Mark it down. That's how long it took Maple Leaf fans to officially turn on Ryan Hollweg.
After a pre-season that saw Hollweg go 0-6 in fights and get suspended for a hit from behind, Hollweg made it through four minutes of his regular season Maple Leaf debut before being kicked out of this afternoon's game against the Blues. Apparently this idiot doesn't understand that laying your forearm across the name on a guy's jersey and drilling him into the boards is against the rules.
Hollweg will get an automatic three-game suspension from the NHL as a repeat offender, but it's not enough. The NHL should send a message and suspend him for 10 games. If they want to go 15, that would be fine too.
In the meantime, the Leafs need to move on. Toronto is a rebuilding team, and they should be using their roster spots to develop young NHLers. Hollweg may be young, but he's no NHLer. I'm no big fan of Matt Stajan, but there's no reason for him to sit in the pressbox just so Hollweg can goon it up for four or five shifts a game.
You could make an argument for keeping Hollweg around if he could fight, but he can't. Getting your ass handed to you in a fight is kind of inspiring if you're a skill(?) player like Alex Ponikoravsky. When you're a so-called tough guy, it's just embarassing. Let Jamal Mayers handle the occasional scrap, with support from Kris Newbury or Ben Ondrus if he needs it.
We were warned about him when the Leafs traded for him. Now we know that Ranger fans were being kind. Write off the fifth-round pick the Rangers stole from us, and ship Hollweg down to the minors. The ECHL may be a good fit.
This moron is going to cripple somebody soon. Here's hoping he's not wearing a Leaf jersey when it happens.
Update: Ron Wilson is giving his post-game press conference right now, and he just called the Hollweg penalty "debatable".
No, no, NO! Stop it, coach! The penalty wasn't remotely debatable. Nobody expects you to bury your own guy in front of the media, but do not let him off the hook by pretending it wasn't a penalty.
One of the top priorities of this season is accountability. We sure didn't have it under Paul Maurice. We have had it under Wilson, so far. Don't blow it now by giving this failed goon a free pass.
Monday, October 13, 2008