Maple Leafs: Experienced…or just plain old?

I know everyone always talks about the invaluable benefit of leadership, character and experience come playoff time, but how much is too much? Surely Leafs fan know of all the failed trade deadline signings from recent years; Phil Housley, Doug Gilmour, Glen Wesley, to name just a few. What’s to make anyone think this year will be any different? Can the additions of Ron Francis, Brian Leetch and Calle Johannson make a difference this year, when it’s never made a difference before? Is management really trying to win each year or are they just leading their faithful (obsessive) fans back to the trough so they’ll buy seasons tickets for next year? Or worse still, spend all their money on those stupid flags that Leafs fans hang out of their car windows each year. Can a mere $5,000 donation to help food banks in Ottawa really be enough to brainwash their fans into thinking they are going to win the cup, yet again this year, when they never do? Is $5,000 enough when the average salary in the league is approaching $2 million? Apparently so, because Leafs fans still rant and rave about how their team is going to win the cup, just they like believed last year, and the year before. But how can they think this? Let’s look at the stats of their “veteran” talent and compare how they faired this year compared to how they faired in their prime.

Part One: over 30

Ed Belfour(age 38)

This year=31 wins 2.21GAA .915 SV%

Career year=43 wins 2.47 GAA .910 SV%

(still on the top of his game, but rumour has it his wonky back had them considering Olaf Kolzig, so not exactly a sure thing in the playoffs when Kidd is your backup)

Ron Francis(age 41)

This year=11 goals 23 assists 34 points -10

Career year=27 goals 92 assists 119 points +25

(2 years ago maybe, but now fans should be happy if he gets a point every two games)

Gary Roberts(age 37)

This year=27 goals 18 assists 45 points +6

Career year=53 goals 37 assists 90 points +32

(already retired once, the next one can’t be too far away)

Joe Niewendyk(age 37)

This year=19 goals 27 assists 46 points +4

Career year=45 goals 50 assists 95 points +40

(listed as day-to-day, what a surprise)

Calle Johansson(age 37)

This year=0 goals 2 assists 2 points +3

Career year=11 goals 41 assists 52 points -2

(not bad for only playing 4 games, but do you really want a guy who just came out of retirement and only played 4 games to be one of your top 4 defencemen)

Brian Leetch(age 36)

This year=15 goals 33 assists 48 points +1

Career year=22 goals 80 assists 102 points +25

(probably most talented of their veteran crop and closest to prime, but still he was never known for his defensive abilities which is important in playoffs)

Tom Fitzgerald(age 35)

This year=7 goals 9 assists 16 points -3

Career year=13 goals 21 assists 34 points -3

(never was much, but still is half of what he used to be)

Alex Mogilny(age 35)

This year=7 goals 19 assists 26 points +6

Career year=76 goals 51 assists 127 points +7

(I know…he only played 33 games, but that’s my point, he’s old and injury prone)

Bryan Marchment(age 34)

This year=4 points 106 PIM’s

Career year=20 points 313 PIM’s

(was my favourite player when he wore a Hawks jersey 10 years ago, holy @#$% that was 10 years ago!! He should get a good view of the playoffs from the press box)

Tie Domi(age 34)

This year=17 points 208 PIM’s

Career year=14 points 365 PIM’s

(someone should tap him on the shoulder and tell him he’s not a scorer, not much of a fighter anymore either, always bows out of the tough ones)

Mats Sundin(age 33)

This year=30 goals 42 assists 72 points +9

Career year=47 goals 67 assists 114 points +21

(getting older, but obviously any team would still love to have him, can’t say anything bad about him)

Robert Reichel(age 32)

This year=10 goals 19 assists 29 points +1

Career year=40 goals 53 assists 93 points +20

(he’s only 32? To watch him play you’d think he’s 42!! How can anyone be this washed up this young?)

Drake Berehowsky(age 32)

This year=6 goals 18 assists 24 points -11

Career year=12 goals 20 assists 32 points -4

(typical Leafs move, bring in an ex-Leaf to make the fans happy, stats are deceiving, because somebody had to play the powerplay in Pittsburgh)

Owen Nolan(age 32)

This year=19 goals 29 assists 48 points +5

Career year=44 goals 40 assists 84 points -1

(“Father Time”, the grey beard and visor say it all, like Wendyl Clark, a 32 year old man in a 50 year old’s body)

Ken Klee(age 32)

(was having a career year, though it all took place in the first half of the season, and those pesky injuries crept up, will miss the rest of the year)

Michael Renberg(age 31)

This year=12 goals 12 assists 24 points -2

Career year=38 goals 44 assists 82 points +8

(was surprised to see he’s only 31, how can anyone be so washed up so young?—see Robert Reichel)

Trevor Kidd(age 31)

This year=6 wins 3.26 GAA .876 SV %

Career year=22 wins 2.61 GAA .909 SV %

(should someone in his 30′s still be experimenting with goofy facial hair?)

Part Two: approaching 30

Bryan McCabe(age 28)

(having a career year, not much you can complain about here except for being prone to take stupid penalties that could hurt them in the playoffs, but overall, any team would love to have him)

Darcy Tucker(age 29)

This year=21 goals 11 assists 32 points +4

Career year=24 goals 35 assists 59 points +24

(about to go the way of other tough guys like Nolan and Domi, his stupid penalties should hurt the Leafs in the playoffs)

Chad Kilger(age 27)

(4 points in 37 games, need I say more)

Aki-Berg(age 26)

(not old, but washed up at 26)

Well, there you have it, 17 players from their active roster who are over the age of 30, most of whom are well past their prime. Nobody has played the full 78 games, and only 5 have played over 70. This wouldn’t be so bad if their young talent was good enough to get them through all the injuries that the older players are sure to have, but that’s a pretty tall task to hang on the shoulders of Tomas Kaberle. The only other youngsters are Antropov, Ponikarovsky and Stajan and the Leafs will be lucky if all their points add up to 90 by the end of the year. Beyond that, the only one’s I’ve ever heard of are Nathan Perrott and Harold Druken, so I’m sure there’s not much there to count on(if Druken is still even on the team). I really don’t understand how Leafs fans can delude themselves each and every year. I basically started this as a joke, but even I was surprised that they only had 2 good players under the age of 30. Antropov, Ponikarovsky and Stajan are going to be good players, but none of them has even approached their prime yet. I’m sorry Leafs fans. I started to write this article to make fun of you guys, but now I just feel sorry for all of you. And to think how many landfills are going to be filled by all those plastic flags when the Leafs go out in the first round.

I know everyone always talks about the invaluable benefit of leadership, character and experience come playoff time, but how much is too much? Surely Leafs fan know of all the failed trade deadline signings from recent years; Phil Housley, Doug Gilmour, Glen Wesley, to name just a few. What’s to make anyone think this year will be any different? Can the additions of Ron Francis, Brian Leetch and Calle Johannson make a difference this year, when it’s never made a difference before? Is management really trying to win each year or are they just leading their faithful (obsessive) fans back to the trough so they’ll buy seasons tickets for next year? Or worse still, spend all their money on those stupid flags that Leafs fans hang out of their car windows each year. Can a mere $5,000 donation to help food banks in Ottawa really be enough to brainwash their fans into thinking they are going to win the cup, yet again this year, when they never do? Is $5,000 enough when the average salary in the league is approaching $2 million? Apparently so, because Leafs fans still rant and rave about how their team is going to win the cup, just they like believed last year, and the year before. But how can they think this? Let’s look at the stats of their “veteran” talent and compare how they faired this year compared to how they faired in their prime.

Part One: over 30

Ed Belfour(age 38)

This year=31 wins 2.21GAA .915 SV%

Career year=43 wins 2.47 GAA .910 SV%

(still on the top of his game, but rumour has it his wonky back had them considering Olaf Kolzig, so not exactly a sure thing in the playoffs when Kidd is your backup)

Ron Francis(age 41)

This year=11 goals 23 assists 34 points -10

Career year=27 goals 92 assists 119 points +25

(2 years ago maybe, but now fans should be happy if he gets a point every two games)

Gary Roberts(age 37)

This year=27 goals 18 assists 45 points +6

Career year=53 goals 37 assists 90 points +32

(already retired once, the next one can’t be too far away)

Joe Niewendyk(age 37)

This year=19 goals 27 assists 46 points +4

Career year=45 goals 50 assists 95 points +40

(listed as day-to-day, what a surprise)

Calle Johansson(age 37)

This year=0 goals 2 assists 2 points +3

Career year=11 goals 41 assists 52 points -2

(not bad for only playing 4 games, but do you really want a guy who just came out of retirement and only played 4 games to be one of your top 4 defencemen)

Brian Leetch(age 36)

This year=15 goals 33 assists 48 points +1

Career year=22 goals 80 assists 102 points +25

(probably most talented of their veteran crop and closest to prime, but still he was never known for his defensive abilities which is important in playoffs)

Tom Fitzgerald(age 35)

This year=7 goals 9 assists 16 points -3

Career year=13 goals 21 assists 34 points -3

(never was much, but still is half of what he used to be)

Alex Mogilny(age 35)

This year=7 goals 19 assists 26 points +6

Career year=76 goals 51 assists 127 points +7

(I know…he only played 33 games, but that’s my point, he’s old and injury prone)

Bryan Marchment(age 34)

This year=4 points 106 PIM’s

Career year=20 points 313 PIM’s

(was my favourite player when he wore a Hawks jersey 10 years ago, holy @#$% that was 10 years ago!! He should get a good view of the playoffs from the press box)

Tie Domi(age 34)

This year=17 points 208 PIM’s

Career year=14 points 365 PIM’s

(someone should tap him on the shoulder and tell him he’s not a scorer, not much of a fighter anymore either, always bows out of the tough ones)

Mats Sundin(age 33)

This year=30 goals 42 assists 72 points +9

Career year=47 goals 67 assists 114 points +21

(getting older, but obviously any team would still love to have him, can’t say anything bad about him)

Robert Reichel(age 32)

This year=10 goals 19 assists 29 points +1

Career year=40 goals 53 assists 93 points +20

(he’s only 32? To watch him play you’d think he’s 42!! How can anyone be this washed up this young?)

Drake Berehowsky(age 32)

This year=6 goals 18 assists 24 points -11

Career year=12 goals 20 assists 32 points -4

(typical Leafs move, bring in an ex-Leaf to make the fans happy, stats are deceiving, because somebody had to play the powerplay in Pittsburgh)

Owen Nolan(age 32)

This year=19 goals 29 assists 48 points +5

Career year=44 goals 40 assists 84 points -1

(“Father Time”, the grey beard and visor say it all, like Wendyl Clark, a 32 year old man in a 50 year old’s body)

Ken Klee(age 32)

(was having a career year, though it all took place in the first half of the season, and those pesky injuries crept up, will miss the rest of the year)

Michael Renberg(age 31)

This year=12 goals 12 assists 24 points -2

Career year=38 goals 44 assists 82 points +8

(was surprised to see he’s only 31, how can anyone be so washed up so young?—see Robert Reichel)

Trevor Kidd(age 31)

This year=6 wins 3.26 GAA .876 SV %

Career year=22 wins 2.61 GAA .909 SV %

(should someone in his 30′s still be experimenting with goofy facial hair?)

Part Two: approaching 30

Bryan McCabe(age 28)

(having a career year, not much you can complain about here except for being prone to take stupid penalties that could hurt them in the playoffs, but overall, any team would love to have him)

Darcy Tucker(age 29)

This year=21 goals 11 assists 32 points +4

Career year=24 goals 35 assists 59 points +24

(about to go the way of other tough guys like Nolan and Domi, his stupid penalties should hurt the Leafs in the playoffs)

Chad Kilger(age 27)

(4 points in 37 games, need I say more)

Aki-Berg(age 26)

(not old, but washed up at 26)

Well, there you have it, 17 players from their active roster who are over the age of 30, most of whom are well past their prime. Nobody has played the full 78 games, and only 5 have played over 70. This wouldn’t be so bad if their young talent was good enough to get them through all the injuries that the older players are sure to have, but that’s a pretty tall task to hang on the shoulders of Tomas Kaberle. The only other youngsters are Antropov, Ponikarovsky and Stajan and the Leafs will be lucky if all their points add up to 90 by the end of the year. Beyond that, the only one’s I’ve ever heard of are Nathan Perrott and Harold Druken, so I’m sure there’s not much there to count on(if Druken is still even on the team). I really don’t understand how Leafs fans can delude themselves each and every year. I basically started this as a joke, but even I was surprised that they only had 2 good players under the age of 30. Antropov, Ponikarovsky and Stajan are going to be good players, but none of them has even approached their prime yet. I’m sorry Leafs fans. I started to write this article to make fun of you guys, but now I just feel sorry for all of you. And to think how many landfills are going to be filled by all those plastic flags when the Leafs go out in the first round.