Ugh, you’ll have to forgive my ignorance here with the Toronto Sun.  It’s not that I refuse to read it, it’s more like I don’t want to pay for it or slip into a Coffee Time to pick one up and bemoan the misfortunes of the Toronto Maple Leafs with the locals.  Anyway, not that anyone should be surprised, but Rob Longley‘s piece this morning on the Flyers’ “blueprint for success” and how it relates to Brian Burke’s ongoing mess in Toronto is about as abstract as you can get in comparing two entirely dissimilar squads.  As much as I don’t want to look like the new guy that shows up and rips the mainstream media, that’s clearly what I’m about to do here.

What’s got me really confused is Longley’s checklist for success; ‘truculence’, ‘a chassis built from the net out’, and ‘a fleet of skilled, top six forwards not afraid to bang when that duty calls’.  The assumption here is that he’s referring to the Phildelphia Flyers template, because to be honest the Toronto Maple Leafs are a good 4-5 forwards away from anything worthy of being labeled ‘top six’.  Longley himself denotes that Burke’s blueprint is merely just a paper plan at this point, but to refer to the Philadelphia Flyers as having a “chassis built from the net out”?  The Flyers’ goaltending situation this season, let alone the past two decades, has been anything but solid.

Michael Leighton was a steal at some $11,000, and he has looked outstanding in five playoff games thus far, but the storybook on him has yet to be finished.  I seriously doubt that Longley’s referring to the bruised up and underwhelming regular season tandem of Ray Emery, Brian Boucher, Leighton, Johan Backlund, and Jeremy Duchesne as this so solid chassis with which the Flyers’ success rests upon… Then again, maybe he is.  Goaltending would be the one and only area in which Brian Burke’s roster is superior to that of Flyers’ G.M. Paul Holmgren (Holmgren does enjoy the fruits of a few Bobby Clarke products, though).

As for the ‘truculence’ point, yeah, some degree of physical toughness is required for success if you ask me.  That’s where the Flyers have clearly been able to out-stage their opponents.  Unlike the crew of punch-first-score-never tough guys that Burke seems to love so much, Philadelphia’s tougher players have some skill.

The only area I find the Leafs and Flyers to be remotely similar is on the blue line, where if you minus the game-changing presence of Chris Pronger (no, Dion Phaneuf is absolutely not Chris Pronger) the teams have similar structure.  Kimmo Timonen is a slightly more defensively responsible, albeit far more expensive version of Tomas Kaberle.  I suppose you could call the rest of Toronto’s D-core a working man’s substitute for the Flyers, but it’s not as though either team had an exceptionally defensively imposing regular season.

My point in all of this is not just that this Toronto Sun article is a load of shit, but that it’s a waste of print to compare the Leafs and Flyers in terms of how they’re built.  The Flyers’ M.O. over the past few years has essentially been to spend big on free agents while drafting and developing talent.  If you look specifically at the Flyers’ forwards Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux, Simon Gagne, and James Van Riemsdyk; they’re all Philadelphia draft picks brought up through their system.  The Toronto Maple Leafs, on the other hand, have a lot of work to do before they’ll have a forward core that compares to that even in the slightest.  That can be tough to do when you’re building without the luxury of first round draft picks.

Comments (13)

  1. You must be a newcomer if you don’t know that the Sun is always right. I haven’t read that rag in decades.

  2. @noskillgill I usually try to avoid the Sun altogether, but the lousy scheduling of playoff games to appease NBC kinda left me with little ammo this morning. Although, I did really enjoy the Sun’s piece about the Germans genetically engineering “super babies” a few years back.

  3. Wow. Even by Sun standards that was an atrocious article. My second favourite line (building from the net out had to be my favourite) was this one:

    “Briere may be tiny, overpaid and a player who can disappear for vast stretches of the regular season, but his goal to open the scoring Tuesday night was a beauty.”

    Dare to dream Burkie. If you do things Philly-style, you too can have a tiny, overpaid player who can disappear for vast stretches of the regular season.

  4. “Dare to dream Burkie. If you do things Philly-style, you too can have a tiny, overpaid player who can disappear for vast stretches of the regular season.”
    I dont know if it was directed at Kessel but that was honestly the first player that popped into my head after reading that. Having said that honestly Briere is overpaid but he is a guy I’d still love to have on my team. And I am wondering if Burke would take his contract on if it meant also getting a prospect/draft pick in return for someone like Mitchell and Hanson. After all Philly wants to get rid of some contracts to have enough cap space for a #1 goalie and Burke keeps saying he’ll take on salary to get pick’s. To me Briere is worth it simply because of his versatility to play both wing and center.

  5. @Rsmotors Can’t see Burke taking Briere. For one the contract has about $24 million left on it, and he doesn’t really address any of the Leafs’ needs. Burke has done crazier things, though.

  6. I can’t see Burke doing something that crazy either. But then again I can’t believe someone actually lack the brain compacity to write about the Leafs comparing them to the Flyers. And someone else lacked even more brain power to say that it was rubbish and not put it in. That’s just pathetic on the Suns part but from what you guys are saying it’s not to uncommon for them to put crap like this in no matter how bad it really is. What’s probably even worse is that some leaf fans are probably reading this article and actually believing they’re going to turn into the Flyers in the future.

  7. I am a leafs fan and I agree the article was full of shit. I hope Burkie isn’t even thinking about Briere even if we did get draft picks. Although it wouldn’t surprise me if he did this. We got someone to take 2 useless tits,Blake and Toskala, for an upgrade in net off us. We don’t need useless tits on the roster taking spots from the young kids. Let them develop together. We have some good building blocks, so lets not screw this up. Let’s continue with the young players coming in.

  8. The Flyers don’t have picks this year to give up.

  9. I agree. Comparing the Flyers to the Leafs is a bit of a stretch. They do not seem familiar at all. I only hope that Montreal can beat them because it will be a very boring final with Chicago and Philly in it.
    I am betting on Halat being better than Leighton so I think Montreal will prevail.
    Go Habs go!

  10. Halak is better than Leighton, but the rest of both teams are skewed in Philly’s favor. It’d be unlikely for the Habs to win this, despite the Halak vs Leighton angle.

  11. Philly may have a slightly better team but then there are the Montreal fans that will give the advantage to Montreal. Also Pronger looks like he is going to crack based on last night’s game. Philly won the first two games with Pronger looking like the Norris Trophy winner but he cannot maintain that level for too long. He is too much of a flake to do that.
    I am still betting on Montreal to pull this one out.

  12. Well I certainly hope you’re right – especially the Pronger part. But he has played near Norris Trophy level pretty much all season, so I doubt one bad game will see him unravel.

    Sure if Montreal can bring a total effort like last night, for 3 more games, they should be fine to win this.
    But by my eyes, last night was one of the 5 best games this team has played all season long so the chances of them pulling it off 3 more times in the next 5 games are not that great.

  13. @etobicojoe
    I love that your from etobicoke…but never count out a guy that has made the playoffs 14 years in a row with 3 teams, two olympic golds, World Junior Gold, World Cup Gold, 3 cup appearances, and one Lord Stanley, after one game.

    I don’t see the flake in that.

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