DG's Quick Hits- July 22, 2002

The Stanley Cup: Makebe-Leaf-ing in Toronto

Can Krupp rescue his career in Atlanta?

On the radar screen

Over this past off-season, the Toronto Maple Leafs raised ticket prices in a promise to fans that they’ll land a high-profile free agent. Then the Leafs fail miserably and General Manager Pat Quinn calls it a measure of fiscal restraint. Then Toronto basically replaces three players- Eddie Belfour (for Curtis Joseph), Tom Fitzgerald (for Garry Valk) and Robert Svehla (for Dimitry Yushkevich)- without raising a penny to their payroll. Through it all, fans and media alike are ripping the Leaf media for being liars, saying the only thing that mattered was the bottom line and not whether or not the Leafs actually won the Stanley Cup.

“The most honest person in the organization is (team mascot) Carlton the Bear”, ripped Yushkevich to the Toronto Star after being dealt to the Florida Panthers for Svehla. Yushkevich went on to say he couldn’t believe the Leafs treated him badly after all his dedicated years as a Leaf, disgusted with management for refusing to let him play in the play-offs even after he agreed to sign a waiver voiding the Leafs any responsibility in case of injury. His feelings emulate mine, as I can’t believe what the Leafs are doing this off-season, which is basically replace functioning parts with other parts, none of which are an actual improvement. Leaf fans have been clamouring for a Cup for the past 35 years and, for 34 of them, actually believed their management felt the same way. Instead, there is only disbelief and disgust, and it’s anybody’s guess if there is a reason for optimism entering 2002-03. The only Cup the Leafs will ever get next year will be a make-believe one, since the team doesn’t want to get any better- on the ice, that is.


On July 19, defenceman Uwe Krupp signed on with the Atlanta Thrashers after spending the past three years as a Detroit Red Wing. Despite the fact Krupp, 37, won the Cup in Detroit, he only was able to play in 32 National Hockey League games during his time there because of injuries. He missed two whole seasons- 1999-2000 and 2000-01- due to a back injury, an injury that was thought to have ended his career until the blueliner made it back into the lineup for ten games in 2001-02.

Personally, I hope Krupp can rescue his career as a Thrasher. Sure, it’s not exactly a favourable environment- going from champions to basement dwellers requires a lot of transition- but, in the reserved environment of Atlanta, Krupp can focus on returning from injury and resume his career the right way, and that is being the reliable defenceman he once was. For a player that, despite never being a star, has always been an integral part to his team’s success, it would almost be vindication for him to complete a full year, a vindication he fully deserves.

Another team whose management has some explaining to do: the Chicago Blackhawks…Available: Andrew Cassels, a gifted first-line centre. The only reason why he’s available is because his team, the Vancouver Canucks either don’t realize his contract ran out or don’t really care that it does. I think the Canucks need a bigger alarm…A message for new Florida Panther Dimitry Yushkevich: probably the only thing sunny about your new home is the weather, because the team’s still awful…Am I alone in thinking Thereon Fleury cried himself out of a contract?…You can tell it’s the dog days of summer when there’s no hockey stories to talk about…Here’s a question to ponder: will Dave Lewis be able to keep in check all those big egos that Scotty Bowman was able to handle? I like Lewis’ chances considering he assisted Bowman for so long, but he’s got to do it all by himself now, so the situation becomes a little more interesting…Let’s recap: free agent signings: Atlanta: Uwe Krupp. Columbus Blue Jackets: Scott Lachance. Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Adam Oates. Florida and Tampa Bay Lightning: none. What was that about the minnows diving into the free agent market?…That should probably come as no surprise, considering the man who said that the minnows would dive in was none other than the Toronto Sun’s Al Strachan. Still, though, Strachan may be horrible at predictions (almost like yours truly, eh? Though I did get the Darius Kasparitus trade bang on…) but he can still hit the nail on the head whenever he wants to…Jaromir Jagr was playing in a charity soccer game over in the Czech Republic yesterday. I hope he put in more effort there than he did as a Washington Capital…Finally: from July 23-28 I’ll be in Toronto participating in World Youth Day, so I’ll have to be away from HTR (*sigh*). Anyway, I’ll have a report on my feelings of the event and how it went on my World Issues Page within a week after it is done.


15 Responses to DG's Quick Hits- July 22, 2002

  1. amok says:

    The Canucks don’t seem to care about Cassels leaving. Or Burke’s hoping that no one else will offer Cassels a contract.

    Trading for Farkas and signing Moss, Obsut, and Baumgartner is hardly a way to improve the team. Unless we’re talking Manitoba Moose.

    I’m still hopeful the Canucks will do something with Schaefer and that Burke’s patience in the young guys will pay off.

  2. nucks2001 says:

    You need to realize that cassels is NOT a first line center.. he spends way too much time on the injured list.. yes he can pass.. but thats it

  3. big_booty says:

    “I can’t believe what the Leafs are doing this off-season, which is basically replace functioning parts with other parts, none of which are an actual improvement.”

    Finally an accurate description on what is going on in Toronto, giving new meaning to the phrase “stand Pat.” Of course, if you are silly enough to believe the hype, then Svehla, Belfour, and Fitzgerald will all be sipping from a larger-than-average beverage container next summer.

    Reality bites, Leafs fans. When are you people going to realize that your team is stuck up an unsanitary tributary without sufficient means of locomotion?

    “Andrew Cassels, a gifted first-line centre. The only reason why he’s available is because his team, the Vancouver Canucks either don’t realize his contract ran out or don’t really care that it does.”

    Cassels is not a number one centerman. He is -43 for his career, and as MantaRay pointed out, he could not stick with a notoriously weak Calgary Flames team in ’99. He’s pricing himself out of the market. Cassels is not a difference-maker, his presence on any team is not going to guarantee any degree of success. Vancouver is actually taking the right approach here. Cassels believes that he has earned the right to demand $5 million per, and the team is flatly denying him that, rightfully so. Eleven goals? Please. 39 assists? This from someone who is supposedly “one of the league’s best passers?”

    Burke wants Cassels back, at a reduced price. The player should take what he can get from Vancouver, because that’s all that he’s worth.

  4. pantherboy says:

    “A message for new Florida Panther Dimitry Yushkevich: probably the only thing sunny about your new home is the weather, because the team’s still awful”

    That was harsh buddy. The team is re-building, not really looking to sign big names to compete for the cup next season. The only reason they got Yushky was so the didn’t have to give all of Svhela’s big minutes to a rookie who might not be able to handle them.

  5. mikster says:

    Well, the off-season is not over yet

    The Leafs could and should sign Fleury. They need more depth, the team is getting old. They should also pull a blockbuster deal. Quinn will either be fired this season, next season, or the organization will just let him walk away when his contract ends.

    They overpaid Belfour, and with the same price, they could have signed Dafoe by now.

    Next season, it won’t matter where the Leafs end up in the standings, they either make the playoffs or they don’t….they are a flipped coin.

  6. zednik says:

    If Eddie plays like I think he will in front of that awful defence the Panthers and Leafs will be fighting for 10th spot but the Panthers will be doing it with a lighter payroll.


  7. Coldwar says:

    Well, Uwe is done.

    He may get decent ice time in the A.T.L., but don’t look for him to “resuce his career”.

    It would be nice to see this guy get his sea legs back, but I wouldn’t expect it in a year. He’s spent far too much time racing dogs and not enough chasing pucks. I think all of the crap he and the Wings organization went through has drained him a bit. He may say, and people may think, that the whole ordeal would make him want to prove himself, but that would be the worst thing he could go out and do.

    If you saw the first two games in the Wings’ playoffs, v. the Nucks, when Kruppe was playing, you would know what I am talking about.

    He went out and tried to make an immediate impact, to prove to Detroit that he was ready and able. But he wasn’t. He flubbed alot in those two games. Missed hits, missed passes, etc. He played horribley and you could see that he was really trying.

    And therein lies the problem. He was trying. He lost his instinct. His sense of hockey was replaced by his need to be important.

    I wish him the best, but I am VERY relieved to see him in something other than red & white.


  8. TheDevil says:

    No buddy, you are wrong. The Leafs didn´t just “replaced” guys.

    They managed to get worse. Losing Joseph and getting Belfour – need any comments?

    Plus, Valk and Yushkevich were good team guys, and pretty respected in Moronto. Now the players have two new mates to adapt to, and lost “beleaf” in the organization, as once again they displayed little or no credibility at all…

    Something I can´t understand, and this applies not only to the Leafs for most of the teams in the NHL: why keep a franchise running when your purpose is not winning? Sure not the dollars, cause you get more dollars when you win….

  9. Coldwar says:

    Without teams like these, what would we do with our time? Who would we point our fingers at, laughing? Who would we complain about and who would we pay to see lose? Without the Rangers/Leafs/etc of the league, what would become of HTR? What would I spend my precious time at work doing? (Work, you say? I scoff at you!) I ask you … Would the league, no… the World be any better without them? I give you my answer and it is No! (Bwahahaha…. BWAHAHAHAHA!)

  10. aaron says:

    Truth hurts, buddy. At least you have a goalie.

  11. TooBadForYou says:

    It’s funny that the leafs have no “locomotion” but with almost the same team as last year they don’t look too bad.

    They did finish third last year afterall.

    I’m not stating they will win the cup. Not even close. But they are far from terrible.

  12. TooBadForYou says:

    Mikster. Belfour is twice the goalie Dafoe will ever be. Therefore they did not overpay for him. Well they did but by those standards every player in the league is overpaid. As for flipping a coin. The leafs will have no difficulty making the playoffs and will once again be top four in the east









  13. mikster says:

    Well, Dafoe is 6 years younger, so we’ll see where that goes. You think Belfour was a good acquisition after he had one of his worse seasons ever, reached age 37, brings negativity in the locker room, and so he ends up signing for 6.5 a season? If the Leafs offered a bit more for Richter, Richter would have signed there immediately. I’d take RIchter over Belfour any day….Richter is a team player and a hard worker who is used to see a horrible defense in front of him and faces 30+ shots a game. Let’s see how well Belfour can adapt to the Toronto defense. I doubt the Leafs will end up 4th with the current roster they have now. They signed players but didn’t make any significant improvements.

  14. DG says:

    With all due respect to you and the Florida Panthers: yes, the Panthers are rebuilding. However, by the looks of it, Florida is better, maybe, but they’ll still a ways from the playoffs.


  15. big_booty says:

    Almost the same team? Have you been paying attention to the transaction ticker? Obviously not.

    Lose Curtis Joseph, add Ed Belfour. HUGE step backwards. I don’t care what anyone says about the Eagle, it seems that his time has passed. Cujo was the reason the team made it as far as it did.

    That alone changes the entire complexion of the organization as a whole. When people in the 18-30 years old demographic think of the Leafs, they think of Curtis Joseph. That’s not going to happen anymore.

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