This write-up was sent to us by Ness and we can't thank her enough for doing it. The One-A-Days are always better when a fan writes them up.
And she definitely does her team justice. Enjoy!
Toronto Maple Leafs
This past season, the Leafs had an incredible second half that got them close, so, so close (damnit Buffalo!) to a playoff spot.
Thanks to some new faces, and some new contracts, along with a line overhaul and restocking of prospects and picks, the team going into the 2011/12 season is a contender. More than that, they're HUNGRY.
Getting so close only to be denied at the last minute sure leaves a sour taste in your mouth (trying really hard not to crack a joke about a certain West Coast team...)
GENERAL MANAGER - Former Hockey Junkies Silver Fox Brian "I don't give a rat's ass" Burke (if this was Tumblr, he'd be bb GM)
With the hair that is the envy of every other GM and defies known laws of physics, geriatrics...
This is the man who got us Versteeg and Armstrong aka instant cool. He marched in Toronto's Pride Parade when their own mayor could(or would) not, and visited Canadian troops in Kandahar on July 1st. Yes, that July 1st. Do we understand him? Do we always agree with him? Hell no, but in Burkie we trust. Also has his own hotdog stand at the ACC:
COACH - Ron Wilson
bb GM's teammate in the 70s at Providence College, USA Hockey colleague and fellow bigmouth. Burke made it clear that his contract extension is contingent on the Leafs not being in danger of missing the playoffs by Thanksgiving. What remains a mystery is why, over the summer, two assistant coaches were fired, but not him. Sigh, can we not have Pat Quinn and his neon gum back?
TEAM CAPTAIN - Dion Phaneuf, aka "Love of Pierre McGuire's Life", "Mr. Elisha Cuthbert" "Mr. Sloppy Seconds"(according to S.Avery) and FrankenCaptain(ok, maybe that's just me, but seriously, Dion, WHAT is going on here?)
PLAYERS EVERYONE SHOULD LOVE -
Here's where I'm going to get in trouble, but let me explain myself:
Phil Kessel (Yes, I went there. Deal with it.)
Cue boos from Baaaaaaaaaahston fans, but seriously folks, that was two seasons ago. GETOVERIT. FYI, we wanted you to win the Cup. (Whether or not this had everything to do with the fact that our beloved Kaberle was on your team is not the point.) Leave Phillip alone, the Toronto media picked up where your hatred left off. Trust me. The end of this season saw him beginning to develop into more of a complete player, and hopefully that will translate to consistency, because, lets face it, he's streaky(though you could argue that 3 straight 30 plus goal seasons is consistant). He also took being picked last at the ASG like a man. He's painfully shy and adorably awkward and is the Ernie to Tyler Bozak's Burt aka the most adorkable bromance ever. (The photo below actually appeared on an episode of Leafspace)
A regular at charity events, he also made an appearance at the Maple Leafs Hockey School:
(photo credit: @Schwabey on Twitter)
If that's not enough to convince you, he's a Harry Potter fan:
(Thats Clarke MacArthur and Jonas Gustavsson with Kess. Is it just me or does Jonas look like a suave well groomed Lupin?)
Sidenote: the cast of Harry Potter are Maple Leaf fans:
Look at this face, just LOOK at it:
If you don't want to hug him, you have no soul.
He is the ultimate Cinderella story goalie and perfect human. A mennonite from tiny Morweena Manitoba who didn't play organized hockey until he was 12. After letting in three goals one game, he went to Ron Wilson and APOLOGIZED. Yeah, I know. He is also the main reason the Leafs came so close to that eighth playoff spot, and has signed a three year contract making him their new starting goaltender. Called Optimus Reim, he also has the coolest nickname of anyone on the team/possibly ever.
There is so much right with the above picture.
PLAYERS WE DON'T LOVE -
Since we got rid of Francois Beauchemin and Brett Lebda, there isn't a clear cut winner in this category. Possibly Grabovski for unfortunate appearance and moments of fail à la Malkin. He's from Magnitogorsk too, what's in that water? He also seems to have some deep psychological trauma that manifests itself via tropical fruit molestation:
Just what exactly did this pineapple do to you sir?
WHO THEY LOST -
TOMAS KABERLE :( and his playoff eyebrows(they must still think its 2004). I'm just sad we never got to see the Musketeer playoff beard he had going there. The word I'm looking for, ladies and gentlemen, is bitchin':
Tim Brent: blocked shots like nobody's business, why was he not resigned?
Kris Versteeg: There will be no more rapping. Sad face :( Francois Beauchemin, John Mitchell, J.S. Giguere
Brett Lebda: don't know if this actually qualifies as a loss.
WHO THEY GOT -
Joffrey Lupul (did it just get warmer all of a sudden?), Joe Colborne, John-Michael Liles, Tim Connolly, Aaron Voros, Matt Lombardi, Cody Franson
LOCATED AT - The Air Canada Centre (ACC)
Hotness Level: 7
Quit laughing, I'm not kidding.
Luke Schenn and Joffrey Lupul for obvious reasons:
Kulemin the hockey dad:
Matt Lashoff contributes two points as he is good looking AND a musician(a good one too, hockey player AND successful singer. Love.)
Reimer for being perfect and a transformer between the pipes, and a lover of Reese:
Keith Aulie hasn't spent a full season in the NHL but during his brief stay beat the crap out of Hartnell, who knew someone that cute could be such a fighter:
A blogger on mapleleafs.com described him as having "the wingspan of a subdivision and relishes stapling players to the boards behind the net". Possibly the best description of a defenceman ever, I leave the interpretation of said statement to you. Did I mention he saved his dad from drowning at 16?