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Who Is Mr. Maple Leaf This Year?

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
I write a live blog which is a lot better than trying to write one when you are dead.

See, I did it again.

The problem with a sentence about live blogs, and live blogs themselves, is that you can start out with the best of intentions and then end up having your agenda kidnapped.

In my case, an unquenchable hunger to be silly always paves the way to trouble. But sometimes common sense does the trick.

I wrote a live blog a few weeks and suggested we could have an earnest, scholarly debate on fighting.

Nah, someone else wrote, why not talk about who should be on the cover of the media guide?

The idea was greeted with the same enthusiasm once generated by the seventh veil so didn’t we have a wonderful debate on the subject?

I am now going to tell you why my opinion should carry the day and it has nothing to do with the fact that I have a very expensive instrument on my desk that shoots electrical current into the computer of those who disagree with me. The shock will not kill. It will make any infidels think twice but of course, I digress.

First, start with the obvious. Vesa Toskala may be the real story of the season, his poor play, his improved play, his surgery. Storylines that end in injury are out so not only is Toskala disqualified, so is Nik Hagman, the team’s best player on more nights than any other, Mike Van Ryn who I would not stand close to if there is any threat of lightning, and Jonas Frogren, who I think will be in the top six next year if he can resist disintegrating into a heap of disconnected body parts.

Jason Blake’s 24 goals, the team high, would earn him plenty of consideration for Mr. Maple Leaf but while he has had an admirable season, you want someone who has an extended future. This years’ team, after all, was about the future.

Same thing, although he is considerably younger, for 31-year old Pavel Kubina, the owner of 13 goals and a good player on a great many nights for the Leafs.

If those guys are too old, you can’t really put Luke Schenn on the cover for much the same season. Schenn’s rookie year has indeed been impressive, but he won’t hit his full stride for a couple of more years. Same thing with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin.

John Mitchell? Interesting. Mitchell has certainly earned his time but the suspicion is future with the club will not be on the first two lines. He’s out.

Which brings us to my winner…Ian White.

Start with the fact that as a sixth-round draft choice, White has had to prove himself to a much higher standard than someone who is six-foot-three.

Always willing, White was the wheelman who whirled around doing Hal Gill’s leg work last year.

This season, he didn’t dress for the first 11 games of the season. Then when he was put into the lineup, it was at forward.

White has a career high nine goals. He has 14 assists and his plus four is the second best on the team. His average ice time of 22:43 also is second highest on the team.

If you disagree, well, that’s your right. Just jump on the next live blog and give me your opinion. But remember, the shock machine doesn’t recognize a good argument. It exists solely to do my bidding.

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