QUEST FOR FAIL: Cox Bloc 2008-2009 Leafs Preview and General Sadness

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Please enjoy the season preview. We hope you enjoy something this season.

Godd Till: Comrades! Again we gather to preview another Toronto Maple Leafs QUEST FOR FAIL. What do you think of the 08-09 squad? Will they be an epic failure, like Mike Bullard's talk show, or merely a run of the mill failure, like Mike Bullard's standup career?

Kim Jorn: I agree with Howard Berger, so put me in the talk-show camp. The Leafs have a damn good chance of finishing dead-last this year. The Quest for Fail has an even greater chance of success if Captain Cliff can throw Toskala, Blake and Kaberle off the side of the side of the sinking ship at the trade-deadline. I am really looking forward to watching the Leafs rush John Tavares into the line-up in 2008.

Unless things have changed, I imagine you're still holding onto your Linus-and-the-Great-Pumpkin like belief that the Leafs are a playoff team this year?

Godd Till: What a Rovian twisting of my thoughts. I did think with Sundin in the lineup the Leafs had a shot. As it is, no chance. So let's talk about the real point of the whole season. What player's dong are we going to see on Facebook this year? And are you still a Debbie Downer about the Silver Fox's attempt to coat the franchise in sweet, glossy, renewing Grecian Formula?

Kim Jorn: Rovian, eh? If you would have agreed to doing this preview in a town-hall meeting, rather than by email, I wouldn't have needed to go negative. Just wait until I start spreading rumours that those three years trapped in Vancouver made you a bit "nutty". And that you are secretly a treasonous Sens fan. And don't get me started on that Bangladeshi kid you adopted...

Godd Till: "For three and a half years living in a box on the West Coast, Godd Till couldn't watch weekday Leafs games."

Kim Jorn: Anyway, I imagine that the Leafs are giving the rookies a bit of a talking to this year about internet etiquette, so we won't see a repeat of the Jiri NSFW fiasco. It still blows my mind that Jiri's wang was only the third biggest dick exposed during that whole incident (behind that Perez Hilton cover-version and some petulantly outraged columnist at the Toronto Star). As for Fletch Lives, I'm still not completely sold on having someone even older than John McCain at the helm, but, to his credit, at least he didn't hire a slack-jawed extra from Northern Exposure as his second in command.

So, who is this year's Bryan McCabe? Sure the fans are content to watch this team bottom out right now, but I betcha that come December some frustration will be taken out on one of the players (media driven, no doubt). The easy-money is on Finger, but I'm looking at a couple longer shots.

Godd Till: I dunno about the booing and pitchforks. Fletcher and Wilson have done an astute job lowering expectations, to the point that as long as the boys manage not to literally piss all over themselves during games, I think the fans will keep this year in perspective. Cujo may hear it a bit if he keeps trying to out-Razor Raycroft. But the mittenstringers will need to find some leg to hump (otherwise they might have to write about hockey). Right now they are going with OLAS (Our Luke And Saviour) staying with the club. What are your thoughts on that?

Kim Jorn: I'm not so sure. I sometimes think we live in a bubble of more enlightened Leafs fans and forget that there are a whole lotta people out there who think that Cox and Berger are helping navigate the straight-talk express. Those are the people who will be booing Carlo or Antro come December.

I think it is a no-brainer to keep Schenn up for the first ten games. The harder decision comes after that. I'll reserve my decision until then. There are a lot of interesting questions that might be answered, but even more raised by those first ten games. They play, in order, Detroit, Montreal, St. Louis, New York (the good one), Pittsburgh, Anaheim, Boston, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, and New Jersey. All but one of those could be a playoff team this year. So, what is the Leafs record at the end of October, and is the Schenn-sation still with the team at the start of game eleven?

Godd Till: Good points. But you think Carlo will still be vertical in December? I thought I was the optimist!

Hate to nitpick, but if they keep OLAS up for ten games, he can't go back to junior. I think the Leafs record at the end of October will be about 4-5-1, and Wendel willing, Luke goes back to junior after 9 GP. The development issue is a tossup, but it's certainly the safer choice to put him in Kelowna playing 30 minutes a night. And why should they burn a cheap contract year on a team that is going nowhere this year? Send him down.

Kim Jorn: D'oh. Oh well, point stands, and I tend to agree with you that the best decision is to send him down. But that means I also agree with Cox, which doesn't seem right. I'm so confused.

Godd Till: Lots of Leafs are out the door from last season. Who do you think will come back to haunt the Leafs? Overstuffed futsal enthusiast Kyle Wellwood? Cottage Life coverboys McCabe and Tucker? No one?

Kim Jorn: None of those guys you mentioned are coming back to haunt us. It isn't automatic that a player leaves town to become a superstar while Leafs fans think about what could have been. For every Brad Boyes, Russ Courtnall and Jason Smith there is a Jason Allison, Eric Lindros and Joe Nieuwendyk. I group Stay-Puft, McCabe and Tucker in with the last group.

Godd Till:  I know. I just wanted to write 'futsal.' DGB did raise a great point I hadn't thought of - McCabe waiving his NTC with Florida to go to a contender at the deadline. I am 100% convinced that this will happen. There was one big name left off our list - serial ditherer Mats Sundin. Is he going somewhere else? How will he do? Will you care when he shows up in another uni?

Kim Jorn: At the trade deadline I felt sick about seeing Sundin in another uniform, but after all this time I don't really care anymore. Maybe it will change if I see him with a Habs Logo or that big Ottawa zero on his chest, but as of right now I'm not bothered.

I think we both agree that the Leafs are finishing at or near the bottom this year, but what about our rivals? Is Montreal totally overrated or the most overrated team ever? Can the Sens compete again now that they have shed their cocaine problems? Can Pittsburgh repeat their performance from last year? Are the Islanders even an NHL team any more?

Godd Till: Montreal is more overrated than the Doors, early Saturday Night Live, or the 2008 Detroit Tigers. They will finish 6th and go out in the first round. Ottawa will make the playoffs, because God hates us. If I had to pick a team to win the Cup, I'd go with something awful like Philly or Dallas. The Capitals will miss the playoffs, as will Edmonton.

But who gives a shit about the other teams? They are but mere extras that flit across the stage of the epic, unending nut-punch we call Watching the Leafs. The real point of the season, besides sucking good and hard, is developing some kids. Who will take a step forward this season, and who will be the subject of endless mittenstringery about the Leafs fans who own all the newspapers and TV stations overhyping their prospects?

Kim Jorn: I saw you over-hyping Jiri NSFW at the Think Factory this morning (I am everywhere like CITY TV), and you mentioned that he has the potential to score 35 goals as a first-line winger. I just don't see it. All of the kids project to be second-liners at best. That isn't a bad thing, but it just shows how badly the Leafs need to tank this year so that they can grab an elite offensive talent. The Leafs can add some offense through free-agency once they are poised to compete, but it would be nice to see the Leafs building around some young offensive talent for once. I know you'll disagree about Tlusty, but just remember that I was right about Wellwood even before he went on that reverse-Bullard diet.

We should probably wrap this up soon. Any final thoughts? Is there a particular mittenstringer that you expect to see shine this year? We've already awarded the MOY to Cox, and then stripped him of the title because of Howard Berger's phenomenal summer. Any predictions on the eventual winner? What is your guess for the 1967 contest? Will Simmons make the same mistake with GAA that he did with ERA and declare that Raycroft should win the Vezina? So many questions, and only 8 months to answer them.

Godd Till: Damn, now I know how Luke Walton feels. With Jiri, like Kulemin and Stralman (who I'm a big believer in), its just too early to tell. Look at the early stats of guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg. We just don't know yet. I do agree on a forward in the draft.

With regards to MOY, that's why they write the columns, although Damien is looking strong. I think there will be much less in terms of soap opera this year, so he will be forced to ever more hysterically play Chicken Little.

I've got Berger at 103 for the 1967 contest. It will be interesting which columnist declares jihad on I-Ron first. He makes Pat Quinn seem like Tom Bosley.

You're probably right that we should tie this off. To close, finish this sentence:

Watching the Leafs this year will be like....

I'll go first so you can have the last word for once. Watching the Leafs this year will be like watching someone punch a baby. Hopefully, the baby will soon grow up to be Nature Boy Ric Flair, and the Leafs will be stylin' and profilin', making the whole league tap out with their unbreakable figure-four.


Kim Jorn: Watching the Leafs this year will be like living through the Great Depression, except all the Okies are actually robots with guns that shoot cobras attached to their shoulders and California is an impregnable castle surrounded by a giant moat filled with baked beans and on top of the castle sits a six-year-old John McCain and instead of lies he spits anacondas and a great battle will rage and many lives will be lost yet no one will ever be declared the winner. Or know...kinda awesome, kinda horrifying, and totally fucked-up. I can't wait.


D²an D¹aoust said:

Thanks for the preview. Quest for fail, nice. I think for this season the Leafs should rework that famous Churchill quote thusly: 'Never in the field of human conflict was so little owed by so few to so many'.

This year's McCabe? Just a hunch, but I think either Jeff Finger or Pavel Kubina will be at the mercy of the leather-lunged and brainless. Finger is the obvious choice as the scribes already began to cast stones once he was signed. If he puts in a few crap performances they'll lease a Sikorsky for the season and slowly bury him under 300 tonnes of earth.

The strange thing about mining the depths of ineptitude is that you're ultimately trying to put off discovering that the canary is in fact dead and that it's best to climb up for some fresh air until as late as possible. The worst thing that could happen to this team is not that they lose, oh they will, but if they manage to keep things close in many matches, thereby mismanaging expectations. Then the electron microscopes will come out and of course it won't be the offense's fault that they can't score but rather the defense's fault in that the opposition scores just enough to win. A hearty diet of semi-regular blow-outs will keep most fans away from the jonestown koolaid, at least I hope.

As for the Silver Fox, sorry, but I'm not sold on his return. Yes, he is just an interim janitor designed to clean up so much JFJ garbage, but with his interim status it basically means that all the heavy lifting will most likely be put off until someone more permanent arrives. Not sure it bodes well for some savvy talent shifting on trade deadline day. In his defence (I'm not sure this was considered by Cliff) in a way the drafting of Schenn makes more long term sense if the Leafs truely, honestly, and sincerely wish to rebuild properly as a defenceman will get more modest pay increases than the second coming of Rocket Richard. It's easy to imagine an offensively talented Rook has a phenomenal first few seasons and then low and behold, he's eating up a sixth of you roster moneys. With rookie defenceman, the progress will be a bit slower and less inclined to consume a large chunk of salary cap in one hearty gulp. It was fine for Pittsburgh because they had a decent young core of players as a result of sucking for some time. Plus with the Leafs spotty draft record and their proclivities for seeking salvation within the free-agent market, amassing a young core of talent isn't really what they're good at.

Is the 2009 draft a talent rich draft? I don't know.

I'm new to the blog, but what is your take on one spurned MLSE ex-lover, Wilbur Watters? Is it a legitimate chip or is he just illegitimately insane?

eyebleaf said:

"Serial ditherer Mats Sundin"


Kim Jorn said:

I'm actually working on a piece about Wilbur. If you want the quick sneak preview: I don't have an opinion of Watters, or at least his radio shows, because I refuse to listen to AM 640.

Till may have some thoughts of his own on this one.

Watching the Leafs this year will be like...

Watching bad porn. It's gonna be ugly, awkward, and someone's getting definitely getting f*cked over. There will be many times when we'll turn our heads in disgust and other occassions where the only response is to turn it off and walk away...oh, wait...maybe it is more like robots with guns that shoot snakes.

Bim Jenning said:

What I'm interested in is how Cox et al. will handle everyone's massively lowered expectations. When 90% of his blogs and 80% of his "articles" are made up of "ZOMG this team suxx0r3z all u fanz r such n00bs", and the response from not only the fans but even the head coach and GM are already "yeah, so what? That's kind of the point, dude", where does that leave him? I suppose that means he'll pounce on any effort to win as abandoning the Quest For Tavares, and any effort to, say, sign a veteran to provide some dressing-room leadership (could happen) as pissing away our shot at finishing dead last - WHERE WE BELONG.

I mean, the Leafs are going to get a top-10 draft pick even if they wildly exceed expectations, so I'm not planning on freaking out as long as really egregious mistakes aren't made (which I doubt will happen - Wilson and Fletcher are actually smart guys). So I'm curious, this season, as to what Cox will find to get his panties in a bunch when the failure that he thrives on pointing out is not only expected but (semi-?)eagerly anticipated.

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This page contains a single entry by Godd Till published on October 8, 2008 10:32 PM.

Thanks for the memories was the previous entry in this blog.

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