WTF Toronto?

This is Mats Sundin after a trip to the “hairdresser”. When I was young, boys went to the barber shop and had their hair cut by men who cut everyone’s hair the same way. Seriously. There was the “bowl” cut, the “save every hair possible for the combover” cut and the “buzz” or “brush” cut.

Later on, the mullet became very popular but if you had hair like this growing up in my town your Mom dropped you off at school and picked you up after school.

I had the bowl cut. It was a hideous thing that took about one month to grow out, looked decent for a week and then your Dad told you to go to the barber because he didn’t want any “long-hairs” under his roof.

Today, my son looks like he could play bass for the Animals about 1968. He has no idea how many fights there were in my family about hair.

If I’d had this haircut at any time during my childhood, my father would have tied me to the railroad track.

The Edmonton Oilers are now a team that can spend near the cap, but free agency is still a sticky wicket. Since the Stanley run they have been able to sign free agents (Roloson, Tjarnqvist, Tarnstrom, Penner, Souray) but have overpaid (sometimes by a lot) and have lost out on several (Spacek, Kariya) quality free agents for all kinds of reasons not having to do with cash money.

The free agent crop this season isn’t huge, but we can see already that the top end (Hossa, Sundin, Campbell) is probably headed elsewhere and that the free agents Edmonton will sign (Wade Redden) will require an overpay.

I believe Redden’s the guy Lowe will pursue, with Joni Pitkanen traded for Alexander Steen.

I think Cliff Fletcher is one of the finest GM’s of the post expansion era. The Atlanta Flames expansion draft was textbook and the Calgary Flames were an exceptional group during the Fletcher regime there. When he moved to Toronto, Fletcher made a trade with his former team that changed both clubs directions for a long time.

Currently, Fletcher is the head man in Toronto. He’s made some nice decisions over the last little while but appears to be flying too close to the sun now.

  1. Buying out Raycroft: No brainer really. The Mitch Williams of goaltenders.
  2. Buying out Tucker: I don’t think it was required but understand they may have felt a need to change the guard and free up space.
  3. Drafting Schenn: A horse on the blueline, the only real concern for Toronto fans is that they’ll probably trade him before he’s good. Still, credit where due they got a helluva hockey player.
  4. Letting Sundin go: Completely understandable. Keeping Sundin means the Leafs are not certain lottery contenders for the next couple of seasons. Without him, Tavares is within reach.

The one area I don’t understand is the apparent bullying of McCabe to waive his NT contract. This is going to end badly for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The reason a player like McCabe went to Toronto has to do with all kinds of things: terrific hockey environment, team had a chance to win the Stanley annually and until recently it was a quality team.

McCabe is 33 years old and signed the contract in good faith for all kinds of reasons. These reasons are obviously still in place, or enough in place for him to want to remain and see what the team looks like on the other side. McCabe is not an awful player, and the idea that a team like Toronto can’t use him is ridiculous.

I suspect this will be a landmark case (if reports of the bullying are true) and that the NHLPA will become involved before too much more time elapses. The Toronto Maple Leafs signed a deal and they must honor it. The very idea that an organization can crucify a signed player in public in order to rid themselves of said player is ghastly and won’t go unnoticed by other free agents approached by Toronto.

This is addled thinking, and there seems to be an organizational dementia with regard to this player. The Toronto Maple Leafs are better than this. They should stop bullying this player, adopt a rule to restrict NMC’s moving forward and then plan for a better day.

And Cliff Fletcher is tarnishing a wonderful reputation and a stellar performance record.

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31 Responses to "WTF Toronto?"

  1. Devin says:

    If Lowe trades Pitkanen for Steen I will tie HIM to a railroad track.

  2. savagist says:

    the underlying motive for all of these Leaf moves is to get hometown boy John Tavares, which makes this agenda of the Leafs even more bush league. would they do all these moves if Tavares isnt coming up or do they ride these losers to a possible 8th seed by adding a couple pieces in free agency? even on Bob McCown’s roundtable on Friday they came out and admitted this, “you better damn well hope that Cliff doesnt do too good of job in filling in the gaps here because what you want… you want John Tavares.” (McCown)

    the agenda is Tavares and nothing more. to start a new era with a “super star” the league loves for marketing and merchandising.

    the funniest thing will be what the Leafs do when they dont win the lottery and have to trade 99% of their prospects and picks to move up a spot. anything less than Tavares is going to be a massive failure for the Leafs (and incoming “genius” Brian Burke) since theyll sit on their hands in this 2008 UFA period. Kaberle is good enough to let sit around and suffer for a season and nothing they have up front is good enough to put up 60 points by themselves. who is traded at the deadline for an even more tank? Blake? book it. will they admit to tanking? of course not but actions speak louder than words ALWAYS.

  3. Dennis says:

    It’s a business and I don’t fault Fletcher for trying to get rid of McCabe and I doubt that the current treatment of him will take a great deal of the luster away from playing for the Leaves OR playing in TO.

    Edm is an NHL outpost because the Oilers have contended one year in the last 15 seasons AND the city is cold and comparatively boring to other NHL cities. The latter is never something that would stick to the city of TO so even if there are guys with sand in their vaginas over McCabe whiling away his days Dan McGillis style with the Marlies, I still highly doubt it will stop people from going there.

  4. HBomb says:

    Pitkanen for Steen?

    Only if Toronto includes their 2009 first rounder is that a good trade.

    In other words, and pardon my French….fuck that shit.

  5. DeBakey says:

    I’ve hated the Leaves for 35 years.
    And they always make it easy.

    “Buying out Raycroft: No brainer really.”
    Why buy him out, send him to the AHL, why carry the Cap hit? Is it because the owners are too cheap?

    “Drafting Schenn: A horse on the blueline”
    Fletcher was a complete F-Up at the draft – give up 4 picks for Schenn & Jamal?
    That’s rebuilding? Good God.

    “The Toronto Maple Leafs are better than this.”
    Do you have a link for that?

  6. spOILer says:

    Pitkanen for Steen… Besides the fact this looks like a horrible deal on paper — Steen’s upside is nowhere near Joni’s — what would the optics be in Edmonton?

    Lowe says he’s trying to make a 3 for 1 deal for a top 3 forward and comes away with Pitkanen for Steen?

    I’m with HBomb and Devin… Lowe would be railroaded.

    If it’s Stoll or Torres and sweetener for Steen, that’s maybe a different story.

  7. spOILer says:

    Pitkanen for Steen… Besides the fact this looks like a horrible deal on paper — Steen’s upside is nowhere near Joni’s — what would the optics be in Edmonton?

    Lowe says he’s trying to make a 3 for 1 deal for a top 3 forward and comes away with Pitkanen for Steen?

    I’m with HBomb and Devin… Lowe would be railroaded.

    If it’s Stoll or Torres and sweetener for Steen, that’s maybe a different story.

  8. spOILer says:

    Sorry about the double post. It said it was timed out.

    Sportsnet is now reporting Malone is close to signing a long term deal worth $30M with the Lightning.

  9. Sean says:

    Ok Devin beat me too it.

  10. godot10 says:

    If one spends Pitkanen’s money on an UFA defenseman, and then trades Pitkanen at less than market value, what particularly is wrong with that.

    Pitkanen is a year away from UFA status. One would be trading one year of Pitkanen for several years of Steen.

  11. PDO says:

    If Lowe trades Pitkanen for Steen I’m rallying a lynch mob.

  12. toqueboy says:

    stoll and torres for steen?

    i think u ppl have seen steen better than i have. i’d rather stoll than steen. shit, i’d almost rather play RS in top six than get steen… steen has a career high 47 pts in 3 seasons and a shitty shooting percentage.

    torres for steen barely makes sense… i just don’t understand the hard on for steen. we already have a bunch of 24 year old question marks…why add another 40 pt guy when we alreeady have soo many with RS and pouli-on-the-way-out, knocking at the door?

    adding steen just doesn’t make more sense to me than keeping any of the players in question.

    if we’re serious about being competitive, trading our 1 dman or our best draw man doesn’t make sense…torres straight across seems the fairest, but it doesn’t seem like steen is an upgrade…only a lateral shift and not one where i’m left saying, ‘shit, we’re way better now’

    steen just seems to clog up this whole midling line 2, line 2b, line2c, etc

    i’d way rather a peca type aquisition than another kid who ‘might’ get good. if u can’t get 50 with sundin helping you, you’re not gonna get 50 with cogs.

  13. speeds says:

    What about, as the basis of a deal:

    PItkanen for Kubina and Steen?

  14. doritogrande says:


    We’d definitely need to drop a Torres or Stoll in that deal as well, just to clear off salary to take on Kubina’s Leaves contract.

    It’s like a Souray contract, only more.

  15. speeds says:

    You could, but I don’t think it would be that hard to move someone (whether it be Stoll, Torres or someone else) to make cap room before training camp ends, since teams are allowed to be 10% over the cap starting July 1st.

  16. PDO says:


    If Pitkanen is moved, there needs to be an elite talent, on the right side of 30, coming back.


    Steen is a nice player and all…. but elite? Definitely not.

  17. Dennis says:

    I doubt there’s anything Lowe could do to railroad himself; we’re talking, afterall, the guy who traded Pronger for the offensive potential of Smid and Lupul.

  18. JohnnyOil says:

    Looks like you Photoshop-ed Grace Kelly’s hair onto Mats’s head. Nice pic :)

  19. Lowetide says:

    Johnny Oil: lol. I’m not that clever.

  20. jon k says:

    Steen is a lesser player than Stoll so it’s doubtful Pitkanen goes anywhere in a Steen trade.

    Secondly, I find it odd that anyone can defend the McCabe signing while simultaneously pointing to the Souray signing as an albatross. They are essentially the same player. If anything, McCabe is a lesser player defensively, lacks Souray’s size and strength, and doesn’t have Souray’s intimidation.

    Both are slow, prodding defenders who are prone to bad penalties and being beaten off the rush. Both tend to show their strength defensively after the game has been forced to the walls and they are able to use their strength and reach to break the cycle.

    The Souray signing deserves a lot of flack, as does the McCabe signing, but I suspect that once we see him play a little more there will be less anger directed toward Lowe in regards to the contract.

  21. Lowetide says:

    jonk: I don’t think anyone is defending McCabe, just saying that a contract has been signed and must be honored or bought out.

  22. doritogrande says:

    “Steen is a lesser player than Stoll so it’s doubtful Pitkanen goes anywhere in a Steen trade.”

    I’ll call bullshit there. Watching him play with the Torontos I’m immediately reminded of his father, who I saw play in Winnipeg for countless years. He was one of the best Swedes to come to North America, and Alex has more offensive upside than dad did. He, not Gagner or Cogliano has the potential to be like Shawn Horcoff.

    Stoll is a year away from UFA and has struggled mightily with consistency since his concussion problems started. He may still be on the good side of 30, but I’d argue that he’s already on the downside of his career statistically. Jarrett’s comparable player in all this? A cross between Brett Lindros and Marty Reasoner.

  23. Bendelson says:

    As someone who IS aware of Steen’s upside AND solid numbers last year, I believe your on the money LT.

    Pitkanen is a overrated player that has never come close to his ‘potential’ due to a questionable work ethic, fragile body, and ??? (who the hell knows WHAT his real problem is).

    CLEARLY, he is not a long term Oiler, and will likely have to be WAY overpaid this season to stay in EDM.

    Goodbye Joni.
    It’s a logical move.

    Those of you that want to dump on Steen and pretend Pitkanen wants to be a Oiler – are way off. He is an asset that NEEDS to be traded. Steen is currently UNDERATED, affordable and does have excellent upside.

    Nice call LT.
    If they can sign Redden (or I would include Salvador) and make this trade – KLowe would be wrong not to seriously consider it.
    Our defence would be improved and our offence would be improved.

    What’s the problem?

  24. DeBakey says:

    Pitkanen – Steen
    doesn’t make sense for either team.

    I think there are better trade options for both teams

  25. PunjabiOil says:

    Lowetide: nice discussion on haircuts. When I grew up, it seemed EVERY kid had a mushroom/undercut. Took a while before he granted me permission to look ”cool” like the rest of them.

    You look back at pictures nowdays…my god, was that ever a hideous haircut.

    PS what was a ”brush” cut?

  26. doritogrande says:

    “PS what was a ”brush” cut?”

    Bit more hair than a buzz cut, in my generation at least.

  27. Bendelson says:

    Square off the ‘brush’ cut for the classic ‘box’ cut.

  28. Bohologo says:

    I can’t be as old as LT, but when I was in high school just down the street at the old Scona Hotel (before it was torn down) there was a barber shop. The two old guys there Joe and Bill knew only two haircuts: buzz-cut or flat-top. And it was $5. That’s a quality haircut at a fair price.

    Oh, and if Pitkanen goes, I hope we get a better return than Steen.

  29. Art Vandelay says:

    That is a good lookin’ broad.

    /oops, did I just post to the wrong entry?

  30. Knamely Lacked says:

    “PS what was a ”brush” cut?”

    You seen Jarhead PJO?

    Malone for 7 years at $31.5 million. Anyone else glad Malone didn’t get to FA for the Oilers sake? Phew, although even I don’t think Lowe would’ve jumped through that hoop…

    Apparently the Lightning are looking at Vrbata too. Why did they trade Richards again?

  31. andy grabia says:

    Considering I watched two or three hockey “journalists” from Toronto encouraging the team to intentionally lose last year, I doubt McCabe is going to get much help in any PR battle.

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