Mailbag: Week of February 10th


So, there wasn’t a mailbag last week, but that wasn’t me "giving up" on the concept. Rather, I got slapped in the mouth with a nasty case of Strep Throat, which lead to it hurting to speak, swallow, breathe, or think. Needless to say, I was in no shape to answer a mailbag. But today? QUESTIONS!

If you’d like to submit a question, email me at, or tweet your question with the hashtag #TLNMailbag. Tagging @Jeffler would be a fun courtesy, but unneccessary, especially if you’re closing in on character limits. You can also leave your question in the comments of this post. 

Q: Could (Stuart) Percy step up into an NHL job right now? –@CSkochinski

I give this a soft yes. I do believe that he’s played well enough that he would be in the top six of many NHL teams. With that said, I don’t think he’s yet at the point where he’d be a significant upgrade to anybody, and I do believe that saying down for a little whlie longer is the best option for his development. With that said, he’s probably high on the list if the Leafs need to make an injury-based call up, due to his exemption from waivers.

Q: Do you see the leafs resigning the likes of Raymond, Kulemin, Franson, Gardiner, (and) Mcclement? Or do (the) Leafs start bringing up AHL depth? -@BassAnonymous

I have to imagine that a few of these names will be decided by the increase in the salary cap. Franson and Gardiner are restricted free agents, which means they’ll at least have their rights retained if not traded beforehand. McClement is unlikely to be able to ask for much more than he already makes, and seems to have the approval of the staff. 

Kulemin and Raymond, on the other hand, are wildcards. Mason Raymond was a great pickup at the million dollar price tag, but a successful redemption project usually comes with a raise. Seeing as the’ll be playing on the third line and doesn’t bring as much to the defensive end of the table, I could see them walking away from him. Kulemin brings a bit more incentive as a shutdown winger and as the longest serving active Leafs player, but he too will likely be up in question marks until the Leafs know what exactly they have to work with this summer.

Q: Do you think Kozun potentially has what it takes to make the Leafs, if so, in what capacity? Regular or Injury Call up? –@watson_brent

I feel like Kozun is in the same territory as Spencer Abbott is, but without the waiver exemption. He’s a quality player, but the Leafs have an abundance of wingers and rarely does an offensive spot open up. His job is to play the role of ringer on the Marlies and he’s doing a spectacular one at that.

Q: If Smith wasn’t the Captain of the Marlies, who is the most deserving/should be named captain? -@AmmarHussain96

I was incredibly surprised when the Marlies named Smith as their Captain, but eventually rationalized it as picking a guy who wouldn’t be up with the Leafs very much. Boy, how wrong was I? The Marlies have now spent 85% of their season without a captain, with nobody to be named in sight.

As for who I would name, my original thought was Jerry D’Amigo, but the Leafs don’t seem to be against calling him back and forth either. If that’s not an issue, I would lean in his direction again. If it is, then maybe look to Korbinian Holzer, who has worn an A for several years now and is otherwise the longest serving member on the team.

The third option? Keep it as it is. They’re leading the division despite a lot of initial thought that they would be on the other side of the spectrum. The actual letter on the chest is more for selling jerseys at the professional level anyway, the guys you want to speak to the refs can do so with A’s and the leaders in the room will lead without a patch on their clothing.

Q: I don’t mind you as a reporter, you do some really stupid things for popularity but the one thing I have never understood is you calling out Bozak in PERSON. I heard everything b/c I was in the line, honestly dude I understand you are critical of him but that’s just a plain rude thing to do. -AskFM comment

If you were in the line, you’d remember that he called me out for being critical first, and my response was basically "I don’t think you’re bad, I just evaluate from a dollar and ice time perspective". I don’t think it was a particularly harsh response, especially since there’s underlying history that won’t be mentioned. That said, while I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done in the past, showing up likely wasn’t the wisest idea.

Q: Is the atmosphere at Ricoh better than the ACC? I was there for the 3-1 loss to Florida in December. Yikes. -AskFM comment

I don’t understand the anti-hype against the Air Canada Centre "atmosphere". I was at the Leafs-Canucks game on Saturday night, sitting in the dreaded lower bowl. You know what? It was my first regular season experience in the lower bowl and it was just as loud as the upper. The golds and platinums were filled with jerseys and there weren’t a ton of "suits".

This arena has an issue with building up "playoff atmosphere" unless the Leafs have a huge game or there’s significant meaning behind it. But so do most rinks. I feel like a lot of the hype about the ACC having a bad atmosphere comes from people who have gone to see demoralizing losses (such as yourself), or people who haven’t gone and want to say that they’re the BEST FAN EVER and would totally show up those other 18,800 people.

The building can be louder. But it’s already better than it’s given credit for. This also didn’t answer your question; Ricoh has a good atmosphere when they face the Bulldogs, when they have a school day game (though cheers are three octaves higher), or in the playoffs. Other nights, it’s decent but quiet unless something big happens. So, like the ACC, or like most professional arenas.

Q: Shut up, Jeff. Christ. That’s plenty. -@MarcStapleton

Next week it is! Be sure to leave your questions.

  • Alex

    Regarding your point about atmosphere – Saturday night games are very different than weekdays games, especially when it comes to “suits”. You generally take clients during the week after work in your suit, and its usually more professional/uptight. The sat night tickets are generally for clients that are actual fans/want to drink or friends/family. That’s how my office works anyways.