TORONTO - Size and scoring.
The Maple Leafs need it, and Brian Burke has to go out and get it ó sooner rather than later. The Leafs are on a fast train to Funkville and something has to be done to get them back on the rails.
Theyíve lost three straight and have dropped out of a playoff spot, and have managed only six goals in their last four games.
Unless something is done quickly, the teamís ďdreamĒ of making the playoffs for the first time since 2004 will become another nightmare for that shell-shocked collection of saps known as Leafs Nation. Big Burkie tweeted a while back that this team needs size. And some scoring would help. What they do have in abundance is depth on defence, so if it means giving up one of their quality young D-men for some size and/or scoring, so be it. (Perhaps Keith Aulie or Luke Schenn, but not Cody Franson or Jake Gardiner).
Burke has to pull the trigger before itís too late.
As for the goalie situation, you have to figure that either The Monster or Sunny Jim will eventually step up and give the Leafs some quality goaltending. Theyíve done it in the past, itís just a matter of one of them getting hot and carrying the team for a while. And Wilson has to keep juggling the goalies until one steps up. I donít think itís time to panic and give up young talent or draft picks for a goaltender. Itís a fickle position. The guy you trade for might go into a funk as quickly as James Reimer has gone into his.
SHE WAS ROBBED?
When an Olympic dream dies, itís so devastating for the athlete involved, you have cut them some slack. Thatís why Iím not going to dump on Quebec boxer Ariane Fortin, who lost to Windsorís Mary Spencer for the right to represent Canada at the 2012 London Olympics in the womenís 75 kg boxing event.
After losing to Spencer last weekend at the national championships, Fortin told Radio-Canada in French that: ďItís hard to score a point and win when you have judges who fixed the result in advanceĒ, adding that she believes one of the judges in her fight has a bias against Quebec.
Whether thatís true or not, the fact of the matter is, all five judges gave Spencer the third round. Still, if Iím a judge, I donít take these accusations lying down. A reputation is at stake here. Itís easy to make outlandish accusations, but you have to be able to back them up. As for the whole anti-Quebec, anti-French bias thing in Canadian amateur sport ... sadly, itís nothing new. As a guy who covered Olympic sports for 15 years, weíve heard this song before.
The irony is, many amateur boxing officials in this country have complained to me that, as far as theyíre considered, Boxing Canada is biased in support of Quebec boxers, though I donít believe that executive director Robert CrÍte and high performance director Daniel Trťpanier favour Quebec fighters over others.
Dion Phaneuf has his detractors, and more power to them. But for Nick Foligno to suggest Phaneuf embellished a hit Foligno laid on the Leafs captain on Tuesday is ridiculous. Foligno took Phaneuf out below the waist and Phaneuf had nowhere to go except in the air. And itís not like Phaneuf stayed down very long and rolled around in fake agony like a soccer player who gets hit with a floating blade of grass. Yes, he stayed down for an extra second and went to the dressing room. But he returned and played and fought. So whatís the problem?
WHILE WEíRE AT IT
Please, letís not get carried away when the Canadian womenís soccer team hammers Haiti on Thursday. Frankly, Iím amazed that the poorest country in the western hemisphere, which is still attempting to recover from a devastating earthquake in 2010, is even able to field a team.
Is Toronto such a bush-league place that the media has to report updates on Paulina Gretzky? What is this, Hicksville?
WEENIE OF THE WEEK
Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno who continues to perform that tired three monkeys act.