Saturday, January 17, 2009


It is a new low point as a Leafs fan. Last night, I was mocked at Phillips Arena by the fans of the lowly Thrashers. Yes folks, forget about the Habs, Sens, or any O6 teams, we are being laughed even out of the dirty south. Suffice to say, it was a long walk of shame home on a frigid night in Atlanta, one that couldn't even be warmed by standing alongside those in Domi, Mogilny, Potvin, and even good ol' Gary Valk jerseys.

Things started out well. 3-0 after the first, although only on 9 shots and with some nice bounces to boot. But the pace and quality of the game mirrored that of two of the NHL's worst teams. Even my girlfriend, who has never been to a live hockey game before asked me "Is hockey always this slow? I thought it'd be hard to keep up with." She clearly hasn't watched enough Leafs games lately. Unfortunately, I have and was not too optimistic, even with the 3 goal lead. Over the next 2 periods and overtime, the Leafs managed a whopping 8 shots on net against the powerhouse Thrasher defence. Pathetic. I've seen more scoring opportunities at a Weight Watchers convention.

When the pesky Thrashers sent the game to overtime (on an absolutley terrible move by Toskala), it was painfully obvious that this game wasn't going to a shootout and it wasn't going to be the Leafs who ended it. I considered leaving early to avoid the humiliation but at this point, we are all going down with the ship and playing the "We want Tavares" card anyways. Still, those Thrasher fans didn't have to barade me with "Leafs Suck" chants all the way out. We know guys, we know.

One additional piece of commentary from the girlfriend. We watched the skatearound before the game and the only player she remembered later was Brad May. She quipped, "That guy is ancient. He's probably been on this team forever!" Um, nope, we just traded a draft pick for him a few weeks ago. It's not like we're rebuilding or anything. Doh! However, he prolly was one of the best Leafs players out there last night, which is sad in itself. Mayday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Draft Day in MLS

After weeks of Toronto soccer silence (especially on the DeRo front - WTF?), the action begins again today at the MLS Draft in St Louis. The TFC GM, "Trader Mo" Johnston is holding a pretty strong hand heading into today's events, with three early picks for a draft class that has the potential to fill some holes in teams across the league.

TFC Picks:
First Round: 2nd, 4th, 13th
Second Round: NONE
Third Round: 34th

Mo has obviously got a good eye for young American talent, having been responsible for bringing Jozy Altidore, Marvell Wynne and Maurice Edu into his teams - but players like this tend to be the exception rather than the rule. Very few NCAA players are ready to walk into an MLS game straight away. With this in mind, Mo Johnston is likely to start wheeling and dealing with his picks and Toronto Football Club could look very different come this evening.

I'll debrief the day's events once the dust has settled, but for now, here's a good site for all things MLS Draft, with plenty of info on the top prospects and all the teams' needs. Until tonight then...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Raptors Rumors Running Rampant

Another day, and another set of Raptors trade rumours.

The latest? Raptors trade AP and Bargnani for Josh Howard.

Do I love this deal? Hell yeah, but at the same time, do I think its going to happen? Only if Mark Cuban and Donnie Walsh lose their minds (and if they are already smoking enough crack to give up Howard for Andrea, maybe they'll throw in a 1st rounder too!).

Bosh, Jose, JO, and Howard is some serious sickness as the starting five. Of course, this deal might mean that we may have to play the corpse formally known as Stack as our SG (assuming BC can rid the Raptors of Kapono as well), but who cares! As an added bonus, BC seems to be on board with bringing back Mr. Delfino as our 6th man (thank you financial crisis, gotta love it when the Russians run out of money, and can't pay their players, hahahaha).

I know, I can hear the haters now: "Andrea is the future, he has so much promise, we can't trade him!". You know what I say to you? Andrea is NOT the future, and while he might actually still develop into a half decent player, the Raptors are getting JOSH HOWARD!!!!!

What would this deal mean for the Raps cap space you ask? Well, have no fear, the Raps will still have plenty of space for the Summer of LeBron. Josh Howard's going to get paid $11.4 million next season, and he has a team option for $12.3 in 2010. Which means, that the Raptors improbably have an opportunity to get rid of him (if this trade goes to shit) at the same time we are saying good bye to JO. What does $32 million of free cap space during the Summer of LeBron get you? I don't know, but my brain hurts just thinking about it!

BC for the love of God, if this deal is for real, please pull the trigger, just do it, don't think about it anymore, Dallas might come to their senses sooner rather than later.

Quick Update: Good Ol' Dougie Smith from The Star doesn't think this deal is going to happen ( By the way Dougie, Hoopsworld is reporting that Toronto wants something else OTHER than just JHow, Brandon Bass perhaps, why do you have to jump to the conclusion that its Diop? Did you even read the link? How come I am better at your job that you are? I digress, based on Dougie's track record ("There is no way that Sam Mitchell is going to be fired"), this deal must be COOKING. Let's hope Dougie is wrong AGAIN, and you can bet that I am going to make the same mistake that Tex made when the Leafs traded for Owen Nolan!

Quick Update #2: Colangelo crushes my dream of having Howard on the Raps - - now the question is, when will JO be moved (where's there's smoke there's fire!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Art of Tanking

So, I finally decided to look up the Leafs record, since after watching the Juniors, I am totally obsessed with the idea that JT NEEDS TO BE A LEAF. He is destined to be the Leaf messiah, and only Gary Bettman's hatred of Canada prevents that. Anyway, Richie pointed out that the Leafs are actually kind of close to a playoff spot, so their tanking wouldn't be as potent. BUT, I looked it up today, and the Leafs only have 6 more wins than the Lightening. Admittedly, i don't know much about hockey standings, but 6 games doesn't seem like that big of a lead. I think if Burke gets it together and starts shipping everyone out of town en masse, Tavares is still a possibility. Think positive thoughts, and hope against hope that JT will lead our lowly Leafs out from the wilderness (btw, anyone who watched the Juniors, and isn't convinced that the Leafs should do everything they can to throw enough games to get the chosen one, just isn't a true Leafs fan).

I have also read a several Raptors fan posts that our beloved Dinos should really start to give up on the season. Now, I am all for getting high draft picks, but unfortunately the Raptors are just too "good" (I use this term lightly) to get the top spot in the draft*. Oklahoma is historically bad, I mean, they are on pace to be the WORST TEAM IN THE HISTORY OF THE NBA. Seriously, they have won 4 games this ENTIRE season. The Raptors would actually have to shut everyone on their roster down to reach the same levels of incompetence as the Thunder, and we are talking about a team that employs Will Soloman as their backup PG. On top of that, this year's draft class looks like it might be one of the worst classes in the history of basketball. Did you know that Blake Griffen is widely considered to be the #1 pick in the draft. Did you also know that Blake Griffen is Kris Humphries with a slightly better J? Seriously, watching NCAA basketball this year makes me want to claw my eyes out. This isn't just going to be a weak draft, its going to be historically shitty. So I am definitely off the tank the season for a high pick bandwagon when it comes to the Raptors.

Now a much more realistic scenario is to trade JO for a guy like Matrix, so that they can free up their cap space one year sonner than 2010. What would getting a cap injection of $32 million (Matrix + AP + Garbo + Joey) mean for the Raptors? It would mean that we would own this summer's free agent market (especially now that Memphis seems determined to stick up Portland's ass and play Darius Miles in 10 games, you go Chris Wallace!). Getting rid of JO also let's the Raptors embrace a potential 2nd unit where Hump is the C, Joey is the 4, and Roko is the point guard! Scary? Definitely, but personally I would LOVE to watch it.

Either way, its clear that neither the Raptors nor the Leafs are going to do anything this year, but I think the paths back towards to prominence for each are DRASTICALLY different.

*as an interesting aside, when the Raptors have hit rock bottom in the past, they have had exceptional luck in winning or getting close to the top of the lottery. The Raptors have won the lottery twice (once was the Camby year when David Stern proved once again that he hates us, and took away the pick, and of course the Barney year, ugh), and have had two top 5 picks turn into superstars (VC and Bosh). In 12 years of existence the Raptors have drafted in the top 4, 4 times, and drafted in the top 7 twice. Ironically, the other 6 drafts that the Raptors have had, they were playoff teams. Clearly, the Raptors know that when you suck, it pays to suck huge!

...annnnd we're back, with a few musings on hockey.

Happy New Year!

As a result of the holiday season, its been a few weeks since we've posted here at TPTFUA. Our sincerest apologies, but we trust your lives went on without too much disturbance.

I won't bother recapping all that's occurred over the past few weeks, including the usual up-and-down performance of this year's Leafs squad, and the same results from the Raps. But
I do want to start out by sending a very hearty congratulations to all of the kids (and staff) on Team Canada for their 5th consecutive gold medal at the World Junior Championships. This is a tourney I have always enjoyed watching, as it has produced some incredible play - and players. Plus, its always a sign of the holiday season - and is a winning team that us Toronto fans can actually be a part of.

As an aside, I actually got to watch big chunks of this year's tourney from the US thanks to the creation of the NHL Network (and thanks to DirectTV which actually airs the NHL Network). The NHL Network carried TSN's feed (and some of their own content) of the games, so it felt like I was back "home."

Now, to all those people who thought that the Leafs' potential strategy of tanking this season in order to get John Tavares was a bad idea, I hope you watched even a little of the tourney. He ended up as the second highest point scorer in the tourney and as the MVP. He played a key role in a bunch of games, including the game vs. USA where he scored this goal (watch the first 55 seconds for the goal and the replay):

All I could think the entire time is that he would look awesome in a Leafs jersey, especially given that he's from Oakville, and how shitty its going to feel if he pulls on an Islanders, Atlanta or, worse, Ottawa jersey next year. Here's to hoping Burkie can work some of that alleged magic.

Finally, two staples of the TML defense over the past few years are back at the ACC tonight. For the squad in blue and white, Luke Schenn is coming back from injury to patrol the blue line while, on the other side of the puck, Bryan McCabe makes his first return as a visitor with his new squad, the Panthers. How will you treat him tonight? Oh, and Sundin is getting set to debut with the Canucks soon, maybe even this week.

There's a lot to get caught up on in the coming weeks, and while posting may be sporadic as we adjust to a new year and all the challenges it brings, we hope you'll stay with us in 2009.