Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love in the Time of Trade-Season: Setting Expectations to Ease the Pain

"I think this trade deadline can only be a disappointment for me"

"You'll have to define success beforehand --  condition yourself to be happy with a given return."

The preceding was an excerpt from a conversation a friend and I had this morning.  He makes a good point.

When it comes to this trade deadline, it seems that all my favourite Leafs are the ones whose names are constantly being mentioned.  Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, and Carl Gunnarsson would all find themselves solidly in my top-five favourite players on this team.  Luke Schenn is a guy that I've liked since he was a Kelowna Rocket.

If the scuttlebutt is to be believed, none of these players are safe.

Inspired by this conversation, and some of the commentary in PPP's From The Branches, I decided to do a little preparatory therapy for what seems like the inevitability that some of my favourite Leafs are unlikely to be Leafs much longer.

What return would be acceptable to me for the Leafs who are on the block?

Luke Schenn

"Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good." There is no player in the Leafs' lineup where I feel this is more true than in the case of Luke Schenn.  Since being drafted 5th overall in 2008, Luke Schenn has both tantalized and frustrated Leaf fans.  At times, he looks like he may be developing into an elite shutdown defenseman and at other times he looks too slow (both physically and mentally).

Despite the frustration that many rightly feel toward Schenn's play of late, he still has the chance to develop into one of the league's better defensive defensemen.  Defense, in the NHL, is a position with a shallow learning curve.

Acceptable Return: I would be satisfied if Schenn landed a young top-six forward with the potential to grow into a first line player. IE) James van Riemsdyk, Chris Stewart

Clarke MacArthur

I know that the advanced stats love this guy; I just don't.  Do I think he's been poorly used on the Leafs this season? Yeah.  Do I think he could pull a Versteeg-in-Florida after he's dealt? Absolutely.  I just don't feel like MacArthur is a much better player than a Matt Frattin and I feel like his cap-hit would be better used elsewhere.

Acceptable Return:  A solid prospect. IE) Ryan Ellis  OR a second round pick and a secondary prospect IE) Philip McRae

Monday, January 30, 2012

In Search of Lost Scoring: Where Has The Leafs' Secondary Scoring Gone?

The beginning of the 2011-12 season was a euphoric time for Leaf fans.  We had Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and Dion Phaneuf all lighting it up offensively, James Reimer playing well in net, and consequently, we found ourselves at the top of the NHL standings.  It was easy to be happy, but also easy to overlook some of the team's deficiencies.

"Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind." 

While 'grief' might be hyperbole for the position we presently find ourselves in, the fall from the conference penthouse to the fringes of playoff contention has certainly been cause for reflection in Leaf Nation.

Danny Gray and JP Nikota recently released Leafs Nation's inaugural podcast where they touched briefly on the Leafs' problem with secondary scoring.  One look at the team's scoring leaders shows that there's a definite gap between the leaders and the pack.

Lupul and Kessel currently sit at 52 and 51 points, respectively.  Behind them, Grabovski has 32 points.  The next forward on the list is Tyler Bozak who has precisely half of Bozak's total.  It's clear that this team needs top-six help.

After Grabovski, Kessel, and Lupul, the team's top-six gets murky.  Kulemin has struggled offensively this season, MacArthur has shown flashes of strong play but has found himself bounced around the lineup, Connolly has been bounced out of the top-six in favour of Bozak at times.  In short, we seem to have a lot of hybrid 2/3 line guys, but very little clarity with regards to who we should lean on when Kessel and Lupul's production slows down.

Looking at the chart above, it's apparent that there are two players who are carrying the offensive load.  There are two ways of looking at the information above.  The first would be,  "even with such great production from Kessel and Lupul, we're still only a playoff bubble team."  Conversely, one might say, "even with Kulemin, Connolly, and MacArthur underachieving, we're still a playoff bubble team."

The conclusions, however, are obvious: The Leafs need more production from players not named Kessel or Lupul.  This production could easily come internally as Connolly, MacArthur, and Kulemin have all shown flashes of strong second-line production.  Having said this, I'm sure Burke would feel a lot more comfortable if he were able to add a player with a Connolly-esque track record, rather than depending on someone with Kulemin's comparatively brief offensive resume.

Ultimately, there's been a great waiting game for the Leafs' secondary players to produce.  Grabovski has come around of late and has put up some points when the team has needed him to, but he's been alone in this regard.  With the trade deadline looming, how much longer can we afford to wait?

"It comes so soon, the moment when there is nothing left to wait for." 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Man Crush: Leaf Edition

Maybe it’s the back-to-back wins over the New York Islanders this week.

Maybe it’s because we’re sitting tied for 6th in the Eastern Conference standings with 55 points heading into the All Star break.

Heck, maybe it’s the fact the ink has officially dried on Katie Perry’s divorce papers.

Whatever it is, something’s in the air today, and it has me feeling a little friskier than usual towards the good old boys of the Toronto Maple Leafs . The Buds have given us plenty to cheer about over the past week and we at BCP are riding the euphoric wave.

In keeping with the spirit of good vibrations, we’re bringing back 'The Man Crush': an All-Leaf edition. For those of you unfamiliar with the intricate details of the hockey Man Crush allow me to explain (or you can check out the original article here.)

Remember the way you felt towards that cute girl who you sat behind you in grade 8 geography? Or how you went to the theatre five times to see Cameron Diaz in 'The Mask'? Think of your emotions the first time you saw Britney Spears in “Toxic” (anyone reading this who hasn’t seen the video – You Tube – you’re welcome)

Of course the Man Crush differs widely from these classic feelings towards the girl next door, or the scantily-clad Hollywood starlet of the moment but the symptoms are the same.  Or... at least... some of them are.

The Man Crush is something special shared between you and your favourite hockey players. It’s the aw shucks charm of a Colby Armstrong, mixed with the raw intensity of Captain Phaneuf, topped off with Mike Brown's moustache. It’s the feeling you get when Phil Kessel drops 2 goals and an assist while turning two categories in your head-to-head fantasy league. It’s the wry smile you crack every time you see a Torontonian on the street proudly donning his or her blue Optimus Reim T-Shirt.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Brief Wondrous Life of Clarke MacArthur

Clarke MacArthur joined the Leafs with very little fanfare in the summer of 2010 after the Atlanta Thrashers walked away from an arbitration award of $2.4M, thereby making him an unrestricted free agent.  Burke then signed MacArthur that summer for a relatively modest $1.1M salary.

Having posted 35 points the previous season while splitting time between the Buffalo Sabres and the Atlanta Thrashers, there were few who could have predicted the season MacArthur would soon have.

MacArthur came spinning into the lineup like a whirling dervish and developed great chemistry with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin.  The trio soon became the Leafs' de facto top unit and MacArthur's 62 points were second to only Phil Kessel among Leaf skaters.

This strong campaign landed MacArthur a 2-year contract at a cap hit of $3.25M per season.

Brian Burke candidly and publicly discussed the negotiations with MacArthur, stating that it was very difficult to determine what a fair offer would be.  While MacArthur's 62-point campaign was impressive, he was by no means an established 60-point player.  The short term of the contract was an opportunity for MacArthur to assert himself as a point producing top-six forward and then to cash in when the deal expired.

This year has been a tale of two seasons for MacArthur.  The first story is one of a player who has failed to produce offensively.  His 21 points in 41 games played are well behind the pace he set last season and he has found himself skating on the team's third or fourth line with increasing regularity.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Untouchables: Identifying The Leafs' Core Before The Deadline

They say that good things come to those who wait and Leaf fans have been waiting a long time.  After 6 seasons without playoff hockey, the Leafs find themselves a handful of points out of a playoff spot with a team talented enough to make up that ground.  The Toronto Maple Leafs' rebuild is well under way but that's not to be confused with 'finished'.

Since arriving in Toronto, Brian Burke has made the team younger, faster, and more talented than the version of the team he inherited.  He's added core pieces to the team and improved the pool of prospects.  With these factors in mind, I've had the utmost confidence in Burke since he took over the team but recently I've come to realize that this was the easy part and I've found myself wondering if I've given "him credit for too much cleverness.  My impression was that he's just another blundering American."

The quote above is from Michael Curtiz's 'Casablanca' and is in reference to Rick Blaine.  In the end, as it turns out, Rick was due all the 'credit' Captain Renault had heaped on him and that's certainly what I'm hoping for in Burke's case as well.

The real heavy lifting is about to start for Brian Burke.  He has some decent prospects, some depth at every position, and a couple of players who could easily be perennial All-Stars.  The challenge for Burke and his management team is deciding which of these players are worth keeping as core pieces moving forward.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Elephant in the Room: The Leafs' Goaltending Situation

I miss Potvin and my “Felix the Cat” mini stick.

I miss Cujo and his playoff heroics. Though I don’t really miss his low production Mr. Sub commercials.

Heck, I’m even starting to pine over an aging Martin Gerber (kidding... kind of).

Consistent goaltending had long been the hallmark of Maple Leaf teams through the 1990s and into the early 2000s. It’s something I never really took the time to appreciate until it was gone.

Our keeper duo of Jonas Gustavsson and James Reimer have battled hard this year, and by all accounts are indeed trying their best each and every night. But as Sean Connery says to Nick Cage in perhaps my favourite scene of The Rock, “Losers always whine about their best, winners go home and [...errr hang out with] the prom queen”

Optimus Reim hasn't shown us much this season since sustaining a head injury, or was it a neck injury(?), or maybe a concussion(?), from Brian Gionta on October 22nd. His GAA of 3.01 and save percentage of .899 are a far cry from the 2.60 and 9.21 he posted last year in a mesmerizing run that brought the Leafs to the brink of a playoff spot. The payoff from that half season was a 2 year, $3.6 million dollar contract that set the stage for his development into our true #1.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Should the Leafs Be Buyers or Sellers?

I'd like to preface this post by saying that I think we all know what they will do but what I want to talk about is what they should do.  The Leafs haven't made the playoffs since Brian Burke took over and started his rebuild-on-the-fly and they're only 3 points out heading into tonight's game.  There's little doubt in my mind that the Leafs are looking to add and, truthfully, I like their chances of getting in if they do.

What kind of chances would we have if we did get in though?  This post isn't intended to be a treatise on the Leafs' porous defense, their small-ish forwards, or its sub-standard goaltending but the truth is, this team is not built to succeed in the playoffs.  And frankly, "I'm not interested in getting our [butts] kicked in the first round."

I'm not a negative guy by disposition.  This blog is rife with effusive posts praising Burke for his craftiness and his cunning as he pulled together a group of respectable prospects and a middle-of-the-pack NHL roster.  We're much further along than we were when Burke took over and the future looks brighter still; you'll get no argument from me on these points.  Having said this, the future is still in the future.

Now I don't want to come off as excessively reactive.  Danny Gray had a great post on LeafsNation where he warns us against losing perspective during short losing streaks.  These streaks are the cross that a fan of a bubble team must bear.  The objective truth is that there are key pieces missing on this team right now.

As I look at this roster, I don't feel that the team is that far off.  Phaneuf is back to being an elite offensive defenseman and his defensive play is as good as it's been since the Leafs acquired him.  Gunnarsson has really solidified himself as a top-4 calibre defenseman.  Phil Kessel has made the leap from very good goal scorer to elite offensive performer and Joffrey Lupul has come along for the ride.  In Grabovski and Kulemin, the Leafs have a pair of two-way players who can play a great support role to a strong top line.  We're getting there.

What we really need is to set the team up for a strong offseason. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Keeping Myself Honest: Mid-Season Prediction Review

Peter Jennings once said, "I don't think a reporter should give advice or make predictions," and while I agree with the statement, I also think it's a lot of what makes reading blogs a hell of a lot more interesting than reading Steve Simmons -- that and most Leaf bloggers understand the value of research.
Blogging provides a degree of flexibility that I find fun. Newspapers generally stay away from things like complex stats, rumours, and predictions (which is fine) but these are the things that I really enjoy about sports.

From the comfort of my Mother's basement, I blog with impunity and without rules. With no risk of repercussions, I released my list of pre-season predictions late in September, prior to the start of the regular season and now, with nobody to hold me accoutable but myself, I present to you, humble reader, the results thus far.

1) Phil Kessel will have his best goals per game ratio of his career

Kessel is currently scoring at a 0.545 goals-per-game pace and if this keeps this up through the end of the season, he'll put up 45 goals. Kessel has taken his game to an entirely different level this season and for those who follow the Leafs, it's no surprise that I get full marks for this one.

2) Gunnarsson will not finish the year as a Maple Leaf

The verdict is still very much out on this one. Most Leaf fans will know that Gunnarsson has been the team's second best defenseman this season and probably the team's most consistent overall. He's a guy I've always been high on and someone I would hate to lose. Having said that, Gunnarsson and Schenn both seem to find themselves at the center of most Toronto Maple Leaf trade rumours. With Burke having told Schenn that he hasn't been offered to anyone, one has to wonder if Gunnarsson is the defensemen whose name has been bandied about in trade offers.

What a Ride: Preparing Ourselves for the Rollercoaster Ahead

Life as a sports fan is akin to that of the season's pass holder at Canada’s Wonderland; everyday is filled with one roller coaster after another. Ups and down, wondrous and exciting climbs, followed sharply by steep and heart wrenching declines. Sports fans do not know peacetime or relaxation – we know only diametric opposites. We know triumph and we know defeat. Celebration and mourning.

The polarizing world of fandom is perhaps no more evident than for those of us living in the shadow of the CN Tower – we fans of the beloved, and yet so often tortured, Toronto Maple Leafs.

In a world with endless Twitter feeds, online newspapers, print publications, blogs, Facebook pages, mobile updates, and 24-hour sports stations it's no surprise that Leaf content is so readily available to all of us. The seemingly endless supply of team news is both a blessing and a curse. As a card carrying member of Leaf Nation I rarely take a moment to sit back, and as the old cliché goes, ‘smell the roses’.

Every day is wrought with a new battle, a new catastrophe, and a new cause for which fans must rally together in arms (though not the riotous arms of Habs or Canucks fans). A shutout loss to the New York Rangers fuels discussions around the teams need for top tier offensive help. A drubbing from the Boston Bruins renews the hue and cry for more steady and consistent goaltending from our masked men. An anonymous poll from a bored Sports Illustrated journalist forces all of us to reconsider the true meaning of the word ‘overrated’.

Personally, I'm not bothered by the process. As lifelong Leaf fan, and supporter of all things blue and white I take great pride in following every story, and debating every line-up change, every trade, and every signing.

The point, if I have one, strung together through my brief Jerry Maguire-ian moment of self reflection is this – we need to enjoy the ride. We, as a collective of fans need to take a moment and truly enjoy what has been a satisfying first 44 games of the 2011-12 season.

Our team is relevant again, with a record of 22-17-5, for 49 points and 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. Our team that has spent the better half of the new millennium toiling in the doldrums of the NHLs proverbial basement finally has a pulse. Our past is still dampened by disappointments, but for the first time in a long time there is hope for the future. With a strong management team in place and the development of a youthful and exciting core of players there is cause to celebrate.

There is no one guiltier than myself for getting distracted by the talk show pundits, daily rumours, and the general media bonanza that comes with a market like Toronto. I’ve sat alone at the computer reading countless articles dissecting every aspect of the Seguin/Kessel trade, researched every player on cap geek to understand how we’re managing team salary, argued vehemently over cold adult beverages that Joffrey Lupul is a legitimate 1st line player. Both Kessel and Lupul are enjoying what are undoubtedly career years compiling 48 and 47 points respectively.

However today, and maybe only for today, I’m not going to dwell on the countless news stories or team reports. Today I’m going to relax and bask in the calming glow of relevancy. For the first time since before the lockout my team matters again. The playoffs -- a tournament long since forgotten for most Leaf fans -- is again within reach. Memories of Gilmour’s magnificent wraparound, and Roberts’ playoff heroics of years long since past will be replaced with new ones.

For a moment, at least, we’ve climbed to the roller coaster's precipice. As we ready our stomachs for the inevitable peaks and valleys that lay ahead, I'd urge all of us to take a moment, catch our breaths, and enjoy the ride.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Nikolai Kulemin: Why the Leafs Can't Afford to Lose Him

The NHL Trade Deadline is looming and almost every Toronto Maple Leaf with the exception of Kessel and Phanuef has had their name bandied about in the media as potential trade bait. Names like Kadri, MacArthur, Schenn, Gunnarsson, Komisarek and Finger (OK, not Finger), have been mentioned in deals to various clubs including the Ducks and Flyers.

With all due respect to the names listed above, the only man I truly fear losing from the Leafs line-up is right winger Nikolai Kulemin. The 25 year old might be the most under-appreciated man in the NHL, and a big part of the reason why our club has been lauded all season by hockey pundits for our forward depth.

Unfortunately, Kuelmin has received undue criticism this year for his perceived lack of contribution to the team’s success. However, the people throwing the proverbial mud at Nik can’t possibly be the same fans driving up TV ratings as Kulemin operates at a consistently high level every single night.

Let's not forget that it was widely speculated that Kulemin was one of the key pieces in a deal that nearly landed the Leafs Mike Richards this offseason.  He's a coveted asset for a reason.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumours: Van Riemsdyk, Ryan, Getzlaf & More

Thank you, Darren Dreger.

For some reason, a lot of Leaf fans really hate talking rumours; personally, I love it.  A lot of the time it can feel like pointless speculation, and I understand that, but when a guy like Dreger starts talking about the Leafs and Flyers discussing a guy like Van Reimsdyk, why not take it seriously?

When you've got a General Manager like Brian Burke who isn't afraid to make a big splash and who will often spin the rumour mill himself, you shouldn't be surprised to see that there are a lot of names being associated with your team.  What we've done below is take a look at some of the names that have been linked with the Leafs and what those players might mean to our club.

James Van Riemsdyk

Straight from the mouth of one of hockey's most well-reputed insiders, the Leafs and Flyers have had discussions around Van Riemsdyk.  JVR is 22 years old and is a former 2nd overall draft pick.  Right now, he has 11 goals and 11 assists and his best season to date is a 40 point, 75 games played campaign in 2010-11.

Needs he addresses: Van Riemsdyk would provide some much needed size to our top-6 forward group and scoring 21 goals as a 21 year-old is no small feat either.  He's the kind of player who could grow with our current core of players.

Cost: Dreger suggested that the cost for JVR would be Luke Schenn +.  That '+' could be Kulemin or could be Bozak (also according to Dregs).

From our point of view: You hear a lot of Leaf fans talking about how Luke Schenn is overrated --largely as a result of being the first significant pick of the rebuild-- but the truth is that defensive defensemen take a long time to develop.  A lot of teams in the NHL like this guy (not just Leaf fans) and that's why so many rumours center around him.  If it takes Schenn and Kulemin (a guy who scored 9 goals more than Van Riemsdyk last year and is a great all-around player) then personally, I'm not interested.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why Ryan Getzlaf Is The Answer For The Toronto Maple Leafs

Yesterday, my partner-in-blog put together a post where he claimed that Getzlaf was not the answer for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and wasn't really a fit for the team.

Today, I'm here to tell you he is.

What Darren wrote yesterday wasn't crazy.  The Leafs haven't really had much of a problem scoring goals and their most pressing need is probably a #1 shutdown defenseman, granted.  The difference, of course, is that Getzlaf is actually available (to some extent) whereas there aren't any legitimate shutdown defensemen on the market.

The Ducks have struggled so far this season and Getzlaf is no exception.  With 27 points in 41 games, he's on pace for his worst statistical season since his rookie year.  With that said, he was also better than a point-per-game player in each of the preceding four seasons.

Since the acquisition of Phil Kessel, the question among Leaf fans has been, "who will Burke bring in to play center with him?"  The answer at first seemed to be Kadri but as time has worn on, it seems increasingly apparent that Kadri is better suited to the wing and at minimum doesn't seem to be cut out for the defensive responsibility that comes with being a number one center.  Colborne is a guy that we at BCP have loved since long before the Leafs brought him in (and even compared him to Getzalf at the time) but he isn't ready now and seems destined to be a solid second line center, rather than a legitimate first.

The longterm answer to this lingering question seems to be "someone from outside the organization".

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why Getzlaf is Not the Answer

No matter where I go in the fair city of Toronto, I’m surrounded by the same fevered whispers. The guy in front of me at Tim Hortons, uttering the same sweet nothings as my dentist.... Getzlaf.... Getzlaf.

Since news broke last week that the Leafs were in serious contention to land struggling Anaheim Ducks' center Ryan Getzlaf before the trade deadline, fans have erupted with anticipation. The mainstream media, the blogosphere, the twitterverse (shameless plug, make sure you’re following us @bcphockeyblog) have all reinforced the rumours that Getzlaf may be coming.

Like the Princess with the incredibly long hair who can’t seem to get out of that tall tower (Ed. Note: Rapunzel), we Leaf fans are waiting for our White Knight to arrive. On the cusp of our first playoff berth since before the lockout, it’s not surprising that our collective hearts would be aflutter.

I fully admit to having bought into the superstar hype for this looming trade deadline at 3pm on February 27th, but Ryan Getzlaf is not the answer. Give me Rick Nash, Zach Parise, Alex Semin even. But do not – do not bring me Getzlaf... and heres why:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

All-Stars At Every Level

There's nothing worse than an All-Star game.  A single, meaningless game where the league's stars gather in one arena and skate around the ice at 3/4 speed on offense and 1/2 speed on defense while the games that are actually exciting are put on hold.  Yuk!

My disdain for the All-Star game notwithstanding, this year's game is providing some positive signs for Leaf fans. 

Dion Phaneuf has already made the All-Star team after getting voted in by the fan ballot.  Now this isn't exactly a reflection of a player's skill but Phaneuf's 26 points do place him 6th in points among the league's defensemen.  He probably shouldn't be a starter, but I would think he deserves to go.

Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul also appear to be likely participants, sitting 4th and 5th in league scoring, respectively.

The AHL All-Star game is also fast approaching and prospects Joe Colborne and Nazem Kadri both got the call for the minor league skill-fest.

But what does all of this mean for the Maple Leaf organisation?  Well, for one thing, the common narrative doesn't seem to be lining up with reality.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Some New Year's Resolutions for the Toronto Maple Leafs

Good riddance!

2011 ended, as it began, with the Leafs out of a playoff spot and with fans of the team screaming for answers.  Some of the questions, of course, have changed but there are still plenty being asked.  What's going on with the goaltending?  Why is our penalty-kill so ineffective?  These are the recidivists.

But there are new questions too and not all of them are quite so negative.  Has Phil Kessel truly arrived as an elite NHL player?  Has Lupul finally lived up to his potential?  Somehow, it feels like the team is in a better place heading into 2012.

Having flipped the calendar and taken stock of the year that was, it's now time to look forward.  January is a month for reflection and a month for improvement, and with this in mind I've put together a list of New Year's resolutions for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Let's all hope that the Leafs can follow through on them.

In 2012, the Toronto Maple Leafs commit to;

1) Improve the penalty kill

This is certainly the topic du jour among all of Leaf Nation right now.  To be honest, it's a little shocking that the team is even competing for a playoff spot given how abysmal they've been on the PK.  After a great start, it's caught up to them and things will only get worse if the penalty kill doesn't get better.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Why Hello, Mr. Nabokov

2011 showed us the frustrating and polarizing sides of Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending. From the 30 game Vezina-like stretch strung together by James Reimer to close out last season, to Jonas Gustavsson’s AHL style performance during his run as the de-facto number one earlier this year.

Truth be told, we haven’t had consistent goaltending since Eddie the Eagle graced the blue paint all the way back in 2004. Belfour is only 46, and one has to wonder if he still wouldn’t be our best bet between the pipes today.

I try not to get lost in the numbers for a goaltender – as they can be extremely deceiving. 30 shots from the blueline on any given night can be different from 6 quality chances from the slot. Over a 20 or 30 game span a 'tender's GAA and save percentage can be skewed and not necessarily show their true ability. That said, the numbers for the Leafs aren’t pretty.

Reimer currently sits with a 3.01 GAA and a .900 save percentage, and his Monster of a back-up is carrying 3.28 and .898 respectively. Both sets of numbers are better suited for a late 1980s style NHL when Gretzky was flirting with both 200 point seasons and Hollywood starlets.

I give Mr. Burke a lot of credit for the job he has done with our skaters. The top 3 lines have more depth and scoring punch then we’ve seen in the last 5 years, and our defence is legitimately in the top half of the league.