Monday, September 28, 2009

Fresh Ice

Ladies and gentlemen, if I can get you to look at that little light and wait for the flash

I know most of the Barilkosphere will be blogging about Vesa Toskala's ECHL calibre performance last night but I won't. I'm all about optimism this year. Let's take a look at what we have to look forward to. With the preseason all wrapped up, it's only a matter of days until the regular season is upon us. Let's forget about the JFJ years, let's forget about last season, let's forget about Vesa Toskala's abysmal preseason stats; come Thursday, we will have a new start. As LD so eloquently puts it, "Fresh ice, fools!"

In fine Tyler Bozak fashion, let's take a look at seven things to look forward to in this 2009-10 Leafs' season.
The Seventh Samurai, Tyler Bozak

Not only does Bozak have a sick nick name (post coming in a near future) but the guy has skills. Just check out
this shorthanded goal against the Bruins. From watching him in the preseason, it is clear why there were so many team interested in his duties. Bozak is a hardworking hockey player with smart hockey sense. He can do it all. He can play on the powerplay, can kill penalties and he's defensively sound for a rookie. Ron Wilson even put him on the point on some powerplays because he can be trusted back there. Sure, the shorty he scored was great but it wasn't even my favourite highlight of his this preseason. This was. While Bozak will most likely start the season with the Marlies, I have a feeling he likely won't end the season with the Marlies. Viktor Stalberg Telling the Marlies to Fuck Off

Stalberg was a dark horse to make the club coming into training camp but he played his ass off this preseason and boy can he play. He racked up 6 goals this preseason to go along with 2 assists for 8 points in 8 games (this is purely going by my memory so please correct me if the stats are wrong). Sure, these are preason stats but it's hard not to get a raging boner just watching him play. Stalberg looks like a player who can make something out of nothing the way he can turn on the jets and cut through the opposing team's defence. I'm glad he got a spot on the team and it was well deserved. This guy will be a stud in the NHL.
Nazem Kadri back with London

Don't get me wrong, Kadri had a good preseason but he wasn't dominant by any means. Having him back in London can only do good things for his development, especially when it comes to adding some size to his frame. He was simply too easy to knock off the puck along the boards. Kid's got a shitload of talent though and will be a dominant playmaker for many years to come.
Phil Kessel's Return

Was last year's 36 goal season a product of Marc Savard's passes or is Kessel the dynamic sniper we've been lacking since...Rick Vaive? Only time will tell but I have a feeling that last season was no fluke. With Kessel already starting his on ice work outs, the anticipation for his first start is growing steadily. Luckily, we should have him in November, when it matters. I'm glad we got him locked up long term. Can you say Kadri to Kessel? /splurt

The Monster, Jonas Gustavsson

Okay I didn't want to bring it up but Toskala looked completely hopeless this preseason. I've never seen scoring come so easily since the time I slipped roofies into...uhh...since we had Andrew Raycroft in net...yeah, that's it! Luckily Burke hauled in the Monster from Sweden this offseason. While we've only seen him play 3 periods of preseason hockey, he was flawless, even extending one of his tentacles to make this stop on a 2 on 0. I was already a believer when his name first appeared on the Leafs' radar, solely based on his SEL stats. After seeing him play, I have no doubt in my mind that he will supplant Toskala as the starter and will be one day mentioned in the same breath as past goalies like Johnny Bower, Felix Potvin, Curtis Joseph, Ed Belfour, etc. Donnybrooks

I love a good hockey fight and we're guaranteed to see a lot of them this season. The Leafs threw down 18 times this preseason. I believe the league average was around 0.60 scraps a game last year. Truculence will soon be the most searched term on google. PLAYOFFS!!!1

While we're still far from a Stanley Cup team, the pieces are there and the puzzle is starting to fill up. After four years without any playoff hockey, I'm glad that we will be returning to the post season this year. That's right, I said it. You better book a seat now because the bandwagon is filling up.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Best Burger #4: Johnny's Charbroiled Hamburgers

Funny how my whole blog was started to review restaurants on the blogto list but quickly became overran with Leafs posts. I guess here's finally another post for you foodies out there (okay so there's only one of you but I hope you enjoy it anyhow).

Ah, we finally get to Johnny's Charbroiled Hamburgers, or just Johnny's. If you live on the east side of the city, you've probably eaten here at one point or another. Johnny's is famous for their parking lot dining, their late night service and not having lettuce. Blogto has them ranked 4th on their list. Let's see how they fared with my taste buds.

Location: 3.5/5

Johnny's is located on the south-east side of Sheppard and Victoria Park. It's almost right on the corner and isn't hard to spot at all. Just look for the little orange hut that looks like it hasn't changed since the early 80's. As for convenience, it shouldn't be too difficult to get there by TTC. I assume you would get off at Vic Park then take the Vic Park bus north until you hit Sheppard. Though I would never take the TTC to get there since I have a car so don't blame me if you get lost.

The shop itself is a tiny shithole. The kitchen takes up most of the space and as soon as you walk in you're greeted by the counter. There is no seating available with exception of a bench at the back which is for people waiting for their food. If you want to sit down to eat you have two choices; the park benches outside (if the weather is nice and you enjoy being bombarded by seagulls) or your car.

Taste: 3.5/5

I know a few people that swears by Johnny's and I never quite understood why. I remember being underwhelmed the very first time I tried their burgers actually. I'm not sure if they make their own hamburger patties but they could use some more seasoning as I find them rather bland. It almost tastes like the frozen patties you can buy from the grocery store.

As far as toppings are concerned, you can choose from five: cooked onions, raw onions, pickles, relish and tomatoes. Don't bother asking for lettuce because they will tell you to go elsewhere. They also have ketchup, mustard and BBQ sauce as condiments but I'm not sure whether or not they have mayonnaise.

While I'm not crazy about their burgers, they do make a great batch of golden, crispy fries. My only problem is that they serve them in one of those skinny cardboard boxes so unless you carry packets of ketchup with you wherever you go, only the fries at the top will get the catsup treatment.

Now don't get me wrong, Johnny's do make a good burger but I just expected more based on their reputation.

Value: 3.5/5

A cheeseburger, fries and a drink cost me a little under $8. While it's far from the price of a gourmet burger, it isn't as cheap as a fast food cheeseburger combo either. It really is only worth it if you're in the area otherwise I wouldn't drive too far to go to Johnny's if there's a Burger King or Wendy's that was closer by.

Verdict: 3.5 Soup Nazi's out of 5

One thing about Johnny's is that the guy working the counter is a prick more often than not. He's usually grumpy, impatient and pushy. I always feel like I'm ordering from the Soup Nazi whenever I'm there. While their burgers are good, they are far from the best I've ever had. In my opinion, it isn't worth the drive there, especially since the parking outside their shop is a bitch. However, I do have a few friends that absolutely love their burgers so the only way to find out if you'll like them or not would be to hit them up yourself.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

First Impressions

So the first pre-season game has came and gone. Not a ton you can gather from it but it was enough to make me salivate a bit. Here's my impressions of the whole event.

The Tail-Gate

I guess the idea was nice but a tail gate party organized by a billion dollar corporation? That just spells fail right there. Where are the lawn chairs? Where are the BBQs? Where are the RVs?

If you were hungry, the only could choose between Pizza Pizza and...well, Pizza Pizza. If you were thirsty, you can get a free can of Coke Zero or buy an overpriced tallboy. There were a few badly organized events as well. I noticed a Johnny Bower signing. At least I think it was a signing as I didn't see any signs or information about whether it was a signing or just a meet and greet. There was also a ball hockey tournament that was played in a fenced area about the size of a grave plot. It seemed like anybody could sign up as I saw a team of 20 something year olds demolish a team of 8 year olds. And like with any corporate event, there were sponsors trying to get you to sign up for shit. For the last time, Toronto Star, I don't want to sign up for your paper because 1) I can read it online 2) Damien Cox, Dave Feschuk and Rosie Dimanno...nuff said and 3) I don't really appreciate your telemarkets calling me every few months to beg me to subscribe to their special offers. The only saving grace was that they hired a decent band in Sloan. Imagine if went with Simple Plan or Nickelback instead.


I was lucky enough to sit in the golds. I'm sure this isn't available in every seat but they offer seat-service in the golds. Considering how rich, lazy and fat the people who usually sit in the golds are, I bet they find it mighty convenient to have their food delivered to them. I'm not hating, because I would hate to stand in line for 15 minutes just to get a beer but can the servers at least wait until play stoppages to walk up and down the aisles?

Tyler Bozak

I was excited about getting Bozak before I even knew who he was. I mean, his name is just so fun to say and he's the motherfuckin' Seventh Samurai! This kid will be a good player for a long time. Looks like a natural leader out there. Great speed, a good set of hands and defensively responsible. Looks like Wilson trusts him enough to put him on the point on the PP and he also took an important faceoff with less than a minute left in Bruins' territory. As for the shortie he scored, my errection still hasn't subsided.

Viktor Stalberg

When was the last time you had faith in the Leafs' group of prospects? For as long as I've been a fan, I don't remember being so excited for the young kids. Stalberg has blazing speed for somebody who's 6'3. I imagine Kaberle firing cross ice passes to a streaking Stalberg will be a beautiful sight for years to come. The whole Animal House Line (is that what we're coining it?) looked good but I thought Bozak and Stalberg outshone Hanson.

Nazem Kadri

I thought Kadri played a strong but not outstanding game though he seemed to get better when he got some quality linemates later in the game. Had some good chances and almost tied it late in the game. He's a highly skilled forward with a mean streak which could be seen on a few tenacious forechecks. I definitely see why Burke drafted him. I'll enjoy his short stay with the big club but I'd love to see him come back next year to contend for a spot once he adds some more muscle.

Phil Oreskovic

Two bad penalties, two lost fights...not quite the way to make the team. With the logjam we have at D, I don't see Oreskovic getting a shot with the Leafs this year. I would even guess that he would be a career minor leaguer.

Colton Orr

This man is one bad motherfucker. He was on full display in the first, hitting everything that came in sight. He will definitely be a fan favourite if he isn't already. But apparently with all that brawn, he does have a soft side as he displayed when he was giving Kadri some advice. I have yet to see this as I was at the game. Hook up a link if there's one available!

Andre Deveaux/Jay Rosehill

They both know their roles and both wanted to impress as they both dropped their gloves. There's no way they will both make the team so they are in direct competition with each other. My guess is that they both won't make the team and will spend the rest of their careers in the AHL with the occasional NHL call up when Colton Orrs breaks his fist over Georges Laraques' face. Take that, vegan!

Jason Allison

Jason Allison was slow three years ago...having not played since did not make him any quicker. He tried to make an impact out there early on but as the game progressed he just floated in the neutral zone. It also seemed like he lost a lot of face offs. Not much to say other than he won't be making the cut.

Jersey Fouls

I'm not sure if it was the free game factor or not but there were plenty of jersey fouls to be seen. Most of which were personalized with their last name. I did notice a #64 with the name Mojo Radio (which is now defunct). Unfortunately, I didn't see anything clever or any #69 McLovin jerseys. Oddest jersey I saw was a #30 Tom Barrasso. Tom Barrasso played 4 games on the Leafs in the 01-02 season. If you tell me that that's really a lie and that you just went in to his wikipedia page and added that, I would totally believe you. I have no idea what his thought process was when getting that jersey. The only explanation is that his last name is Barrasso or he is related.

The Wave

How does one start this idiotic event? I mean, it would have to make more than one person to get the wave going, right? Does the person starting this yell out "Let's do the wave!" before standing up and flailing their arms in the air? Do they arrange it with a group of people they're sitting with? Does the retard signal in their brain just go off simultaneously? The wave is something I never understood and will never participate in. I reckon that the guy who starts the wave is also the first guy who slows down to stare at an accident on the highway.

Burkie's Dog House

With all the articles surrounding Burkie's Dog House, there's no way I could have went to the game and not try this. I got the bacon wrapped dog and it was as good as it sounds. The hot dog was topped with cheddar, honey mustard and caramelized onions. It was good eatin but $8 for a dog is a bit much. I shall find that prime rib sandwich the next time I head to a game.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dear Doc

"Wait your turn, youngin'. I'm still the best pitcher in baseball"

I never ask for much but today I'm in dire need of a favour. You see, it's the semi-finals in my head-to-head fantasy league and I'm up against the heavy favourite to win it all. He got a start from Lincecum last night where he only allowed 1ER in 7 IP with 11 Ks and a WHIP of 1.43. He also has Posada, Cano, Teixeira and A-Rod on his team. It would be great if you could replicate those stats while shutting down the Yanks. A perfect game would be ideal but anything to keep them off the score sheet will do just fine. If there's anybody I can count on, I know it's you. Give em hell!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Price is Right: Leafs Edition

The Leafs Rookie game against the Pens was just on last night and they had another one against the Bruins this afternoon. After those cock teases, I'm just bubbling with giddy anticipation. I don't recall ever being so excited for the new season to start. So many fresh faces, so much hope, so much promise!

Now it's been three seasons in a row already that we haven't made the playoffs. While we're heading toward the right direction, I'm not sure if next year will be the year. If we are in for another dreadful season, it doesn't mean we can't have fun with it.

Barilkosphere, come on down!

I figure people love free shit so why not have a contest?

To enter, just submit your answers in the comments. I will be taking entries all week (Sept 13 is the last day) so any comments submitted after that will be void. Leave an e-mail or some sort of contact information so I can get at you if you win.

1. Over/Under on the number of goals Jason Blake will score: 24.5
2. Over/Under on the number of fighting majors Luke Schenn will get: 4.5
3. Over/Under on the number of points Jiri Tlusty will get: 50.5
4. Over/Under on the number of wins The Monster will get: 19.5
5. Over/Under on the number of goals for this team will score: 239.5

True or false
1. We will make the playoffs.
2. We will finish above the dirty Habs.
3. Mike van Ryn will not get put on injured reserve this year.
4. The Monster will outplay Toskala for the starting job.
5. Our penalty killing will be in the top 10 at season's end.

Pick a Player
1. _______ will be the first person to get suspended.
2. _______ will score the first goal of the season.
3. _______ will be the first to be healthy scratched.
4. _______ will be the first to be traded.
5. _______ will lead the team in +/-

Predict the Leafs' record in the month that matters.

Autograph prize pack!
Consisting of a certified authentic autograph from Johnny Bower, Mats Sundin and Luke Schenn.

Since a lot of the answers won't be known until the end of the season, I will have to contact the winner once the season is over.

Best of luck!

Just for kicks my picks are

1. Under
2. Over
3. Over
4. Over
5. Under

True or false
1. True
2. True
3. False
4. True
5. True

Pick a Player
1. Garnet Exelby
2. Nikolai Kulemin
3. Matt Stajan
4. Ian White
5. Francois Beauchemin

This Post is for the Children

Tomorrow will be a monumental day in 2009. Yes September 8th is my sister's birthday but I have more important matters to blog about; the release of Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Part II.
It's been 14 years since the first Cuban Linx dropped and Raekwon has made a few albums since then but this is the one all of us Wu Bangers have been waiting for since it's announcement in 2005.

If you have listened to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, you will know what Rae (and Ghost) are capable of. It is widely considered one of the best hip hop albums of all time. It might not be my number one but it's in my top five. The album appealed to me on many different levels. The beats and the lyrics are on point. There isn't a filler track on the whole album, the Rza produced a gem of a record with that one. Raekwon also samples lines from one of the best movies ever, The Killer.

"Yo Meth, where my Killer tape at?"

Now if you haven't seen The Killer, I would highly recommend. It is possibly my favourite movie and is a definite cult classic. I would argue that this is the best action movie of all time and is one of the most TRUCULENT(!!!1) movies EVAR! It's a John Woo flick (and his best one) so you know there's a lot of artistic shoot outs, a ton of blood, infinite ammo and doves!

I ended up downloading a leaked copy of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Part II because I just couldn't wait. Despite all the hype attached to an album that has been delayed a billion times since it's announcement (see Chinese Democracy), it does not disappoint. This album is a certified classic and I may like it even more than the first Cuban Linx!

I'll be picking this one up tomorrow and I hope you do too because it will be a travesty if a complete half-assed effort like Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 outsells a true hip hop album like this.