Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Leafs Update - These Buds For You

Sweet, the Leafs have finally gotten around to resigning my favourite young Leaf, Kyle Wellwood. This guy has more creativity on his stick than a lot of the Leafs we're used to watching, and it was awesome to watch him show his stuff last season. Also resigned are Brendan Bell, Jay Harrison and Carlo Colaiacovo.

I've been waiting for Wellwood to resign this summer, and after all the talk about Eric Lindros , Jason Allison, Gary Roberts and Tie Domi, I was worried the 2006/2007 Leafs would return to their "get older at any cost" strategy that worked so horribly this past season. They've got two new defencemen, Hall Gill and Pavel Kubina, and to me, defence is a position where experience is more immediately obvious and beneficial...also goaltending. But up front, I'd go with speed and creativity.

The "New NHL" ain't goin' away, so their best bet is to get with the program, and in the words of new head coach Paul Maurice, "we're gonna get younger and faster." This is pretty much a direct contrast to the Pat Quinn era, and I'm excited about it. Nothing worse than blowing a perfectly good Saturday night watching a bunch of slow, oft-injured and unskilled seniors make their way around the ice for 2 hours. I seem to recall yelling at my TV that they should just call up the entire Marlies squad! Or maybe I should be watching CHL games, if it wasn't just fights.

Not that you can build a champion team with rookies alone (outside of the video games), but it sure makes the games a helluva lot more exciting to watch, and that's probably more important to me. After suffering through Allison's turtle-esque approach in the shootout night after night this past year, hopefully the Leafs have learned what kind of team they actually need to put on the ice.

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