Pension Plan Puppets: Signings, Troubled Leafs, and Toronto's Prodigal Son

Every Leafs fan has an opinion. Here's mine: We are all Pension Plan Puppets. The Teachers pull the strings and we dance.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Signings, Troubled Leafs, and Toronto's Prodigal Son

Bitter Leaf Fan noted that the Leafs have tendered a number of qualifying offers to their RFAs. Apparently, only Stajan, Raycroft, and Pohl received one way deals. This is interesting because it seems to suggest that JFJ is not entirely convinced that the Leafs Kiddie Corps is ready for the NHL but has some sort of plan to use Pohl (4th line centre?). Hopefully, solid training camps will erase any doubt and we can start building a team instead of trying to buy one.

Another nice note is that Antropov didn't get the usual raise just for being lucky enough to have been a Pat Quinn project. JFJ offered him a two way deal which will probably lead to arbitration. The best outcome is a deal that drops the minor league clause for less money.

Troubled Leafs
Now that McCabe finally signed his $28.75M/5yr contract he has revealed that there was a good reason for the delay. Why he would allow rumours to run rampant slamming his wife for wanting to move closer to her family is beyond me. He stated after signing that he did not want the attention:

"It was very stressful," McCabe said Thursday before boarding a flight back to Long Island. "Everybody was speculating. It's tough because it's some serious personal stuff and it's really not anyone's business. My wife doesn't want to be in the paper. It was disappointing."

Surely, since she was in the paper anyway he could have relieved her of the pain of seeing her name in the media in a less than glowing manner by releasing a simple statement. Best wishes to the family and hopefully Roberta makes a speedy recovery.

And it seems the Pronger rumours have upset Tomas Kaberle with his agent noting that the Oilers would just end up trading one disgruntled defenceman for another. I agree, it would be a terrible move to get Kaberle to sign a long-term deal only to trade him before the no-trade clause kicks in. It would be a bad sign for future free agents.

The Return of Roberts
Kenny Campbell first broke the news and now Mark Zwolinski is reporting that the Roberts deal may be almost complete with a 3rd/4th round pick being the Panthers' asking price. If we are going to bring in a veteran presence to help the kids develop then Gary is a good choice and a 4th round pick is not that high of a price. It is definitely a MUCH better option than this: JASON ALLISON. Sweet Jesus, NO! This would undo what has so far been a summer of solid work by JFJ (maybe he does have a plan, who knew?). All the wisdom that Jason has to offer is how to milk the PP for points, skate slower than any hockey player under the age of 90, and make the same incredulous face after every penalty call (too late: McCabe has it down pat).

I'll be having a relaxing/stressful weekend of World Cup action and praying for some solid free agent additions. Enjoy the long weekend and Happy Canada Day!

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Anonymous Leo de Lion said...

Please, if the Make Beliefs want to give Allison a job, how about selling souvenirs, on skates. Most of us would be able to keep up.

8:46 PM

Blogger Jake said...

Good day mate. You're probably inquiring as to who this guy is...well...I go to school with your sis.

I like so many of us could prick our finger with a tack...and oddly enough, the blood would stain blue and white. I really enjoy reading your thoughts on the Leafs. I'm working away at my own blog, although I try to distribute the balance amongst all Toronto sports (I also enjoy basketball and baseball).

Anywho, while I do agree with most of your thoughts, there are a few that I was a little concerned with.

1 - Rask will be an all-star. Book it. This deal does not advantage the Leafs in the long-term or the short-term. I agree that the Telly/Aubin combo would've satisfied for at least the beginning of the season, but if we're talking about picking up a starting netminder, I did not have Raycroft on my mind. He is mediocre at best and one of the reasons he struggled so dearly last year is because of Boston's weak defence.

I mean, Brad Stuart's decent enough...but off the top of my head, Leetch is old and David Tanabe's hit 24 without really being all that impressive. The point is, if Raycroft was looking for some defensive help here in's not coming.

In Raycroft's rookie year, they had an underrated core of true stay at home defenceman like Sean O'Donnell, Jiri Slegr and...well, I'm drawing blanks. All I'm saying is Raycroft will not pan out. He looked so........bad last year and lost his starting job. As usual, the Leafs love to shop around garage sales and pick up what they can find. (Raycroft, Lindros, I'll even go back to Alex Karpovtsev).

2 - A Jason Allison hater? 'Twas I once too...but we'll be sorry when he's gone. Trust me on this one. Just don't send him on the shootout.

3 - "Gary is a good choice and a 4th round pick is not that high of a price" -- not that high?! It's a damned steal! It's not for his potential 20's for the image. Leaf fans love Gary Roberts. Sundin loves Gary Roberts (in a...hetero sense). Gary Roberts loves Toronto. People listen to Gary Roberts. I'm convinced. Who knows? It could be the solution to the dreaded Johnny Pohl dilemma *shudders*.

4 - Don't even get me stated on Antropov.

I really like your sarcastic style of writing though. I'll be keeping up with this.

3:49 AM

Blogger PPP said...

Thanks for commenting dad ;)

Hello Jake. My sister mentioned that she'd passed along the URL and that you had a similarly deep love for all things blue and white.
Thanks for the comments. Here's my reply:

1. Like I said, the deal is dependent on Raycroft regaining his old form. The defensive help has arrived with Kubina and Gill (one of those stay-at-home dmen that made him look so good in 2003-2004). Rask is still only a prospect while Raycroft has proven he has the goods at the top level. It's a gamble but one I can handle.

2. No way we miss Allison for the simple reason that his PP points can be replaced by committee (wellwood especially) but the gaps he creates in 5 on 5 play (slow skating and stupid penalties make for a bad mix) will also disappear.

3. I agree that it's a good deal. He'll be a great example to the players on so many levels (heart, fitness, and nutrition are the first that come to mind). I think we would both agree that that experience would be a fair trade off for holding a Marlie back a year. However, word is that the Panthers are shopping Gary around before settling for the Leafs offer.

4. Poor Antro. So much potential, such bad knees.

11:43 PM


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