Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Typical sight at the ACC come the 2009-10 season

The number seven is a strange number. There are seven days in a week; seven wonders of the world, seven deadly sins; why is nine scared of seven? Because seven, eight, nine (rimshot) Seven days is also the number of days it took Brian Burke to alter the identity of the Leafs from the 08-09 cottenelle soft edition to the 09-10 "pugnacious, testosteroneous, truculent, belligerent" edition. Over those seven days Burke signed two of the more sought after free agent defencemen in Komisarek and Beauchemin and traded for a sandpaper warrior in Exelby (though I'm still not a big fan of the deal) giving us a three-headed monster on D. On top of that, he signed a human meat tenderizer in Colton Orr! Sure, we won't get a ton of goals from those guys but let's not forget we scored 250 goals last year without a big name threat (which ties us for sixth in the Eastern conference) while our goals against was dead last in the entire NHL. I'm sure that number will improve drastically with our newly acquired three-headed monster.

Speaking of monsters...

The Monster seen trampling through Montreal before arriving in Toronto

After going 0 for 2 when it came to signing highly coveted Swedes, we were finally due ours! The Monster was landed on the seventh day and he comes with sparkling numbers from across the Atlantic (1.96 GAA and .932 Save % in the regular season and even more impressive numbers in the playoffs). Yes, I know that the NHL is a different game, but the Swedish Elite League is nothing to scoff at. I gotta say, I've never been so excited about an acquisition of a player I've never seen play!

With the new and improved defence corps, I don't see too many teams willing to venture out past centre ice, and with the Monster in net, we won't have to worry about them beating Toskala's glove hand from the red line.

The times are definitely a-changin'. We might not be there yet, but we're headed in the right direction. I can sense, I can feel it! and I know you can too. So take a breath and say with with me....PLAYOFFS!!!1

Unfortunately, this whole week had it's downs too. On to a topic I didn't think I would have to talk about. Not this year, anyway.

First and foremost, I love Roy Halladay. I don't know if I've ever adored an athlete on a Toronto team as much as him (and I'm a total homer). The Leafs are my favourite team of all time but I love the franchise as a whole. Individually? It's gotta be Doc.

Doc is the greatest professional, the most professional of all professionals if you must. His intensity is unmatched and totally genuine yet he's humble and a total class act. His journey as a straight flamethrowing prospect to his class A demotion really makes cheering for him sort of like cheering for the underdog despite knowing that there's a chance you will see him throw a no hitter that night. Not even the most vile of fans (read: Massholes) have the heart to boo this guy because he simply doesn't have any dirt on him for them to get on.

Unfortunately, as much as we didn't want it to happen, we all knew this day would come. The day the talks of trading Doc would fill the papers, the day we would have to sit here and read foolish trade proposals on rival sites, the day American outlets will start salivating at the thought of the best pitcher in baseball playing for an American team. Shit, when was the last time you saw this much Blue Jays coverage in the American media? Despite all that, I'm still calling it what it is...the sensationalization of a non-story! If Gretzky could get traded, anybody could but that doesn't mean they're being shopped. It just means that if a team really wants this guy and overpays grandly, then they can have him. There is only one scenario where I can even think of actively shopping Doc; if there's no chance the Jays can sign him to an extension. Truth is, Doc would love to stay with the team that drafted him and never gave up on him. He's just loyal like that. But if Rogers won't open up the wallet, there's no way he's staying. No, I'm not taking Richard Griffin's suggestion in that we restructure his contract just so that he earns a million more than Burnett. I'm proposing that Rogers pony up the cash and grab some talent and show Doc that they're focused on winning. We all know that Doc isn't about the money. I mean, what can you do with $20M that you can't do with $16M?

While I'm confident Doc will remain a Jay for the rest of the year, I'm already dreading this discussion next year because come next year the columns are no longer meaningless. As much as I would like Rogers to spend the cash, I just don't see it happening. They will fall back on the lame recession excuse to try and justify it (while raising our cable and phone bills), thank Doc for his dozen years of service and just ship him off. As a Blue Jays fan, it's a story that I have read too many times. 2011 will be a dreadful season to watch without the Doctor leading the charge...

Prove me wrong, Rogers...prove me wrong...