Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Prospectin' for Prospects

In hockey news (oh sweet cupping cakes, how good it is to type those words) there is actually hockey news. Training camps are almost ready to go, and the Leafs are looking like a team that might do something this year. Er, maybe. Don't get your hopes up. Well, you can get them up a little. No, no, that's too high.

Anyways, the Leafs' roster is almost set, the only hold-out being young Matty Stajan, who's holding out for more money, or more years, or more something. It doesn't seem like it'll be an issue or anything, everybody is still friendly, and it's not like Stajan (as much we love him) is a high enough calibre player to demand anything exorbitant (we're told that he wants to be payed more than Kyle Wellwood, one of last season's better rookies. That's fair enough, Stajan has been around longer, and scored more goals, with less power play time than Wellwood did).

Training camp should be interesting. The Paul Maurice era begins, breathing a breathe of fresh air over this team. The cobwebs have been cleaned out, and a nice, Febreeze-fresh scent lingers over them.

There's still some stuff to be figured out, such as the million dollar question, who will play with Mats Sundin? Pat Quinn's strategy was to stick a pair goobers on both sides, and hope for the best. Hopefully, Maurice has different plans. We like Alex Steen and Jeff O'Neill for the job.

Also, there are three spots open on defense for a few bright eyed youngsters, and boy howdy, the Leafs do have enough of them. There's Carlo Colaiacovo, who has been trying to crack the team for the past, what, decade? Staffan Kronwall, brother of a much better Red Wings d-man (that came off harsher than intended. We love you Staffan!). Jay Harrison, who had a brief stint with the big boys last year, and impressed us. One of our sentimental favourites, for sure. Andy Wozniewski, who has a great name (Woz-new-ski), a pretty good game too boot. And the rest, Brendan Bell and Ian White, who we don't even know enough about to make fun of them (What can we say, cut backs at the 63 Years' head office have left us with a rather meagre staff).

The picture isn't so rosy up front, where the only Leaf prospects we can name off the top of our heads are John Pohl (who led the Baby Leafs, er, Marlies, in team scoring last year) and Ben Ondrus (who isn't going to be leading anything in scoring anytime soon).

Between the pipes there's the trifecta of Mikael "Blame Me" Tellqvist, J.S "One Hit Wonder?" Aubin, and Andrew "All You Need Is Some Selective Amnesia" Raycroft. That will take some sorting out, and that's also without mentioning uber-prospect Justin "Watch Out Patrick Roy" Pogge, who might complicate things farther down the road. The good kind of complicated, we hope.


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