Dec 29, 2010

Another all-access fun with Armdog and Schenner

The Leafs events just keep on coming! Man, I love being in the best hockey city in North America!  With the awesome turnout a few months at the Bozak and Kessel all-access, Leafs TV is bringing back another one! This time it’s all-access with Colby Armstrong and Luke Schenn at Real Sports Apparel.  Although I wish it were Kris Versteeg, who is one of my favourtite players, I’m excited to see Schenn again because last time he just signed autographs at Frozen Pond.  This time, hence “all-access”, I’ll get to see him talk and interact with fans.

I’ll be in line starting at 9am for the wristbands that will be given out at 12pm.  It’s going to be a long day but I know it will be worth it! Leafs are my celebrities. I would line up over night if need be! Okay, maybe not because it’s super cold right now but BOO YEAH am I excited for tomorrow!

Red and white on a roll

So the IIHF World Junior Championships have begun and not surprisingly, Team Canada is on a roll with a three game win streak. 

It’s obvious that captain Ryan Ellis is is one of the best players on the team.  But Brayden Schenn, brother of Toronto Maple Leafs Luke Schenn, is one of my favourites right now.  In the 7-2 win last night over the Czech Republic, he is the second player in WJC history to earn five points in one game, leading the team with  seven points at the moment.

I’m not worried about Team Canada. They will make it to the gold medal finals for sure.  The two teams we’ve face so far (Russia and Czech Republic) are physical and have a lot of depth, but I think we are yet to face our toughest opponent and rival: Team USA.  Even Sweden said during the preliminary round that “It is not Canada that they have to beat this year, it’s the the Americans.”  

The pressure is on.  Let's see if the team can capture the gold and give back our bragging rights.

Dec 17, 2010

He’s called “Monster” for a reason

If it were up to me, I’d choose Jonas Gustavsson (a.k.a. “Monster”) in net over J.S. Giguere right now.  Sure, Jiggy is the Leafs’ number one starting goaltender but ever since his groin injury, he hasn’t been the same. Gustavsson on the other hand, has proven to Wilson, Burke, his teammates and the rest of Leafs Nation that he is dependable and capable as a potential number one goalie for the Leafs.

I never had much faith in our back-up goaltender until now.  When Jiggy was first injured, I thought: “Oh no, now we got to rely on Gustavsson and out losing streak is going to continue.”  But Gustavsson surprised me and I think everyone else in Toronto.  Although we only won two out of seven games with the Monster in net at the time, he made some great saves that Giguere probably wouldn’t have made.  Don’t get me wrong, Giguere has had his share of tremendous saves last night versus the Calgary Flames, like when he robbed Niklas Hagman with a cross-ice save in the first period.  But lately he’s been allowing goals into the net that weren’t very hard to stop.  Take last night’s game for example. Two of those four goals he let in in the second period were goals he could of saved: one from the blue line by Olli Jokinen and the other by Rene Bourque through the five-hole if Giguere wasn’t that deep into his net.

I don’t know what goes behind closed doors on the Leafs team, but I think Giguere returned way too soon after his groin injury. Whether that was Wilson’s idea to play him that soon against the Bruins on Dec. 6 or if Giguere was eager to get back into the lineup, he did sit out the game after because he “wasn’t fully recovered yet”, according to media sources in Toronto.  And now I just heard from the AM640 that Giguere is listed day-to-day because he re-aggravated his groin.  I mean come on, it’s obvious Giguere is clearly not ready to play 100% yet.  Wilson should know this...

And besides, Gustavsson has proven again and again that he deserves to play more games this season. Ever since he got the start to play in replacement of Giguere, his save percentage has gone up.  He now sits with a .901 save percentage and a 2.91 GAA.  Giguere on the other hand only has a .894 save percentage and a 2.80 GAA which went down a bit after those goals he let in last night against the Flames.

So who’s better? You tell me.  Sure, Giguere is a long-time veteran who was one of the top goalies in the NHL when he was with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.  He even was good for us the past couple seasons but he seems to be going through a slump right now.  Whether it’s his groin injury or their team chemistry and leadership as a whole (which by the way I think is a huge part of why the Leafs and Giguere hasn’t been doing so well this season), in those seven games that Gustavsson played, his stats and ability to make key saves in order to keep his team in the game definitely shows that he deserves to be the number one goalie over Giguere right now.  Or, at least after Giguere recovers from his injury and pulls out of his goalie slump.

November = blue and white month =)

Since I couldn’t grow a Movemeber mustache due to my gender, the month of November was by far the most fun I've had since earlier this May when my friends and I went to Vegas. There were so many Leafs events happening that whole month such as the All Access with Kessel and Bozak, two Leafs games I attended (one of them I won tickets to) and meet and greets with five Leafs. Here are a string of photo albums I put together which pretty much summarizes November for me!


Click here to view more photos from this event

Thanks to my friend Jeff and his awesome researching skills, we had a chance to meet Luke Schenn, Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak, Clarke MacArthur and Luca Caputi every Sunday of that month. (Bozak, MacArthur, Caputi all appeared at the same time on the 28th)

Being a Leafs fan for over ten years, this was definitely a dream come true.  I mean, how often do you get to meet your Leafs and take pictures with them within such a short time spam.  Many people showed up to see the players. Schenn was pretty shy and quiet but everyone else was very friendly and seemed happy to be there for the fans. 


Click here to view more photos from this event

Disappointing day turned good - My best friend Denise and I originally planned to watch the Leafs game at Real Sports Bar next to the ACC that night. And if you’ve ever been to the bar on home game nights, you either have to make reservations beforehand or go EXTREMELY early to get a table.  Unfortunately we didn’t know this. We arrived at around 4pm and they told us that if we wanted a table to eat, we had to either be seated right away or there will be no more tables. So we decided to take the table and rushed to eat our dinner and left before 5pm since there was a reservation at our table at 5. 

It sucked because after that we went to the bar to see if there were any seats for us to watch the game.  Not to my surprise, there weren’t any.  So we stood in front of the big screen near the pole from 5:30 pm - 7pm, thinking we were going to be watching the game while standing all night (we’re pretty dedicated to our Leafs!).

Anyway, it wasn’t very pleasant standing there for over an hour and a half while the place was packed and people/waitresses were walking back and forth between us.  We were having a pretty disappointing/miserable time when the Real Sports manager and two girls working for MLSE approached us and asked if we wanted to watch the game LIVE!  Instantly we said “YES, OF COURSE!”  We appeared on the ACC’s jumbotron during the first period with Monika from Leafs TV and two other Leafs fans.  She announced our winning on the big screen and the rest is history.

I’ve never won anything this big since those Backstreet Boys tickets on Kiss 92.5 FM in seventh grade.  Our seats were amazing - front row.  We even got to take a picture in front of the Raptors and Leafs’ dressing rooms.  Totally unexpected. We lost our eighth in a row that night but I will cherish this memory forever!


Click  here to view more photos from this event

First time seeing Kessel and Bozak live in person! This was overall a very entertaining and fun event for all Leafs fans.  I love how it was very interactive and how close fans were able to  get up to the players.  Although the question I was about to ask was already answered, I still had a lot of fun! It was also my first time meeting Monika from Leafs TV - a great honour! Oh, and this was the turning point for my friend Denise’s obsession with hockey and the Leafs :D.

LEAFS VS. RANGERS (OCT. 13, 2010): 

 Click here to view more photos from this event

I know this post is about what happened in November, but I figured I’d include this anyway.

My friend Jeff got us Leafs tickets from his cousin on this day.  It was my first time attending a Leafs game in over four years so I was very excited. You can tell by all the tourists pictures I took! Haha.  We lost that night but I still had a lot of fun because hey, it is the Leafs after all.

Dec 7, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words

It seems that Tyler Bozak has a a lot of love for his fellow Leafs.  From interviews on television and tweets from his Twitter page, you can tell who he shares his brotherly love with the most.  And I just thought it would be fun to share these pics :)

Leafs TV All Access with Phil Kesel and Tyler Bozak (Nov. 5, 2010)
Design by: Denise Lau (!/deelovescake)

BROTHERLY LOVE: This was taken at Real Sports in Toronto during the Leafs TV All Access.  Watching the interview live, you could tell right off the bat that Bozak and Kessel think of each other as best buds on the team.  Bozak's smirk says it all. Haha. 

Clarke MacArthur, Tyler Bozak & Luca Caputi signing at Frozen Pond (Nov. 28, 2010)
Design by: Denise Lau (!/deelovescake)

BROMANCE: This picture was taken at the Leafs signing at Frozen Pond in Vaughan.  Bozak and Caputi were non-stop chattering and laughing the whole time.  Maybe that's why they are such great roomies!

Dec 5, 2010

What should Cavs fans do? ...Get over it.

Is it just me, or is the hate towards Lebron James getting old? I think it’s the latter.  After all the hype in the media about King James returning to Cleveland on Thursday, fans have gone overboard and taken this “LBJ hate” to a whole new level.

Not only was it annoying to hear fans boo him every time he touched the ball, it was ridiculous that people burned his jersey and held up “hate” signs in the stands.  It’s as if the hate towards James in the city has become a trend: “You have to hate Lebron James or else you aren’t a loyal Cavs fan”.  Get over it.  It’s been what? Three? Four months since he announced publicly he was leaving Cleveland for a BETTER chance at winning the NBA Championship?

TSN quotes James as being “the most hated player in the NBA right now”.  Well, I can understand that from the way he handled leaving Cleveland.  What I don’t understand is how fans can stay bitter for this long.  Yes, the way he announced that he was leaving Cleveland was a slap in the face for fans.  I mean hell, if I were a Cavs fan I would feel betrayed/pissed.  Part of the reason why fans have so much bitterness is probably not because he left them stranded.  It’s the WAY he left them.  It could of just been a simple short press conference saying “I have chosen to play for Miami” instead of “Let me make a one hour special and have fans watching anxiously even though I already know I won’t be playing for Cleveland next year”.  Fans hyped up the segment and tuned in just to watch James rip their hearts out and shatter their hopes and dreams as a playoff contender on national television.  But who knows? Maybe ESPN already knew James’ decision and paid him to have that hour-long special.  Whatever the case, James did handle it badly but this doesn’t give fans a reason to hate on him THIS MUCH.

James left for a reason - to have a better chance at winning the championship.  You can’t blame the guy for leaving.  He’s been with the Cavs for seven years and practically carried the team to the playoffs a few times.  A player this skilled can only do so much.  James WAS the Cavs.  He was the whole team and can only do so much to his ability.  Basketball is a team sport, not a one-man sport.  No matter how many points or wins James racks up each game for the team, if the other players can’t produce or contribute, you can’t win as a team.  Which is probably why the Cavs never made it that far in the playoffs even with one of the best NBA players on their side.

You have to think about how James feels.  It’s a waste to be that talented and be stuck on a team that doesn’t have the ability or skill to win a championship yet.  Seven years is enough.  I think it’s time for a change.  It’s like how Sundin was on the Leafs for 14 years but never won a Stanley Cup.  Sad isn’t it?  And he’s amazing.  Same goes for Sidney Crosby.  Best player in the NHL right now. Imagine going through his whole career without a Cup.  It would definitely be a waste. 

Even though James’ stats this season records as his worst since his previous seasons with the Cavs, he made a smart move by going to Miami to play alongside Bosh and Wade.  Every athlete's goal is to make it into the big leagues, and once you’re in, you want that championship to make it complete.  Although, it is pretty ironic that the Heat isn’t doing as well as everyone thought they would with the James-Bosh-Wade trio.  From the way Miami is playing this season so far, I don’t think they will make it far into the playoffs. But at least James has Bosh and Wade and an overall better Heat team than the Cavs to fall back on.

If you are a Cavs fan and looked up to James, you should support him and his decisions in his career.  He was a classy and respectful player who restored all kinds of hope that Cavs fans would of never dreamed of. The bitterness and name-calling has got to stop.  Enjoy the game.  Ask yourself: “What should I do? Should I put all this James crap behind me?” And the answer should be “Yes”.  James will never return to Cleveland so get over it. 

Dec 1, 2010

Something needs to change...

Blogging? I honestly don’t know anything about it, other than reading other people’s blogs online.  But I’ve jumped on to the bandwagon and we’ll see how long this will last....

So the Leafs lose AGAIN, breaking their three-game win streak at home and receiving their third loss in a row. Why is it that whenever they hold a comfortable lead, they always seem to give it up and lose in OT? It’s become a pattern for them.  It’s getting ridiculous and it’s really getting to me.  It’s hard enough to watch  old-time faves like Darcy Tucker, Mats Sundin, Matt Stajan and Tie Domi replaced by the younger generation we see now, but it’s harder to watch them lose almost every game when the team is so-called “re-building”.  Man, I don’t even want to think about how fans who have been waiting since after 1967 feel right now...

Don’t get me wrong.  I love all the current players on the roster right now.  We have a lot of young talent (Schenn, Kessel, Kadri, just to name a few).  But it’s like the team is too young and inexperienced.  The average age is what? Twenty-six? Although we still got veterans like Kaberle and captain Phaneuf, I think we need a forward veteran who can score and generate momentum for the team.

And Ron Wilson? Don’t even get me started. Everything’s just not going right for those buds right now and it’s frustrating to watch when you can’t do anything about it.  All I can do is sit in front of my TV, pout and slowly watch our playoff dream slip away....

I really hope things turn around. If not, there goes another year without the cup.  How many years is that? Hmmm, I lost count.