Saturday, June 23, 2007

I'm really puzzled by the lack of a secondary move by Toronto general manager John Ferguson Jr. Here's how I figured on things playing out right before the trade:

1) Leafs bring in Curtis Joseph for not much money on a one-year deal. Since the Leafs aren't going to win a Cup this year anyway, he mentors both Raycroft and Pogge while playing 20-25 games and taking some of the pressure off of Razor.
2a) Raycroft matures and shows marked improvement, solidifying his place as the No. 1 and giving Pogge time to develop slowly. The Leafs spend their draft picks and cap dollars on big wingers, and Curtis rides off into the sunset an even bigger hero in the GTA tham he already is.


2B) Raycroft fails to develop, and the Leafs hit the free agent market to pick up a goalie, or decide to move up Pogge and possibly resign Joseph for one more year as the back-up.

Picking up Toskala isn't a bad move -- it just underscores the lack of direction in the Toronto front office. I can only guess Ferguson figures he can play them as a platoon for the season, allowing Maurice to ride the hot hand, then deal one or the other next season.

That's not a terrible plan, but I can't imagine it's going to make either one of the Leaf netminders very happy -- and it's not going to thrill fans, either.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Leafs have just made their first deal of the draft weekend, acquiring Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell from San Jose for (maybe)their first-round pick at No. 13 this season, a second rounder and a fourth-round pick in 2009.

I'm not thrilled about the loss of the first-round pick, but Toskala is the real deal. He was 26-10-1 with a 2.35 GAA and a .908 save percentage last year, and he'll only be better if he's the main man. The pick also can switch to the 2008 draft if the Sharks don't like who is available this year, but Toronto has Top 10 protection in that case.

Where this leaves Andrew Raycroft is up for debate. Raycroft wasn't the problem last season (hello, Kubina and McCabe!), but he wasn't the solution either. Dealing him or relegating him to the back-up spot would be an admission of defeat for Toronto GM John Ferguson, Jr., in the trade that sent Tuukka Rask to Boston last year. I have to think (and hope and pray) JFJ has a deal in place to move Razor and a defenseman.

It also makes you wonder whether the Leafs have already soured on Justin Pogge. I didn't hear anyone come away from last year's Marlies games saying they were overly impressed with Pogge, and the organization has been pretty mum. Pogge's way too young to write off, but if the right package came down the pike to move him and acquire either a high pick or a solid scorer, I think the Leafs would jump.

As for Mark Bell, he can't possibly play down to the lousy level of last year again, can he? Bell's 6-4, 205, so he's got the size Toronto needs in the corners and to free up Mats Sundin (hint hint), and he's only $2M a year. Wjat's the harm?

This is definitely a nice move by Ferguson, but keep your fingers crossed that another deal's coming.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Just a quickie -- if you haven't seen previews of the upcoming Family Guy season premiere, they're fantastic! The FG gang has remade Star Wars, and although the YouTube clip of the showing at a Star Wars celebration has been yanked (thanks to the legal idiots at 20th Century Fox), you can still find it at Devil Ducky.

It's worth the click, trust me!

Friday, June 01, 2007

I was just checking out my MySpace page (Yes, I have one. No, I'm not 15. Yes, I'd be glad to send $5,000 to Nigeria or view your web cam for $1.99 per minute) and near the bottom of the front page, there's a spot for some hot musical artist.

Today's choice is Ben Kweller, who is a part of the joint SPIN/MySpace Smashing Pumpkins tribute CD. I happen to love tribute albums (especially versions of rock tunes that switch genres -- see also Breathe, a collection of Dave Matthews songs as bluegrass), so I hopefully listened to Kweller's version of "Today", which is on his page.

Awful. Gigantically, spectacularly awful. Kweller takes a powerful, angry anthem and reduces it to a wimpy, washed-out whine. It's like remaking "Pulp Fiction" with Nathan Lane and Bob Ross.

Go listen for yourself and explain to me how this guy -- who sings like Fran Drescher acts -- got a record deal on the first place.