Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It seems fitting that with Pat Burns passing, the rumour mill is churning about another possible trade for an underrated NHL centre: Brad Richards. The similarities between Doug Gilmour and Richards career to date are eerily similiar. Each a Cup winner, with Richards being a Conn Smythe trophy selection as playoff MVP also. In the final series against Calgary, he led all forwards in ice time and played almost 27 minutes in one! Many of the Flames Cup winners from '89 say that Douggie was the catalyst for that team, just as TB players say Richards was the true hero for the Lightning. Politics and a huge Lecavalier contract played into his trade to the Stars.

Anyway, Cliff Fletcher pulled off the deal of the century with Calgary in 92 and is still an advisor to Brian Burke. Based on the Kessel deal, Burke is old school. He thinks, as I do, that if you have chance to add a top 10 NHL centre for a shutdown defenceman (who is still a prospect at 21 although looks like a long-term stud), you do it. I like Schenn, but to be successful, you have to have a number one and Richards is a good one. Faceoffs, PK, PP, rises to the occasion (Conn Smythe) and a consistently better player (when healthy) than Lecavalier, Spezza and others. His teammates love him, he's an earthy PEI boy and reminds me of where Gilmour was in his career when he joined the Leafs, without the sex assault on the babysitter in St. Louis rumours. Some players will rise to playing for the Leafs, some will crumble but I think Richards is one of the former.

Kessel and Kadri would thrive with Richards in the one hole. For one thing, how about a centre that wins more faceoffs than he loses? The Leafs rarely have the puck to start with and probably lose out on 2-3 good scoring chances a game because of it. Bozak is just too weak to fight through DMen in the NHL right now. He should be in the minors, getting stronger or send him in the Schenn deal. Throw in Komisarek or Beauchemin (take your pick). They are dependable top 4 DMen (at least Komisarek is being paid like one....but that's another debate) and Dallas has holes on defence. Stephan Robidas is their top D man. 'Nuff said.

On to the Vancouver Island weather......which more closely resembles the frozen frickin' tundra of Green Bay's superbowl era. Believe it or not, driving a golf cart at work loses its lustre when the windchill is -14! Forecast is calling for normal, high single digit temps by Saturday but the ground here by Schwartz Bay is mostly white and shiny with ice. Definitely not in any brochure pictures I've ever seen!

'til next time....

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