Tag Archives: jason spezza

The Blue and White Blog Game 2: Toronto Looks to Run the C Bus off the Road

Game One sure was a beauty. Sure, letting in the first shot of the season isn’t ideal. I for one wasn’tΒ tooΒ nervous. Would I have liked for Cody Ceci to have cleared Tkachuk from away from the front of the net? No question. But 441 games into his career, the book is out on Ceci. Would you get angry at angry at a donkey for being livestock? I would if I was paying that donkey $4.3 mil.

But by the second period we were rocking and rolling. Matthews got on the board not once, but twice to become the franchise’s all-time leader for goals in opening-night games with nine. His two goals helped the Leafs cruise to a 5-3 win (they outshot Ottawa 42 to 26 so as much as you can cruise in a two goal game). Freddy didn’t play great, but he usually starts the season out slow so there’s no need to panic. Read more

The Blue and White Blog Game 1: Battle of Ontario Round 234 Electric Boogaloo

Thank Christ that the 2019 offseason is finally over. What consumed most of Leafs fans’ consciousness this summer was the whole Mitch Marner show. How many other teams have had their star RFA, his agent and his dad publicly beat the pulp out of their GM? All the while watching every other RFA imagine-able sign a more “team-friendly” deal. Say what you will about Point or Rantanen signing more palatable deals than Mitch’s six year $65 mil. But the Charlie McAvoy signing, to me, was the biggest gut punch. How can you call yourself “Chuckie Bright Lights” only roll over to let the Bruins pet your belly and sign for $4.9 mil a year? Watching the Bruins masterfully manage their salary cap makes me sick.

And after months of restricted free agent brain damage Auston Matthews hit Leafs fans with an underwear clad RKO just when we thought they were out of the woods. Now, supposedly, he won’t be named captain after it was reported that he was management’s choice prior to his charges becoming public. And now media and fans alike are debating whether Matthews deserves the captaincy or if it should be Tavares or Reilly… For the record could not care less.

But maybe, once the Leafs finally get a captain named we can finally just dial back and play some hockey…

Dammit.

What a circus. I give this lineup move a 9.1 Babcocks out of 10. Honestly, what are we even talking about here? Spezza only has 53 points in 154 games over the past two years which isn’t great. But–and I can’t stress this enough–WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THE FOURTH LINE HERE! We have a veteran taking a pay cut to chase a Cup with his hometown team and we’re already benching him!? For better or worse Toronto is a cap team for the next five years and will need some guys on the veteran minimum to round out the roster. If this is the precedent, who in their right mind will sign here?

If Spezza truly stinks, trot him out there on the fourth line for a few weeks and let fans and media come to that conclusion on their own. This is social suicide and just wreaks of Babs marking his territory. I wouldn’t be shocked if at the captain’s reveal press conference today Babcock just appears from behind the curtain with a C sewn onto the breast of this blazer. Babs doesn’t want you to get it twisted, he drives this ship with soy boy Kyle Dubas clinging on in tow.

The game at hand

The Battle of Ontario record currently sits at 102-108-12-11 in favour of the Senators. This includes Ottawa’s record pre-1934. The Leafs and Sens haven’t been relevant at the same time since the early 2000’s. The Senators owned the post 2005 lockout era with the likes of Alfredsson, Spezza, Heatley, Redden, Chara, Havalat etc. while the Leafs puttered around with the Muskoka Five. The Sens then ran into some success with Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Kyle Turris and kind of Bobby Ryan during the whole Double Dion + Phil the Thrill marriage.

The Auston Matthews era signals a time where it is decidedly in Toronto’s favour in the next chapter of the Battle of Ontario. While Leaf fans are worrying about who their next captain is and who will be on the fourth line the Senators are trotting out this lineup:

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 3.23.39 PM

P U this team stinks out loud.

Let’s just say that if the Leafs truly want to have Stanley Cup aspirations, they have to take care of business at home against teams of Ottawa’s ilk. If they can’t win these games, let’s just say that there’s much bigger problems than who’s bumping and grinding on the fourth line.

Players of Interest

Battle of the Swedes

Erik Brannstrom vs. Rasmus Sandin figures to be a glimpse of the future of both teams bluelines for years to come. Brannstrom will immediately be thrown into the fire considering he’s one of the few non-cardboard cut-outs not occupying the Senators blueline. Conversely the Leafs can bring Sandin along slowly considering their depth on the left side of the blueline.

Matthews, Marner, Tavares, Nylander, Rielly, Barrie, Muzzin, Andersen

What a murderers row of NHL talent. By season’s end I’ll have a nickname drawn up for this core. T-shirts and merch will quickly follow.

The Other Guys

There’s still come things that need to be sorted out as the season progresses. Kerfoot needs to step into the 3C slot previously occupied by the best third line centre in hockey. I obviously don’t expect him to replicate Kadri’s production but he has to be good.

I like Kapanen and Johnsson and hope that they can both hang in the top two left wing spots respectively.

If Ceci can’t hang on the right side of the second pairing there’s going to be an issue. A solid back-up goalie would help Andersen stay healthy.

Hutchison gets the first crack at the role, but who’s to say Kaskisuo or Mr. Outside hire won’t supplant him.

Also some penalty killers need to emerge considering last year’s unit ranked 17th in PK%.

The Young Sens

Believe it or not there is a pulse on this Ottawa team. Between Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, Colin White and the aforementioned Brannstrom, there is a semblance of a future elite core. Say what you will about the owner alienating players and staff alike, but Pierre Dorion (in the organization since 2007 and general manager since 2014) is a solid talent evaluator.

Not Jason Spezza

Final Thoughts

This has been the most fatiguing offseasons that we’ve had in the Dubas era. But now that we’ve gotten through it, we’re entering the 2019-20 season with a truly outstanding roster. This is a core that finished with the 7th best regular season record in the league last season. And now they’re adding a full season of Jake Muzzin and swapping the walking suspension, Nazem Kadri, for Alex Kerfoot (sure) and Tyson Barrie (!!!!!). They also took away Babcock’s favourite toys in Ron Hainsey and Patrick Marleau so Babs will have to get creative to keep his best players on the bench (cue his campaign for Gauthier at 20+ minutes a night!).

A lot has been made of Toronto’s future cap situation and Kyle Dubas’ negotiating skills. While they may have overpaid their core, at least they overpaid elite talent. We’re not talking about the David Clarkson contract here. Toronto has Matthews, Tavares, Marner, Nylander and Reilly locked up until 2022. To make a final judgement on Dubas’ tenure right now, good or bad, is absurd. We won’t know for years if this core is a failure or note.

But as of right now, this is the best team the Toronto Maple Leafs have dressed in decades. This is a team currently in its Stanley Cup window. Full. Stop. Quit counting the team’s 2023-24 cap hit and buckle in for what should be a wild season.

Jersday Blog February 28, 2019

The Round-Up

Nick Foles Philadelphia Eagle Jersey
Submitted by Joey Hasson

Well the Nick Foles era is officially over in Philly… for now. Big Dick Nick and the Eagles are like football’s Ross and Rachel. They’re just on a break.

If this really is curtains for Foles in Philly, you really have to pour one out for one of the most unlikely Super Bowl MVPs of all-time. I’ll still contend that Foles got a bad rap because he had a couple of lousy seasons in St. Louis under JEFF FISHER. Jeff Fisher stinks.

I think Foles is a solid QB and someone will scoop him up to a decent deal. We’ll always have the Philly Special. Fly Eagles Fly.

Zach Parise Minnesota Wild Jersey

I think if you’re going to get a Wild jersey, Minnesota-born Parise is one of the better ones you can rock. Here’s where the 34 year old Parise stacks up with Minnesota-born NHLers:

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 6.42.38 PM

While I’m on the subject Matt Cullen would be a cool Wild jersey too.

Jason Spezza Ottawa Senators Jersey

The second overall pick in 2001 is still kicking it in the NHL. That’s 18 seasons ago. Come on!

Image result for jason spezza draft

What a draft class! Spezza, Kovalchuk AND Alexandr Svitov.Β 

As a Leafs fan you can’t talk too much about the Senators organization without breaking into hives. They have had some absolute horses when you look back at some of those early-to-mid 2000 teams. Spezza, Alfredsson, Dany “50 in ’07” Heatley, Chara, Redden, Martin Havalat, Marion Hossa, Mike Fisher-Underwood. Not too shabby.

Jersey of the Week

Brian Lewerke Michigan State Jersey

This was a toss-up. The Zach Parise is literally the nicest jersey submitted this week. The pre-2004 lockout era Spezza is an awesome throwback. But in this case the tie goes to the college football jersey with not-quite NFL calibre QB on the back. I just can’t in good conscious award a Spezza Senators jersey the Jersey of the week.

One would argue that Michigan State doesn’t even have the best college football jerseys in their own state, but I think the Spartan green and white hold up against the Jordan brand Wolverines. The Spartans have a very sharp look. These are just sick:

Image result for michigan state spartans football jersey

Now Lewerke isn’t someone to get to wild about. A 106.1 Quarterback Rating is nothing to get too jazzed for. He did have that big rushing touchdown to edge out the Wolverines last year:

I dunno, college jerseys just do it for me.

Jersey of the Week Scoreboard:

1. @Acooksy19: 3
T2. @beamerr9: 2
T2. @wilsondrew17: 2
T3. @jefftrahan13: 1
T3. @phillydip4: 1

Suddenly Adam has some extra pressure on his heels in the standings. Hungry dogs run faster.
Β 

The Weekly Jersey Dump

That ’79 look laps the competition.

Hopefully this means these jerseys aren’t going away. The Nets Biggie jerseys are one of the best alternates in the game and easily the best the Nets have had in years.

Yeah these are nice and all, but where’s the Atlanta Thrashers throwback?

This Stadium Series look was pretty divisive. I wouldn’t like that jersey/helmet combo if it were a regular jersey, but for special event I like the change of pace. The set-up almost looked like two AFL teams with the way the helmets looked. I thought it was cool.

A Russel/ Booker back-court would look real nice. Make it happen Suns/Nets.

I’d scoop up one of these Manny Machado Padres jerseys:
Men's San Diego Padres Manny Machado Majestic Brown Patch Flex Base Player Jersey