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Brayden Schenn on Leafs Radar; Final Predictions

I went two for two in my Conference finals predictions taking Detroit and Pittsburgh. But virtually all writers took those two teams. Now they're on again for a Stanley Cup rematch which is sure to be filled with excitement.

Without further ado, my final prediction for this years Stanley Cup Finals...Pittsburgh in seven games.

I know not many people are taking the Penguins in this matchup, but I've just got a feeling. They're a good team that can beat anyone on a good day. And as long as the Red Wings are ailing, that's what I'd call a 'good day'. Penguins will win, but they'll do so with a bit of luck on the way. They're surely going to need it, and I'm sure many Red Wings fans will refer to this finals as 'the Cup that got away'.


Just under a month now until the NHL entry draft. Just like all Leafs fans, I'm filled with excitement over what Brian Burke might do on draft day.

However, there is still the distinct possibility that Burke doesn't move up. Today he spoke with the National Post, telling them that he's keen on Brayden Schenn and may be targeting him too. I suppose when you've given yourself a massive task in trying to get John Tavares, you may as well have a decent backup plan.

"We like [Schenn] irrespective of his lineage," he said. "But the fact that he's Luke's brother has some appeal." That's what many Leafs fans are saying too.

When the Stanley Cup finals conclude, I will make my predictions for the results of the first round of the entry draft. It's going to be a fun four weeks.

Don't forget to make your own predictions in my Top Fifteen draft competition.

Bam. Three for Four on the Round Two Predictions.

My second round predictions were as follows: Chicago in six, Penguins in seven, Red Wings in five, Boston in six.

Well, I got the first two perfect. Woo for me.

Red Wings? It wasn't as easy as I imagined, but they still got the job done.

Boston just fell short of an amazing recovery after going down 3-1 in the series. This series showed that both teams involved have a lot of faults to them. Unfortunately for the Penguins, that doesn't include goaltending. No more feasting on rookie netminders in the third round.

So now we turn the page, and head right into round three. Here are the predictions.

Penguins and Hurricanes match up in what will be a very exciting series. Two disciplined teams with similar makeups. Both teams can win this series, but only one can advance. I'm going to say Penguins in six.

Looking West, we have the vets versus the kids. Can you guess what my prediction is going to be? Yes, the Red Wings. But don't be surprised if next season the Blackhawks are the better team. I have to think experience wins out, and hence I will take Red Wings in six.

Man oh man, that would mean Red Wings versus Penguins in the finals. What a poor sap Hossa would look like if the Penguins won.

The Leafs are the Best!

You heard me right.

Credit to Jeffler from the Leafs forum for bagging this gem.

Trade Rumours Asunder!

After a relatively slow week or two it appears that the Leafs rumours front has picked right up.

Elliotte Friedman was heard on the radio saying that the rumour going around right now among GMs is that Toronto would trade their #7 to the Lightning, recieving back Ryan Malone and the #2 pick. Malone is a financial burden that the Lightning would like to have off their hands as he is under contract for 4.25 million a season until 2013.

Friedman claims that a large handful of GMs believe that this deal will go down. Interesting.

Brian Burke spoke to the media this morning and denied that such a proposal had been considered, at least by the Leafs. However, he did confirm that the Lightning have asked for Schenn and Kaberle to be included in the deal for the #2 pick.

Howard Berger said last night that 'nothing on the roster' should get in Burke's way for dealing up to try to get Tavares. Once again, he needs to be reminded that having the second pick probably doesn't affect the Islanders plans to draft Tavares. Hey, I could be wrong about that, but until I hear they want Hedman, I'm convinced they're fixed on Tavvy.

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Tavares Tire Kicking

Last night Howard Berger wrote on his blog that the asking price for the 2nd overall pick is our first rounder, Schenn and Kaberle. However, he described this as a 'loud whispering', likely meaning it hasn't come from any official source.

This is also the case with the speculation that Victor Hedman is the favourite of the Islanders brass. In fact, once Pierre LeBrun mentioned it on Hockey Night in Canada, publications started to spin it that LeBrun's claims were more than just speculation.

Unfortunately, the information we get online is tailored in specific ways and is shot around the internet in lightbeams, ending up twisted and garbled when it reaches its destination. But such is the reality with Tavares speculation, because like a game of telephone, everyone is part of a long chain of information sharing.

So Schenn, Kaberle and our 7th for Tampa Bay's 2nd overall pick? How does that sound?

Give me a break.

While the price will be high for the second overall pick, its hard to imagine anyone, even Burke, making a ridiculous trade like that for a player who hasn't played a single game in the NHL.

It's even more ridiculous that these two rumours, firstly that the Islanders want Hedman and secondly that Tampa Bay have set a price for the #2 pick, have been connected as one in a sort of Grand Strategy of Burke's.

I don't know how anyone can say Garth Snow is leaning towards Hedman. Especially since, as I wrote last week, the Islanders are hosting a first overall pick promotion. This clearly stands as evidence that the Islanders management are on the same page as its fans: Tavares would be the best selection in this years draft.

I'm in no position to say whether or not Brian Lawton has set an asking price for the #2 pick. I can tell you this though: Schenn is going nowhere. Kaberle perhaps. Our #7, certainly.

But as the Leafs management has said, you can't fill one hole by creating others. Certainly not when you don't even know if Tavares or Hedman will be left on the board at the second pick.

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Luke on the Pine; Other Stuff

If you're tuned into the world of hockey then you'll be watching the Canada-Russia Gold Medal game at the World Championships. As I write this the first period is coming to a close. Tune in.

Once again, our boy Luke Schenn is riding the bench. Since the additions of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brayden Cobourn, Schenn has been the odd man out. Apparently he's just trying to 'soak it all in'. Well I don't know if he's really soaking any more in than the equipment managers would, because he's not on the ice. Oh well, who would've expect him to be there in the first place?

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That's all I've got. Things are moving slowly right now. Enjoy the hockey today.

Isles to Hold First Overall Pick Contest

GM Garth Snow and the New York Islanders announced today that the Islanders will be holding a contest to ask fans what they would do with the No. 1 pick overall.

Whatever the strategic purpose of this is, the main pull is promotion. My inclination is that if Snow is willing to hold a contest, it means that the first overall pick isn't going to be traded. I suppose that puts a damper on Burke's Tavares Quest.

But wait, what if Snow takes Hedman? Well, if he does he's going to be upsetting more than a few fans who stepped up to buy season tickets. The Islanders sales department has seen a "300-percent increase in phone calls and e-mail inquiries over last year at this time" and on pace to see 90 percent of its season tickets renewed. In other words, the first overall pick sells. And it sells well.

And for the Isles fans, its not Victor Hedman who sells, its John Tavares. A Newsday poll conducted showed that Tavares was favoured 10-1 over Hedman. So really, this competition is going to be a reaffirmation of that support.

So it becomes a lot clearer now why Snow refused to say who he was leaning towards for this year's draft. Not for trade leverage. Not to buy more time to make a decision. Rather, for promotion.

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