The Boys Are Back in Town….

But They Shouldn’t Be


Pulp Fiction is one of my favourite movies, there’s a line in the Movie that I think applies to Shanny, Dubas, Hunter and all of leaf Nation for that matter. In the Scene, Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) have just finished cleaning up the car in which they blew a guy’s head off. The car is at Jimmy’s (Quentin Tarantino) house and under the direction of The Wolf (Harvey Keitel), has, in lighting quick time, cleaned the car out to look all neat and tidy.

Jimmy Says “Wow, I can’t believe this is the same car” Jules and Vincent are looking quite proud of themselves and then The Wolf delivers the line…

“Let’s not start sucking each other’s D@%Ks just yet”

Jules and Vincent are still covered in blood and the car still needs to be transported to Big Joes Monster Truck and Tow for disposal.

This is the Leafs 2015 offseason. The Leafs had, by all accounts and excellent draft and combined with the some of their existing prospects has made the preverbal prospect cupboard as full as I can remember. They added a whole bunch of cheap short term NHL calibre players. They fired a litany of scouts and player development staff and started to build that department from the ground up.  They added experience and wisdom to their front office by hiring one of the most respected GMs in league and last, but certainly not least, they added one of, if not the best, coach in the entire league. Shanny Dubas and Hunter have done a great job cleaning the car!

If the leafs were the movie, Jules and Vincent would be looking pretty proud of themselves right about now.

But hold on… wait a minute…  “Let’s not start sucking each other’s D@$Ks just yet.’

Last season was one of the worst I can remember and I lived through the 80’s. I should actually say the second half of last season was the worst half season I can remember.  We all watched a team essentially quit on the season before our very eyes. With the exception of Morgan Reiley this group was entirely unwatchable, completely tradeable and absolutely unlikeable. I’m not going to go into the details of how they sucked, I’m not going to debate why they sucked; I’m just going to leave it as THEY SUCKED!

But here we are on the verge of a new season and what has been done with this group of quitters, this rotten core? The answer is almost nothing.  

At the deadline last season the Leafs traded off the big club Mike Sanotrelli, Cody Franson Daniel Winnick all of whom were UFAs anyway. Kinda no Brainer trades although I think they received good value in those deals. They were able to use some financial muscle to rid them themselves of David Clarkson too. It was an adequate start.

Those of you, who know me, know I liked Phil Kessel as a Maple Leaf. I also acknowledge he had a terrible season last year and agree that Kessel probably needed to be traded. The deal the leafs chose to make clearly indicated to me that they were prepared to make changes even if it meant taking the short end of deal. They didn’t get full value for Kessel, 20% of his salary and a 2nd round pick.  I’m not really interested in debating what the return value might become, they sold low. That’s it. But even that is OK… IF.  

If the plan was to rid the team of the core completely, and swiftly. The headless, lifeless body of last years’ team needed to head to Monster Joes Truck and Tow for disposal.

The Leafs didn’t do that though, in fact they did nothing else. Coming back to camp this year are Tyler Bozak ,JVR, Lupul, Phaneuf, Kadri, Jake Gardiner, Robidas, Polak, both Goalies and pretty much everyone not named Phil Kessel. The gangs practically all back, this group of unlikeable quitters all get to return to the ACC and have the honor of putting on the crest worn by Sundin, Clark, Gilmour, Sittler, Salming, and Keon. No consequences what so ever for their complete and utter slap in the face of a season last year.  Somebody call Marsellus Wallace and get him to send the Wolf down to the ACC ASAP.

The leafs have talked about changing the culture, trading one guy out hardly does that. If Shanny Dubas and Hunter are to be commended for their off ice changes and their draft (rightfully so) they should take some heat for bringing 99% of this heartless group of quitting losers back for another year.

And furthermore, if it’s OK to sell you most expensive asset low, why are they not selling low on ANY of the other guys.  Just get rid of them. 4th round pick for Bozak… fine, give us your 5th and we can throw Lupul in too. Addition by subtraction.  

It’s a foregone conclusion that this is going to be losing season, why do we have to watch Jake Gardiner giveaways or James Reimers’ weak glove hand again and again? Can’t Percy give the puck away just as easily? Can’t Sparks get beat High glove twice a night as well? I’m sure Leivo could be on the ice more than ‘Handsome’ Joffrey Lupul and his never ending injuries. This my biggest issue with keeping the roster basically intact. It delays the rebuild. The old should be out and the new should be in already. We should be using this year to evaluate Marlies not to give aging vets with a history of losing their 6th and 7th chances

We have team of bottom 6 forwards and no room for the Marlies that have earned a look in the big leagues. The Kessel trade should have touched off a fire sale of leafs. It didn’t. The roster needed a complete turnover this offseason. It never happened. Much Like Jules and Vincent, Shanny Dubas and Hunter have done well, but they are still covered in the blood of last season and someone needs to strip them down, grab a garden hose and shower them clean.

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