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LIVE BLOG: Leafs @ Panthers

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
7:34  Hi-di How and yippi-kai-yay Leafs lovers. Leafs in Sunshine State, and, based on their win in Montreal, a Sunshine State. Still, pretty sure what everyone is going to want to talk about: Nik Antropov.

And so as Butch said to Sundance: let the live blog/chat begin.

PS: Did I just see Don King?

7:35  [Comment From Eric Faccenda] Mike, to start off I just want to say that I LOVE your blogs!

7:35  Eric, you are a man of great taste and refinement. They will laugh at you, Eric, but they always laugh at the visionaries.

7:40  Allow me to present my annual proviso. To answer as many questions and to provide as much analysis as possible, I wade through things pretty quickly.

That can lead to typos, like the one last week where I refered to the Ratpors in the second paragraph. While all this this is very embarassing, please keep in mind that...

1. I have a history of head injuries.
2. I lived the 70s to the fullest, if you get my meaning.
3. English is my second language after my beloved Swahili. And on that note, let me just say: Tafadhali nataka

7:41  [Comment From kenzie] Whats going on with Mike Van Ryn? Hes been gettinh hurt so much this season

7:42  Just lousy luck. Problem with concussions is once you get one, the path is cleared for more. Feel sorry for the guy, he is a very worthy player and he would have had real value at the deadline.

7:43  [Comment From tammy] are the leafs gonna pull this off tonight...

7:43  Tammy, I can't say but I can guarantee you Nik Antropov is going to play his keister off.

7:44  [Comment From Kyle Larkin] We all know that Blake is not Burke's ideal player, but if his hot streak continues tonight do you think Burke will decide to keep him for the full extent of his contract? Maybe he can provide a little leadership in the future for all the youngsters coming in?

7:48  Interesting question. He has been their best player since Christmas and I don't agree that he's not Burke's kind of player. He has been dedicated and hard-working and he brings a bucketful of speed. All that makes him perfect trade fodder but for the fact that he is 35 and has three years left on his contract. I think that lfinal year, especially because it brings cap issues, is the most problematic issue.

7:49  [Comment From Im Bored] Hey mike, I have a problem, I have a minature Jason Blake sitting on my table pounding carrots into it with a hockey stick, so I think the question is obvious: Do you like poutine?

7:50  Made me laugh. Remember what I always say: beware the Fatman for the eagle sleeps with the jackalope.

7:51  [Comment From Kyle] Have you had a chance to talk to Luke Schenn since his first goal? What did he say?

7:53  Kyle, I haven't spoken with him. I don't have to:

"It was a big thrill to get it Montreal. I just tried to get it to the net.I won't keep the puck, I already gave it to my Dad."

Luke Schenn is the nicest kid. He is honest and respectful and I guarantee you, that's what he said when they asked about it after the game.

7:53  [Comment From PhilR] If Toskala gets injured, who would the leafs turn to in net. Cujo, or Pogge?

7:56  Another good question. They are committed to getting him more action so I think you would definitely see Pogge back in there. Hopefully, their play won't be quite as poopyful as it has been in his last two games. Nik Hagman scores on a bit of offence from Jason Blake. Leafs 1, Panthers 0.

8:00  [Comment From Brad] What's the situation with Tlusty now? Can we expect to see him back up this year, or will he play it out with the marlies?

8:01  He has 10 goals and 20 assists. I think he's going to have to play really, really well but if that happens there might be openings for him after the deadline.

8:02 [Comment From jmac] how do you know so much?

8:03  Dear J-Mac. I feel the biggest reason I know so much is the fact that I have benefitted from sound and patient management from my many superiors.

8:03  [Comment From al.n] do you think the leafs will trade Toskala ??

8:03  He has the worst stats of any number one goalie. That might hurt demand.

8:03  [Comment From Kyle] YAY!! I want Leafs TV...

8:05  You sure do, Kyle. And every person who signs up gets a complimentary in-home visit from my boss, John McCauley.

8:06  [Comment From al.n] wont get much for big Nik either the way hes played...

8:07  Al. Not sure about that. I know his stock his down but he is a big guy who can help your second line. I would consider him as a rental. That said, he sure looked slow on that partial break.

8:08  [Comment From trev] when the leafs play like they did in montreal it looks like they shud be in the playoffs> thats hardly reasonable is it tho?

8:12  Trev, I am going to assume that you golf. If you are like me, you hit an awful lot of bad shots. But as I sitting on the 18th whole and saying to the waiter 'Tafadhali nataka ' gradually my mind goes back on the day's events. It is the good moments you remember, the eight-foot-putt, the one good drive, the lovely approach. That's all you remember, the good things. So let me ask you this question: perhaps you forgot the vast majority of games prior to Montreal.

8:13  [Comment From al.n] ya like that floater they produced in buffalo

8:13  [Comment From Rameez] Hey Mike. Great Blog, always make sure I stop by. What do you think of Jasons Blake play as of late? Do you think he has the potential to stay with the Leafs? Or do you think they're gonna try getting rid of him?

8:15  See a couple of postings above, Rameez. I included your post because you said such nice things about me but in the future, try to get with the program, Babe.

8:15  [Comment From aaron] who do you think toronto will get for antropov 2nd or a third round pick?

8:17  Right now, a second rounder but remberber, it all depends on which team. All second rounder are not created equal.

8:19  Interesting feature on Coke. Did you know that Ty Cobb was an early investor in Coke. He tried to get all his ballplayer friends in on the company but they hated him so much, no one would buy in.

8:21 [Comment From Big John] Mr.Ulmer, what type of veteran d-men do you think would best benefit the Leafs' young defense like Schenn, Stralman and Sifers?

8:24  Hey, John. I think the Leafs defence is fine right now. I think Frogren will be an NHL player. I think Ian White has been terrific this season. Obviously, Schenn is a keeper. Van Ryn is a quality depth guy. What the Leafs need are young defencemen to succeed Kaberle and Kubina and that will either happen in the draft or through free agency.

8:25  Is it just me or does your heart sink whenever they go to that cutaway outside the rink?

8:26  [Comment From Davis] Great blog Mike. We're all curious to see how Pogge does over the NHL games he gets, and Burke, Wilson, and Nonis sat down to create a fixed schedule of when he'll play this season. Any speculation on how many more times we'll see him this season? Granted of course that Toskala will probably be given plenty of rope to either improve or continue to be inconsistent.

8:31  I am just guessing, but I think they would like to get him eight or nine in total. They have 28 games left after tonight. He has played three games so far so I think another six would allow him to get his feet wet.

8:35  [Comment From ben] what are the odds the leafs will be in the running for bouwmeester's services in the off-season? can toronto be an appealing situation after being stuck in florida?

8:38  Well, if he wants something completely different, yeah. The guy would walk in as the main pillar of what will be a pretty good defence. I think it will be very interesting to see if the Leafs will in the running. He would go a long way in accelerating what they are trying to get done here. But he's a big, 27-minute a night d-man who can score. He will have options.

8:38  [Comment From hello] whats with all the empty seats?

8:39  It's tough going in South Florida, the team hasn't been interesting in years and it's hard to convince people to go to a hockey game when they can be outdoors. Honestly, if was 25 degrees celcius most nights, do you think we would be having this conversation?

8:40  [Comment From mike] what do u think the chances are of missin the playoffs again?? like honestly im lovin this young team i havnt seen this speed out n intensity out of the leafs since probobly the 1993 line up , do you think we will have a run like that with these young stars??

8:46  The Leafs are 10 points out of eighth. They have virtually no chance of making the playoffs. They are only just beginning a roster shuffle that will probably result in 10 new players next year and another 10 the year before. I applaud your enthusiasm. Keep it up.

8:46  [Comment From Tada] If you were the GM what kind of deal do you think you could get for antropov?

8:47  I would want a car. Something nice. Maybe a Mercedes. Cash would be nice as well. And that is why, Tada, I am never going to be a general manager.

8:48  [Comment From steven] what do u think on matt stajans season so far?

8:50  Sorry to take so long to get to you. I think it's been fine. Matt is an NHL player with plenty of exprience and a very nice guy but with top six players you are always looking for something, a skill, an aptitude, anything, that is exceptional. I don't know that I can find that one thing in Matt.

8:50 [Comment From mike] ty for your honesty on the playoff chances , i got TML tattooed on my arm with all the yrs they won the cup under it im jus hopin to add a new year soon .. but i do think in time this team has potental

8:51  Let me get this straight? Do you change the tatoo every season.

8:51  Hey, what do you folks think about the kindler, gentler Sean Avery?

8:53  [Comment From Tada] its a laugher really i think he'l be back to his old ways really soon

8:53  [Comment From ben] i still hope phaneuf tunes him up.

8:55  I firmly believe that the league suspended Avery that day in Calgary because Phaneuf would have killed him. The real problem would have been that none of his Dallas teammates would have helped him. He would have had as much hope as Sonny Corleone had at the toll booth.

8:55  [Comment From Carsten] i dont think hes changed at all

8:56  [Comment From Big John] After his comments to Blake last season I think the fights would make Tie Domi look like a puppy.

8:56  [Comment From Tada] Only time will tell if avery has changed but lets get back to some leafs topics shal we? :)

8:57  Okay, Tada, it's your blog too. This is a demoracy.

8:57  [Comment From mike] no i dont chance it every season im jus hopin for another stanley cup win year to add under "67 lol

8:59  You are a good man, Mike and I applaud you. Any more Leaf tats out there?

8:59  [Comment From Carsten] I think Sifers is going to get rookie of the year

9:02  In an alternate world, yes. Carsten, I think that is very possible. You know what I'm talking about, don't you Carsten?

Mayers scores on a dribbler. Leafs lead 2-1. Boy if the Panthers are serious about the playoffs, they have a funny way of showing it.

9:02  [Comment From mike] the johnny bower portrait thats on the back of my leg lol

9:02  [Comment From Dave] No but I'm planning on getting just not sure where

9:02  [Comment From Rameez] Mayyyyyyeeersssss

9:02  [Comment From Big John] On my left arm I have the outline of a Leaf with a crowned lion in the middle. To the left, 19, to the right 67. I'm hoping to get another on my right arm, sooner rather than later.

9:04  [Comment From david gornitsky] will the leafs make any majors trades at the deadline

9:05  Another Leafs goal, this one from Hagman. Nice to see him back. Lots of hops and terrific hands. The Panthers look absolutely putrid.

9:05  [Comment From Dave] So how about Ian White, I'd say one of the best players this year from an all-round perspective, will he be going anywhere this deadline, or is he someone Burke feels like they can utilize due to his relatively inexpensive salary

9:08  I think for what he is, White is the perfect player. In a pinch you can put him in any situation. He's an honest, hardworking, conscientious hockey player. I've got all the time in the world for the guy. To my mind, you keep him but you might have hit it perfect. For his salary, (he makes a relatively modest $850,000) he is a terrific buy.

9:09  [Comment From Tada] I really do think Ian white is going no where at the deadline by far he has been the best leaf this season unless someone offers burke 10 draft picks i think hes as safe as schenn

9:09  [Comment From Tada] could you name some players that you think are going to be gone by the deadline?

9:14  Well, to get younger, faster and less expensive, the Leafs will need to move at least half the roster. That means pretty well everybody. Realistically, they will only be able to move a maximum of four players at the deadline. The most logical candidates are Antropov, Kubina, Kaberle and maybe Pony.

9:16  [Comment From Carsten] do u think grabs is safe? or with his poor play would they try and move him

9:17 Well, he isn't playing much but he is a rookie. For three quarters of them, this is the deal. He has the potential to be a sparkplug on offence so they will go a long way with him.

9:28  [Comment From Alex] Why couldnt toronto afford to keep sundin! he was a great guy :'[ at least we have blake and white still

9:30  It wasn't about money with Mats, as Burke said he's got more money than God. Personally, here is my fantasy. The Leafs retool this season, strip the thing down and get a bunch of young players. Next year, they continue to improve. Then they bring 40-year-old Mats Sundin back for his final season. I am a big fan of Mats Sundin, as a person and a player.

9:31 [Comment From ran] do you think burke would be going for pronger? ecpessially if kabrele is going

9:32  Pronger is 34 years old. He makes upwards of $6 million a year. Are these the demos of a player you want for a rebuilding team?

9:41  Peltonen makes it 4-3. Yikes. SO long 4-1 lead.

9:41  [Comment From Richard] For the upcoming UFA season coming up.Who do you think that the Leafs will sign? I can see Mike Cammalerri coming seeing as he is a Toronto boy.

9:45  Well, there is some talent but this isn't a free agent bonanza. Cammalleri has 28 goals, that's attractive. Bouwmeester is to my mind the best fit but I don't think there would be a whole lot of complaining if the club signed the Sedins or Marian Hossa or Johan Franzen.

9:45  [Comment From Kelly Atkins] Why was the 2nd period ( Feb 10th) Florida goal, scored by McLean, not disallowed due to goalie interference?

9:45  Kelly. The ruling was the goalie was not impeded.

9:46  [Comment From ben] the leafs are giving up the lead like they're the raptors (who led by ten tonight and are currently down by 7). this is a painful time to be a toronto sports fan.

9:46  [Comment From Carsten] yea whats the point of the blue paint if thats a goal?

9:46  Well, we've seen this, though. The zero tolerance in the blue paint was unworkable.

9:47  [Comment From pickme] i think the leafs should trade their better players to the teams under them in the standings to those teams get better and they get worse - and ultimately draft tavares

9:49  Richard Zednik ties the game to cap a three-goal comeback. Well, at least Florida is showing some life.

9:50  [Comment From Big John] "Pickme": Toronto isn't Ottawa and Tavares isn't Daigle.

9:50  [Comment From ran] Wow. There goes our lead


9:52  [Comment From jer] This just shows the inconsistency with this year team. I have no problem with it tho... just means we get a better draft pick. Couple years from now we wont even remember these games...

9:52  [Comment From McLeod] Fell pretty hard didn't we?

9:53  This is what happens when you have a losing team. They are playing someone with something on the line.

9:53  [Comment From Alex] Leafs are awesome, i just wish they were consistent in winning. What happened to them winning Stanley cups back in the 60's

9:56  [Comment From ben] expansion. they lost their ontario draft advantage. ballard. ontario teachers pension fund. take your pick.

9:59  [Comment From STEVEn] Do u think Matt Stajan will be traded at the deadline? If not do u think the leafs will sign him to an extension when Stajans contract is done?

9:59  Not anymore.

10:01  Overtime.

10:04  [Comment From Kelly Atkins] I don't know how any players survive, let alone suceed, in the atriciously negative media environment in Toronto. I, too, dream of Mats Sundin returning to the Leafs to finish his career , as he should, as a Leaf.

10:05  Well, Zednik scores the winner and it's a lovely story if you saw the incident in which Zednik was injured in Buffalo. It takes a little bit of genius to cough up a three goal lead in the third. As for a negative enviroment, Kelly, how would you like to have to describe this game?

10:05  [Comment From ben] one step closer to tavares. thanks for this...look forward to more.

10:05  Ben, my great pleasure.

10:06  [Comment From Guest] Thanks for your time MIKE!

10:06  [Comment From Big John]  Yea thanks for taking the time out for the chat Mr. Ulmer.

10:06  [Comment From Rameez] Thanks for the blog Mike. Until next time man.

10:07  Y'all come back now, hear.

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