Feb 2, 2010

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Brian Burke and Dave Nonis may want to start booking a ticket to Bolivia. Unlike Butch and Sundance, this pair didn't go West and rob trains, they robbed a pair of NHL teams of some quality talent! Not only did they rob the Flames and Ducks, they managed to convince them that what they were being offered was likely the best deal they would get.

For a recap, Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White to Calgary for Dion Phaneuf, Frederik Sjostrom and defensive prospect, Keith Aulie. When the dust was still floating on that deal Burke and his bandits headed down the West Coast and pilfered Jean-Sebastien Giguere from Anaheim in exchange for Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake. In one fell swoop Brian Burke had completed changed the dynamics of his dressing room. The attitude was altered and the average age of the team had dropped by four years. What the Leafs G.M. accomplished over a Sunday brunch takes some teams years to do.

Fast forward from Sunday's trades, to the first game against New Jersey on Tuesday night. Phaneuf stepped onto the ice for his first shift and immediately set the tone for the night. The Devils knew to expect to get hit, HARD, whenever they skated down Dion's side of the ice and his new teammates took his cue and also played hard. This game was, for all intents and purposes the most "complete", "start to finish", "sixty minutes of full effort" game that this Leaf team had played all season. Sure there were some good games, but for several minutes in each they forgot to play. On Tuesday night, no one forgot to play.

Brian Burke still has some deals to make and as long as he has Dave Nonis working with him, I would think that the other 29 teams in the league should be wary of this Butch and Sundance working up in Toronto.
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