Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Leafs draft preview: I have a bad feeling about this...

Various media have reported today that Brian Burke is still hot on the trail of John Tavares. With less than 72 hours left to make a deal, Burke has apparently made no progress but feels he has plenty of time.

I'm glad to hear it. Because for the past few weeks I've been devouring mock drafts and trying to talk myself into three players that the Leafs seem to have the best shot at: Brayden Schenn, Jared Cowen, and Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson.

And it will probably not shock you to learn that it's not going so well.

Yes, each of these three guys sounds like a fantastic player. And each would clearly fill a glaring need on a Leafs roster that has plenty of them. But as you no doubt know by now, it's in my nature to look for the downside as well.

So let's take a look at the three most likely candidates to become your next Maple Leaf savior, and why we may need to downgrade expectations.



I wonder if Tyler Kennedy
has a younger brother
who needs his ass kicked?
Brayden Schenn

The strengths: Is the brother of Luke Schenn.

Seriously, that's really all you need to know. NHL scouts haven't even bothered to watch him. His parents have patiently tried to explain that Brayden doesn't like hockey and has never even been on skates, but he's still Luke's brother so he's a top five pick. End of story.

The concern: I'll be honest, I love the idea of having two brothers form the core of our long-term rebuild. Luke Schenn was such a monster last year that the thought of doubling down on the family gene pool has me giddy.

But let's run down the script here: Luke is older. He's better known. The Leafs traded up to get him, he made the team as a teenager, played on the top pairing for much of the season, was named to the all-rookie team, and earlier today he was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame. When he walks the streets of Toronto, tiny eunuchs scurry in front of him to scatter rose petals.

Now here comes Brayden, the younger brother who may actually be more talented. But he's trapped in his big brother's shadow. And he knows it. Everybody knows it.

If a lifetime of english literature, greek epic poetry and professional wrestling have taught me anything, it's that younger brothers can't be trusted. The potential for an eventual dramatic brotherly backstab is off-the-charts here.

Keep in mind, these two kids are from Western Canada. There's precedent here that should raise all kind of red flags. Don't say you weren't warned if at some point Brayden snaps on Luke, and kicks his leg out of his leg.



Jared Cowen does his
impression of every Leaf
fan the day JFJ was hired.
Jared Cowen

The strengths: Was a consensus top five pick who was even getting some fringe consideration as a potential first overall choice until he blew out his knee this season and slid down the rankings. Has the size and mean streak to be the steal of the draft. If paired with Luke Schenn, would likely play his entire career without ever being on the ice for a goal against.

The concern: None. Drafting a can't-miss defensive stud who dropped in the rankings because he wrecked his knee is always a great idea.

Seriously, this is can't miss. Any time you have a chance to take a top ten pick and turn it into Grant Jennings, you have to go for it.



This man could someday
break Doug Gilmour's team
record for ridiculous hair.
Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson

The strengths: MPS, as the kids call him, is a dynamic playmaking winger with excellent size, speed and creativity. Based on raw skill alone he would immediately become the Leafs' best winger, and probably also their second-line center and perhaps backup goalie.

The concern: His name is, literally, impossible to spell. I know this seems petty, but I'm a blogger. This is important to me.

Seriously, take a good long look at it: Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson. WTF?

I don't know about you, but I don't have a "ä" key on my keyboard, let alone three of them. What kind of person fires off a triple umlaut into one name? Is he a hockey player or an 80s hair metal band?

Here's a little known fact about Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson: his full name has only ever been typed once. Since then, every single person who has ever written about him has been cutting and pasting from that original version, passing it down to future generations like monks transcribing the bible. If the Leafs draft him, they should create a page on their web site that just says "Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson" in 36-point font so that writers can easily grab it whenever they need to mention him.

At the very least, can we all agree to ditch the horribly uncreative "MPS" nickname in favor of something better? I'm suggesting "CTRL-V". Who's with me?




As you can see, I'm struggling here.

So please, Burkie, get a deal done. Draft John Tavares for us long-suffering Leaf fans, so that we'll finally have a prospect with no downside.

(You know, other than the poor defensive play, mediocre skating, questionable work ethic... oh god...)

Draft note: I'll be blogging on Friday night during the first round of the draft. I won't call it a liveblog, but I'll try to update a few times over the course of the night.

And since I'm apparently the only hockey blogger on the planet who won't be in Montreal this weekend, I may also try to hack into Pension Plan Puppets and post there too. Assuming PPP hasn't changed the site's password ("gillsux"), head over when the Leafs make their pick and commiserate with me.




33 comments:

  1. That's a good question about Schenn. Basically you're either looking at something like Cain and Abel ... or of you're lucky you're looking at Double Impact starring Van Damme and ... Van Damme. That could work.
    .
    Cowan? There is a chance he goes Berehowsky on us, that's for sure. Perhaps we should nickname him "The Drake" just to be sure.
    .
    As for MPS, "CTRL-V" is a great nickname. I'm all for it, although I must say I am partial to referring to him as "Magnus WTF", also.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You think we could convince MPS just to change his name to Magnus Patterson-Smith? That would solve a lot of problems.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Come to think of it, in a brother + brother scenario, you're actually looking at just about every Van Damme movie ever made.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Drake Berehowsky ... EGADS!!!!!!1

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Garrett...

    If you're trying to make me feel better, it's not working.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If a lifetime of english literature, greek epic poetry and professional wrestling have taught me anything, it's that younger brothers can't be trusted. The potential for an eventual dramatic brotherly backstab is off-the-charts here.

    All I needed to learn about drafting I learned in the Bible: Avoid brothers (see: Joseph, Abel, Herod)

    Here's a little known fact about Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson: his full name has only ever been typed once. Since then, every single person who has ever written about him has been cutting and pasting from that original version, passing it down to future generations like monks transcribing the bible.

    Mattblack lies and says he types it out each time. I have definitely just copied it from Wikipedia so CTRL-V Or Copy-Paste.

    Assuming PPP hasn't changed the site's password ("gillsux"), head over when the Leafs make their pick and commiserate with me.

    Great, now I have to change it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Draft prediction: In a stunning coup, Brian Burke somehow finds himself with two top five picks and takes Duchene and Schenn. This will probably end up costing him next year's first round pick plus Kaberle and maybe Tlusty or something, but I really don't think Burke wants those guys ending up on any other team. In fact, I'm fairly certain you'll be able to find Burke and Nonis pummeling one or more of the six GMs that are picking ahead of them if you look in the alley behind the Bell/Molson Centre five minutes before the start of the draft.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The fact that you linked to such an epic moment, I'll let youtube commenter mortvia say it for me:

    "...and that's why I kicked your leg outta your leg"

    Classic.


    I think I'm going to piece together various wrestling, Wendel Clark, and people sobbing clips to play during the draft, so I ignore the inevitable pain that is of the Leafs.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "CTRL-V"

    Gold, man, gold.

    I don't know why more hasn't been made of the Swedish-Finn parentage, too. Those two aren't supposed to get along, much less conjugate, right? I smell something unholy.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Don't worry Dominik, I'm half-English and half-Scottish and I turned out fi...

    ...you know what, fuck it, MSP is gonna end up with some serious issues.

    P.S. Schenn2.0 for the win.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey DGB,

    Just wanted to let you know that your blog has reached "print and reach while taking a shit" status with me.

    Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hey DGB,

    Just wanted to let you know that your blog has reached "print and READ while taking a shit" status with me.

    Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dang, I wanted to know what "print and reach" meant...
    Anyways, Ctrl-V is brilliant and I shall refer to MPS (or is it MSP?) thusly from now on.
    Can I help you hack in to PPP too??

    ReplyDelete
  14. Having followed a few Swedes around I've learned ALT + 0228. ä... Voilà. I now refer to most Swedes as such. Or other random nick-names.

    I'm biased so I support "Cowen for Toronto".

    Do we honestly think the NHL would allow Burke to nab wee Schenners? They are looking to the future for mass-marketing opportunities involving Schenn v Schenn games. Unless Burk just tells them to eff off. He righteously thug like that.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Downie I suggest you file a copy of this blog in case you shut it down one day. Then when everyone in the hockey world is calling him CTRL-V you'll have the proof that it was you first.

    Also, good luck explaining to Shoals what it means, and that it isn't actually his name.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Nice Owen Hart reference there, DGB. Keeping in that spirit, why not the nickname "Triple Umlaut" for MPS?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Brilliant post. I have been vacillating on all three of these guys. For some reason I get the feeling that Schenn 2.0 is overrated. I don't know why but I just have this feeling that he could turn out to be Ryan Sittler.

    Cowen would be the beast if he has recovered. However I have been muttering Drake Berehowsky to anyone who will listen for months now. I like the idea of calling him "The Drake" btw.

    as for MPS (My Pet Swede?)He does seem to have a lot going for him. I am starting to lean slightly towards him but then Howard Berger ruined it for me yesterday by gushing over him.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Blindfolded Tank DriverJune 24, 2009 at 7:34 AM

    So, basically we have Owen Hart vs Grant Jennings Jr vs CTRL-V...seems like an epic battle royale for the lucky #7. Hopefully Burke has his list and checks it twice, to see who's been naughty or nice. I wonder if he avoids all three and trades down for that Kassian kid
    Otherwise, DGB, another great post!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I don't know about you but I'm going for Owen Hart.

    CTRL-V hasn't convinced me and who wants Grant Jennings?

    ReplyDelete
  20. DGB, your blog is printed out in our household and taken to the bathroom for almost the exact opposite reason as Anonymous.

    ReplyDelete
  21. DGB, Pääjärvi is a finnish name and can be divided into two words: "pää" and "järvi", which in english mean "head" and "lake".

    You should use Headlake-Svensson, it's easy to spell.

    ReplyDelete
  22. @ Meat: or Brent Gretzy. Or worse, Brett Lindros.

    ReplyDelete
  23. We love our "ä"s, "ö"s and "å"s here... And seriously, it so totally easy to pronounce.

    ReplyDelete
  24. CTRL-V = Lakehead.

    It's entirely workable.

    Of course, lots of us couldn't seem to get "Damphousse" correct (who's that damp house guy?) and forget about Ihnacak.....

    --1967ers

    ReplyDelete
  25. Miro Ihnacak!

    Dave Sacco!

    Younger brothers rock!

    --1967ers again

    ReplyDelete
  26. @ Chemmy & Anonymous:

    What the hell are you doing with those blogs??? You're hillarious!

    ReplyDelete
  27. CRTL-V, he has more umlauts than Motörhead. How can you go wrong there?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Gary "Wife Stealer" LeemanJune 24, 2009 at 11:24 PM

    All three seem like they could be studs.

    Mock drafts have Schenn going high as #4 to Atlanta, Cowen six to Phoenix, and M.P.S. going to you guys at 7. You could have a shot at Evander Kane too.

    My team (Rangers) doesn't draft until 19, and if they keep with their recent theme, they'll get an offensive-oriented player (Del Zotto, Cherepanov, etc.).

    Great blog.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Al "Spurned Divorcee" IafrateJune 25, 2009 at 11:58 AM

    Leeman:

    Hope you're right about Kane being available at #7. Wouldn't that be sweet!

    BTW, this is a little late, but sorry about the Kordic thing. He was only supposed to threaten you, not kick your ass in front of the whole team. My bad.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Cool, nice to see another Rangers fan here.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh God LMAO this is the best blog ever i couldn't stop laughing when you were talking about MPS' name LMAOOOOOOOOO sooo true lol

    ReplyDelete
  32. Gary "Wife Stealer" LeemanJune 25, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    BTW, this is a little late, but sorry about the Kordic thing. He was only supposed to threaten you, not kick your ass in front of the whole team. My bad.

    Don't worry, I banged Kordic's dealer too.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "I don't know about you, but I don't have a "ä" key on my keyboard, let alone three of them."

    Haha.

    ReplyDelete