Godd Till: October 2008 Archives
Dear "Most Valuable Losers,"
Yesterday, continuing a long-standing trend, another Toronto reporter took his
shot at Leaf fans. This time it was Howard Berger calling us "losers"
but we've seem the same cookie-cutter article before from virtually
everyone who covers the team.
Quite frankly, we've had enough.
As fans, we believe that those most deserving of our praise and our scorn are directly involved in the game, whether it's on the ice, in the press box or in the executive
corridors. Fans don't pencil in the starting five, make bad trades, or
write the headlines of the day and shouldn't be blamed (or praised) for
the totals in the wins and loss column.
Hockey may be just a game but it's also a passion. If you're looking for passionate
hockey coverage that offers insight and humour and you're sick of being
blamed for supporting a team you're passionate about, you have a better
It's time to leave the media superstars behind. There's compelling, timely, wide-ranging content waiting just for you online in the Barilkosphere.
Many have found this better way of following the Leafs, but not every Leafs fan has
been so lucky. Please send this message to your fellow Leaf fans via
e-mail or postings on message boards and let them know that they do
have a choice.
We hope you'll join us here in the Barilkosphere and become regular
readers and writers.
ScienceDaily (Oct. 29, 2008) -- People who view pictures of someone they hate display activity in distinct areas of the brain that, together, may be thought of as a 'hate circuit', according to new research by scientists at UCL (University College London).Apparently the experiment involved sitting Cox and Berger down and showing them pictures of:
Two Leaf fans smiling
a newborn puppy
I will be watching at least part of the Leafs loss to the Devils tonite, so feel free to stop by and distract me from the pain that is New Jersey hockey and Toronto's decade-plus ineptitude when faced with same. No Cox 'liveblog' tonight (a real live blog updates more than three times a game and doesn't moderate out comments), so I'll be without his jilted-lover rage towards Matt Stajan for writing McCabe's name on his stick (OMG MATT'S IN THE BURN BOOK NOW), and 'analysis' like saying it'll take another month to evaluate the team after the Ottawa game before concluding they suck again down a goal after one period.
Christ, if they won the Cup I am dead certain he'd be saying we should 'evaluate' them after their next four seasons to judge if it was a fluke or not so then we can go back in time and not care unless they turn into the 80s Oilers.
Myself, instead of watching the scoreboard I will be interested to see how Kulemin responds to last nite's demotion, whether John Mitchell can keep it going, what Finger does, and whether Alex Steen plans on doing anything at all this season. TO THE FAILCAVE!
That's right, I have identified what needs to be a crucial plank in any Leafs rebuild: keep any skaters from the banks of the Moira at least three leagues away from the Leafs at all times. Look, if you dare, at this list of Bulls who have appeared for the Blue and White:
Bryan Marchment Why did we have to get this guy after he spent most of his peak years running around trying to end Wendel's career? It was worse than cheering for Lindros. DGB, stop by with the link of Clarkie ripping his helmet off and cheer us all up.
Kyle Wellwood Who had two points tonight. Perfect.
Andrew Raycroft Backstopped the Leafs with the cool and confidence of Mike Bullard hosting a late night talk show. He is seriously the worst starting goalie I can ever remember seeing. Even Red Light Racicot only got like five games a year.
Rob Pearson Full disclosure: as a kid, I loved Rob Pearson. He was definitely one of my five favourite Leafs. I remember one year he won the accuracy contest at the Blue and White skills event. I was convinced that this meant Rob was about to break out and snipe the 40 goals I knew he was capable of. Fuck, I wish I was 12 again. I'd probably be telling my friends that Dominic Moore is the most underrated player in hockey. Of course, I still think Jiri Tlusty is going to be awesome, so maybe in some important ways I am. Redeem my faith, Jiri!
Scott Thornton I could never tell the difference between him and Shawn Thornton, until one day last year it was driving me nuts and I looked it up. I was shocked to realize that Scott Thornton was still playing in the NHL. Of course, Thornton and Pearson were taken 3rd and 12th overall by the Leafs in the same draft year. What did Scott have that kept him in the league a full eleven years after his Belleville brother? Anyways, 3rd overall pick. Not an optimal use of resources there.
Brandon Convery Probably the only Leaf I overrated more than Rob Pearson. That says it all.
Matt Stajan Eric Bischoff, when criticized for not utilizing guys like Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko more referred to them dismissively as the "Vanilla Midgets." He meant they were mediocre, colourless, slot fillers. Stajan and Steen are the Leafs Vanilla Midgets. I don't think Stajan will end up taking out Shawn Michaels's knee in an epic brawl at Summerslam, though, so advantage: Y2J.
Kris Newbury In real danger of losing the 'designated speedbag' role to Ryan Hollweg.
Quite a list, huh? I think we've learned to be leery of an organization whose top scorer at the NHL level is noted puck wizard Marty McSorley. The more you know.....
And there is one Bull who was quite an asset to the Leafs (besides Spezza). Can you guess who?
So the one time I went to London (which basically seemed the same as Glasgow to me, right down to the shell-suited mobs of alcopop swigging, shiv-wielding youth roaming the streets) I headed back to my hotel and turned on Fox News. I always say there's no better way to get inside a culture than by sitting in an anonymous room and watching cable.
After a while, I started to wonder where the hell the NASCAR highlights were. I noticed that in England, they spend a lot of time talking about football. England really is the football capital of the world. It invented the game, and was kind enough to let everyone beat them at it, it has Wembley, the rebuilt national stadium everyone hates, and it has the English national football team. Who suck.
The last time the English team won anything, it was when the World Cup was held on their own home turf back in 1966. Even then, they were aided by shocking biased refereeing decisions in their games against Argentina and West Germany, and anyways, that wasn't even much of an accomplishment. No real World Cup this, they basically beat 1/3 of Europe and a couple South American sides. And talent? Robinho and Thierry Henry weren't even born! How hard could it have been? Since then, they have never advanced to a major final, while even minnows like Denmark and Greece have taken home major international honours. Maybe the problem started when England's prime minister, and therefore an accurate stand in for the football team and all their fans, Margaret Thatcher, declared war on Argentina for no good reason other than to distract people from her campaign of setting Britons against each other and then tearing society apart to sell it to the highest bidder. Since then, Argentina has won the World Cup once (beating England on the way thanks to two sublime Maradona goals) and advanced to another final. Coincidence?
Anyways, even though it's been FORTY TWO YEARS since England won anything, their deluded supporters continue to cheer for the team of their birth, wildly backing go-nowhere losers cause it's 'the team they've cheered for all their lives' or something. Although rumours of it being hard to get into England games is probably vastly overstated, cause I went to the Maracana one time and it was half-empty. Granted, there wasn't a match on that day, but still! Why would the default national team of 50 million people get any support, anyways? If they had any self-respect they would have taken out German citizenship years ago. Yet they continue to live in England and hope they will win again. What arrogance! Those colossal pricks!
So is it good for the game to see England win? The world needs Togo and Uruguay too, you know. Just to be. Nations. Heavy. I dunno, I've been writing this column for a whole 15 minutes and now my head hurts. In conclusion, England LOLZ ROFLcopter .
Can I have a job now?
So, let's do something else. Which of the following is a real quote?
a) "A lot of people just start fookin' running their mouths whenever someone sticks a tape recorder in front of their fookin' gob. They should know when to keep their opinions to themselves." - Liam Gallagher
b) "I respected Jean Chretien and thought he was a great PM. I could never understand a word he said, though."
c) "The concert was enjoyable, but I could have done without the constant chants to "Give up the funk" or that they "Gotta have some funk." Many people are just not interested in "Turning that mother out."
d)"Toronto rooters pouring onto Jefferson Avenue in unfettered euphoria, oblivious to the rather lame taunts of "42 years!... 42 years!" from the losing patrons on this night." - Howard Berger
e)"I want everyone to be respectful. And let's make sure we are, because that's the way politics is done in America. I have to tell you, [Barack Obama] is a decent person, a person that you do not have to be scared [of] as president of the United States." - John McCain
f) "Hey ref, have another donut!" - Kyle Wellwood
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 something...you know...kinda awesome, kinda horrifying, and totally fucked-up. I can't wait.
Worst of all, Vancouver means the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks? I hear you say. Who cares? Indeed. That was my attitude before I came out here. You know, cute team, floundered around, Harold Snepts, never won anything, change their uniforms every laundry day. The Canucks. What you don't know is the combination of hockey ignorance (Sedins are first-liners), mindless boosterism (tons of people still love Bertuzzi) and an irrational hatred of the Leafs that means you have to take crap about 1967 from fans of a franchise that have never won anything. This is like Dane Cook ragging on Gene Hackman's acting career. I mean, he hasn't won Best Actor since 1971! What a loser!
Ugh. I'd managed to forget about most of this all summer, but made the mistake of listening to local drivetime jackholes Pratt and Taylor on the way home from work today. The lads were all jiggered up about Vancouver's sterling record in a bunch of games that don't count (here's a hint guys: Pittsburgh went 1-7 last year), frothing mad about the Star's prediction of a dead-last Canucks finish.
Particular ire was directed at a shot taken at franchise saviour Kyle Wellwood. "They just went on Google for five minutes and saw the picture of him with the beer belly and went with that." Yeah, or maybe they caught his own coach calling him out in training camp for showing up out of shape again. Either way.
Anyways, Pratt, Taylor, and the other guy in the booth passed around the one brain they share and decided that this was yet another example of the Toronto media having their knives out for the Canucks. Another chapter in the storied rivalry that reaches back through playing each other once a year (maybe) for the last decade and a half, to the 1994 conference finals, to that time in 1988 when Al Secord boarded Tony Tanti, or something. People in Vancouver honestly believe there is some sort of bitter feud going on here. Here's a quick memo for the next Canucks fans who wants to razz me over a beer. Here are the teams that Leafs fans hate:
1. Montreal Canadiens
2. Ottawa Senators
3. Philadelphia Flyers
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
345. Cleveland Crusaders
346. Belleville Bulls
347. Cracovia Krakow
348. Vancouver Canucks
349. Miller Chev-Olds Midnight Marauders
Look, it's not Toronto's fault the Canucks have no local rivals. Do an exhibition game with the Seatle Thunderbirds, maybe that'll get something going.
But the cherry on the failure cake was when the chuckleheads asked "Where'd they pick the Leafs"? "Oh, Stanley Cup, no doubt." Important point here: these guys wear Canucks shirts on the air. Can you imagine McCown in a Leafs shirt? You'd have to knock him out and staple it to his chest. But, yes, ho ho, the legendary suck up Toronto media. Why just today, the very same Star giftwrapped this love letter to the team and the fans:
Fuck, I don't know if it's harder living there or here.
Unconvinced that the homeless man's Darcy Tucker was what the rebuilding Leafs needed, I lampooned Jorn mercilessly, even if I conceded seeing Howard Berger's mustache combust would be worth every penny of his contract. (Speaking of which, WCH's latest - in which the man who apparently spun Cancergate out of whole cloth and has admitted to making up the news lambastes the Leafs for their creative injury reporting - is a masterpiece of irony worthy of O. Henry or, dare I say it, Alanis herself. Bravo, sir. Be sure to enter the contest, readers!)
Well, Kim, you were absolutely right:
"He's a staple as far as Canadian hockey goes," Avery said during interview on the CBC's The Hour. "And I grew up watching Coach's Corner, and he serves a purpose.
"But he really does not know shit about hockey.
"He knows, like, unnecessary facts about putting Sears catalogues on your shin pads."
You need to click through and read the rest of the piece, in which Avery calls most NHL players "simple," laments that the culture of junior hockey kept him from reading Moby Dick, and refers to himself as "not that gay." A missed opportunity, indeed.
Here's a couple more bits for your weekend. New York magazine ran a dumbass article asking people to list their iconic New York atheletes of the last 40 years. I won't bother linking to it, partly cause no one saw fit to include anyone on the only New York team to win four straight titles in that span, cause fuck hockey, apparently. But I liked it enough to take a stab at my guesses for Toronto.
10. Borje Salming. (I would take arguments - maybe Donovan Bailey or Danny Dichio?)
9. Vince Carter (sure, people rightly loathe him, but he remains the most famous Raptor of all time, and the star of their most successful teams)
8. Rocket Ismail (I was going to go with Flutie, but he is more Calgary in my mind, and Rocket was there for the Hollywood McNall-Gretzky period that saw the biggest Argos interest)
7. Dave Stieb (the 80s Jays, in their first run to contention that captured the hearts of the city - and Royals and Tigers fans - need someone, and I can't think of one player who symbolizes that team, so good but not quite perfect, better than Stieb)
6. Doug Gilmour (whined his way out of town, yet no one ever holds it against him. That's how popular he is)
5. Mats Sundin (Pass.)
4. Roberto Alomar (the star and best player on the back to back champs
3. Joe Carter (provided likely the biggest single moment for TO sports fans in the last 40 years, big Rush fan)
2. Darryl Sittler (an all-world player wronged by Ballard, sympbolized the missed promise of the 70s and the godawful 80s to come)
1. Wendel Clark (no explanation needed, still loved everywhere to this day - but why the hell aren't his Chunky Soup or "Good book, eh?" commercials on YouTube)
Feel free to proceed to the comments and tell me everyone I missed and how I'm totally full of shit. You guys are dicks!
ITEM! Speaking of dicks, our commenting system is broken like Carlo, so we can't respond to your comments. We're not ignoring you and hope to have this resolved soon. BFFs?
ITEM! Wasn't it great to see the Sens blow the first game of the year when Spezza got caught dicking around with the puck? Warmed the heart, it did.
Goodbye, and remember: I can put my arm back on. You can't. So PLAY SAFE!