Monday Morning Considerations
Of course you keep Morgan Rielly. We knew that two weeks ago.
First of all, right now he's as good as anyone else who could occupy the No. 7 slot on the Leaf defence, whether its T.J. Brennan or John-Michael Liles.
Beyond that, if you send him to Moose Jaw now, he's gone for the year.
We'll see if he gets to play. But despite all the hand-wringing over the salary cap implications, keeping Rielly was always a straightforward play.
Now, he's either good enough to play on Randy Carlyle's blueline, or he'll be sitting in the press box and so will be back in the WHL before long. The Leafs appear at this point to be managing this 19-year-old defenceman intelligently.
Other Monday morning considerations:
Many of the same folks who forecast the Jays as a playoff team are now saying they're one starter away from being a contender next season. They aren't. The one-starter-away chatter is the same as the reasoning behind keeping John Gibbons, that it was all about the rotation and only the rotation. . .Terry Francona is evidence of the difference a manager can make. . .Like iodine on a wound, decisions of the past year keep haunting the Jays. First the Red Sox, and John Farrell, clinched against the Jays, then ex-Jay Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter on the final day. Now wait for Farrell to garner manager-of-the-year honours. Stings. . .Don't be surprised Jonathan Drouin is headed back to Halifax. He's always been a bit of a late bloomer - two years ago he started the season in midget hockey before joining the Mooseheads - and Lightning GM Steve Yzerman would never be one to put an unprepared teen in the NHL just to prove he was a good pick. . . .Be surprised speedy Chris Krieder can't crck the Ranger lineup. But of course you won't hear about Kreider being persecuted by the Rangers between periods on Saturday nights. . .Colton Orr will start the season as the lone muscle in the Leaf lineup. But David Clarkson and Frazer McLaren will be along shortly. . .Carter Ashton may be a Leaf only as long as GM Dave Nonis doesn't see a more able body on the waiver wire. . .When people ask me whether Milos Raonic can be a top five player in the world, I've always pointed to Tomas Berdych as a similarly sized player with a similar set of tools. So it was interesting that Raonic beat Berdych to win in Bangkok on the weekend. . .The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are an utterly confounding team. Henry Burris reminds me of Damon Allen in this regard; it's shocking how an otherwise great career quarterback can look so horrible sometimes. . .Lane Kiffin seemed almost to be begging to fired at USC. Still, it's weird to see an NCAA coach canned so early in a season. Or partway though a season. . .If you want to understand Carlyle's hesitation and sometimes frustration with Jake Gardiner, watch Gardiner when he doesn't have the puck, not when he has it. With it, he'll always be a crowd pleaser. Without it, he too often looks like he's either not paying attention or doesn't particularly care about that part of the game. . . The Habs are keeping 6-foot-6 Jarred Tinordi after adding George Parros and Douglas Murray in the summer. Montreal isn't so small any more. But then, they're not so fast, either. . .Sure it's too bad the Leafs had to deal Joe Colborne to Calgary for a fourth round pick. But he didn't make any case for cracking the Leaf lineup, so they had little choice. By the way, the conditions for that pick improving to a third rounder are if Colborne scores 10 goals, gets 35 points and the Flames make the playoffs. In other words, it's going to stay a fourth. . .Hope all those unreasonable Mike Kostka haters out there can find some convenient rationale as to why he's apparently good enough to crack the lineup of the Stanley Cup champions. . . E.J. Manuel looks way more like the real deal than any of the other pretenders the Bills have trotted up to centre over the past decade. . .Despite all the disappointment, Jays attendance was the highest since 1997. That matters, and should motivate Rogers to keep pushing the financial envelope.