Leafs lose twice in Moore deal

STEVE SIMMONS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

When the Maple Leafs chose to trade away Dominic Moore last season, they didn't just lose one player -- they wound up losing two.

Since Moore has left the Leafs, so too has Jason Blake's offensive game. Whatever these two somewhat accomplished National Hockey League players seem to be on their own, they were that much better in tandem.

In the 26 games since Moore left the Leafs, Blake has scored four goals for Toronto. In the previous 26 games, with Moore, he scored 15 goals and 15 assists.

In Moore's final 26 games as a Leaf, he scored four times and set up 16 goals. In the 20 games he has played for Buffalo and Florida since, he has just one goal, three assists.

The Moore trade and the fact he chose not to sign with the Leafs as a free agent has proved to be lose-lose-lose for all involved. Blake has essentially stopped scoring. Moore had to take a pay cut to sign late in Florida, and the Leafs team offence hasn't been the same.

This and that

Life and hockey aren't that complicated: The last 10 times the Maple Leafs were in the playoffs, their goaltenders were named Ed Belfour (2), Curtis Joseph (4) or Felix Potvin (4). One first-ballot Hall of Famer, one borderline Hall of Famer, one upper echelon NHL goalie (as a Leaf). Since then, Andrew Raycroft, Justin Pogge, Vesa Toskala, Martin Gerber, J-S Aubin, Mikael Tellqvist, Scott Clemmensen, a hurt Belfour, an old Joseph, Joey MacDonald and Jonas Gustavsson and no playoffs ... Or as my pal Sherry Bassin likes to say: "Hockey is 75% goaltending unless you don't have it. Then it's 100%." ... What a cheap meaningless diversion this Brian Burke-Vancouver Canucks feud is. Truth is, if Toskala doesn't get healthy and find something left in his game and Gustavsson isn't a first-year miracle worker, then the Boston Bruins will be selecting early in the draft with a Leafs lottery pick and Burke will end up horribly embarrassed in his first year on the job ... One more Burke question: The GM said he wouldn't hesitate burying one-way contracts in the minors if need be. But before last night, no wins, and no contracts buried.

Hear and there

The Canadian Olympic men's hockey team player watch will make for great conversation the next two months with sure things like Eric Staal, Vinny Lecavalier, and Ryan Getzlaf off to dreadful starts. The goaltending watch is fascinating stuff with Marc-Andre Fleury killing statistically, Roberto Luongo and Martin Brodeur just rounding into form and Cam Ward playing better than his team in Carolina ... Now in goal for Team USA: Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres ... A three-game suspension for Tuomu Ruutu for blasting Darcy Tucker from behind is little more than a slap on the wrist. Now, while there may be players around the NHL who might applaud Ruutu for his hit from behind, considering the target, the truth is it was a dangerous hockey play and the only way to get rid of that kind of play is to make the penalty more meaningful ... When impressive rookie Ryan O'Reilly was at the NHL Combine last May, his teammates from the Canadian under-18 team were asked a question: If you could pick just one player from your squad to be your teammate, who would you pick? Almost to a man, every player chose O'Reilly, which begs the question: Why didn't someone draft him earlier than 33rd? O'Reilly has nine points in his first 10 NHL games for the Colorado Avalanche.

Scene and heard

The thing is, A.J. Burnett is a .500 pitcher with .750 stuff and a .250 brain ... Strange, but when Damian Rhodes played for the Leafs he was Potvin's caddy. This week, he is playing the part for real, carrying Fred Couples' bag in ArizonaThe Yankees must worry about RBI and ERA and RISP but also ADD when overly active manager Joe Girardi is making 14 pitching changes in 18 innings in the American League Championship Series ... Sad to see LaDainian Tomlinson as just another back in the National Football League when not so long ago he looked the part of all-time great ... From afar, the Norm Rumack lookalike, Bart Andrus, appears to be coaching to try and get himself fired: Why else do you go back to the dubious Kerry Joseph in the second half of the 16th game of a dismal regular season when your Argos didn't score in the first half at home against Hamilton and you have a rookie quarterback, Steven Reaves, who has yet to get in on any live action ... The Argos, by the way, are a truly awful 3-21 since firing Rich Stubler (who was 4-6 before getting gonged) and are 7-27 since acquiring Joseph from Saskatchewan ... And this from Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: "Remember when President Obama threw out the first pitch at the all-star game? Well, guess what? He's just been awarded the Cy Young." ... The Buffalo Bills obviously don't have the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but they may have the most scholarly: Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard; Trent Edwards to Stanford.

And another thing

Maybe it's a good thing nobody is enthused by the Raptors training camp. A whole lot of people were enthused by the Leafs' pre-season ... This is the big contract year for Chris Bosh, a chance to get stupid wealthy. All he has to do is up his level and he gets the money, whether he stays in Toronto or not ... That Pat Sajak guy gets around. And without having to buy a vowel, he gets good tickets. There he was behind home plate at the Angels-Yankees game Wednesday and behind the Los Angeles Kings' net on Thursday ... Quick confession: I don't know one UFC number from another, 104 seems a lot like 102 to me ... Say this much for Ian White: All he does is his job ... Can't we do something about the size of the CFL end zones? I mean, really? ... In between sentences, Girardi made a pitching change ... The reason replacement officials couldn't work in the NBA: They don't know which players to call fouls on and which ones have immunity ... You can't make this stuff up: Jim Zorn's new offensive play-caller with the Washington Redskins was calling bingo at a seniors centre before being hired this week ... Happy birthday to Wendel Clark (43), Mike Eruzione (55), Dave Cowens (61), Bobby Knight (69), Roy Hartsfield (84) ... And, hey, whatever became of Rene Robert?

STEVE.SIMMONS@SUNMEDIA.CA


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