Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ottawa or Toronto? Let's help Tyler Bozak decide

Future HOFer
and/or money-grubbing bum
One of the biggest stories in the NHL these days is the status of star college center Tyler Bozak. The highly sought-after free agent has been courted by as many as 20 teams, and has apparently narrowed his options down to a short list. According to TSN, the two top teams on Bozak's list are the Maple Leafs and the Senators.

Bozak is a playmaking center who was passed over in the 2007 draft because of concerns over his size -- he was only 155 lbs at the time, but an emphasis on conditioning has allowed him to fill out to 180 lbs. And while gaining 25 lbs in just two years is impressive, it's worth noting that it still falls well short of the record set by Kyle Wellwood during a single morning at Denny's during the 2008 off-season.

Bozak's decision had been expected on Wednesday, but as of Thursday night he was apparently still considering his options. While no reason has been given for the delay, Bozak's apparent inability to make a simple decision about which team he wants to play for has many Leaf fans calling him captain material. But I can sympathize with the kid.

As someone who grew up in Toronto and now lives in Ottawa, I know how difficult it can be to choose between the two cities. So as a favor to Bozak in these final hours, I'd like to help nudge him along with my unbiased views on some of the pros and cons of either destination.

Coaching
Toronto Maple Leafs - Would have the opportunity to play first few years as a pro under well-respected head coach Ron Wilson.

Ottawa Senators - Would have the opportunity to play first few years as a pro under anywhere from four to six well-respected head coaches.

Opportunity
Ottawa Senators - Based on current organizational depth, would enter training camp with realistic chance of securing job as second line center.

Toronto Maple Leafs - Based on current organizational depth, would enter training camp with realistic chance of securing job as starting goaltender.

Local atmosphere
Toronto Maple Leafs - Would need to be careful to stay focused on hockey, avoiding distractions poised by city's exciting night life, excellent dining, vibrant ethnic communities, world famous theater and cultural attractions, not to mention the presence of the MLB, NBA and NFL.

Ottawa Senators - Would need to be careful to stay focused on hockey, avoiding distractions poised by Local Heroes wing night, the Blockbuster down the street, the experimental farm, and that other Blockbuster a little further down the street.

Fan loyalty
Toronto Maple Leafs - Opportunity to play in front of 19,000+ die-hard Leaf fans every night.

Ottawa Senators - Same.

Travel
Toronto Maple Leafs - Central location means it only takes a few hours to make plane trip from downtown Toronto to cities of division rivals.

Ottawa Senators - Central location means it only takes a few hours to make bus trip from downtown Ottawa to the ScotiaBank Place.

Fan knowledge
Ottawa Senators - Staying focused on the game can occasionally be difficult due to unsophisticated fans mindlessly screaming in your ear all night long.

Toronto Maple Leafs - Fans appreciate the importance of focusing on the task at hand, and will leave you alone with your thoughts by vacating the ten rows behind the bench during the first half of every period.

Hero worship
Toronto Maple Leafs - While it would be exciting and flattering at first, the constant praise, autograph requests and almost sickening level of devotion could eventually wear thin and lead you to dread contact with fans.

Ottawa Senators - While it would be exciting and flattering at first, the constant praise, autograph requests, and almost sickening level of devotion could eventually wear thin and lead you to dread contact with local media.

General Manager
Toronto Maple Leafs - Brian Burke, who is credited with building a Stanley Cup champion in Anaheim.

Ottawa Senators - Bryan Murray, who actually did build a Stanley Cup champion in Anaheim.

Ownership
Toronto Maple Leafs - Team is owned primarily by a pension fund, meaning ownership is often perceived as being focused on profit and not especially accountable to the city or fans.

Ottawa Senators - Team is owned by Eugene Melnyk, a wealthy businessman who is passionately committed to the city and its fans and will tell you this whenever he is interviewed via satellite from the home in the Barbados where he spends 51 1/2 weeks of the year.

History
Ottawa Senators - As a relatively recent expansion team, the franchise has a limited history from which to draw.

Toronto Maple Leafs - The team has a long and rich history, and the friendly local media will be more than willing to constantly remind you of fascinating facts such as what year the team last won a Stanley Cup, and how long it's been since the team last won a Stanley Cup

Women
Toronto Maple Leafs - Players can count on having plenty of opportunity to court the beautiful local women.

Ottawa Senators - Players can count on having plenty of opportunity to court the beautiful local women, unless both of them happen to be sick that weekend.

Update: He chose wisely.




13 comments:

  1. ""...,it's worth noting that it still falls well short of the record set by Kyle Wellwood during a single morning at Denny's during the 2008 off-season.""

    That's gold Jerry, GOLD!

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  2. You're a liar and a slanderer, DGB. I happen to know for a fact that there at least 6 desirable, intelligent women in Ottawa. Unfortunately, their visas are up soon, and anyways they've made enough money at the Gypsy Rose to set them up for life back in Romania.

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  3. hahahahaha
    this is some funny ass shit

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  4. Now that I've gotten that out of my system, here's the deal:
    You are a talented, young hockey player who's smart enough to lock down your post-secondary education and, along the way, to develop and mature before you take a shot at the biggest league in hockey. The world is your oyster. For whatever reason, you've narrowed the choice down to Toronto and Ottawa.
    At this point, we can rest assured that young Bozak's decision will tell us all we need to know about him- if it was, say, Boston and Pittsburgh, there's some great room for discussion and inner turmoil. But in this one, there is simply no decision to be made on any level. The most significant hockey franchise in the world, or..........Ottawa.
    Good luck with your late night agonizing, Tyler. Choose wisely.

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  5. Absolutely stellar post.

    Here's my prediction for Damien Cox. If Bozak signs with Toronto- a diatribe on how the Leafs are trying to get better quick instead of developing the "talent" they have. 1967 bla bla bla.

    If Bozak signs with Ottawa (or elsewhere) - a piece criticizing the Leafs as an organziation that players don't want to play for. 1967 bla bla bla.

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  6. Another excellent post. "Opportunities for goaltenders" might be the theme in camp next year.

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  7. We got him. Bozak is wise.

    Great post.

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  8. I have never seen anything that better describes the five years I spent in Ottawa than:

    "Would need to be careful to stay focused on hockey, avoiding distractions poised by Local Heroes wing night, the Blockbuster down the street, the experimental farm, and that other Blockbuster a little further down the street."

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  9. It's becoming painfully obvious that DGB is now the Holy Grail of Leaf info. Apparently, Tyler read this post yesterday and made his choice 5 minutes later.

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  10. Then Wellwood/Dennys and Blockbuster/Blockbuster comments are hereby inducted into the DGB HoF, bypassing the waiting period entirely.

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  11. I'm anything but a Leafs fan, but I find this entirely too entertaining to pass up. Thank you good sir.

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  12. LMAO! Hilarious stuff!

    Just stumbled upon this blog today, and it's awesome. Keep it going!

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