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The school year started early this year, with Labour day on the 2nd of September. The school routine is actually easier this year as all three kids are at the same school, but it was still something that I had to get used to because the timing is different now (as Katana is in daycare and not actual school).

We have a good routine now, and I tried avoid travel this month to prevent further complications. It didn’t work out as I had a last minute trip to the Bay area at the end of the month. It was a short trip though, so served as practice/trial for the drop off routine when I am away.

Extracurriculars eventually started this month. This year, we tried to put them in more year-long programs so we didn’t have to change schedules every term.

Hockey also came back (preseasons at least). To celebrate, I started playing some more hockey-based video games.

  • Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?
    Randomly, I added several articles that took existing thinking around health and argued that they are wrong. The first is around sunscreen and whether everyone needs to wear as much as experts say.

    At the same time, African Americans suffer high rates of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, internal cancers, and other diseases that seem to improve in the presence of sunlight, of which they may well not be getting enough. Because of their genetically higher levels of melanin, they require more sun exposure to produce compounds like vitamin D, and they are less able to store that vitamin for darker days. They have much to gain from the sun and little to fear.

    And yet they are being told a very different story, misled into believing that sunscreen can prevent their melanomas, which Weller finds exasperating. “The cosmetic industry is now trying to push sunscreen at dark-skinned people,” he says. “At dermatology meetings, you get people standing up and saying, ‘We have to adapt products for this market.’ Well, no we don’t. This is a marketing ploy.”

  • You Don’t Need Sports Drinks To Stay Hydrated
    Next is an article about Gatorade. Do you really lose enough electrolytes while being active to need it?

    Deborah Cohen, an investigations editor at the BMJ who was involved in the project and wrote a summary of the findings, recalls a study in which volunteers who fasted overnight were divided into two groups, one whose members were given a sports drink containing water, salts and sugar and another whose members received water. “People who were given the sports drink fared better,” she says. “Well, no shit.” If you haven’t had any food in 12 hours and then you get a bit of sugar, of course you’ll perform better than the people still running on empty. But to say that this means the sports drink is superior to whatever a normal person would consume leading up to or during exercise just isn’t generalizable, she says. “Who starves themselves overnight and then goes to perform some exercise?” And yet the BMJ investigation found that this type of study design is surprisingly common among tests of nutritional products.

  • White gold: the unstoppable rise of alternative milks
    And finally, there is a rise in alternative milks (soy and others), but do and should they replace cow’s milk?

    We are all born milk drinkers. Babies’ guts produce the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose, the sugar in breastmilk (and cow’s milk), into the simpler sugars glucose and galactose. But for the majority of humans, production of the enzyme lactase plummets after weaning. “From a human perspective – no, to go further than that, from a mammalian perspective – the norm is to be able to tolerate your mother’s breast milk, and then as you get past infancy, to stop producing lactase and become lactose intolerant,” said Adam Fox, a consultant paediatric allergist at Guy’s and St Thomas’s hospitals, and one of the UK’s leading food allergy experts. “Then you’ve got a small group of humans that have a mutation which means they maintain production of lactase into adulthood. Northern Europeans, the Masai [in east Africa], some Arab groups as well. But that’s the exception, not the rule.”

  • How chicken became the rich world’s most popular meat
    On a similar but less controversial topic, here are some reasons why chicken is so cheap (and popular).

    Fans of cheap chicken have selective breeding to thank. In the 1940s America launched a series of “Chicken of Tomorrow” competitions for farmers. The aim, as described by a newspaper at the time, was to produce “one bird chunky enough for the whole family—a chicken with breast meat so thick you can carve it into steaks, with drumsticks that contain a minimum of bone buried in layers of juicy dark meat, all costing less instead of more.” The result was something along the lines of the modern broiler chicken.

    Since then chickens have continued to get bigger. A study by Martin Zuidhof of the University of Alberta and colleagues documented this shift by comparing chickens that were selectively bred in 1957, 1978 and 2005. The authors found that at 56 days old the three birds had average weights of 0.9kg, 1.8kg and 4.2kg (see chart). As raising a single big bird is more efficient than raising two smaller ones, it now takes farmers just 1.3kg of grain to produce 1kg of chicken, down from 2.5kg of grain in 1985.

  • The Goalie Is a Hired Gun, and He’s Yours for $50 a Game
    This was a strange article because it appeared in the NY Times but is a very Canadian topic of the Uber market for goalies.

    Some even try to make itinerant goaltending their profession. Hamilton is one of those.

    A musician who plays the vibraphone in a six-person folk band called Beams, Hamilton said he makes more money being a rental goalie than playing music in clubs.

    He averages 10 games a week and keeps 40 Canadian dollars per game, paying 10 dollars in commission to a rental agency. His cut works out to about 1,600 Canadian dollars, or $1,220 in United States currency, a month. By his estimate, he has made well over 100,000 dollars in eight years as a rental goalie. And, yes, he said, he declares all of his income on his taxes.

Well the Leafs’ season is almost over (3 games left?), although for many of the veterans and those that have been with the team for more than a year, it was done much earlier than now (JvR, Lupul, Hunwick, Kadri were all shut down due to injuries & etc). This year was meant to be a rebuilding year so nothing was expected of the team. At the same time, it was hard to get enthused about the team – I hardly watched any games, but I kept up to date with blogs.

The team saw some high profile trades before and during this season. The faces of the franchise, Kessel & Phaneuf are both gone. The trade deadline wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped, and we weren’t able to convert all of our one-year-contracts into picks; but it opened enough slots to give our prospects some try outs. I’m not sure how the Leaf’s management did it, but they somehow got around the post-trade deadline call up rules and had a ton of Marlies rotating in and out of the lineup. Did we really have that many injuries? Well as long as the NHL doesn’t slap the team on its wrist and cause them to lose a draft pick or two…

I’m not sure if the Leafs will get the 1st overall draft pick. It would be nice to draft Matthews as a franchise 1C but I hear the other picks are pretty promising too. We’ll see what happens – next year the expectations will be higher on the team. Maybe the kids will compete for a playoff spot!

February started with a work trip to sunny California, although it ended up being almost as cold as it was in Toronto (Toronto had a heat spell with almost double digit positive temperatures). I brought a light down jacket down south with me and it was almost not warm enough. Thankfully there is heating in the hotel – who would have thought it would be that cold? My trip was the week right before Super Bowl 50, which means that 2 out of the last 3 years I visited the Super Bowl host city the week before the game (2014 was in NY).

When I came back from my trip, it was Chinese New Year. We did the usual family meals but there weren’t a lot of other activities for the kids (they had some carnivals at Chinese school too). After the Chinese New Year period ended, we actually made it out to playground (once) because it was decently warm. However, the typical weather was still pretty cold – this winter was really light on snow (only time we had snow around for a couple of days, kids were sick so couldn’t play outside) but the temperature varied wildly. By the end of the month, it looked like the winter was ending, but it actually sounds like it might snow a bit in March.

February was exciting in terms of the hockey season, because it was time for the annual selloff! At the beginning of the season, we signed a lot of expiring (and middling) deals and it was time to reap the benefits. There was one blockbuster (Phaneuf trade) and we accumulated a lot of draft picks over the next few years, so the management team got their job done. Now we’ll have to see what happens in the season because a lot of the regulars are on the IR/LTIR, or traded; and the Marlies are doing so well that you don’t want to disturb a good thing.

This month, I think I was away from home more than I was here. The first 2 weeks were travelling in Europe with the kids. It took a lot of planning but it went pretty well. We visited some interesting stuff and nothing disasterous happened. Portugal was pretty nice, Spain I didn’t enjoy as much though.

Jovian turned one years old this month. He grew a lot (both physically and in our minds) while we were in Europe and he feels like a toddler now, and not a baby. We didn’t do a party but had a dinner with family. He also practiced his cake eating skills.

After coming back from Europe for a few days and catching up on things (i.e., laundry), I flew out to Silicon Valley for a week for work. Nothing exciting to report there as it was just work and no opportunity for play. And while it’s not part of June, we’re also flying out for a family reunion in the beginning of July so I’ve been flying and travelling a lot in the last few weeks.

I started paying more attention to hockey near the end of the month as well. The NHL awards happened, immediately followed by the draft. There was a lot of trade speculation surrounding the Leafs so that kept my attention. We had a nice pick too but it’ll be a couple of years before we see how that plays out.

In years past, I considered buying a Leafs jersey. The player I would have picked on the back would be Kessel, because I thought he would be a Leaf the longest – maybe not his entire career, but like Iginla, he would be on the team for a significant amount of time that his career would be identified as being with the Toronto Maple Leafs. When Kessel signed his 8-year contract extension, even amidst worries and criticisms about his defense and training regime, it seemed like this would happen.

Alas, I never bought a jersey, and that actually might be good news. Kessel is on the trading block, not because of his ability or his contract (which while large is worthy of his talents), but because his prime hockey years don’t align with Toronto’s rebuilding process.

I think our rebuild is important, overdue, and should be done right. Unfortunately it looks like Kessel’s career with Toronto might be a casualty. It’s sad, but hopefully we will get some picks & prospects for him. Let’s see what happens in the next week or so!

Well the torturous regular season is over for the Maple Leafs and the playoffs have started. Usually, this means that I start blogging my predictions of each playoff series and compare how prescient I am.

Well this year, I decided that I won’t be doing this. I haven’t been following hockey this year due to the mess that is the Leafs (I expected this season to be horrible from the beginning) and any of my guesses would just be based on impressions of previous years’ results and rosters. I think that would especially be bad because there seems to be a changing of the guard going on – established teams like Boston, LA, Pittsburgh are floundering; and there are new up and comers (NYI, Winnipeg, Calgary??)

I’m excited that the Leafs cleared house and have to hire new scouts and head office. But the rebuild process is going to take a few years so I might have to wait before checking in on them again.

It says something about the state of the Toronto Maple Leafs when its fanbase is extremely happy to trade players off the game day roster for futures, no-name prospects, and injured players that will never appear on the ice (but eat up $5M/yr). I think I’ve watched one game this entire season and don’t really care if the Leafs make the playoffs or not. I’d actually rather them lose all the remaining games and get a high draft pick. I have some interest in the March 2nd trade deadline to see what other players we can get rid off and I do infact hope that next year we can ice a team of draft picks!

I didn’t make any resolutions for the start of this year, so it was business as usual in this month. January was pretty cold – it was in the negative teens most days (at least in the morning) and there were only a few days with day time highs in the positive range. One of those days happened on a Saturday and made a quick visit down to Niagara Falls. It turned out pretty well because there weren’t a lot of tourists and the Falls look more interesting with ice everywhere (and there was still a lot of ice).

I spent a lot of time this month moving my MP3 collection around and uploading it to the cloud. In fact, I think a lot of my computer time is spent just doing organization/upkeep stuff – MP3s, scanning bills & documents, organizing photos, etc. I think I have decent processes on those things already, but they all take a little bit of time.

Jovian was six months old this month and he’s able to sit by himself for extended periods of time (he actually prefers this). Now we’re able to leave him to play by himself in a play pen. He’s not mobile yet though, I don’t think he’s even aware that he can move if he learns how to crawl. He rolls around a bit, but he doesn’t seem to realize he can move himself that way. We also took some family portraits but Jovian doesn’t know how to smile either.

Also this month – the Leafs are totally bombing. Another season down the drain.

I haven’t watched much hockey this year because the state of the Maple Leafs depresses me. However today, I’m glad that Randy Carlyle has been fired as the coach! Hopefully the new coach that we hire will be one who is more analytical in their approach.

We’ve actually made baby steps this year, by employing better scrubs (i.e., 4th liners) and hiring some stats-oriented people for the front office. I’m not sure whether or not Shanahan coming on had much to do with it or not. Now we just need to jettison Nonis and Clarkson, the former of which should be coming and the latter is almost impossible.

I don’t think there’s any point in getting rid of Kessel (he’s actually good value for money) or Phaneuf (kind of expensive, but who would you replace him with). We’ll just have to ride it out and hopefully the new coach can better utilize their talents.

I think the Broken Sword series is supposed to be well known (at least it sold a few hundred thousand copies on Google Play for $7! each), and I got the Director’s Cut as part of that Humble Bundle. I like the idea of the game in theory, it’s a detective/puzzle/adventure game much like Yesterday or Silent Age but with more dialogue; so it plays like a movie. The problem is that the plot and dialogue is written like a bad movie! The triggers to advance the plot are also sometimes really arcane, something that wouldn’t logically follow – so I end up using hints to figure out what to do next.

That Humble Bundle just keeps on giving because I played yet another game from it. Organ Trail is a mix of Oregon Trail with zombies. Oregon Trail was fun when I was in school, but there are so many different games now. Even adding zombies and retro nostalgia cannot keep my attention on it.

Patrick Kane’s Hockey Classic is a decently good game of hockey for Android. It’s similar to the older NHL games (although the characters are more realistic than NHL94) and certainly doesn’t come close to EA Sports, but since there’s no EA Sports NHL for Android, then this is the best so far. Aside from Patrick Kane, they don’t have a license so they have a lot of jerseys in the right colors (but wrong design) and players only have a number. Of course, if you’re a fan; you can figure out who is who. There’s no line changing or any of that complexity so your first line stars are on the ice all the time. My biggest gripe is that the control system seems a bit loose. It might be because I have to play on touchscreen instead of a controller though.

Well I did it. I think I had my best year ever in predicting the playoffs this year. I correctly picked LA to win the Stanley Cup and my record is 13/15 or 86.7%! For some reason, I added my previous post incorrectly – I didn’t have 11 correct predictions at that point, only 10.

I only got 2 series wrong – the Eastern Conference semifinal (picked Boston over MTL) and St Louis over Chicago in the first round. There were a bunch of upsets by underdogs this year and I got most of them (except MTL). Too bad.

I think I should quit predicting – getting 13/15 is pretty good (I only got 9/15 in 2013 and see this blog for even further back). Maybe it’s a good time to stop paying attention to hockey in general. I get the feeling the Leafs will have another backwardly horrible off season.

The Stanley Cup finals are set for this season and it will be the New York Rangers vs the LA Kings

I correctly predicted that the Rangers would in over the Canadiens as they have a superior team (“on paper”). Actually, after further consideration, Glen Sather should receive a lot of credit for the team he’s put together. When he first started managing the Rangers, they spent a lot of money on big name free agents but they seemed to be doing it poorly (Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Wade Redden). The last few years, they’re still spending a lot of money (signing Brad Richards, Gaborik before trading him) but they actually have a lot of home grown talent (Stepan, Haglin, Kreider, Giradi + Dubinsky & co who were traded for Nash). They made some smart trades (getting Nash, getting McDonagh for Gomez a few years back, getting St Louis for Callahan) and have some solid free agent signings (Boyle). Having a world class goalie in Lundqvist certainly helps, but the team in front of him is pretty good too!

That being said, I’m not convinced that their team will be better than the Kings. Both of the Western Conference finalists have well put together teams, that work collectively. They might have had a harder time getting to the final, but I think the Kings will win it.

So far this year, my record is 11+2 = 13/14, hopefully I can make it one more!

The second round sure passed by quickly, because I wasn’t paying attention to hockey at all! The only series I watched a bit of was the MTL/BOS one, which I think MTL won because of their goaltending. I picked NYR and Chicago correctly, but was wrong with Boston. This puts my overall record at 7/8 + 3/4 = 10/12!

In the conference finals, I’ll pick NYR over Montreal. Carey Price may steal another series, but I think NYR have the overall better team. The Kings/Blackhawks series is going to be a great one. I think both teams are better than their eastern counterparts. The Kings are amazing this year, you can’t count them out. They came back in both series that they were in to win it. I’m going to pick LA over Chicago this year.

The first round of the playoffs are over. I didn’t watch a lot of it but caught parts of a few games (stuff that was on CBC – MTL/Tampa and Pens/CBJ). My prediction record in the first round was an impressive 7 out of 8! The only series I got wrong was STL/Chicago. It was not looking so good in the early going though as Minnesota was losing to Colorado and my LAK pick was down 3-0 to SJ. It’s becoming more and more frequent that teams rally from a 3-0 deficit, but you really must feel for SJ. This seemed like the year they would shake off their playoff curse – nope. Try again next year.

Here are my thoughts for Round 2:

Boston vs Montreal
Montreal are on a high after knocking off Tampa, but Boston is entirely different. Plus Boston had a few days off too. I think Boston will win this one.

NYR vs Pittsburgh
If I were a Pittsburgh fan, I would be confused about what team I have. Until Malkin broke out in the last game, the stars weren’t scoring. The goaltending can flip on a heartbeat (and MAF doesn’t have a real backup right now). NYR have a solid team and seem to be more consistent. I’m just not confident that Pittsburgh can right their ship so I’m going to pick NYR.

Minnesota vs Chicago
I’m happy (and kind of surprised even though I picked them) that Minnesota won, but I don’t really think they can challenge Chicago.

Anaheim vs LA
I never know what to expect from Anaheim, but they seem to be successful somehow. I think the LAK are rolling on all cylinders now, full playoff mode. I think LA will win this one.

The Leafs didn’t make the playoffs, and I’m glad. I wish they had tanked even more and gotten a better draft pick, but I think where they landed is still better than losing in the first round.

This year’s playoff scheme is complicated, and I haven’t really followed all the discussions about who plays who when your position is this or that. But here’s what I think about the matchups


  1. Boston over Detroit – Too many injuries on Detroit, and Boston is superior
  2. Pittsburgh over Columbus – Pittsburgh has the better team, I guess Bobrovsky could stand on his head though
  3. Montreal over Tampa Bay – Montreal has better coaching and should upset
  4. Rangers over Philly – This one will be tight, but King Lundqvist should be the deciding factor


  1. Minnesota over Colorado – I think Colorado is too young still
  2. St Louis over Chicago – This one will be a tough series, I think STL is better now though
  3. Anaheim over Dallas – Just my feeling
  4. LA over SJ – Usually SJ gets bad luck in the playoffs, but I suppose they could be lucky this year. Doubt it though.

The NHL Trade deadline came and past and it was rather uneventful (to me). That’s because I haven’t really been following the league this season. In fact I got a bit confused because I thought the deadline was March 4th. Then when I looked at the NHL headlines at the end of the day, I was confused why they were still talking about who might get traded. Turns out the deadline was March 5th. Oops.

In fact, I think this year’s trade deadline was one of the most exciting in awhile. A lot of high profile players got moved. You had 2 who wanted out (St Louis, Callahan), 2 odd ducks who didn’t really find a home this season (Vanek, Moulson), a guy who was supposed to get traded every trade deadline (Hemsky), and star goaltenders (Miller, Luongo, Thomas, Halak) all get traded. Nothing involved the Leafs (good!) so there was less talk than usual. But a lot of quality moving around.

I think the winners are the Capitals. They solidified their goaltending with Halak and got a good player in Penner. I was confused at what the Ducks (leading the NHL) were doing in trading Penner and Fasth away. But I wonder if any of these moves will make a difference as the favorites in the league (Pittsburgh, Boston, anyone from the West) are still strong.

I don’t care for watch most of the Olympics, but the hockey is definitely something I’m interested in watching – because most of the teams are All-Star teams! The hockey is faster with more electrifying plays (although this might also be because the Olympic rink size is larger).

Canada is always strong, but I think the “traditional” rivalry is no longer Canada vs Russia. Russia has a good team, but they seem to have no defense (and have a stubborn desire to have strong representation from the KHL, even if they are sub-par). Sweden has always been strong, and I think they are better than Russia. A lot of the “pushover” teams have a couple of NHLers now and can compete (Slovakia, Switzerland, etc). But I think the strongest team next to Canada is USA.

Canada is still a superpower, and it’s sometimes a bit funny watching them play weaker teams. They spend the entire game in the offensive zone due to their superior puck possession capability; and their players (especially defensemen) seem to be giants and tower over the other players.

I don’t know if Canada will win gold, but at least it will be entertaining to watch.

Even though I complained a lot in the off season, I saw a least bits of almost ever Leafs game up until the new year. The Leafs were actually doing surprisingly well so there was nothing to really complain about – although if you looked at advanced stats (or non-advanced stats like being outshot), you could tell that the Leafs were just lucky.

But the Leafs have finally started to “regress to the mean” in a big way. They are playing like their true self, and they suck. If you don’t watch the games, or don’t believe me. You could read this article in the Globe & Mail (i.e., not a hacky newspaper or a sports blog). Every paragraph is gold and every paragraph is true. I like this the most:

And useful player after useful player has been ostracized, pushed out or limited under Carlyle’s watch, with former Leafs like Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur speaking publicly against the coach’s methods and current players like Gardiner and Nazem Kadri now being spun through the trade rumour mill due to their incompatibility with the system.

(Grabovski and MacArthur, by the way, are having terrific seasons elsewhere, with the first on pace for more than 60 points and the second on course for a career high 28 goals.)

Instead of Grabovski, we have Clarkson who this season has a stat line of 3G 5A for 8 points. And we have him signed for another 6 years! It would have been a lot more useful to have Grabovski considering we went through a stretch when all our centerman were injured/suspended. Luckily we were able to trade for Peter Holland. That trade turned out pretty well until:

This week, the Leafs demoted skilled 22-year-old centre Peter Holland because the coach couldn’t find a hole for him in a lineup that sorely needs his offence.

I’m just counting the days until Caryle is fired as well. Hopefully it’ll be soon. I’m also hoping we’re going to fully collapse this season and have a high first round pick!

This time, a couple of games that appear on both Android and iOS (although they might be from different publishers)

  • I blogged about Tiny Death Star previously.
  • Amazon had Carcassonne free one day so I finally got that for Android. I had actually decided that I wouldn’t get (as in pay) for it because I just don’t find the game that fun. There’s too much of a luck element, although I guess if you are a master player, you would find the randomness interesting as it would force you to think on your feet. Anyways, I won’t pass it up if it is free. It plays well, although the AI takes a bit of time to think which is a bit surprising. I wouldn’t think it’s worth $5 though.
  • I found out about The Silent Age by randomly browsing Google Play. It appealed to me because it seemed stylistic and indeed it is atmospheric. You’re supposed to play with headphones but I didn’t bother, and it was still moody. It is an adventure game similar to Yesterday but sticks to its theme. It’s rather short, and is supposed to serve as a preview (and funding) for future episodes. I might buy future episodes in the future if they’re not too expensive as it was fun.
  • Big Win NHL Hockey is a free-to-play game where you can spend real money for in game currency. The screenshots are kind of misleading, because it looks like NHL94 with real NHL players. In actuality, it’s a team management game (which is OK because the games themselves take too long to play). You can build your own dream team of players they say, but they give you a starter pack of cards with prospects. You’re supposed to play to earn in-game currency and then buy additional packs of cards to get better players and so forth. However, it’s really hard to get players! Additionally, each of the players have a lifetime (contract and retirement) which means you can spend a lot of time building up a player only to see them disappear forever. Unlike other freemium games, this one is a bit overboard in trying to get you to pay. Even the NHL license is not enough to keep me interested.

I already complained a lot about Nonis’ moves this off-season, but that was just a rant. There are a lot of other moves that I thought were dumb:

  • Re-signing Colton Orr for another 2 years – I don’t think we need an enforcer on the team to be tough. We need to be tough to play against. So signing Colton Orr for another two years doesn’t seem to make sense to me (plus he’s already earned his pension).
  • Re-signing Kyle McLaren for another 2 years – same as above, but now redundant because we already have Orr!
  • Trading Bernier for Scrivens, Frattin & a 2nd rounder – Bernier has more “potential” than Scrivens but who knows which one of them may turn into a superstar (perhaps neither). This is counter-balanced by the fact that our goaltending solution just got more expensive and complicated (no outright #1) and we lost a solid & cheap third liner in Frattin. This move might turn out to be a win for the Leafs, but so far it’s a dud.
  • Letting MacArthur go – MacArthur was a good, skilled player for us. He made his teammates better and took good shots. It would have been better (and cheaper) to resign him than to resign Bozak
  • Signing David Clarkson for 7 years – Ever since Burke took over, he has wanted this guy on the Leafs. Now we finally have him, but the cost is that he’ll be here until he is 37 y/o. For a bruising, power forward type of guy; I don’t think he’s going to hold up that long and we’re going to regret this deal. I’m not happy with the amount of money either – would rather have Grabovski instead!

As you can see, these are all moves that I disagree with, and think are detrimental to the future of the team. This makes me sad and maybe I will just stop being a fan for a few years.

Like most off-seasons, the Leafs have made a bunch of moves; but this is the first year in a very long time where I feel that the team is worse off than when it started – by a fair margin. The recent memory for a Leafs fan is mostly optimistic, starting from the time that Brian Burke took over, he began a “rebuild” and we seemed to be moving in the correct direction (although with a bunch of a setbacks). With his firing, it seemed liked we were still on a good path because is softer-spoken right-hand-man, Dave Nonis was now running the show.

But Nonis’ recent moves have made me think about just taking a break from the Leafs for a couple of seasons.

The most knuckled headed move was to use our second amnesty buyout on Mikhail Grabovski (whom I like to call Crosbovski for his awesome shootout moves). Being a big budget team, we had the luxury of using our amnesty buyouts to take an expensive problem from a small market team, for a non-monetary fee (such as a prospect). Instead, we used it to buy out our most experienced and arguably best all-around centre. Grabovski can score (even though he didn’t this year, because he was utilized incorrectly), drive possession, and play the tough minutes against top opponent lines. He was being paid $5.5 million a year (which might be a slight overpayment).

I can only guess, but it seems the reason that he was bought out was because he didn’t get along (communicate) with our coach, Randy Carlye, well. During the lockout, he played in the KHL and was one of the top players in the league. Why we would buy-out our best centreman (and possibly a #1 centre) when we have said repeatedly that we are still looking for a #1 centre is beyond me! I think this has really set back our team.

One of the reasons cited for getting rid of Grabovski is so we have more money – and we ended up spending that money by resigning Tyler Bozak for 5 years at $21 million. Even though he plays on the first line, Bozak is not nearly as good as Grabovski. He just isn’t the all-around centre we need (another reason why the Leafs management has stated they’re still in the market for a #1 centre). We shouldn’t have resigned him!

The other reason we needed money is because we just traded for David Bolland who is making $3-odd million this year. In a vacuum, this is a good pickup because we traded him for 3 draft picks who will probably amount to nothing either. I don’t think he is substantially better or worse than Bozak, although he has gotten a lot of press by being on 2 cup-winning Blackhawks teams. But, by getting him, we had $13 million committed to 3 “2nd line” centremen. That is a dumb situation, so we had to get rid of one, which became Grabovski; but why did we have to have this problem in the first place? We could have just not resigned Bozak or not traded for Bolland!

My feeling is that Nonis is making these moves so he can construct a Caryle team with Caryle-like players. The problem with that is I don’t have confidence in Caryle as a coach! I fear that we will look back on these moves the same way we look back on the dumb moves that JFJ made. And worse, these are only SOME of the problems that I have with the Leafs’ off-season moves!

The last games of the Stanley Cup final happened while we were in Calgary but I was able to see the final two minutes when Chicago scored and then celebrated their Stanley Cup! I was happy for them as they have a more entertaining team than Boston, and had a great record this season, so deserved to win. Unfortunately, I thought that Boston had a better makeup and would have won the cup instead.

My prediction record this year 9/15, and if you went with “all favorites” you would also have a record of 9/15; so basically that was a wash. This was slightly better than my record of 8/15 from 2012 but basically I don’t think I do any better than average.

The Free Agent period and draft are coming, so we should see a lot of transactions. I’m not really that excited though, because the Leafs have already made some moves and I’m not happy with them at all. Maybe I’ll blog about them once more have been completed.

This year’s conference finals were a surprise as they were not a hard fought nor long affair. The Bruins easily swept the Penguins in their series. Pittsburgh seemed frustrated and didn’t seem to try very hard to win. I got my prediction wrong as I had picked Pittsburgh.

In the West, I correctly picked Chicago to win. This leaves my record this year at 9/14 which is still slightly better than the favorites record of 8/14.

I think the Bruins will end up winning the cup this year. When the played the leafs, they didn’t seem to be clicking, but I think they are now. They’re playing the Bruins’ game which was effective against the Penguins. I watched a couple of the Chicago games and they were not that impressive, so even though they are the favorites, I’ll have to go against them.

We’re in to June and we have just started the Conference semifinals. In the last round, I picked 3 out of 4 series correctly, getting the NYR-Bruins series wrong. That puts my record at 8/12. I was also curious what would happen if you ONLY picked the favorites in each round and so far your record would be 7/12. All the favorites won in Round 2, but prior to that your record would have been 3/8! So far, I’m slightly better than that guideline.

For the next round, I think Penguins will beat the Bruins. It’ll be a tough series because Boston has good chemistry having gone through these battles as a group for several years. On paper, Pittsburgh has better skill, and great acquisitions at the trade deadline; but I don’t think they are working as well as a group as the Bruins. I’m actually kind of disappointed that Iginla hasn’t made an impact – the Malkin-Neal-Iginla doesn’t seem to be that effective.

The Chicago-LA series will be another tough one. LA is battle hardened but I think they are tired and weary after the battles against St Louis and the long series againt San Jose. Chicago had the best record in the NHL this year, but they seemed to be having at tough time with the well coached but weaker Detroit team. I think Chicago will win because they are not as tired as LA.

Looks like I picked the favorites on both sides, so my record should still be better than the baseline regardless of the outcome!