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One For The Road Before A Little Break...

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs

I am just a couple of days removed from being wholly unmoved by who Dallas Eakins, the new coach of the Toronto Marlies chooses as his next assistant coach. He has already enlisted former Leaf Derek King, by the way.

Come Friday afternoon you won’t get a word from me about Nikolai Zherdev and the possibilities of the Leafs signing the talented Russian now that the New York Rangers have set him free.

I will be on vacation. You want to talk Monster and Vesa Toskala’s hip and groin surgery, a Tomas Kaberle trade or Jiri Tlusty’s next big crack at the big time, well, you will have come to the wrong place if you come here looking for me.

Now, when I was a kid, I used to think that the world revolved around me. Really. I believed that any place I left was automatically suspended in time and only put right upon my return. When I noticed that things had been changed from when I last left, I marveled at the efficiency of the Only People Who Were Allowed To Move Stuff for they had obviously gotten rid of the snow ploughs and replaced them with cars and sprinkled in pedestrians like the ones who peopled the opening shot of Batman’s Gotham City police headquarters. “Oh, you are good,” I would say. “You are really, really good.”

As an adult, I realize there will be Leafs talk without me. This part of the world does not freeze over upon my departure. The usual mix of conjecture, vitriol, grandiose optimism and some pessimism stepped in experience will be debated.

But a true Leafs chat? Nope. Not for two weeks.

So it only seems fair to have one more go at the great questions which, in case you have forgotten, are as follows.

1. Who is going to play goal for this team?
2. What is the first line?
3. Are more trades, specifically one involving Kaberle, coming?
4. How to handle the logjam on defence?
5. Coach Ron Wilson has spoken of playing as many as five rookies. Who are they?
6. Is Jiri Tlusty ready to make the jump?
7. What impact will Mike Komisarek have on team toughness and on the club’s work ethic?
8. Any interest in Zherdev?
9. After a 20-goal season, what’s next for Mikhail Grabovski?
10. What’s Aki Berg doing these days?

All these things will be given a full airing at 10 a.m. on Thursday on the live chat. No question to obtuse, no opinion too bizarre. It’s full-on chat that will blow your hair back.
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