I listened to sports radio on the drive in this morning here in Toronto and as I sit on the train, there's a lot cloud of disappointment that is very evident. The Leafs lost in Game #7 (again) to the Boston Bruins (again).
Once again, it made me appreciate the Hawks success and the opportunities that management, coaching staffs and players seized when the winning was within reach.
I think of not just the Antoine Vermette acquisition in 2015, but the addition of Andrew Desjardins and, yes, Kimmo Timonen. The latter was definitely an overpayment, however, none of us truly know the impact that the veteran defenceman had on guys like Teravainen and others who wanted to get the 40-year-old his first ever Stanley Cup.
I think of the stocking up of dmen in 2010 by acquiring Nick Leddy, Kim Johnsson and Nick Boynton prior to their first championship since '61.
I think of these things because I thought the Leafs had an opportunity to capitalize this year when Marner and Matthews were still in their entry-level contracts. When they had the depth up front that could attack in waves and when they had an elite (at times) goaltender in Fredrik Anderson.
Yes, I know they added Jake Muzzin and gave up a 1st rounder and a couple of prospects for him, but I didn't think it was enough.
I feel like a veteran myself of playoff hockey (from my couch of course) and what's needed to go the distance. It's not brain surgery; you need depth… and a lot of it. You need a 3rd and 4th line that will outplay your opponents 3rd and 4th line. You need a goalie win or 3 to win a series.
Due to the silliness that is the current playoff format, the Leafs knew they would be playing the big, bad Bruins in round 1. They knew this with certainty even at the deadline. So why didn't they add another defenceman? Why didn't they add another physical winger to their bottom 6 (ie. a Zach Kassian or heck John Hayden could have even fit the bill)?
Maybe Kyle Dubas explored these options, I don't know. What I do know is that I'm grateful that the Blackhawks had an owner in Rocky Wirtz that said "go for it" when the time was right and a GM that was willing to give to get.
Sure, Bowman messed up with some trades (we don't need to relive the Danault trade) but at least Chicago had their parades.
Even though it almost backfired on him, Jarmo Kekalainen is on pace to be a God in Columbus for his bold deadline additions.
I'm not tossing all of the blame on Dubas or Leafs management – or turning this into a Leafs blog – I just wanted us to appreciate how hard it is to win a Stanley Cup and how lucky CHI fans were to have an aggressive plan to seize the opportunity while it was there.
What else am I thinking about this morning?
Vegas was robbed
– this Cody Eakin play (hey we know that guy) was a 2-minute penalty… max! I hope Pavelski is ok, but what a terrible call.
In case you missed it, Eakin was given a 5 minute major and a game misconduct on the play and San Jose went on to score 4(!) PP goals.
Kris Versteeg is back
– it seems like a great scenario for Versteeg to join Rockford and mentor the kids there. Mark Bernard stated that he thinks Versteeg can be one of the best players in the AHL which might be a stretch but he should definitely help.
In the future, I can see Versteeg staying with the organization as a scout, coach (associate in Rockford or a developmental) or a media personality. He loves the organization and wants another shot to prove he can still play… it's a win-win for Chicago.
– I had heard a month or so back that Stan had been scouting a lot overseas. All NHL teams have scouts in all major hockey markets but what was interesting was how Stan himself was getting very involved in the process with Barry Smith and other scouts.
and Ilya Mikheyev
are 2 players they are in the final runnings for according to sources. Mekheyev sounds like he has the tools to be a very effective 2-way player. I would expect if it's not one of these players, you will see more activity and signings from overseas.
That's it for now. Caps and Canes play another game #7 tonight and that one should be entertaining as well. Enjoy!
See ya out there.