Author Archives: Thomas Waind

For Leafs fans: A look at the last ten 25th Overall picks

This is Kyle Dubas’ first draft at the helm of the Toronto Maple Leafs warship. Toronto has the 25th overall pick, and as the following list will show you, this range of the draft is incredibly hit or miss. If the Leafs are going to make the jump from first round playoff fodder to full-blown contender, they will have to hit on these picks in order to give their core of Matthews, Marner and Nylander a solid and affordable supporting cast.

2017 Ryan Poehling, Montreal

Poehling was the youngest player in the NCAA when the Habs took him in last year’s draft. It seemed like a weird pick at the time, but the center from St. Cloud State had an excellent 2017-18 that saw him score 31 points in 36 college games as well as center the US’s top line at the World Juniors. April’s Hockey News “Future Watch” has him ranked as  the 37th best prospect in hockey and Montreal’s top prospect.  Read more

Breaking down the 2018 Hart Trophy Finalists

Tonight is the NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas and, while I’m sure people are itching for some Lady Byng talk, the Hart Trophy for the league’s MVP usually garners the most interest. This year you will be shocked to not see a Crosby, Malkin or McDavid (actually I’m really surprised to not see a McDavid) on the finalist list for the award. All three of the 2018 candidates have never been a finalist for the award before and all three have an equally legitimate claim to win the thing. In what should be the most open race for the MVP in years, here’s the case for Taylor Hall, Anze Kopitar and Nathan MacKinnon to each win the Hart.

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 11.53.55 PM Read more

Throwback Thursday: 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers AKA the Last Team to get Swept in the Finals

Let’s remember a few names. In honour of the Cavaliers getting pushed to the brink of Finals Sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, I thought I’d take a look back at the last team to get swept in the Finals… Lebron’s 2007 Cavaliers. This by no means is a shot at the present or past Cavs. The 2018 Cavs can still win a couple of games to avoid the sweep and when all is said and done and the 2007 Cavs were not supposed to make it that far. Nonetheless it is an interesting practice to reminisce on some of the guys Lebron dragged to the Finals a decade ago.

Ira Newble

Image result for ira newble

Who? A quick glance at Newble’s Basketball Reference page shows that Ira was a veteran of eight NBA seasons split between San Antonio, Atlanta, Cleveland, Seattle and the Lakers. 380 career regular season games is nothing to turn your nose up at… But this guy was as big of a non-factor imaginable on an NBA Finals team. In the 2007 playoffs Newble only got in 6 games and averaged 1.7 minutes per game and didn’t score once. Lebron had his work cut out for him. Read more

Rolling Rock (Unofficially) Presents: The Second Annual 2018 Bench Life Stanley Cup Prediction Battle

Another year another pick battle. Quite honestly I forgot to post the results of last year’s. To recap, Brendan won a case of Rolling Rock and Cam is a coward who never did a punishment for losing.

This time around, Ray has entered the fold and I’m going to put a punishment in writing. Winner will still win a case of Rolling Rock, otherwise known as the King’s spoils of war. The loser will have to change their Twitter profile pic to a picture of them wearing the jersey of their least favourite team and must not change the picture for a whole year. For Ballantyne and I we would have to wear one of Cam’s Bruins jerseys, Ray would have to wear a Blackhawks jersey and Cam would have to wear a Leafs jersey. The stakes have never been higher(?)

Before I break down our picks, I thought I would give an update on the podcast situation. We have been off of the air waves for a couple of weeks due to school ending and us having to figure out how to format over Skype. Expect a victorious return to the podcast game within the next week or so.

Without further ado, here’s our official Stanley Cup picks:

Pick the Winner (5 points for team, 3 points for amount of games, 10 points if both are right)
Thomas: Washington in 6
Cameron: Vegas in 7
Brendan: Washington in 7
Ray: Washington in 6

Conn Smythe (10 points)
Thomas:   Alex Ovechkin
Cameron: Marc-Andre Fleury
Brendan: Alex Ovechkin
Ray: Evgeny Kuznetsov (although realistically it’ll probably be Ovie)

Select 3 Forwards and 2 Defensemen. You get points for where they finish series in top 10 scorers (1st=10 pts, 10th=1 pt, 14th= 0)
Thomas: Marchessault, Ovechkin, Oshie, Carlson, Orlov
Brendan: Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Smith, Carlson, Schmidt
Cameron: Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Karlsson, Theodore, Carlson
Ray: Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Marchessault, Carlson, Theodore (sorry Tatar and Nosek)

1st Player to be Handed the Cup after the captain (5 points)
Thomas: Vegas–Fleury  Washington–Carlson
Brendan: Vegas–James Neal Washington–Backstrom
Cameron: Vegas – Fleury, Washington – Backstrom
Ray: Vegas – assuming Engelland is the pseudo-captain, Fleury. Washington – Backstrom.  

For Every OT Tweet a VGK and WSH player for who will score the OT Goal. 10 points per correct pick.

Over Unders (2 pts for every pick)

Ovechkin Goals Set at 4.5
Thomas: Over
Brendan: Under
Cameron: Over
Ray: Over

Back-Up Goalie Starts Set at 0.5
Thomas: Over
Brendan: Under
Cameron: Under
Ray: Under

Total Overtime Games Set at 1.5
Thomas: Over
Brendan: Under
Cameron: Under
Ray: Under

Total Shutouts in Series Set at 0.5
Thomas: Under
Brendan: Over
Cameron: Over
Ray: Over

Total Goals in Series Set at 24.5
Thomas: Under
Brendan: Over
Cameron: Over
Ray: Under

Bench Life Sports

Throwback Thursday: the 2003-04 Washington Capitals

Let’s remember a few names. In honour of the Capitals finally making the Stanley Cup final, I thought I would look back at the roster that netted them the first overall pick in the 2004 draft and the right to draft Ovie. This team of studs went 23-46-10-3 (59 points) and set the foundation for one of the best regular season teams of the past decade.

Steve Konowalchuk

Konowalchuk was captain of this juggernaut Capitals squad… for 6 games. He was traded to the Colorado Avalanche with Washington’s third round pick in the 2004 draft (Casey Borer) to Colorado Avalanche for Bates Battaglia and Jonas Johansson. Since retiring in 2006 Konowalchuk became an assistant coach from 2009-2011 and served as the head coach for the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds from 2011-2017. The grit grinder is now an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks. Read more

What should the Raptors do with the NBA’s Coach of the Year?

Obviously it’s a terrible look to get swept in the second round as the conference’s 1 seed. It’s an even worse look to go 2-12 versus Lebron in the playoffs over the past three years (conference semis in 2016 (4-2), 2017 conference finals (4-0), 2018 conference semis (4-0). All of these tough losses have come in seasons where the Raptors were considered “contenders” because of the strong play of All Stars Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan with a rotating cast of solid role players. As the dust has settled on yet another playoff disappointment this year, while the Raptors core has taken their lumps, coach Dwane Casey and his future with the team has seemingly been pushed to the forefront. Read more

Should Mark Hunter get more buzz as Toronto’s next GM?

Ever since it was announced yesterday that Lou Lamoriello is stepping down as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, rumours have been been swirling surrounding his potential successor. The dark horse pick seems to be Shanahan’s hand-picked man Kyle Dubas. The other internal option is Mark Hunter, but I think that it will shock a lot of people if Dubas wasn’t the pick. Considering Dubas is the poster boy of my current degree, Brock Sport Management, you would assume that I would be championing Dubas as my man to lead the Leafs to the promise land. But, as the title to this blog suggests, I’m going to make the case that Mark Hunter could be the better pick. Read more

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