Yes, the title of this blog is a little doomsday, but no less true. If you watched the National broadcast of the Leafs game Saturday against the Ole' Habs you will have heard the endless chatter of the leagues worst perpetual turnover machine. If you've been watching hockey for at least the last decade you will have heard the the prototypical playoff mold is the never-give-the-puck-away Detroit Red Wings. Don Cherry will tell you that off the glass and out is an effective and respectable method of playing defense. The Leafs have combined the two theories and decided that they should get the puck out of their own zone at any cost, but not do it over knee height. As in the past 4 fruitless seasons, the Leafs can get the puck to their blueline, but inevitably try and press it through the boards or pass it back into their own zone.
- Score.....ever. The Leafs are 2nd last in the conference in goals-for, only leading New Jersey by 6 goals
- Toronto has only allowed 3 more goals against than for and are 9th in the league in average goals allowed per game at 2.46. Goaltending is (for once) not a problem(you could argue against that stat with the timing of some of those goals against, but that stat is still impressive). This stat doesn't reveal how some of those goals are from mind-numbingly tragic turnovers from the defensive corp. My fix for this is STOP DOING THAT PLEASE....off the glass and out....even Juniors know this
- 2 of the 31 goals against have been penalty shot and two losses in shootouts. Please practice these skills, it may come up again in the next 69 games
- All is not lost! A point per game and a few 5 or 6 game streaks and this is still a playoff team(end fantasy time). the Leafs had a great 4 game win streak which can be repeated a few times with some motivation and confidence
- Speaking of motivation....calling out the players in public has been working so well for two years, Wilson should keep doing that FOR SURE. My fix, hold a few practices. Is it just me or does the schedule seem REALLY lax this year? No excuse to not get the team playing Wilson's "systems"
- If players aren't performing, start living up to promises that players will be sent down if they don't perform. It wouldn't break my heart to have Zigomanis back in the line up(why was he swapped out for Mitchell? I will always hate that guy, such a waste of decent skillset).
- I'm not jumping on the Kadri should be playing bandwagon....until Kadri is a point per game in the minors and can play in his own end, I'm not interested.
- Korbinian Holzer gets a callup for zero points and a minus 5?
- The day Komisarek is tied in scoring with Kris Versteeg and Tyler Bozak, the coach should be fired....oh LOOK!
With the Leafs out of the playoffs again, I thought that I would give some insight from the timezone in North America that can watch any games they choose. Being in Victoria you might think that I'd be cheering for the Canadian team closest to my home town....you would be wrong. Below are the big stories this playoff season for the Eastern Conference(okay, I didn't feel like doing them all today):
Montreal (8) vs Washington (1)
Washington may just have finally realized, after two goals on two shots, that they should have buried Theodore in the minors and got a proven goaltender months ago. Symeon Varlamov may not be able to pull of the heroics he did last playoffs. Having to score their way out of 3 goal deficits will eventually take it's toll. But if anyone can save this team, it's Nicklas Backstrom. Eschewing his usual role of puck-disher, he has 4 goals and an assist in 2 games so far. Playing at a point-per-game clip last playoffs, expect more of the same this season from Backstrom. Washington in 7
New Jersey (2) VS Philladelphia (7)
I think the only things going on here is Ilya Kovulchuk finally showing up for the playoffs and Brian Boucher having to stop him. The only true weapon that the Flyers have is Mike Richards. This kid can carry a nation on his back, why not an NHL Team? I give this one to New Jersey on the goaltender showdown alone(have you seen? Brodeur is growing a BEARD!!!1!) New Jersey in 6
Boston (6) VS Buffalo (3)
I couldn't figure out who to cheer for here. I think I'll have to wait til the next round for the winner of this abomination of a playoff round out for good. Miller is looking human, but so is Tuuka Rask. The offense advantage goes to Buffalo. Chara can't score every goal. Buffalo in 6
Pittsburgh (4) VS Ottawa (5)
This is a true goaltending duel. As in, who will let in the worst goal from the furthest distance from the net. Both teams can score while neither team is playing defense. Look to this series to be one of the highest scoring in the first round. I will give Pittsburgh the advantage here, but the Penguins will need Crosby to basically run the show; including saving goals from in the crease. Pittsburgh in 6