In the absence of any game analysis or waffle throwing evaluations, I thought I would simply share an odd dream I recently had….
I awoke last night in a cold sweat with cloudy thoughts of a Jeremy Roenick game winner, Dominik Hasek and Arturs Irbe standing on their heads and an unusual amount of players screaming at NHL referees. Ok, so I had a strange dream, our old GM Pat Quinn had actually taken over Brian Burke’s mind and body and was in actuality our current GM in the form of Burkie. Now that I have lost most of you, to the remaining readers let me at least explain further.
As strange as it was the more I thought about it after I awoke, the more it seemed plausible and even dare I say it, likely (no I hadn’t even been drinking that night). What better disguise than a fellow grey-haired, cigar smoking, boisterous fellow Irishman in the mould of good old Burkie. Of course, this was only a dream so really, who cares? Then it hit me, what if this did happen?
(Cue the Wayne’s World/Scooby Doo dream sequence bit)
Quinn could seamlessly take the reins and any move he would make, chances are Brian Burke would also gladly make. Pat Quinn had a pretty successful run but he also left us with inflated salary, playoff failures and the cupboard of young talent left pretty bare (trades for Brian Leetch and Owen Nolan didn’t help that). Maybe there are some more similarities and a lesson or two to be learned, so I decided to dig a little deeper (lucky readers!).
During most of the Pat Quinn era Mats Sundin was a capable leader and the teams’ top scorer nearly every season. It was also fairly common knowledge that if the Leafs were to be successful they would need to find Sundin some proper line mates to maximize his talent. Well, he had an aged Gary Roberts, Steve Thomas and Alex Mogilny for a season or two but for the most part he played with third liners such as Derek King, Jonas Hoglund, Mikael Renberg, Mike Johnson, Freddy Modin, Alex Ponikarovksy and Nik Antropov.
I will never put Phil Kessel in the same class as a Mats Sundin in terms of overall game but the similarities are there, Kessel the lone ranger (scorer) who has had mostly third liners playing with him. Again, apologies to Tyler Bozak, Matt Stajan, Jason Blake, Clarke MacArthur and others but Kessel is far and away the most talented player on the team. Sounds pretty familiar no?
Our former golden boy on the blue line was Bryan McCabe, with his booming shot on the power play, penchant for a timely give away, the trademarked (and outlawed) can-opener and “flying ass” manoeuvres, his spiky mo-hawk and massive salary. Well Quinn Burke (just go with it) went out and got himself a clone in the form of Dion Phaneuf with his booming shot, timely turnovers, occasional big hit and his spiky mo-hawk – oh, and the bloated contract.
What would a Pat Quinn team be without Tomas Kaberle and maybe Quinn was like kryptonite for any GM who dared move him despite countless rumours, offers and nearly completed trades. Tie Domi was the heart and soul of this team during his integral 5 minutes a night and old #28 was a big fan favourite so of course he had to be replaced with another tough guy for 5 minutes a night in Colton Orr – for good measure he even made him wear #28.
Quinn never being a fan of the youth movement made sure to rush Nazem Kadri to the big leagues so he can follow in the footsteps of former Leaf prospects Alyn McCauley, Steve Sullivan, Kyle Wellwood, Luca Cereda, Matt Stajan, Carlo Colaiacovo and Alex Steen – don’t forget Leafs nation were high on these guys for a spell. Tyler Bozak will likely be jettisoned soon and develop into the next Brad Boyes, Carl Gunnarsson is the next Carlo Colaiacovo and for good measure Brett Ledba was brought in to assume the role of our old favourite defenseman Jyrkki Lumme.
Quinn always needs some grit and toughness so let me introduce Colby Armstrong and Kris Versteeg, replacement clones for Shayne Corson and Darcy Tucker. Corson and Armstrong bring the grit and intangibles that don’t show up on the score sheet (so we are told) while Tucker and Versteeg provide grit and a scoring touch. Tim Brent was of course brought in to be the next Travis Green.
If you squint your eyes just enough when you watch Nik Kulemin you can see just a bit of our old friend Alex Ponikarovsky while doesn’t Mikael Grabovski not just remind you of Robert Reichel? Mike Komisarek is a less productive Pavel Kubina and though we can’t blame Quinn for that one it does feel like a guy he would acquire (Cory Cross?) and Francois Beauchemin is our very own Dmitry Yushevich, though we all wish he were more like Bobby Svehla.
The only thing that ruins this theory (well besides sheer lunacy) is Pat Quinn would never go to a gun fight with a knife which is what the Leafs have done for the past few seasons in net. Quinn had Felix Potvin, Curtis Joseph and Ed Belfour (and Trevor Kidd) and one can only hope Quinn…err…Burke saw that kind of potential in Jonas Gustavsson and Jussi Rynnas when he signed them.
Yeah, I know what you are thinking, this is the best dream (hockey or not) my mind could come up with?