Why the Maple Leafs had no chance this year…

During the off season, the Leafs made a few, what were then called, “high profile” free agent signings. Guys like Jason Allison (who hadn’t played in years due to injuries), Jeff O’Neil (who Carolina couldn’t wait to dump), and Eric Lindros (who was and still is damaged goods). The Toronto-centric media was all over these signings. But the worst spate of journalistic bias came with the signing of Mariusz Czerkawski. In September 2005, Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun wrote:

Reputedly, Mariusz Czerkawski can do back flips after he scores.

If the new Maple Leafs right winger can hit in the 30 to 40-goal range this season, perhaps as Mats Sundin’s linemate, it will be Toronto’s hockey office doing the cartwheels. Czerkawski officially came aboard yesterday, signing a one-year deal believed to be worth around $500,000 US.

Um. Okay. Based on what was this guy going to score 30-40 goals? Here are his career stats:

Year Team GP G A Pts +/-
2005-06 BOS 8 1 1 2 -4
2005-06 TOR 19 4 1 5 -2
2003-04 NYI 81 25 24 49 +8
2002-03 MTL 43 5 9 14 -7
2001-02 NYI 82 22 29 51 -8
2000-01 NYI 82 30 32 62 -25
1999-00 NYI 79 35 35 70 -16
1998-99 NYI 78 21 17 38 -10
1997-98 NYI 68 12 13 25 +11
1996-97 EDM 76 26 21 47 0
1995-96 EDM 37 12 17 29 +7
1995-96 BOS 33 5 6 11 -11
1994-95 BOS 47 12 14 26 +4

His best year was 2000-01 in which he scored 35 goals! Where does Hornby think this guy was going to get 30-40? As a side note, if you look at the stats, he only had 5 pts and only played in 19 games this year. Good acquisition.

The worst part of all of this are the idiot fans of the Leafs. You can be a fan, like my sister-in-law, and still be realistic. She cheers for them, but has absolutely no hope. She KNOWS this team is filled with talentless stiffs.

Did Leaf fans actually think this team had the ability to make it to the playoffs, let alone challenge for the Cup? Really?

Check out guys like this, who commented on a recent Toronto Star forum:

…Also why didn’t the leafs try to pull off a trade for a goalie before the deadline. Considering the number of games remaining I can’t fathom why these moves were not made and the blame has to be put squarely on the shoulders of Ferguson Jr. and Quinn. I can’t understand how they play so well against Carolina and stink the joint out at the Bell Centre.
Milt Kenigsberg, North York

Poor Milt. He totally has no clue. They didn’t pull off a trade for a goalie because they COULDN’T. What could they have given up for a goalie? What team would want ANY of the stiffs they had to offer? Also, they had NO ROOM under the salary cap to make such a deal if it didn’t involve at least one of their overpaid players.

What is it about the Leaf jersey that have otherwise sensible people thinking that a player can turn around his dwindling career once they don the hallowed Leaf emblem? Every major signing they have done over the past few years have been players at the end of their abilities and careers. THAT’s why the Leafs had no chance this year. No chance at all.

29 Responses to Why the Maple Leafs had no chance this year…

  1. curtman96 says:

    You know what man, ***** you alright, im tired of hearing all this shit of how the leafs were so stupid and had no chance. Its easy to say that now. We heard it many times already just write about something else.

  2. Aetherial says:

    OK yeah, you are right.

    You have the benefit of a genius’ amount of hindsight though.

    Czerkawski was a career .6 ppg man… 45 point would have been good for that price and they needed SOMEONE and they had no money to spend.

    They had a LOT they could have traded for a goalie, Tucker, McCabe, about 6 prospects in the marlies and 4 good young players on the big team. The problem is that it would be foolish to make that kind of trade. So the issue is that the Leafs were not really in a good position to make the deal. It is not that every Leaf player and prospect sucks.

  3. ccrashh says:

    Hindsight? I said TO would have no chance at the beginning of the season (as early as Aug 2005 – in my blog). What I was trying to show was that based on the moves they made and the poor raft of talent in their lineup, they really had no chance. They played inexplicably well to begin the season, but that’s it.

    The problem with many, if not most, Leafs fans is they really have no clue. When Ottawa was a terrible team, I said so. I *****ed and moaned and refused to pay to see them. TO fans, on the other hand, support crap…soooo..they get crap. Stop selling out the games…stop hogging the TV coverage…maybe MLSE will get the idea and improve the team. I would love to see a competitve team in TO….won’t happen soon though.

  4. 24_cups_and_counting says:

    Uh…………..yeah does. Every “Leaf prospect” is over the age of 25. Just about the time they should be hitting UFA, they are entering the league. They can’t be that good, if there just getting there chance now.

  5. Aetherial says:

    Listen, you have proven yourself to be just about the most retarded A-hole on this site over and over and over again.

    How about you at least don’t make it so easy to make you look like a total ass…

    The following ALL have real potential to play in the NHL…

    Pogge 20

    Rask 19?

    Vorobiev 21

    White 22

    Steen 22

    Williams 22

    Bell 23

    Stajan 23

    Colaiacovo 23

    Wellwood 23

    Ondrus 24

    Kronvall 24

    Harrison 24

    Wozniewski 26

    Pohl 27

    There are 15 legitimate prospects, most of whom have impressed with some NHL time.

    A whopping TWO are over 25.

    Since the deadline you can also add Sublabov, 24, who was the Devils second best prospect.

    The reason they have not been given the chance is twofold. First, the Leafs spent money on veterans, right or wrong, that is true. Second, Quinn has a strong propensity towards playing veteran players.

    Thanks for coming out moron. Let’s see how the Canadien’s prospects stack up to that in talent or age.

  6. ccrashh says:

    In terms of what you might call “potential” players no one they drafted from as far back as 1997 fits that bill, and even looking at the best of the lot there are no stand-outs. With the possible exception of Brad Boyes, and he’s now in Boston. Antropov, Ponikerovsky (both 1998), Mikael Telqvist [2000?], Carlo Colaiacovo, Karel Pilar, Kyle Wellwood [2001], Alex Steen, Mathew Stajan, Steffan Kronwall [2002] are it, so far. A couple of good middle-of-the-road players (Wellwood and Steen) and a maybe in Kronwall. Nary a superstar in sight.

    Compare that to Ottawa which, for the most part, has been picking much lower than the Leafs on average: Marian Hossa in 1997 (translated into Dany Heatley), Mike Fisher and Chris Neil in 1998; Martin Havlat and Chris Kelly in 1999; Anton Volchenkov and Antoine Vermette in 2000; Jason Spezza, Tim Gleason (now LA), Ray Emery, Christoph Schubert, Brooks Laich (now Washington), and Brandon Bochenski (now Chicago translated into Tyler Arnason), all in 2001; Patrick Eaves in 2003; and Andrej Meszaros in 2004.

    Now, granted, some of the players may be successful later on, but it is tough to improve as a player in the atmostphere that constantly permeates around the Leafs…like living in a fish bowl.

    Look, I have nothing against the Leafs per se, I just don’t think they have done anything right in years, and I think they will need at least 4 years to rebuild if done properly. Though, given the history I doubt they will. This summer, they will probably sign Steve Yzerman and maybe entice Mario out of retirement….Gretzky too?

    I might give you Pogge, though many goalies flagged as sure things have busted when they came to the NHL. We’ll see. But the rest?

  7. Aetherial says:

    Well I am not about to debate Toronto’s horrendous drafting record 🙂

    Goalies are definitely a tough proposition.

    The original point was that the Leafs had nothing to trade. I disagree. They *could* have traded younger players. I am certain a lot of those guys would have been interesting to a lot of teams out there. This is especially true in a league that seems weak on D and Goaltending right now. I doubt there is a team out there that has better D/Goalie prospects overall than the Leafs.

    What is a GLARING hole though is the lack of a superstar talent. There is noone who will be that kind of player.

    Ottawa has drafted solidly however a couple of those guys you mentioned may also be benefiting from playing on a strong team. It is a little easier to shine when the team is that good than when the team is pretty much in total disarray this year. I also think Spezza was a higher pick overall than the Leafs have had in the last 10 years 🙂

  8. ccrashh says:

    Okay…I agree with your point. I hadn’t really thought trading away their younger players as an option. I was mostly looking at the older, over-paid ones that they would love to get rid of but can’t.

  9. Aetherial says:

    Which is about the ONLY thing JFJ did right at the deadline. At least he did not deal any youth.

    The Leafs actually do have the beginnings of a team they can build. It is tough to rebuild when you have nothing in the system to help.

    I think a couple painful years where we have a lot of rookie D mistakes will be necessary. Let’s face it, even with vets they were horrible. It likely can’t get worse!!

    Really, they are going to have to live with Sundin’s contract and with the waste of about 4 million for Belak Domi Belfour… none of whom will play next year.

    After that, their kids will have more experience and they will have more money to spend …

    just so long as they don’t waste money on long term contracts to aging vets anymore, and I don’t think they will.

    I like what the young players have shown me this year. There may be some hope in Leafland after all. God knows we’ve put up with this crap long enough!!

  10. ccrashh says:

    Exactly. It was the “aging vets” signings this summer that did them in. Well..not just this summer…every year since 1968. You know, I really can’t remember the last standout rookie on the Leafs!

  11. Aetherial says:

    I can forgive them this summer. They had very little money to spend and a bunch of kids really not ready.

    So they took a chance on some vets. Nobody expected it to work, and it didn’t. Honestly though, they weren’t going anywhere this year anyway. I don’t have a problem with at least trying something and failing as long as they didn’t get locked into long term with these guys, and they didn’t.

  12. ccrashh says:

    Actually…a lot of people expected the free-agent signings to work…if the avid Leaf fans I know were any indication.

  13. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    I don’t know why everyone hates the veterans, the only team ever to win a cup without a strong veteran presence was the Edmonton Oilers.

    The problem isn’t Lindros, or Tucker, or O’neill, it’s the players with absolutely no talent at all, like Antropov, or Berg, or Belak,

    I don’t like losing. Frankly, I’d rather watch my team compete, and watch them go deep into the playoffs with the veterans I like, then watch them lose with a group of rookies to MAYBE win in 2010 or 2011, just not my idea of a fun hockey game.

    And how often does rebuilding really work??? Please don’t say Detroit, Colorado, or New Jersey, because Detroit and Colorado were both freakin rich, and if they were in other cities, would have lost their talent pretty quickly. New Jersey didn’t rebuild, they just sucked for 10 years.

    I’d rather see the Leafs lose in the conference finals next year, with Domi, O’neill, Lindros, Sundin, Tucker, and maybe even Joseph, then miss the playoffs with Vorobiev, and Suglobov.

    Frankly, the only position that we can really build through our prospects is defense, where we have a terriffic core of White, Bell, Harrison, Wozniewsky, Colaiacovo, Kronwall, and even still Tomas Kaberle. White’s a point per game. We need to sign a true number one this summer, and then have him with Kaberle. Maybe a number three, but Bell, White, Colaiacovo, and Harrison can do the job. Joseph would be a great signing, and then we’d need a top six forward or two. My preference on this years list would be Elias, or maybe Selanne, Carter, or Shanahan, all unlikely, but definately not Suglobov, or Voboriev, or any more of these Russian prospects.

    What happened to the Canadian Leaf teams??? Where players from Ontario were praised as hometown hero’s? The only real problem with teams like that is guys like Salming, who were legends were treated like shit.

    Maybe Leaf management would believe in Canadian hockey if they had Don Cherry pick team Canada in a series vs Russia. Damn, I’d love to see that happen. Why not Don Cherry as coach and GM?

    People ussually laugh at the notion but he did very well with the Bruins (though never winning the Cup.), and would not as some people believe, drive out all the Europeans. He’d build a good, fighting, checking hockey club. And every good team needs to be able to fight.

    Not to mention the players love him. Players would line up to play in Toronto… I mean it’s playing for the biggest hockey market in the world, the hometown team for alot of them, a chance at some huge endoresements, and to get to work with Grapes!

  14. Guero says:

    Leafy I enjoy your articles, you are young and have good hockey knowledge for the most part, you have some far-fetched ideas but who doesn’t. However, you really need to drop it with the whole Don Cherry thing! The man is a tool, a racist and a *****ing nut job, honestly, what was the last intelligent thing he has said?

  15. intothevoid001 says:

    its the nature of the beast. it happens every year. i’m by no means an avid fan, i watch the games but i certainly don’t expect big things.

    its just one of those facts of life you people are going to have to deal with. we support our team through thick and thin. i mean honestly, we’re 10/11 in the conference and still selling out games? beantown wasn’t looking too full last night?

    what i’m trying to say is that it doesn’t matter how bad the leafs suck, were going to cheer for them. i mean, its not our fault they’ve got the wrong people in front office. i mean hell, the guys they’ve got running this team are friggin evil. andy frost made a good comment last night, he said “it is just entertainment, it’s not life and death” and i fully agree with him. but if what i’ve been hearing is true, they knew they were going to suck and basically sabotaged the year. i’m not going to go into what they did or should have done, cause honestly i don’t know at this point, and i don’t think the organization knows what they’re doing or going to do either.

  16. Aetherial says:

    True a lot of people did have high hopes/expectations.

    They are called “fans”, which comes from “fanatics”.

    I cannot criticize Leafs fans for being hopeful and optimistic.

    Furthermore, there were people like me, and like most sportswriters/insiders in Toronto who felt the team would struggle to make the playoffs. That is exactly where they are now.

    I have to admit that I thought they would be in the playoffs this year, although I did not believe they would win a round.

  17. ccrashh says:

    Well…Cherry DID say that Ottawa would win the Stanley Cup.

  18. thatleafsguy says:

    Why your writing career has no chance ever…..

  19. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Ottawa wont win! there are 6 teams in the west with more speed and talent than ottawa, but never got a chance to face the sens. Anahem looks good in my oppinion

  20. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Oh boy,

    you dont know anything.

    IF belrour had played like he did last season the Leafs would have easily made the playoffs, you’re lying through our teeth if you are saying that you thought the leafs had no chance at making the playoffs. there were so many prospects, UFA’s, new rules, and changes in the league overall that nobody had a hope in hell of predicting the outcome of this season.

    Is Heatly the reason Ottawa is doing so well


    Is Amonte the reason Clagary is doing so well


    Is Niedermayer the reason Anaheim is doing so well


    you cant judge the leafs based on a few offseason pickups, and say they had no chance.

    by the way:

    “Every major signing they have done over the past few years have been players at the end of their abilities and careers. THAT’s why the Leafs had no chance this year. No chance at all.”

    Guys we’ve aquired in the last 2 seasons include:

    Kilger 29

    Kukumberg 26

    Foster 21

    O’neill 30

    Suglobov 24

    Aubin 28

    Allison 30

    Lindros 33

    Pohl 26

    If these guys are at the end of their careers the average age in he NHL must be 12

  21. ccrashh says:

    omigod…My comment about “the end of their careers” had absolutely nothing to do with their ages. It has to do with the viability of their talent. You honestly don’t think Allison is finished? Lindros? Suglobov is a stiff and always will be. O’Neill might be a good 2nd or 3rd liner if he can get his head back on straight. Won’t happen in the media glare of Toronto.

  22. ccrashh says:

    Mature comment. As always. If you disagree about what I have wrote, comment on it. Though, given the poor grammar and disjointed thinking evident in most of your posts, I don’t suppose you will be able to string a coherent rebuttal together. Sorry about all the big words. Might I suggest http://www.dictionary.com. You can look some of them up there.

    Take a look at Aetherial’s replies to me to see how civilized people debate.

  23. ccrashh says:

    I just re-read your post….IF…IF Belfour played like he did….after a whole season off and back surgery? No, I KNEW he wouldn’t play well…and certainly wouldn’t last the season.

    You are the one that apparently knows nothing. Belfour. Jesus.

  24. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    you honestly think you are god or something.


    and belfour has had back surgery more than once and he’s bounced back nicely.

    AND Hasek has had more injuries and surgeries than Belrour ever has and he has been FANTASTIC this year. face it, you didn’t know this would happen, you’re just saying you knew it would happen.

  25. ccrashh says:

    Belfour had BACK surgery. ANd as far as conditioning goes, Hasek has always been and is in much better physical condition. Most of Belfour’s workouts habitually consist of him lifting a tall one from the bar to his mouth and back down again.

    Yeah, I knew. In fact, I was wrong in one respect. I didn’t expect them to even come CLOSE to making a playoff spot.

    It’s too bad the nhl.com forums are still screwed up…that’s where I predicted this.

  26. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Well then if you said they wouldn’t have come close, then aren’t you impressed with what they did with (in your oppinion not mine) so little talent.

    nhl.coms forums are working fine

  27. ccrashh says:

    Never said I wasn’t impressed at their effort.

    BTW, the NHL.COM forums are not working fine and haven’t been since mid March or so. It even says that on the Chat/BBS page.

  28. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    EFFORT! You called the leafs a bunch of talentless stiffs, and claim that effort got us this far. Buddy, effort is why we DID NOT make the playoffs.

    by the way

    Sundin scored 4 goals in a game a few weeks ago and is NOT talentless

    Kabby is skating better than almost every player in the league and is NOT talentless

    Tucker plays with heart and is a damn good enforcer with decent speed also NOT talentless

    you talk about free agents, but you forget that the leafs had a strong core and rookie base to begin with. if the leafs let go of lindros allison and McCabe and signed no free agents they will still make the playoffs next year, that is a promise

  29. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    yeah run the team into debt, if thats the way to winthe cup, then ottawa is a shoe in this year.

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