Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Great hockey contest! Great music video!

I introduced you to hockey whiz and music whiz, Rob Higgins, in early October. The following is my entry for an amazing goodie basket from Rob for:
  • a great pair of Maple Leafs tickets to a Saturday night game in January versus the Calgary Flames
  • a copy of the 2010-11 Higgins Hockey Fantasy Index
  • and Dearly Beloved's most recent release, "They Will Take Up Serpents" (Canada) or "Make It Bleed" (US).  
Calgary Flames fans would like to see the team "Make It Bleed" RED - BUT the pink slip Darryl Sutter received on Tuesday proved he has failed in recent years. How ironic is it that he was replaced by Jay Feaster? He was the GM in Tampa Bay when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup in a seven-game Final by beating Sutter and the Flames in 2004. Strange too that Darryl's brother Brent remains behind the bench of the Flames. Oh, it is a tangled family web Darryl weaves...Six weeks ago, the D-man (demon?) sent his own son Brett and defenceman Ian White to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenceman Anton Babchuk and forward Tom Kostopoulos.

As Calgary prepares for a January 15, 2011 visit to Toronto, the question can be asked:
Who won the trade in late January 2010 between the two teams? 

Calgary shipped out defenceman Dion Phaneuf, forward Fredrik Sjostrom, and prospect defenceman Keith Aulie for forwards Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and defenceman Ian White. White was traded away last month due mainly to salary cap issues with the Flames while free agent Mayers wound up in San Jose before this season started. Stajan scored 16 goals in 55 games for the Leafs last season and has scored just 5 in 58 for the Flames since. Hagman scored 20 goals in 55 games for the Leafs last year and has tickled the twine just 13 times in 64 games for the Flames. But the centerpiece of the trade, Dion Phaneuf, has been a bigger bust. Only 3 goals in 44 games over the last two seasons in Toronto while he never scored below double digits in five Flames' seasons. So far, I think Calgary wins the trade between the two teams but Phaneuf can change that early verdict by stepping up and being the leader Toronto needs him to be! That "C" on his sweater stands for Captain - not Calgary!

Remember the January 1992 trade between the Maple Leafs and Flames? It was a 10 player deal that was the largest in NHL history. Doug Gilmour was the centerpiece who came to Toronto with Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley in exchange for Gary Leeman, Alexander Godynyuk, Jeff Reese, Michel Petit and Craig Berube. Doug Gilmour had 49 points in 40 games for Toronto to finish off the '91/92 season and followed that up with 127 points in '92/93 and 111 points in the season after that. Three more average Maple Leafs seasons happened after that for Gilmour but he certainly won over Toronto fans with a couple of great playoff runs in 1993 and '94.

There is still time for Dion Phaneuf to rise to the challenge. There is a lot of pressure BUT more on GM Brian Burke. His former team, the Vancouver Canucks, beat Philadelphia last night, 6-2, and are my pick to win the Stanley Cup this season!
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