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Leaf fans: where are you in these lazy, hazy days of summer: up, down, or in a wait and see mode?

Let’s face it, for the most part, there is not a lot of hockey news—and certainly not much in the way of legitimate Maple Leaf news—at this time of year.  What existed of the “elite” free-agent class has made their choices and they have all gone elsewhere.  Most of us understand—it likely wasn’t going to happen in free-agency for the Leafs this off-season, at least not in terms of "big names". (Some useful players are still out there...)

The entry draft was exciting (presumably we won’t get to feel that excited about a high draft pick for a good long time…otherwise, things are worse than I suspect) and netted us a bona fide prospect in young Morgan Rielly.  But the bottom line is we’re all in a holding pattern, essentially waiting to see if the brass does do something big (Luongo, Marleau, Nash, Semin, somebody…) or if, in reality, we will head to training camp in September with this roster pretty much intact.  That would no doubt mean we would see at least some of the “kids” promoted. You have to believe that was the clear signal when Armstrong was bought out.  The organization wants to make room for the likes of Kadri, Frattin and whoever earns a spot at camp.

But again, this is pretty much what we’re left with these days:  speculation, possibilities, hope- and rumours that usually turn out to be unfounded.  Meanwhile,  we check to see what other teams are doing.  But after the big announcement made by Suter and Parise last week, it’s a pretty quiet time.  And that’s OK, because even fans and sports organizations need time to relax, unwind, take a deep breath and smell the roses.

That said, I thought I would check in and see where you’re “at”.  We’re well past the end of the Leafs' regular-season back in early/mid-April.   More recently, we’ve seen a lot of other teams play their guts out fighting for the Stanley Cup.  From a Leaf perspective, we’ve seen the organization draft some promising kids and pick up Van riemsdyk in a major trade.  There may be more to come.

But here’s my question:  where, as a Leaf fan, do you fit right now?  Are you in the optimistic category?  Cautiously hopeful?  Or are you living in more of a Missouri “show me” frame of mind?

Let me know….


  1. Call me a fool but I always get caught up in the optimism and excitement of a new season. Can't wait to see which Nikolai Kulemin we get this year, who we put between Lupul and Kessel (even if it's giving Bozak another crack, it'll still give me an anticipatory thrill), how our young defense will mature, who we start with in goal.

    Too much fun. And still the possibility of some big, sexy trades between now and then.

    As my old mate Dave from London, Ont. used to say, "F*!# summer, drop the puck"

  2. Cautiously hopeful?

    Yep, that's me!

    I look forward to training camp and the regular season even if we play just over .500 hockey.

    I'm happy with the Saturday night routine of HNIC and maybe a weeknight game on TSN over a few drinks after work.

    Heck, I saw this video of Gunnarson getting smoked and it still made me happy:

    ...bring on training camp!

  3. I like your optimism,'s always fun to dream in the summer about the new hockey season ahead. And as you say, there are a lot of questions that can only be answered once they start playing....

  4. Me too, DP. Training camp is not far off now!

  5. Yeah Kiwileaf took the words right out of my mouth. "Call me a fool but....." Yes it is optimism every single new hockey season. Because one day, and it will come, Leaf Nation is going to rejoice and look deep into the nay-sayers eyessporting an ear to ear grin, and say, "God I wish I could savour this moment I'm experiencing right now, for the rest of my life." And maybe we just might.
    Despite Burkie making some bad free agent signings in the past, he has seamingly learned from his mistakes and on the plus side, made some pretty descent moves to improve this team and it's prospects. Go Burkie. Stick to your guns. Not all of us have wavered from your experienced knowledge and foresight into building a contending stanley cup team.
    And as for the players, yes I am hopeful that Reimer and Scrivens can get it done in net. Hope Kuli can bounce back. And truly looking forward to seeing what our home grown talent can bring to the table. Holzer, Kadri, Komarov, D'Amigo and especially Frattin. He just may become the excitement this team needs to build from.
    And as for as Connely, Komosarik and Lombardi. I feel for them. They are good enough players to be playing in the NHL, but just do not perform to there wages. I truly hope Burkie can find them a good home. lol And this just might allow the youngins to move in.
    I am actually ok with missing the playoffs next year, knowing that there will be so much extra room guaranteed towrds the salary cap. And I can see a Getzlaf or Duschene in the future. In the meantime, who knows, maybe JVR works at center.
    My last point, and a major one it is. I would be ok with seeing Phil Kessel traded for a Nash any day. I'm not against Kessel but I just think he may just not fit into this Toronto team and hockey mecca. He would likely fit in Columbus much better, and of course Nash could be a KING here. I just hope Nash sees the potential Stanley cup contender here, that I do, and allows Howsen to deal him here.
    Go Leafs Go.

  6. I look forward to the new season as usual, particularly because this may be the first season in my ten years of fandom in which I get to see the Leafs play live...! But playoff optimism is something I lack at the moment. I don't yet see the improvements in personnel (except in the Leafs' competitors) and I'm very hesitant to say hiring Randy Carlyle as coach was the right decision. Hmm...

  7. It's funny, I was getting a steak with a buddy of mine last night, and we both arrived at the same conclusion: "Man, our team sucks." Obviously we love our team, but objectively, they're less than great right now.

    But I'm with KiwiLeaf -- staying optimistic (seriously, this city runs on hope). The summer is a great time to get more familiar with the rest of the league while you're researching possible trades, to get more familiar with obscure stats, or the depth in our prospect pool. Sometimes you forget about the outside world of hockey when you're caught up with winning and losing actual games.

    I can't wait to see what lineup shuffles happen, and or which players show the ability to have a breakout year in camp. We've found diamonds in the rough before -- no reason to think it won't happen again! I'm staying cautiously optimistic this year...just with a little more caution than in years past.

  8. Still out on the ledge here.

    Looks like Pittsburgh is about to get a whole lot better. We need to take large steps to even keep up with the other teams in the weak Eastern conference. Have we closed the gap at all? Don't think so.

    And who thinks that there will be hockey in October?

    I want to be a happy hockey fan again but they make it so hard.

  9. Thanks Anon- your enthusiasm is a nice antidote for when Leaf fans are feeling blue! Summertime is indeed the time to dream....

  10. I understand your hesitancy completely, Peregrine. It's true other teams seem to have improved this summer, certainly some of the Leafs' Eastern Conference competitors. The proof will be in the proverbial pudding....

  11. Thanks for chiming in today, Steve. When I was very young, and missing hockey in the summer, I would take out a pencil/pen and paper and start working on the Leaf "lines" for the upcoming season. I was inevitably more hopeful during this exercise than I was at the conclusion of the previous (unsuccessful) season.

    There are pieces here, so we can wait and see- and hope!

  12. cbh747- your assessment is sobering, but fair. There is no question some other Eastern teams have gotten better, even Montreal.

  13. I'm always hopeful by the time October rolls around, but this year it'll be tempered with low expectations unless management makes some significant moves. We have yet to address our major areas of concern, as delineated by Burke at the end of last season, and by many of the posters on VLM throughout the year. Wishful thinking and swallowing the company line ain't going to get us nowhere. I've got doubts about Carlyle's coaching style and game systems - so I'm in a definite "show me" state of mind on that score. And since we ended last season in disarray, it's difficult to see how we're going to turn things around by staying the course. Last year, like many of us, I was truly excited by our prospects. This year... meh.

  14. Completely understood, Gerund O'. While it's important to "keep the faith", we can't ignore what's in front of us, either.... Thanks.

  15. Well, Michael, tou pretty much know where I stand with the near future of the Leafs right now. I'm mainly just hoping that the CBA gets done in time, so we can all watch hockey.

    Not expecting Burke to do much, he has left himself in a position where not much can be done. I'm mainly hoping he doesn't do anything stupid to get an extension. We really can't afford that.

  16. So far, it does appear to be the "summer of caution", CGLN. We'll see in the days ahead whether we go into camp with the old status quo (plus van Riemsdyk and some of the "kids") or or with some additions yet TBD...

  17. Summertime is exciting because of 2 reasons: We have all this optimism for our team for the coming year and secondly, we simply do not have to watch them lose any games in the summer as we are tied for first with every other team. Throughout the year it always feel awful to see the Leafs lose. So at least in the summer we don't have to watch our team lose only because they are not playing.

    The past few years it has been as bad as it can get. We complain about how awful J.F.J was for us but looking back he assembled some very good teams with Nolan, Mogilny, Niewendyk, and Roberts. Every year before the playoff run he would try his luck on rentals like Housley, Leetch, Francis, even Gilmour and Clark. We made the playoofs every year and won playoff rounds back then. However JFJ never gets any credit in fact he is known as running this franchise into the ground which is not fair. He built his team in a cap free era where we could afford to trade draft picks for rentals because free agents wanted to sign here. Peca Lindros Allison Belfour would sign here knowing the team would be competative at least because of their payroll. When Cujo picked Detroit and Belfour came here he said he rather be known as the guy to bring home the after 40 years than if cujo won for Detroit with 3 cups in their last 5 years.
    Looking back at the last 20 years it seems Leaf fans are more fond of the 93 team with gilmour and Clark than with any other. I too loved that team but that team had 2 playoff runs both which fell short of a finals appearance.

    With Sundin at our front the Leafs would fall out to NJ or Phile every year. We are dissappointed with that team because we remember it for the 9 shots during the entire game 7 against NJ. Yes we had a tough series that one year against the NYI, even though we dominated the Sens but overall we always came up short at the end.
    Maybe because the 93 team was well balanced where everyone knew their roles. Goal scorers, checkers and grinders worked in syncrony. They were built on defence and toughness. Not particularly fighting but we were hard to play against.
    Maybe theres hope Carlyle brings a similar style to the current team and identifies key role players to build this team around with while waiting for a franchise saviour to fall from the tree like the way Gilmour did in 92 to rejuvenate this city and make us proud Leaf Fans once again.

  18. Great stuff, BluendWhite.

    Yes, a lot of us remember the 9-shot playoff game. That stung, for sure, though I would always argue that the Quinn era was a fine one for Leaf fans. We didn't win in the end, but we had many exciting and dramatic playoff series between 1999 and 2004. (Quinn, as I recall, was also the GM who brought in Belfour after Cujo left...Ferguson taking over in August of 2003, but I could be wrong...)

    I think your point of Ferguson, though, is fair. In fact, I've posted here in the past about the positive aspects of the imprint that Ferguson left behind.

    We may not see another Gilmour here, but summer is a wonderful time to dream....Thanks.

  19. Where am I at with this leafs team? Well I feel about as stable as a 16 year old girl.

    On the plus, I think this will finally be the year when we will get a chance to see some solid contributions from our young guns: kadri, gardiner, colborne, frattin (depending on how he heals), Ashton and Reimer. I think anything is a possibility because they're all at the age now where they should be physically able to withstand the NHL. So that could be a complete surprise.

    On the negative, I'm deeply troubled by our Goaltending. I think it could go either way with reimer but the fact that we don't have any sort of a veteran presence between the pipes boggles my mind. There's no way that Burke can genuinely feel confident with a combined goaltending experience of less than 100 points.

    I'm also really confused by the McClement signing. We still have steckel (who in my opinion is a decent player for his salary) and 3 other legitimate centres. AND THEN you start reading about possibly having JVR as a centreman too??!! The optimist in me wants to think that this is part of some plan that Burke has to stock up on some players that he is certain he will get rid of come season in trades... but after 3 years of watching Burke I no longer know what to expect from him.

    Everything is up in the air... I think Phaneuf and Grabo are our only true "core" players that Burke would legitimately keep.

    Like some of the other commentors, I have no real expectations for the Leafs to make the playoffs this year. I would be completely content waiting this year out just to see how the above mentioned rookies turn out this year. They had a GREAT post season and who knows what will happen over the off season.

    We are still one of the youngest teams where players are still reaching to their peak and that's exciting.

  20. Thanks for chiming in on this one, Raymack. Your views likely represent what a lot of Leaf fans are feeling these days: concern, but tinged with a lot of hopefulness!