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It’s hindsight, of course, but the Leafs sure gave up more for Kessel than the Rangers did for Nash….

The Rick Nash sweepstakes turned out to be, well, not really a “sweepstakes” at all.  Columbus got some warm bodies, but in truth, not much more.  Nice players, as I mentioned yesterday, but nary a one who will make any Jackets fan want to buy a ticket on a cold winter night in January in Columbus.

So what actually happened?  Did Glen Sather tell Howson—“Look, this is the drop-dead date.  If you don’t pull the trigger, our offer is off the table…(This is my guess.)  Figuring he was not, in fact, going to generate better offers than what the Rangers wouldn’t budge from, Howson blinked first—and the deal got done.

Has the NHL trading landscape changed that much from a year ago, when Philadelphia got some outstanding young talent in exchange for their captain, Mike Richards?  Have the ongoing CBA talks—and a possible strike/lock-out—indeed sent a chill, causing GM’s to play it very conservatively?

Regardless, here in in the land of the Maple Leaf fan—united as we are by passion, or whatever the ad line is this month—this is what we know:  The Leafs paid a lot more for Phil Kessel than the Rangers did for Rick Nash.  Nash may lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup while with Kessel, the bar here is so low we are dreaming of a playoff spot as though that would be some kind of hopeful barometer. (That’s not Kessel’s “fault”, just the reality of the situation.)

Now, I know the Burke supporters (apologists?) will run to his defense and say, hey, he had no idea that what he traded would turn out to be a 2nd and 9th overall in successive years.  They will also, rightly, say that Kessel was much younger than Nash when Burke made his move.

But my point today is not to unduly criticize the Leaf GM for the Kessel trade, simply to point out some relevant facts in light of the Nash deal this week:

  • With regard to the notion that Burke can’t be blamed for trading away two number-one picks in the entry draft because he was trading “picks”, not specific players:  though he has often claimed he would make the same deal again even if he knew the Leafs would have second choice in the draft in the summer of 2010, clearly he didn’t think the Leafs would in fact fall that low.  If his GM antenna (as opposed to his hubris) was “up”, or he was/is as good a roster evaluator as we are led to believe, he would surely have foreseen, one would think, that the Leafs would struggle that season.  Giving up what turned out to be Seguin and Hamilton is, well, a ton—and not even comparable to what the Rangers just gave up for Nash.
  • The third pick lost in the Kessel exchange, and the sleeper in the deal, is Jared Knight.  I have no idea if he will help the Bruins some day, but maybe in Boston they think as highly of him as many here do about any number of Leaf “prospects” that we keep trumpeting. But even if he doesn’t make it, will it really matter?
  • Precisely what the Leafs want right now—a legitimate top line center (Seguin) and a potential shutdown defensemen (Hamilton) is what the Leafs in fact ended up parting with to acquire Kessel.  Both players could be top-end stars in Boston (and are still years away from their prime) while Kessel could end up playing elsewhere before long.
  • While acquiring Kessel in his early or “pre”-prime sounded—and to a certain extent has been—very nice, what difference has it actually made for the Leafs?  They finished with one of the worst records in hockey in 2011-’12, with him in the line-up.
  • Comparatively-speaking, the Rangers acquired a guy with a huge contract, yes, but one who wants to be where he now is (New York) and just may be the player that puts them over the top—not just regarding “the playoffs”, which is all we talk about here, but a Stanley Cup.
  • Perhaps we can agree that the “timing” of the deal is perfect for the Rangers, and the Kessel trade was maybe not such good timing for the Maple Leafs. (And we may still may lose Kessel to free-agency in two years.  Even if he stays, how much should we pay to retain a guy with a mostly one-way game?)

On that note, do you have the sense that Phil wants to buy a home here?

In any event, making deals is not easy.  We all know that.  We all (almost all?  I certainly did…) liked the Phaneuf deal when it was announced.  And the Lupul/Gardiner acquisition looks sweet.  But it’s hard not to look at what the Rangers just gave up for a bona fide high-end winger, widely considered a “star” and then compare that with what Burke gave up for an emerging sniper in Kessel not that long ago.

Different times, different circumstances, for sure.  But, wow….


  1. Ah, Michael. You do a very good job of promoting objective discourse on this site but I can't help but feel that you've given up on Brian Burke a little bit and I think this has coloured your post here.

    I think the deals are not comparable in a meaningful way insofar as Nash and Columbus were in an untenable position: Nash had to be dealt. I may be wrong but I don't think Kessel and Boston had got to that point when we stepped in with our trade.

    I would also take issue about any assumption that Kessel has effectively cost us an NHL first line centre in Seguin AND an NHL shut down D in Hamilton. While Seguin has certainly made inroads into making good on his promise as a bona fide NHL force he is nowhere near being 1C and Hamilton has done nothing of the sought. If Hamilton doesn't make good on his promise - as so many fail to do - then we have really only traded Kessel for Seguin, and that doesn't look so bad so far. To date we have got a PPG winger who can only get better with further investment by the club for a second line centre and a couple of promising prospects. To date, I think we're doing OK.

    As for the Nash trade, Howson moved a guy he absolutely had to and got back Dubinsky (who I rate) and some serviceable NHL bit-parts. he was stuck and probably lost that deal, but did OK.

    The fact that Boston drafted players with the skills we now currently covet is admittedly ironic, but there were way to many variables in play to say that A caused B.

    Let's be a bit more positive about our current state: let's love the fact that we have a player with Kessel's potential and see what our future might bring now that he's got a PPG season under his belt.

  2. "though he has often claimed he would make the same deal again even if he knew the Leafs would have second choice in the draft in the summer of 2010, clearly he didn’t think the Leafs would in fact fall that low."

    Typical Burke bluster... I don't believe it.

    He can't say, "If I had known I could have had Seguin and Hamilton...I would not traded for Kessel." To say something like that could hurt Kessel's role on the current team.

    For the good of the organization, Burke can only say positive things or risk making it worse. It will not be possible to get unbiased, honest thoughts on this deal until after Burke or Kessel are no longer with the Leafs.

    That being said, I truly believe that Burke thought the Leafs were a team that would finish in about the 10th spot. Look back at the draft in that 20 spot. Would you trade Beau Bennett, Conner Murphy and a 3rd for Phil Kessel. I would do it, so would many fans and GMs.

    It was a bit of a freakish accident that Boston got both Seguin and Hamilton. Nobody thought that Leaf 2010 pick would be number 2.

    Hamilton is even stranger. He should not have been available for Boston to pick in the 9th spot. Sean Couturier and Dougie Hamilton were rated 5 and 6. Winnipeg passed on both Sean Couturier and Dougie Hamilton to pick Mark Sheifele. Absolute insanity...Winnipeg Jets fans are already crying about it: "We could have gotten Couturier or even Dougie Hamilton."

    Boston got a bit lucky on their end of the trade and so the deal looks far worse than originally intended.

    We also have to consider that Kessel was younger than Nash and that extra value can add to the price. Imagine what Toews, Taylor Hall or Evander Kane would cost in a trade.

  3. You make very good points, KiwiLeaf.

    Just to be clear- there is a lot to like about Kessel and we should indeed appreciate that.

    On Burke, I don't think I've quite given up, but as I've stated here before, I could live with far less hubris in the way he handles the media aspect of his job.

    Good stuff, thanks KiwiLeaf.

  4. Very reasonable perspective DP. Thanks. (There's no guarantee, as KiwiLeaf posts out, that Hamilton will be a "shutdown" defenseman, though early returns suggest he should be a very good defender ...)

  5. First off, I have to dismiss whatever Burke says out loud in hindsight about the Kessel trade, and accept that no matter what, he's going to defend such a move at any cost. Second, yes in hindsight we can look at Seguin and Hamilton and make an apples to apples comparison, as opposed to just draft picks. Truth is, in the same position, I would be inclined to trade draft picks for proven talent. You might wind up with what Boston got. Then you look at the Leafs' last couple blue chip prospects, and have to wonder, would Kessel be worth Schenn and Kadri in an alternate universe? Still a tough call maybe, but my point is I'd rather know what I'm getting than take a gamble with a draft pick, even a high one. That of course excludes those once-in-a-decade possibilities like when Crosby was available. Don't we all remember thinking that we may have given up Eric Lindros for Tom Kurvers?
    I don't know how fair it is to compare the Kessel trade to the Nash trade. It used to be such a simple thing to make trades, players for players, two teams looking to balance their rosters and fill needs. Nowadays, it has become more about pending free agents, teams looking to unload (or obtain) high salary cap numbers, and of course no-trade clauses.
    I think the Nash situation as it played out was a loser for Columbus from day one. His contract is huge for starters, the feud went public between him and Howson, and Columbus was painted into a corner by Nash's short list of teams he would accept a trade to. That list was even shorter than what meets the eye because most of the teams on his list adamantly would not give up anything close to what Howson was demanding, or in cases such as Philadelphia, they had already committed (or so they thought) to a huge deal with Shea Weber.
    In the end, Sather knew he could squeeze Howson, and somewhere deep inside, Howson had to know it too.

  6. Very fair points, Pete.

    I think part of what I was aiming to do in this post was simply to acknowledge that making deals is tough, and at this particular point in time, it seems particularly tough to get "value". Gillis may find the same is true with Luongo.

    As for the Kessel deal, there are many good reasons for Burke to have made the deal as and when he did, I concede (though, as I point out above, there is, at least in my mind, a flip side to the discussion...). In any event, it's a shame that, so far, it hasn't helped lead to even a playoff berth in the three years Phil has been here.

    Good stuff. Thanks Pete.

  7. It'll be years before we know the true value of Kessel versus Seguin/Hamilton/Knight.

    I am of the mind that Burke simply honed in on 'his guy' and made the deal. I think Phil is a good player, I like him, he's talented, and I don't question his ability or his desire to win. I do believe Burke paid too high a price.

    Whenever this subject comes up, I am always struck by the dichotomies. People make an assertion that there was no way anyone figured the Leafs would finish 29th. Burke though he had a near-playoff team. But, then at the same time, people defend Burke with the 'there was nothing here when he took over' thing. How could he not know this was a bad team? He's supposed to be this awesome talent evaluator... yet he couldn't see how bad the team was. Kessel had 30 goals, Hagman was the only other guy with at least 20. He had Gustavsson and Toskala as his tandem. For God's sake, Garnet Exelby was one of his 7 defencemen.

    But that's the past, and Kessel is here now.

    My big worry? Kessel has 2 season remaining on his contract. We just saw Rick Nash, the face of Columbus, demand a trade. We know why... Columbus is not going anywhere. So where are the Leafs going? If Burke made a couple significant moves this off-season, the team may have a chance to see playoffs. More likely, this team will miss, again. I could see a scenario where the sad-sack Maple Leafs will be forced to deal Kessel before the 2014 trade deadline because they once again he little chance of seeing the post-season.

  8. Hi Mike,

    I gotta say as much as I love Kessel, I completely agree that the timing of the trade was pretty bad considering the sad state of the Leafs organization at the time. I understand that Burke wanted to inject some life into an utterly moribund situation. But hindsight is 20/20 of course, and the Leafs have achieved nothing since the day of that trade.

    Imagine that trade never happened. We would have ended up with the 2nd or possibly even the 1st pick. No doubt we would have been in the lottery again in 2011. Take Kessel's 82 points out of this past season's lineup and we may well have added a Galchenyuk or Yakupov in 2012. Instead, we're clinging desperately to Jake Gardiner while praying that Joe Colborne isn't a bust. Meanwhile we have serious foundational weaknesses at centre, defense and goaltending and we can't escape the lottery even with Phil Kessel. Burke should have realized that given the state of the Leafs when he took over, there was absolutely no way whatsoever he was making the playoffs within five years. He had one of the most underwhelming NHL rosters in the league and a prospect pool highlighted by the likes of Tlusty and Pogge. He said he wanted to "stay competitive while retooling". So much for that.

    The worst part is the wasted years of Kessel. By the end of his contract in two short years he will no longer be a "young star". He will be a 27 year old star sniper looking to get paid. Elite scorers generally have their best years in their mid-twenties. Can the Leafs transform into contenders in two to three years time? Not bloody likely. My fear is that even IF Kessel is still with the Leafs for years to come, they won't be a contender until he is approaching age 30. I know it sounds crazy, but that likely means he's already "past his prime".

    I guess it all comes down to one pattern emerging in the NHL today. The elite teams almost always have young players on very affordable contracts providing extreme value. Rielly should be one of those. Will we have one or two by the time we're ready to contend in another 3-5 years? Possibly, because I don't think we're out of the lottery woods yet. But if that is the case, what exactly was the point of adding Phil Kessel? All we've done is spin our tires for three years and counting. Look at the Senators. They had one player under that category for them this past season in Erik Karlsson, and they earned an 8 seed. And that's WITH a Jason Spezza and a Craig Anderson. The Leafs have neither of those key cogs.

    I hope I'm wrong but I still just don't see the plan. This team is still a mess in a lot of key areas and it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of luck to get out of it.

  9. With respect to Nash, it's obvious to anyone (maybe besides Howson) that Columbus got mediocre value in return. How Howson continues to hold a GM job amazes me.

    With respect to Kessel I wish people would just put that deal behind them. If the draft picks turned out to be mid to late round picks, no one would be questioning the deal. Let it go.

    As you said Michael, Kessel tends to have a one-way game, but I'm not sure that is that big an issue. He's matured a bit since leaving Boston, and on occasion (especially with encouragement by the coaching staff) will get back and help out defensively. Obviously its not his strength, and thats why it is important that he has linemates who play a strong two-way game. Lupul can do this, but he likes offense more, and gets in too deep with Phil, pushing for offence. The bad habit then rubs off on Bozak too and the result is they score lots of points but end up on the negative side of the plus/minus sheet.

    I want Phil the sniper to florish. As long as his linemates can be a bit more careful with their defensive-zone coverage and getting back, then Phil can continue to shine. Thats why I've always said, Toronto needs a true #1C.

    Whatever happens (i.e. potential trade, or trying others at center), I think Carlyle is going to try and get chemistry on the lines and make sure they play collectively well in both ends of the rink.

    Not to necessarily put Phil on the same level as a Mogilny or Bossy, but those two players weren't exactly known for their "two-way" games either. But, both Mogilny and Bossy had good linemates (Sundin+Roberts, Trottier+Gillies). Phil has incredible speed, and he has a quick and accurate shot. Give him the right linemates and he'll shine.

  10. I was nodding along as I read your comments, Mark.

    No question Burke wanted Kessel and had indeed, as you say, zeroed in on him as an emeging guy who could make a difference.

    But the point you make is also something I was trying to point out in my post: if Burke is the evaluator he is supposed to be, how did he not know we would struggle badly that season? We were a bad team then (so we all say). He knew it.

    I agree that it's history. I like Phil too. Super-talented guy. We'll see if he has the drive to do it at playoff time, but he's an enjoyable guy to watch, for sure.

    Still, what will be the attraction for him to stay, as you mention, in two years?

    Time will tell!

    Thanks Mark.

  11. That's a sobering but, to me, right-on-the-money post, Mills.

    I think people sometimes see my comments as an unfair criticism of Burke. I have always acknowledged he is a shrewd hockey guy- it's just that he's not the only one out there. There are plenty of smart GM's.

    No one wants to hear, but the fact remains: 11 years with Toronto and Vancouver (his two re-build projects) as GM, and what is it, one playoff series win in total?

    He's done some very good things here, but as you say Mills, there is a lot more to do.

    Maybe they'll catch lightning in a bottle this season with some young guys, as Ottawa did last year. We'll see.

    Great post, thanks.

  12. Thanks TML__fan. I always appreciate your perspective here. Kessel should have a big season in 2012-'13. And I agree that he has matured in some ways since coming to Toronto, in terms of his overall game.

  13. All good points, but in all the years weve had Kessel we have not made the playoffs and likely will not again next year. Burke has failed to surround him with a team capable of making the playoffs. We have not drafted any stars in a decade, even with two #5 picks. (As an aside I didnt have a problem with Schenn, I'm just pissed that at least 4 better defenceman were picked after. (Myers/Karlsson/Del Zotto/Gardiner) and god help us if are #5 pick doesn't live up to expectations and Ottawa's #15 pick turns out to be a better player again.

    I dont blame Howson for the Nash deal, like with Heatly everyone knew Nash had all the cards and would hold out until Howson had to trade him.

  14. I think you nailed it with how Burke handles his trade here. I wish the leafs tanked for themselves instead of trading for kessel and tanking for bruins and their great picks. No disrepect to Kessel but he will always be defined by the trade and that is Burke's doing and not his own.

  15. Sure, it was exciting at the time, but I got that bad feeling in my gut when the Kessel trade was announced. I agree with Michael that, razzle and dazzle aside, the trade was clearly lost. The reason that the trade was lost has to do with perception, timing and irrational exuberance. For his part, Peter Chiarelli more or less admitted that they would have been unlikely to have matched an offer sheet, making the Dougie Hamilton pick superfluous. That wasted pick is on Burke and his irrational exuberance in coveting Phil Kessel.

    You could see from Burke’s breathless excitement that he was convinced that he had won the trade, but now many of us see Seguin alone as a more complete player. Seeing Hamilton in a Boston uniform will probably end up feeling like watching Seguin and Rask wearing the distinctive “B”. Many of us have figured this simple truth out in the course of our lives: In negotiations, one should always keep a cool head and be prepared to walk. There will be other opportunities if you are the one who does not “blink first”. Given the cap crunch, Chiarelli kept his cool and took the best offer on the table. It was the hockey gods, who will only tolerate so much hubris after all, that made sure that Chiarelli won the trade.

    To understand the dynamics, we have to remember the thinking of those times. There was a lot of talk about the viability of “re-tooling”, much of which was based on the assumption of being able to draw on a pool of free agents and thus skip over the painful reality of rebuilding. You make some savvy trades (which Burke has done) grab a few key veteran free agents and voila: Draft Schmaft. We can see where that theory has led us to. What is it, 26th place? Lately, we see the brain trust has moved away from the “re-tooling on the fly” model to more of a development model, which appears to be the more successful one thus far, as evinced by the success of the Marlies. The development model relies particularly on a good amateur scouting department to feed it, so that the Eakins staff can mold raw talent into capable pros. Therefore, I feel that Burke has done a number of things well, which keeps me basically on board as a supporter (not an apologist).

    Then again, it could be that after the JFJ fiasco, anything is a welcome relief. However, the major flaw of JFJ was repeated, albeit less glaringly, by Brian Burke. This common error in judgment is resulting in the Leafs’ current fatal flaw for which I see no immediate solution: Lack of elite level talent that can push a team to win the Cup. Today, there are only three avenues to acquiring elite level talent: Free agency, fortuitous circumstance (trade) and the draft (usually the first round). We have seen how free agency has gone. I am with Burke in staying away from the long-term inflated contracts. I have no interest in mortgaging my next twenty years watching a ten million dollar cap hit player with a bum shoulder score ten goals a year. No issue with Burke there. Elite talent via trade? Well, that does happen, but frankly, it is as rare as rocking horse shite. Where do you acquire elite talent then? There is one realistic avenue, and it is via an excellent amateur scouting department, the draft, and first-rate development once you get your hands on an athlete with elite potential.

    My concern is that over the course of the Burke tenure, the Leafs stumbled into a dead zone between a development model and a re-tooling model, leaving them devoid of true, game-changing elite level talent. My sense is that it is unlikely that the development model and draft schmaft can peacefully co-exist at this point in the history of the game. I guess it is possible, but it is akin to rolling dice with a twenty year, front loaded contract. And, we all know, when it comes to the Stanley Cup, the hockey gods do not play dice.

  16. Thanks Alex.

    It's not a criticism of Kessel that the Leafs have not made the playoffs in his time here. But it is part of the fan frustration that some elite future pieces were dealt and we are still a mediocre team, years later.

    For the record, yes, I agree that Nash held all the cards. He wanted out, but was only willing to go to a few places.

  17. leaferboy, as I mentioned to Alex, I'm with you, it's not Kessel's issue that the team is not good enough. He has largely played well much of the time here. Burke made the decision at the time to move the re-build ahead, but in retrospect, I'm not sure it advanced the cause- as nice a player as Phil has been....

  18. As I was reading your post today (I think your analysis was absolutely spot on...) Bobby C., the comment that stood out most among many interesting thoughts was the notion of the Leafs being caught between development mode and re-tooling mode.

    It's funny, I think it was yesterday I was chatting here and mentioning that while I am among those who respect what Eakins has done with the prospects Burke has provided for the Marlies (and hopefully one day, the Leafs), for me, there is AHL development and then there is development when it comes to helping a player progress as they should at the big-league level.

    For me, we should have done a much better better job with, for example, Schenn and Gustavsson, and I saw those as major failings in "development" at the NHL level.

    Kadri is still a work in progress, but regular visitors here know that I don't like how he was handled in his first two years here. I'd much rather he have spent all of 2010-'11 in the minors.

    Great post, thanks Bobby C..

  19. I hear a lot of 'burke apologists' or supporters claim that 'no one' believed the Leafs would finish 29th when they made the Kessel trade. I guess that puts me in the minority or makes me a 'no one'. The exciting part of JFJ getting fired, at least for me, was that the Leafs were finally going to rebuild. I remember thinking in 2004 that the team should start rebuilding. I thought they had no business beating Ottawa in the playoffs that year but, thanks to Lalime, they did. So when Antropov and Moore were traded at the deadline in 2009 I believed we were on route to 'tank nation'. I was excited at the possibility of drafting high, maybe even getting Taylor Hall. (I had not heard of Seguin at the time).
    Needless to say, I was pissed when Burked traded for Kessel. Who was suppose to play with him? Stajan? And you didn't think we were gonna finish bottom five? Gimme a break. But, I guess that's what happens when you bring in a guy who's been living in California for the past five years to evaluate our roster.
    I agree with DP that Boston got lucky on Hamilton at #9, but that number two pick for me was easy to see happening even after the addition of Kessel. I believe that trade will set the Leafs back farther in the end. Can you imagine if Chicago traded away their 2 first round picks at the beginning of their rebuild and the other team got Toews and Kane? Or Pittsburgh did and the other team got Fleury and Malkin? or Crosby and Staal even?

  20. I sense we're on similar pages, Anon. The issue, for me, is not so much bringing in a player like Kessel - it was the timing. Where did it fit in the overall scheme of building the team, if the idea was to build from the back end first, as we kept hearing?

    Kessel is an exciting offensive player and has certainly been a bright light in many respects the past three seasons.

    But as we now keep hearing about "patience" and how the "plan" is unfolding as expected now, it does make me wonder exactly what the "plan" was almost four years ago when Burke arrived. Why did we have not a patient re-build plan back then, if that's what we should believe in now?

    I agree that a top evaluator would surely have known the Leafs would struggle that season. And I sometimes wonder if, as Bobby C. said above, the Leafs are still caught between a development model and a re-tooling.

    Good post, Anon. Thanks for dropping by.

  21. Looking back on the 2010 draft, how many players have yet shown themselves to be bonafide build-arounds? Hall & Seguin are the only ones who fit that mould, with Skinner in that next tier behind them.
    Burke took a calculated risk given a weak draft class. He didn't think that the Leafs could possibly be 2nd worst in the league, but as the saying goes 'you hope for the best but prepare for the worst'.
    If Toskala wasn't historically, epically bad, the Bruins end up with a much different piece - 3 more wins (6 pts) an the Leafs finish tied for 5th; the Bruins get Niederreiter or Connolly. At +7 pts, the Leafs are 7th, and Boston is getting Skinner, Granlund, or Burmistrov.

    It is only the standard Leaf luck that Boston got the second-best (first if you ask me) player in a 2-player draft.

  22. You raise absolutely valid points about that draft class, Death_By_Leafs.

    I wonder though: Is Kessel himself a guy you "build around", or a really good complementary player?

    Nice post. Thanks for chiming in on this one.

  23. Holy revisionist history! Yes, it makes sense to wax poetically about what is past, and yes, the Kessel deal looks terrible based on the outcome but please separate words and bluster from results. As Burke himself would say - "I'll let my record speak for itself". 4 years, no playoffs and laughable goaltending. Bruins - one Stanley Cup, 4 years of playoffs and Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight haven't even suited up yet. This deal will get worse and worse with time. PAINFULLY worse.

    That said, my rant is more about what is happening now, today. There is a huge hole at Centre, a huge hole in Net -and the dude cannot do a deal to save his job. No serious free agents will sign with us and BB is intransigent about deal terms. More over, it looks like he can only do deals with two or three guys in the league - his old cronies Holmgren and Murray particularly. Do you want to start the season with Bozak as your 1C and Reimer as your 1G? It is very likely. And to me, more than anything, this current obvious failure to get results is more painful than the Kessel deal. Back then, there were still possibilities. Today, it's just looking pretty lame.

  24. There is no need to post this comment - I had a story idea for you publish if you like.

    Basically, I was wondering if you could show some past leaf locker room slogans and "loosely" correlate to how the team performed in those times. Not everyone will buy it - but the slogan or more formally team mission statement creates the environment for the team to perform. This is used in corporate environment. I'm not sure who approves or creates these - the GM or the coach or???

    Here are three I found

    Leafs Locker Room Slogan (ACC which the leafs never made the playoff):
    The price of success is hard work

    Leafs previous MLG Slogan: Don't just play....compete!

    Leafs vintage MLG Slogan: Defeat does not rest lightly on their shoulders

    I'm sure there were others but I thought it would make an interest way to look at leaf history. I hope you write a post like this.

  25. To the Anon who sent me a note regarding the history of Maple Leaf slogans/mission statements- great idea. I don't typically research for my articles here (and this one would require some research, I think!) but I really like the suggestion. Thanks.

  26. 1. What difference did Nash make in Columbus?
    2. We could have given up far less for Kessel than was given for Nash. Thems the breaks.

  27. I am totally sure Kessel is a build around type player. He is a PPG young forward playing with a sub 50 point bum center. Not enough Kessel love here for me. Just think of him toasting Cam Ward from outside the face off dot in that game where he scored twice. That kind of release doesn't come around often.

  28. Thanks Anon. I think one of the ways Kessel is under-rated is his ability to attack from his off-wing, and use that release while cutting onto his forehand in the middle of the ice....