmour and this group will take the roster of the Leafs and the Marlies and head into a board room only to come out with the following to do list:

  1. Ship out the best players for picks!  First out the door, Mats Sundin – great Leaf. Gone. To a contender as the playoffs come to other teams (not the Leafs). For at least, a good young player already on a roster, a young prospect from a farm team and a 1st round pick or 2. He’s playing his best to get the most back to the team in his trade.

  2. Next out is popular Darcy Tucker – for a young player and a pick

  3. Then, Bryan McCabe – back to the Islanders for a young player and a pick
  4. Jason Blake – for a pick or bag of pucks – but with his salary its going to take creativity on behalf of a management team which in its current incarnation is not capable of.
  5. Andrew Raycroft – the player that the Leafs traded Tuukka Rask for (and this move is going to haunt them because I think Rask is a WAY better goalie than Justin Pogge) for a pick or a bag of pucks.
  6. Matt Stajan – for another young player – he’s young but not a scorer.  The Leafs need to remove any potentially skilled player from the team so they can bottom out… fast!
  7. Mark Bell – for anything – but I doubt he makes the season.  His head is not in the game.
  8. Alexei Ponikerovsky – player and a pick (he’s big and has shown signs of being able to find the net, although penalty prone).
  9. Nik Antropov – he’s finally exceeding expectations, so it’s a fluke (see Jason Blake) and time to go! Player from roster, young player and pick… Fast, before he gets hurt.
  10. John Pohl – anything – he was JFJ’s big steal from St. Louis… Oh, how the Blues must still be reeling. LOL.
  11. Wellwood, Wozniewski and Kubina we’ll take a pick for all three. The 2 defenseman must go and if Wellwood committed to getting in shape, then he can stay, but he won’t and will likely be out of the league within 3 years.
  12. Vesa Toskala only if there is a fabulous offer like a young player or solid veteran, or play him and let him lose every game.
    Hal Gill – very slow and Bates Battaglia (on the farm) can go if anyone has interest in them. They shouldn’t be good enough for this team, yet they are. Sad.

The Leafs need to make a huge change in direction and by shipping out the old blood and bringing in youth – not the prime prospects (are there any?) the Buds can start drafting better (new scouting staff is a must as well – but with 60 picks instead of 15 they stand 4-times the chance of getting a player with talent, skill or drive to play on this team.

The Leafs need to start playing guys like Domenic Moore, Ian White, Anton Strahlman, Tomas Kabarle (the new Captain) Alex Steen, Boyd Deveraux, even Wade Belak (every team needs an enforcer) and Jiri Tlusty.  How else can the management team assess if they are keepers or if they need to go.

As for the farm… I’ll never forget the comment that superstar goalie Ed Belfour made about Leafs defenseman Jay Harrison, when he said that Harrison was a true NHL defenseman.  So what does MLSE do with Harrison??  Send him to the farm.  Well, they need to bring him up!

They also need to finally give a shot to Carlo Colaiacovo (get him healthy and a personal trainer), Simon Gamache (1st line), David Ling (the leading point getter and set-up man) and Kris NewburyMarlies leading goal scorer (last years tough guy – why?), bring up Jeremy Williams, Robbie Earl, Darryl Boyce (a plus 18) and on defense, Bryan Muir (if he can play on the NJ Devils, he can make the Leafs). Bring up Pogge to play net, and a lot of net and this is the 2008/2009 team.  They may make a ton is mistakes but they might also shine enough to themselves be traded for prospects and picks and one day the Leafs might have a team!

Right now my fear is that the bright names mentioned above are going to be stars in the NHL but not with the Leafs and the players picked up in return will not play for the Buds either… That’s what they do.

In the off season sign a few free agent veterans to teach the kids never to give up, maybe one or two with Stanley Cup rings, and only young free agents if they are young! Bring back Mats if he wants either this year or next year to end his career here, but at a lower salary and with the understanding that if these vets play well, they’ll be traded to a Stanley Cup contender and have a chance at a cup.  That is a win-win proposition.

This youthful team will compete for either last or a playoff spot, so they’ll be not better or no worse than the current bunch. Only difference is that in 2-3 years my team will be better and the current Leafs won’t!

The Urban Daddy for GM!

(Can’t wait to see this post in 10-years to see how the Leafs have faired!)