''Lets Roll the Dice''

For 37 years all over North America, but mostly Toronto die hard leaf fans begged to ask the question, “Is this the year?” And year after year disappointment filled the minds of crushed leaf fans who had dreams. Dreams of partying down Younge Street and finally seeing Mats Sundin raise that Stanley Cup and skate around the ACC.

The question for this year of course will be “Is this the year we fail miserbly?”, who knows. “Is this the year where we take one last crack at Lord Stanley then terminate the team?”, maybe. “Is this the year Pat Quinn finally gets fired?”, hopefully. “Is this the year the leafs take a chance on their youth?”, YES. The future is now for the leafs. With loads and loads of youth just itching away to crack the leafs line up, this is the year to let them try!

For years and years especially in the Pat Quinn era the leafs had great teams coming oh so close to FINALLY making their first cup appearance, but it never happened. Small market teams like Buffalo and Carolina took our chance away and made us ponder the question, “what if?” Each year they made their playoff appearance, won a round, then got eliminated. The excuses would come crashing in, “the leafs were injured, half the team were AHL’ers”, or “we ran into a bigger, stronger, faster team” or “we ran up against a team who had a strong system which is hard to beat.”

Every year the leafs were missing a finishing piece to the puzzel to put them over the top. Every year they entered the playoffs with A. Strong goaltending (Cujo and Eddy) B. Great forwards with grit and skill (Sundin, Mogilny, Roberts, Tucker) and of course the achilles heel C. The defence. Enough said. They either lacked a “Big D-man”, “Hard nosed D-man”, or a “Stay at home D-man”

So what are peoples expectations of the leafs this year? Is it “WERE GOING ALL THE WAY!”, is it “HA LEAFS ARE GOING TO BE TERRIBLE!”, is it “Its going to be extremely tough for them to make the playoffs” or is it “well this is the year where they can take a chance and roll the dice.”

“Take a chance and roll the dice” “Whats this guy talking about you ask?” This year there are going to be no excuses as to why the leafs suck, simply because thats just it they suck. But hold on just a sec. Remember when I was talking about the future is now, it is. Lets take a chance and play the Stajans, Steens, Colaiacivos, Bells, Whites, Hedins, Harrisons and Wellwoods. Most of these guys are defencemen and I believe will be the nucleus of this leaf team in the future. There’s no excuse to not playing them, there ready!.

Two years ago the leafs couldn’t afford to play a guy like Colaiacivo because one mistake by him and it’d cost them the game, the sole blame would be on the rookie, and thats not good for the young guy, it’d destroy his confidence. Thats not the reason why the Leafs didn’t play their young guys, its because they didn’t have faith in them to produce. But with so many holes in the depleted leafs line up they have to roll the dice and just let them play and see what they can do!

A perfect example of how a team had faith and believed in their youth is the Philadelphia Flyers. They obviously made a excellent move in getting Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in the draft, but the brilliant thing they did was put them in high pressured situations. It was to see if they could produce or not, they put faith in them that they could perform and they did.

This year the Philadelphia Phantoms won the Calder Cup, main reason why: Carter and Richards. In the playoffs Carter tallied for 12 goals, 11 assists for 23 points in 21 games. Richards had 7 goals, 8 assists for 15 points in only 14 games. Everyone knew these two were going to be good after there outing at the World Juniors, but after there amazing performance in this years AHL playoffs, Bobby Clarke had the FAITH to drop key guys like LeClair and Amonte without second guessing himself because he knew and BELIEVED that Carter and Richards were the real deal.

This year the leafs need to stop worrying about trying to win, but play the young guns, and see what happens. Theres absolutely NO reason why the leafs can’t be good this year by playing the youth. It showed last year in the Stanley Cup finals with Tampa and the Flames. 🙂


Any Comments?

37 Responses to ''Lets Roll the Dice''

  1. titans says:

    Yea…Leafs Suck!

  2. 92-93 says:

    it doesn’t look like it now but the cap is the best thing to happen to the leafs organization.

    rooting for the Jays and rooting for the Leafs means that i have to, in a contradictory way, root for two completely different economic systems/markets. The Jays are young, exciting to watch, produce their own talent and have to maintain a budget. until now, the Leafs were the exact opposite.

    what leafs fans must understand is the concept of TRANSITION. i’d love to see the Leafs win the cup this year (obviously) and i do believe they will be competitive. i know it’s been almost 40 years but we cannot let the disappointment from this dry spell get in the way of being smart. but there will have to be a period of about 3 years until we see the Leafs’ farm system really become the best in the NHL (and it will be with the personnel they brought in). Until then the Leafs have to make smart, cheap purchases (like the ones they’ve already made and maybe are about to make – Anson Carter, Brad Brown, ???). players that don’t cost much but keep them in games.

    I think the Leafs will be a .500 club for the next couple of seasons which may or may not be good enough to make the playoffs. if they do make it, then as far as i’m concerned they’ll have just a good of a shot as they did in recent years despite the so-called lack of talent they have now. Right now, they have a younger club that will learn from their mistakes and may be able to go furhter in the playoffs then the veteran clubs of recent years.

    either way, i’m much more comfortable cheering for a financially responsible Leaf franchise and the Leaf bashers (whose comments I jack off to every single day) will (unfortunately) have no ammunition against the Leafs once they start winning more games than they lose AND are not purchasing whoever they want. heck, i’m glad i had the opportunity to root for a franchise that could pick-up some big names whenever they wanted – it’s more than most NHL fans can claim. but we need youth, we need to endure a, at times tough, transitional period, and the Leafs will be fine.

  3. 92-93 says:

    “The Jays are young, exciting to watch, produce their own talent and have to maintain a budget. until now, the Leafs were the exact opposite.”

    I do not mean that the Leafs are not exciting to watch – they are the most exciting team in hockey (because of Quinn’s style of play, which unfortunately includes a ‘no-defence’ approach to the game). I was just referring to the economic comparisions between the leafs and jays.

  4. Tweek says:

    I think two guys who can contribute to the leafs team this year from the farm are colaiacovo and steen. Carlo’s offensive game has never been questioned but his defense has, he has improved his defensive game by leaps and bounds in the AHL and is ready to be a contributer, Steen will most likely not play this year in the NHL but if he has a good camp expect him to be a good defensive foward who can chip in here and there, he’ll most likely be playing for the marlies.

  5. billwirtz says:

    Being from Chicago, I have always liked the leafs…..until I have witnessed this year……the cryin, *****in and whinnin from you leaf fans. You should live here in Chi town….where evryone usually sucks. the leafs are not a bad team….they will be a decent…just watch…..you wait and see. I know the Hawks are going to be…….Dale Tallon will be the GM of the year!


  6. habfan1160 says:

    The fundamental difficulty with Toronto is that they are very, very thin on prospects. The only two that have a chance at making a major impact in the bigs are Colaiacovo and Steen (Stajan is not longer considered a prospect because of his full season in the bigs). The other players mentiond will top out as 3rd or 4th liners and 4th to 7th defensman. Nobody on the Leafs depth charts comes close to the likes of Richards and Carter in terms of skill. Consequently, the Leafs cannot role the dice because they have no dice to play with. In the end, managment and the scouting staff are to blame for the deleterious position the Leafs find themselves in.

  7. 92-93 says:

    good article to read (especially the Leaf bashers) in defence of JFJ. don’t read it if you don’t want to but its always good to have two sides to any issue:


    “My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that the only way to judge Ferguson Jr.’s ability to lead and manage is to wait until the cap structure has been in place and operating for at least three years. Just as you shouldn’t get Stanley Cup rings made after a 10-game winning streak during the season, or trade all the players and fire the coach for a 10-game losing streak, so critics shouldn’t judge performance until the entire saga is played out. “

  8. Flyer_Fan says:

    You guys just won’t give it a rest!

    The Leafs suck, it’s been said before.

    How many more times will you be publishing the same ole drivel about the Leafs?!!

    And you people wonder why there are things said about your idiot fans.

    This is a team that is doomed for a long time.

    You just keep on providing the ammo!

    Learn how to build a team Leaf management!

  9. shawn_habs says:

    The biggest problem for the Leafs is that they lack a first line winger and a second line winger. The prospect base too ain’t so great because of their late draft position (if they had a pick) the last few years.

  10. skidragoon says:

    Yeah. sens suck alot more!!! even if you arent a sens fan.

  11. WYflyerfan says:

    Quin needs to learn how to draft first, but I agree they need to incoperate youth. They have enough vets, they need to bring up youth.They will sign a couple dicount free agent players like lindros and play some young players. As much as I hate the leafs they will still be a top team in the east.

  12. 13sundin says:

    Agreed. I’m from Detroit, and I’m the biggest Leaf fan I know of (there are lots of true blue Leaf fans here). The Buds are going to be better than everyone is giving them credit for. I’ve seen a lot of rumours lately about trading Eddie to make cap room space.. Let me ask you this, when it comes down to an overtime shootout, who do you want in net? CuJo? Irbe? No way, you want Eddie there. We are going to have lots of OT wins with Eddie in net for us, which is exactly why this team is being built the way it is. Not a star-studded line-up, but with Sundin, O-neill, Lindros up front, Eddie in net, and a halfway descent D-Line, it’s a good recipe. I can’t wait until October 5th!!

    Go Leafs Go!!

  13. BayStBully says:

    titans i bet $10 you have never seen a p ussy in real life without paying or getting arrested

  14. BayStBully says:

    What a huge queer Flyer_fan is. I bet he lives with his parents

  15. Ace_Bailey says:

    To be totally honest, comparing the Tampa Bay Lightning of yesteryear to the Leafs of today is like comparing a mighty oak tree to a sapling. It makes absolutely no sense and the two teams are not even close to being in the same league as each other. Outside of key 3 players, who are good but by no means great, the Leafs really have nothing worth noting outside of Tuukka Rask, and he’s still a fair ways away.

    This year is already a write off anyway. Whatever the signings it’s just to appease the fans to make them forget about the hole riddled team. I want the Leafs to tank. They can get a top 10 1st round pick and are pretty wide open next season with only 4 guys under contract. The future really isn’t as bright as many of you think.

  16. titans says:

    Well being that I’m married I’d bet your wrong…I want my ten dollars immediatly!

    But I fail to see what this has to do with hockey.

  17. titans says:

    “A huge queer Flyer Fan” wow…you are impressive…you put that “huge queer Flyer Fan” in his place! Betcha he won’t be messing with you anymore! Your good!

  18. titans says:

    Could it be? A realistic Leaf fan whose logic is based in reality??? Am I dreaming???

  19. WYflyerfan says:

    He is just mad because the women up there have hairy arm pits, hairy legs and the beard to match….You will never see your ten bucks because he will need it to by a beer to cry in when he see how bad the leafs really are..

  20. letsgoNYR says:

    YOOOOOO enough with the leafs comments its reallly getin on my *****in nerves over hea. There are 29 other teams in this league and every other post has something to do with the leafs it realllly anoying so ice it.

  21. JeffBurnz09 says:

    I don’t like the Leafs. Normally, I expect them do to what they always do. Make the playoffs and lose in the second round. Sometimes I give them too much credit and they go out in the first round. This year? I see them fighting for the 7th or 8th playoff spot. I think it’s definitely possible, and probably likely they’re going to miss the playoffs, but I could see them taking the 8th spot and getting spanked in the first round.

    Playing with youth does work, but it doesn’t work over night. Tampa had been a great team in the works for a couple of years, and have some of the best young superstars in the league. Toronto doesn’t have anyone with the talent of Lecavalier, and Tampa had St.Louis and Richards to go along with him. The Flames probably didn’t have the talent the Leafs had, but they had enough guys stepping up and playing hard, and with heart. The Leafs have a tendancy to roll over and die when they’re having a rough game, and in the end it costs them the series. (Game 7 vs Philly, 2003, Game 5 vs Philly, 2004).

    The Leafs going with a youth movement would work if they had a strong group of young players. This year, they don’t. If they rebuild, and draft well, they’ll be a good team, but they’ve traded away their youth. Going with youth CAN work, but you have to have the talent to pull it off. Tampa did, and eventually won. Philly’s looking good on paper, but we’ll have to see if/when they get there. The Leafs can’t throw their farm team on the ice next year and expect to win.

  22. titans says:

    I hope he gets alcohol poisoning!

  23. tit4tat says:

    First of all, Quinn is no longer the GM, John Ferguson Jr is, therefore there is no longer a need for him to learn how to draft.

    Secondly, their youth leaves much to be desired, highlighted by the fact that they rank near the bottom of the league in terms of minor league talent. http://www.hockeysfuture.com/orgrankings.php

    Lastly, with the roster as it stands, the Leafs would be lucky to make the playoffs, much less be a top team in the East.

  24. tit4tat says:

    I read the article and I have to disagree with the statement that Sundin is “the team’s spiritual leader”. This is the reason Toronto will NEVER win the Cup. As long as Sundin wears the “C” on his chest, Leafs fans will be on the outside looking in.

    While he may be a very good hockey player, blessed with good size and excellent skills, he’s no leader. A leader is someone who can take the rest of the team by the scruff of the neck when things get tough and turn the tide when the cause seems hopeless. Sittler did it, Clarke did it, so did Gilmore. You don’t name a player captain simply because he’s the most skilled player on the team, or because he scores the most goals. Lafleur was never a captain, neither were Bossy, Oates, Kurri, Ciccarelli, Gartner, just to name a few, but I bet you would want those guys on your team any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    So stop trying to put a positive spin on an otherwise bleak situation. The Leafs are in a period of transition and no amount of positve outlook will change that. The only thing that will turn around the fortunes of Toronto is learning to draft and develop your own players, something that has not been done in this town in nearly 40 years.

  25. 92-93 says:

    have to disagree there. unfortunately, the kind of ‘leader’ that is often prized within sports culture and sports media is precisely the kind you describe – a very masculine, aggressive, almost paternal conception of a leader. this kind of leader certainly works in the examples you cite and with Messier but there is no one type of leader. there are different ways to lead and the way Sundin has lead is by example. there is photo of Sundin with blood on his sweater leaving the ice after game 6 of last season’s playoffs. he leads by example, scores the big goals when they need them.

    i wish people would stop looking to Don Cherry’s macho version of so-called leadership. If sundin were Canadian and not Swedish, the canadian media and pundits would have embraced him purely on the way he shows others how to play the game of hockey (versus Tucker, Domi, etc.).

  26. 92-93 says:

    here let me try it, but boy it sounds complicated …

    No… the Flyers … suck.

    wow, that took a lot. i have some matter dribbling out of ear with all the mental energy that took. but boy, i made an awesome point. you know, about the flyers sucking. wow its getting easier for me to distill all of my hockey knowledge into those three words .. the flyers suck.

    now i see why you guys cannot say anything else about the leafs or make decent criticisms about them. no statistics, no numbers, no effort at thinking whatsoever. its so easy. by saying the ‘flyers suck,’ it allows me to state something that is the equivalent of making fart noises and running away while others are making all this effort at actually speculating and thinking things out.

  27. 92-93 says:

    your assessment of the leafs playoff record (just over the last 2 years – not including 1999 and 2002 when they went to round 3) could be stated about every other eastern conference team with the exception of the Devils.

    The Flyers, Sens, Leafs have all had similar playoff records during that time (exiting sometime during the first 3 rounds with the exception that Philly went to the finals in 1997). Ottawa has made it to the 3rd round once.

    other teams that have been less consistent then the ones mentioned above but went all the way to the finals include the Sabres (1999), Capitals (1998), Carolina (2002), Tampa Bay (2004), Panthers (1995).

    so, all this talk about how unreliable T.O. has been in recent years (post-1995) is a little overdone. on top of that the Leafs did make the 3rd round in 1993 and 1994 but all the Leaf bashers are selective in their history knowledge. its hard to take anyone seriously or take the application of their knowledge as credible or reliable when they let the facts slip out in favour of putting others down.

    I agree with the rest of your comments, they don’t have a good farm system and its going to take awhile for them to change their bad habits and draft well.

  28. tit4tat says:

    Although we call it a sport, albeit a sport we in Canada equate with religion, hockey may be the perfect metaphore for war. This is never more evident come playoff time and a true hockey fan will agree with that assessment.

    Therefore a leader must, by definition, lead. In hockey, as in war, only leaders who commands respect can exhort his “troops” in a less emphatic manner than we’re used to seeing.

    We call these leaders, “quiet leaders”, those who lead by example. Guys like Yzerman, Lafontaine, Francis, Bourque, Trottier etc…these players leave it all on the ice and never needed to urge their teammates on by screaming, ranting or getting in someone’s face to elevate their play or effort.

    Sundin does not belong to that group of players. I have watched many a game the Leafs had no hope of winning, when Mats decided to take the night off and I’m certain you have also.

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and I’d hazard to guess that Sundin would not make a successful general in the classic meaning of the word. You’d follow a Clarke, a Gilmore or a Sittler to battle before you would a Sundin.

  29. tit4tat says:

    “so, all this talk about how unreliable T.O. has been in recent years (post-1995) is a little overdone. on top of that the Leafs did make the 3rd round in 1993 and 1994 but all the Leaf bashers are selective in their history knowledge. its hard to take anyone seriously or take the application of their knowledge as credible or reliable when they let the facts slip out in favour of putting others down.”

    You are correct, Leafs bashing has become a very popular sport in Canada and is spreading to the U.S.

    I have on occasion partaken in it myself, but in my defence, I was provoked by very obnoxious and unrealistic Leafs fans, but I digress.

    The Leafs have been in the last decade a relatively successful team in terms of regular season wins, and somewhat less so, post-season play.

    It can be said that Toronto could never get over the hump, mostly, if not entirely because of their own doing.

    Neglecting to draft quality and/or trading promissing young talent in favour of over-the-hill, past-their-expiration-date, ready-to-retire players has been the achilles heel for Toronto.

    You CANNOT win the Stanley Cup by neglecting to develop your youth on the farm team.

    But because some Leafs fans get carried away with early regular-season success, they lose their head and proclaim that this indeed is “the year”, and give you all the evidence to prove it.

    Alas, they fail to recognize that ever-present weakness…the lack of homegrown talent and solid supporting cast that turns contenders into champions.

  30. 92-93 says:

    totally agree.

    and that is part of Leaf culture – a kind of fanaticism that often means that there are those who are unrealistic or get too excited. my point has always been that to bash someone for being too exicted is pretty weak (although bashing someone for being arrogant when they have no right to be – i understand and that certainly applies to some leaf fans – but not all or even most Leaf fans).

  31. 92-93 says:

    Just responding to some posts with some research on who has been the best Eastern Conference pllayoff team since 1999 (I am obviously procrastinating on what I really have to do i.e. packing and writing a thesis). by ‘best’ i am referring to teams that CONSISTENTLY make the playoffs and go beyond the first round:

    ____________GP__W___L___Pts __Pct

    1. New Jersey_89__53__37__116__.595__(Round 1 exit: 1999, 2002, 2004), Cup Finalists (2000, 2001, 2003), Cup Champs (2003)

    2. Toronto____80__41__39__82___.513__(Round 1 exit: 2003, Round 2 exit: 2000, 2002, 2004, Round 3 exit: 1999, 2002)

    3. Phily______66__33__33__66__.500__(Round 1 exit: 1999, 2001, 2002, Round exit 2003, Round 3 exit: 2000, 2004)

    4. Buffalo____39__22__17__44__.564__(Round 1 exit: 2000, Round 2 exit: 2001, Cup Finalists: 1999)

    5. Ottawa____51__23__28__46__.451__(Round 1 exitS: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, Round 2 exit: 2002, Round 3 exit: 2003)

    6. T.B.______34__21__13__42__.618__(Round 2 exit: 2003, Cup Champs: 2004)

    7. Pittsburgh__42__21__21__42__.500__(Round 2 exit: 1999, 2000, Round 3 exit: 2001)

    8. Carolina___35__17__18__34__.486__(Round 1 exit: 1999, 2001, Cup Finalists: 2002)

    9. Boston____30__12__18__24__.400__(Round 1 exit: 2002, 2003, 2004, Round 2 exit: 1999)

    10. Montreal__23__10__13__20__.435__(Round 2 exit: 2002, 2004)

    t-11. Wash.___17__5__12__10__.294__(Round 1 exit: 2000, 2001, 2003)

    t-11. NYI_____17__5__12__10__.294__(Round 1 exit: 2002, 2003, 2004)

    13. Florida____4___0___4___0___.000__(Round 1 exit: 2000)

    I guess it all depends on how you want to read this. first you must take into consideration that this provides a fraction of NHL history (post-1999) so it is a pretty narrow framing. the point is, i’ve seen much more narrower historical minds in some posts (re: ‘the Leafs are chokers and can’t get past the first and second round’).

    second, if you want to go by teams that make the most of what they get, Buffalo and Tampa Bay seem to top the list. they don’t make the playoffs every year (although i think Tampa making it is now going to be a regular thing) but they do a lot when they do make the playoffs. Overall the best team is the Devils hands down.

    The bad news for leaf fans (versus philly fans): they’ve beaten us the last two years and we beat them only once (in 1999 i think). the good news: the leafs have played and won more games and have a higher win percentage.

    the bad news for Sens fans: they make thep layoffs often (4th in games played) but don’t win many rounds.

    the good news: … um … (tumbleweed blows by). Let’s just say i’d rather be a Tampa Bay fan than a Sens fan.

  32. tit4tat says:

    Nothing wrong with getting excited about your team, it’s actually un-Canadian not to be, but there has to be a dose of reality that is missing in SOME fans, no matter who they root for.

    However it seems, to me at least, that those obnoxious and unrealistic fans, for the most part are Buds fans.

    My best friend is a Leafs fan and we have had many heated discussions about our respective teams (I’m a Habs fan) but, in the end, I respect his love for his team (he never lets that blind him from being objective) and his non-partisan opinion of the rest of the league.

  33. tit4tat says:

    “I guess it all depends on how you want to read this”

    Ever hear the old saying: There are lies, damned lies and statistics.

    In other words, you can pretty much have statistics say whatever you want them to say.

  34. 92-93 says:

    as Homer Simpson once remarked:

    “Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.”

  35. NemiNA says:

    QUEER????!!! WHAT IS THIS MIDDLE SCHOOL? Tell ya what, hit puberty, then come back here and try to prove him WRONG by blindsiding him with IMPRESSIVE HOCKEY TALK! NOT PUBESCENT INSULTS!

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