It has been a very informative week for me, I have learned much and have become humbled by the wealth of knowledge that God (or Satan) has bestowed upon me in the past seven days.
First of, on a personal note, I discovered that I am one out of shape som' bitch. A weekend hockey tournament has learned me that apparently, the only way to stay in shape for hockey it to play hockey on a somewhat consistent basis. A five year break without anything close to a meaningful game did me no good. Just farting around on a rink for some half ass'd shinny don't cut it. Now its not that I'm out of shape by most peoples standards, I run 3-5 times a week, hit the weights every week day and tend to eat pretty healthy (unless there is a hockey game on). Apparenlty this means jack squat unless you play. God I am sore and slightly ashamed of being out played by people 10 years my senior.
On a Bleu et Blance note, I realized that the Leafs are in fact HALF of a good NHL team. Yup, thats right, 50% good, 50% suck. There are eight things a team needs to be a good NHL team, a contender if you will. These things are as follows. Goaltending. Tallent. Youth. Depth. Coaching Toughness, Synergy and Leadership.
Goaltending - Check. Toskala is the man, no doot aboot it. Pogge is an excellent prospect. Raycroft is really good at opening the gate.
Talent - No. As far as talent goes, the Leafs are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Outside of Sundin (should he return), Kabby and Toskala, there is no developed world class, all-star talent on this team, that don't cut it in todays NHL.
Youth - Check. Steen, Stajan, Stralman, Earl, Pogge, Williams. There is plenty of good young up and comers for this team. Not to mention a plethera of picks and a deep draft this year.
Depth - Check. Say what you will, there is a lot of depth here, not talented depth as we explored earlier, but there are lots of players who can step up and play if they have to.
Coaching - No. Paul Maurice is a great sound bite, a nice guy and obviously loves his job, but he isn't the coach this team needs.
Toughness - No. Tucker maybe one tough little bugger, but when your most bad ass player is 5'10 and 185lbs soaking wet, you have no one who can drop the gloves with the big boys in the league and the only player on your team who can throw a body check shatters into a million pieces every time he tries.....Yeah. You know what I'm getting at.
Synergy - Check. This team plays very well together, they have developed some very nice chemistry over the past few months. Lack of talent and proper coaching have lead this to be less than effective. Line smoothies anyone?
Leadership - No. Mats is a great leader, probably one of the best in the league. But where are his leutenants? McCabe? Tucker? Kabby? None of these guys have been much of a supporting cast for El Capitano. Where is Gary Roberts when you need him? Oh yeah..