Saturday, February 28, 2009

Could the Leafs and Senators combined beat a good NHL team?

I'm watching tonight's Ottawa/Toronto game dressed in all black.

No, I'm not wearing a new Senators third jersey -- I'll just wait until they choose a new one next month. I'm in mourning for a former rivalry, always over-rated but usually entertaining, that's now all-but-dead. It's shuffling down the hallway like zombie, occasionally bumping into Ryan Hollweg's career and Bryan Murray's reputation.

How bad is it? I honestly think you could combine these two teams into a single 20-man roster and still not beat most of the good teams in the NHL today.

Let's try it. What would Team Ontario look like? Here's my best guess:

Line #1: Heatley, Spezza, Blake
Line #2: Antropov, Vermette, Alfredsson
Line #3: Hagman, Stajan, Ponikarovsky
Checking: Moore, Fisher, Neil

Defence #1: Kaberle, Kubina
Defence #2: Phillips, Volchenkov
Defence #3: Schenn, Kuba

Starting goalie: Toskala
Backup goalie: Elliott

Now, could this roster beat a good NHL team in a seven-game series? Let's take an honest look:

  • The goaltending is just bad.

  • The defense won't score much and has only one puck mover. They'd be decent defensively and could probably do a solid job protecting a lead if they ever had one, which they wouldn't.

  • There's no second line center.

  • The forwards could score a little, but would also make a ton of lazy turnovers and would be easy to play against physically.

  • There's no legitimate enforcer.

  • As bad as this roster is, up to a third of it will be gone by the deadline. If I made this post next week, the resulting roster might lose to a good AAA team
So how many current teams could this squad beat? Ten? Maybe 15? Could they beat a single legitimate Stanley Cup contender?

A few notes:
  • I put Blake on the first line instead of Alfredsson since all eleven coaches the Sens have had in the past few years seem to insist on splitting up the top line. I would of course reunite them immediately, split them up, reunite them again, split them up, and then wonder why my forwards couldn't seem to get in a groove.

  • I had to shift Dominic Moore to the wing just to fill out a roster. The wingers on these teams are that bad.

  • Brian Burke is GM, Ron Wilson is coach, Cory Clouston is assistant stickboy. Also, I want the Ottawa sports media, because they'd write articles about awesome this team was.

  • I'm not sure where the games would be held, but Daniel Alfredsson would still be booed every time he touched the puck.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, this combined Leafs/Senators franchise listed above would be over the salary cap by a mile, would be locked in to several bad long-term contracts, would have several known dressing room cancers, and wouldn't have a single blue-chip prospect in the minors.

Other than that, they'd be in great shape.

Anyone want to borrow my black suit?


  1. OK, OK... All true, BUT... We did beat the hated Sens. You have to take some joy in that.

    No matter how bad they get, I will still hate them.

  2. Nice recap DGB!

    Is there any more room in the Barilkosphere?

  3. The best part is the bit about the media!

  4. "I'm not sure where the games would be held, but Daniel Alfredsson would still be booed every time he touched the puck."

    - that's gold!

  5. I'm not sure Cory Clouston is qualified to be Assistant Stickboy all by himself. Maybe Alexandre Daigle would be available to help?

  6. Sean you're taking dreary negativity down into the depths below Art-Form into Life-Altering mental affliction.

    I'd fear for your safety if it wasn't for all the tongue in cheek bits that make me laugh so consistently.

    The Leafs are not THAT bad, and the Sens were in the Stanley Cup finals with a better defensive squad less than 3 years ago. If you replace the crappy parts of their D with the solid parts of the Leafs D, I'm fairly sure they could make even Toskala of this year look good.

    Either way, I'd never want a team with Spezza and Alfredsson on it. The mere idea of this makes me puke in my mouth a little.

  7. Adding Melnyk's money to the pile wouldn't be bad either and he's just crazy enough to fit in perfectly with the current owners... he could tell people to blow themselves up and maybe Jason Blake would!

  8. I like the bit about Clouston being assistant stickboy *g*

  9. DGB- found out about your blog through the whole Twitter mess and this post had me clicking "bookmark" as fast I could. Well done!

    On a side note, any mention of the word "Neil" and your team is doomed to fail.

    /so says a still bitter Sabs fan.