Thursday, June 28, 2018

Review of June & Justin

June and Justin did everything to escape from their past but to face and fight their fears. They had no one but each other.

The story begins with their awful family life and traumas that will stick with them their whole life. Dealing with this dangerous home life, June and Justin try everything to escape, which leads to Justin being on trial for the murder of his father. This leads them into the foster care system, placed with parents who have no idea how to handle their issues. Combine that with an overworked, beaten-down social worker who has seen it all, and far too soon, June and Justin are out on their own, chock full of pre-teen attitude.

Justin is willing to do almost anything to keep June from being part of the real world. He influences her into making some choices which bring heavy consequences. They go through life with an us-against-the-world mentality. They both continue to use their relationship as a crutch. Justin crosses boundaries to protect June, all under the guise of protecting her.

A riveting, fast-moving novel that will keep you on your toes. The action-packed novel never stops.

About June & Justin

Justin had made a mistake. A big, life-changing mistake.

He already failed June once. He wasn’t there when she needed him, and because of him, their lives will never be the same. June is everything to Justin, and he must be everything to her. He must protect June at all costs. Justin is prepared spend the rest of his life keeping her from getting hurt again.

But it seems they are always falling behind, barely keeping one step ahead of the nightmares. There is always one more hazard, just around the corner.

Find out more

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Maple Leafs Draft Edition

Well, it is that time of year for the Maple Leafs, along with the rest of the League. So it is time for me to put on my wizard hat. This draft, the Leafs' first goal should be a dman, centre. The Leafs might very well be looking for a deal to replace JVR, but the top priority is a centre and defence.

There are two centres and one dman, so which one? I suspect the Leafs will go with a big defenceman to add some size on that blue line.

Alexander Alexeyev 25

6'3" and a little less than 200 pounds, it's Alexander to the rescue. He is a nasty player who will use his size to impose his will on opposing forwards. Alexander is a big defender with speed who can get where he needs to. He is tough to get off his feet. He will be a solid defenceman in time if the Leafs are patient with him. He would fill a big void for the Leafs.

Jacke Mcbain  52

A big centre who works hard in the corner. Jack may not be the sniper, but he is a big body who will develop into a two or three centre. An all-around player who is good at all his aspects of the game.

Matej Bl├╝mel 86

Matej is a very fast, skillful forward. He uses his speed to create space in the offensive zone. HIghly skilled offensively, he needs time to develop in the defensive zone. He needs to add some weight to get sturdy on his feet, too often he gets hit and loses the puck.

Riley Sutter 118

He is a Sutter, need I say more? Yes, a full-grown Sutter.

Some other picks and random guesses:

Axel Andersson 151

Nicolas Guay 209

Logan Cash 211

NHL Mock Draft

Well, this is the year everyone and their dog will be doing a mock Draft blog. So  I thought I would take a stab at it. This year is harder because the only pick that is a sure thing is the first.

Buffalo Sabres Rasmus Dahlin 1

Rasmus is a can't-miss prospect. He is a terrific playmaking defenceman who can carry the puck out of the zone. A very smooth skater who makes up for his mistakes with his speed.   Dahlin is a terrific powerplay quarterback. The Sabres will benefit right away.  He is what they so badly need in a number one dman.

Carolina Hurricanes Andrei Svechnikov 2

Andrei is the best offensive forward in the draft.  Svechnikov has been described as a  young  OV.  He is a terrific young sniper with a great shot. When he sees his chance, he buries it. I truly believe he is the most gifted player in the draft.

Montreal Canadians Jesperi Kotkaniemi 3 

You get what you pay for in Jasperi. A rugged two power forward who can mess with the best of them. Or you get huge centermen who uses his size at the draw. Either way, he is a no-nonsense player who will do everything well, though nothing exceptional.  He is adequate at all angles of the game and could be big on the Habs powerplay because of his size. I can see Jasperi as a future number two centermen, with some offensive punch.

Ottawa Senators Adam Boqvist 4

Adam is an offensive-minded defenseman who distributes the puck with high accuracy. He has a great shot. He has the ability to get the puck out of the zone to the forwards. He will help the Rangers tremendously in the transition game. His passes will make it easier for the time counterattack. Defensively, he is average, but he will get better with time. He is a great asset to any team. The Rangers will have to be patient, but in time, he will make it worth their while.

Arizona Coyotes Brady Tkachuk 5

I will describe him as GI Joe on skates.  A phenomenal power forward who can score.  Like his brother, Matthew Brady can get into teams heads, his puck in the corner game will outwork his opponents. He will wear the opposing forward down, dominating him physically. When it comes to the big goal, Brady will get it.

Detroit Red  Wings  Filip Zadina  6

A little less talented than the Russian, Philip is a dynamic pistol on the forward line. He could stickhandle through a phone booth. Phillip is the typical offensive juggernaut who pounces on defensive mistakes.  He will add punch to the listless Wings  offence.

Vancouver Canucks Quinton Hughes 7

Quinton is a very explosive defenceman. He is a terrific two player, who can pass to the forwards with high accuracy.  Quinton is an all-around defenseman who will fit in with the Canucks. He is committed to his education. The Canucks are the perfect team to pick him. They will be patient with him, and there will be growing pains.  Quinton has the potential to be a solid number two or three dman who will fit in great in Vancouver.

Chicago Blackhawks Oliver Wahlstrom 8

A talented, big left winger, with offensive skill. A typical power forward who can add to the offence and ensure there is no monkey business on the ice. Oliver has a terrific shot and will score in bunches. He can take one-timers and put them in the net before the goalie even has a chance to move.

New York Ranger Noah Dobson 9

Noah is probably the second best defencemen in this draft. He is a mobile defender who has a solid two-way game. A top playmaking defenceman who is just as dependable in his own end. He has the potential to be a future star. The Wings are getting offensive talent. He will help the Wings in all aspects of the game. He will especially help in the Wings' powerplay with a laser shot from the blue line.

Edmonton Oilers Evan Bouchard 10

Evan is a dynamic offensive defenseman who will do well on the powerplay. An explosive shot is a key. If he uses his howitzer, he will be a powerhouse. Evan is a highly skilled offensive defenceman. He will help with the transition game.

New York Islanders Joe Veleno 11

Joe is a playmaking center who will excel if he continues to develop his skills. He is an excellent passer and will blend in with the odd goal.  He will be an asset to the Islander's powerplay. He sees the ice, thinks well on his feet, and is always two plays ahead. My only concern is that he needs to get stronger. He has tons of potential to become a  good offensive player.

New York Islanders Bode Wilde 12

A big, rugged blueliner who is very smart with the puck. Bodie is very capable of being a bona fide number two dman. He uses his size to his advantage.  Bode is capable of being all-around dman who is adequate in all aspects. He is capable of carrying the puck from end to end. He is going to be a steady number three and maybe even a number two dman.

Dallas Stars  Barrett Hayton 13

A rugged centerman who is hard-working in all aspects of the game. He is an excellent penalty killer who is very good in his own zone. A brilliant centre who understands the game and gets the job done. He is a future number two centerman.

Philadephia Flyers Joel Farabee 14

A solid left winger who knows his role. Hard worker who is a little undersized, but does not let that stop him. He never gives up on a play and is capable of finishing his chances. The offensive opportunities are due to his hard work. A third line winger with a potential of scoring 2-30 goals a season.

Florida Panthers Ty Smith 15

Fast on his feet, Ty defends surprisingly well. He will help the Panthers in the powerplay. He is a smart passer with quick hands. A very fast skater, he can make up mistakes with his speed. Ty could very well be a powerplay quarterback.

Colorado Avalanche  Ryan Merkley 16

Gifted offensive defenceman with speed to burn. Ryan is brilliant and carries the puck with confidence. He will be a factor in the powerplay because of his hockey IQ. He has good vision and the ability to get the puck to the upcoming forwards in the transition game.  He has a ton of potential.

New Jersey Devils Vitali Kravtsov 17

The Devils are in dire need of a big, rugged winger. Hall was run over too many times. Vitall is a huge winger with some offensive upside. He is a fast winger who can get into the corners and uses his strength to his advantage. It is tough to get the puck off of him.

Columbus Blue Jackets Grigori Denisenko 18

A skillful Russsian with speed, high hockey IQ, Grigori thinks two steps ahead at all times. He needs to grow out a bit and get stronger. An extremely intelligent playmaker.

Philadelphia Flyers Rasmus Kupari 19

Rasmus is solid winger-center. He is a versatile player who skates very well, makes transitional plays by either carrying the puck over the blue line or is a good passer, and who knows how to distribute the puck.

Los Angeles Kings Mattias Samuelsson 20

A big mean, nasty dman who does his job well. He knows his ability and does not do more than he should. He does the little things well, a potentially solid stay-home dman.

San Jose Sharks Jett Woo 21

A fast-skating dman who came out of nowhere. Jett seems to be able to handle more each year. He is capable of playing all aspects of his game. Could be very handy on the powerplay.

Ottawa Senators Isac Lundestrom 22

A hardworking centreman. Very good on faceoffs. A very versatile forward, he can play all three forward positions. He will be used on the powerplay and the penalty killing unit. If the Senators are patient with him, he could be a solid second/third line centreman his entire career. A project a little ways away.

Anaheim Ducks  Serron Noel 23

A giant winger who is uses his size to his advantage. Serron has some offensive help, could develop into a power forward.  Perfect for a Duck.

Minnesota Wild Calen Addison 24

An offensive dman who carries the puck to end to end. An undersized dman who nevertheless plays big. He won't let people Push him around. Generally, a good skater. He may need to develop defensively.

Toronto Maple Leafs Alexander Alexeyev 25

A rugged dman with some nastiness. Exactly what the Maple Leafs ordered. He will be polished dman in years to come. He has some offensive potential. The Leafs would be lucky to have him.

New York Rangers Akil Thomas 26

A small centre who plays bigger than his size. Akil will step up when needed. He has some offensive punch and will help in all aspects of the game. A well-rounded centerman. He will take some time to develop. I am sure the Rangers will be patient with him.

Chicago Blackhawks Ryan McLeod 27

The Blackhawks need a big centerman who can add some size to their forwards. Just like his brother, he can handle himself. It is hard to get him off his feet. He will help the Blackhawks get stronger up the middle.

New York Rangers Rasmus Sandin 28

The Rangers' defence is in need of an all-around defence who can help in the offensive zone coverage. Rasmus can certainly help with that. A smart dman who knows how to transition the puck out of the zone.

St. Louis Blues Martin Kaut 29

A highly-skilled right winger with excellent puck skills. He sees the whole ice; he generally makes good decisions with the puck.  He has a strong show, is capable of finishing, and makes plays you don't think are there.

Montreal Canadiens Damien Giroux 30

Damien will put the puck in when called upon. A solid third line right winger with some scoring punch.

Detroit Red Wings Ty Dellandrea 31

Ty is a spark plug who shifts the momentum. He generally lifts his team with hard work. Has a ton of offensive skill.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Decision Time for Maple Leafs

I am pondering about the off-season. There are a lot of changes that need to be discussed in the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup. For instance, what are we going to do about Mathews, Nylander, and Marner?

We really can’t sign all of them, can we? Then there is the reality that the Toronto Maple Leafs need to rebuild the defence. They had too many defence errors in their own zone.

Other than Henezi and O’Reilly, there are no other defencemen that the Maple Leafs can rely on defensively. Which begs the question, who calls Marner or Nylander? There are arguments to be made for either one staying.

First of all, let’s talk about the advantages of keeping William Nylander. Nylander is a fast-moving skater with a fantastic wrist shot. He is probably the smoothest skater on the team. He is fast and dangerous every time he has the puck. He and Matthews seem to know where each other are at all times.

Now on to Marner. Mitch is probably one of the best second-line centres in the League. Mitch is a perfect second-line centre.  Mitch will excel at the second line because he is not facing the number one line every night. He can do whatever you want without the limelight. Every other team will be focussed on stopping Matthews. That would give Mitch the freedom to do whatever he wants. I feel Mitch will excel as a second-line centre. He won’t have too much pressure, and he’s not the man, he's the secondary man. If Mitch were an actor, he probably could win best supporting actor in the series.

There you have it. As you can see, both players have their merits. When it comes down to it, it is simple mathematics. Or economics, I should say. William Nylander will fetch around $9 million. Mitch Marner, on the other hand, fetches about $10-11 million. Dare I say, some people seem to think that he will fetch as much as Mathews. The only reason I would pick William over Mitch is pure mathematics. Williams would the cheaper signing. I also think Mitch will get us a better defenceman in the trade market.

Talking about a new defenceman; who do the Maple Leafs go after? The most obvious one will be going through the free-agent market and getting Carlsson from Washington. He is a smooth skater and could be the perfect powerplay quarterback for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

My biggest fantasy would be acquiring a defenceman from the Nashville Predators. Of course, I am referring to PK Subban. The price tag for Shabbat would be very expensive. Although PK is one of the best defencemen in the League, a Maple Leaf simply cannot pay the price to acquire him.

Another player could be had from the St. Louis Blues. Of course, the defenceman I am thinking about is Colton Parayko. The defenceman would help Toronto immensely.

This offseason should be an interesting one, to say the least. The critical point the Toronto Maple Leafs have to fix is the defensive zone coverage. It will be interesting to see how they go about doing that. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Life of a Blogger

There are times I really wonder when to mention a rumour. More to the point, it is so difficult to figure out when a rumour is true. I have not been able to find a reliable source until recently.

Even with a source, the next step is trying to figure out what to report. Over 80 percent of the info I get on discussions does not end up happening. There is an art to determining what has the best chance of happening. That does not mean the information was not true; but just because a team is talking, it doesn't mean they will agree on a package and announce deal.

The Flames have talked to many teams about receiving a number one pick in a trade. Trust me on this; in trying to figure out which ones are going to happen, I am bound to be fooled from time to time.

It is already going full tilt. Canes, Habs, Rangers Oilers, Islanders, Sens, Canucks, all with rumours of their picks in play. Then there is the John Rivers saga. Rumours of Habs, Sharks, and Knights leading the pack. Up to 15 teams want his services. Then there are the Flames trying to make a major trade to dump one of the top four dmen. It is common knowledge that the Flames have three young dmen who could be ready now. The Leafs, meanwhile are desperately looking for a top right dman. They need to shore up their defensive core. Meanwhile, in Long Island—my kingdom for a goalie. The Isles are in dire need of a starter.

Then there is the Lou sweet Lou. Say it isn't so. Are you leaving or are you staying? Oh, the dilemma. Again, I have been assured by every hockey insider in North America that he is leaving.

So please forgive me if I have a mental breakdown as we enter the most active offseason in years. I expect it to get even crazier as we get closer to draft day.

So sit back and share some of the popcorn.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

And the MVP Is? Drum roll please...

So who is the Leaf's MVP this season?

Where would the team be without Matthews? Matthews' injury was devastating, but because the Leafs had such a lead, they still hung onto second place.

Could it be Reilly? The dman has 43 assists and has been the best dman all season. Reilly has carried the defensive core on his back. It is a rare quality for a young man. I would hate to see where this team would be on the defence without him.

The most obvious pick for the MVP vote has to be for the goalie. He has been fantastic all season. He is fundamentally as strong as any goalie in the NHL.  He has outstanding rebound control and always knows where the puck is. It does not matter how much offence we have had this season; there are no playoffs without our goalie.  Andersen has been our most consistent player day in and day out. 

Who do you want to play in the first in the round?  Bruins or Bolts? I may be one of the few who would rather play the Bolts. But unfortunately, it is not my choice. We play the Bruins.

The problem we have with playing the Bruins is their physical play. They will try to overrun the Leafs. Can the Maple Leafs stand up for themselves? They are going to have to play the Bruins tough. They cannot let themselves be intimidated. Reilly has to become the leader and set the example.

The Bruins have too much offence if the Leafs make all those turnovers. I am worried about our suspect defence against the Bruins forwards. They are too big and too talented for the Maple Leafs to be the Keystone Cops. Matthews, Marner, and JVR have to come back and help the defence. The forwards have to help in the offensive end.  They have to play defence first; if they don't, there is no series.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Leafs Buyers? Yeah, maybe a small one.


The Leafs continue to win and have one of the best offences in the NHL. But they have a young defence who continue to show weakness in their zone. To be fair, the forwards have had to start doing their fair share too.

I am the first to admit that watching the Leafs is fun. They are one of the most exciting teams in the league. Their games are full of action, up and down like a yo-yo. No lead is safe, which can be negative or positive.

I have witnessed many games where leads have become an adventure because a forward is trying to add to their stats. I am there right with all the Leafs loving all the offence, but most fans know it is defence that wins cups. The 1980s style of "run and gun" belongs in the past. Yes, the offence has to be part of the game, but total abandonment of the goalies cannot be tolerated.  The Leafs have to play with common sense.

The question is how to fix it? It is common knowledge that the Leafs are desperately looking for defencemen. The big name is Erik Gudbranson from the Canucks, but the price is a problem.  The Canucks will probably want a high pick with a prospect. I am not sure the Leafs are close enough this season to make that trade.

The Leafs have other options of trade bait beside picks and prospects. Tyler Bozak may be on the market. JVR is another name. The Leafs still have not made up their minds what to do.  Are they close enough to keep him and risk getting nothing for him in the offseason? Or there is another option? Perhaps making a "hockey trade" with a team in the West. (Meaning a trade to fulfil both teams' needs.) The third option would be to trade for some prospects and picks and use the assets for a future deal.  Kadri continues to be untouchable for the Leafs, as they are not interested in trading Marner.

For now, it looks as though the Leafs will remain a small buyer, adding small pieces for a run.  The situation is not likely to change, as they seem to be entrenched in that third spot. No one is catching up, but neither are they able to catch up to the hot Bruins.