Cujo pooped the proverbial bed last night. Perpetuating this young Leafs team getting effed in the "A" by their goalies early in a game. I can't remember seeing much of a defensive breakdown on the first goal. A 41 year old not covering his post is kind of in-excusable. Of course the highlight of the game is Dominic Moore getting one-punched to the ice by Schenn. Not sure what he was thinking there as he must know first hand how strong this Schenn kid is. One thing Moore does not lack is balls. Choice making skills may be a distant second on his attributes list. The almost comeback falling short is par for the course. How many 4 goal comebacks should we really expect from a team that has iced rookies for a league high 340 man games this year. Should I be wanting to harm myself because I can't wait for the return of Martin Gerber? (Don't answer that).
Well, I know I don't stick to much of a format here, but I think predicting results of the game should be left to the professionals. And by professionals I mean fictitious comedic embodiments of fortune tellers by dead comedians. I find it hard to figure out how to attack this blog each day(when that happens). I think I'm a fairly witty guy that hits the mark here and there. I'm also very opinionated, but try to stay away from the "Did you ever notice how this one thing sucks and you should all hate it like I do" vitriol. That left me predicting Deveaux and McCabe would act like a hockey players last night. It was definitely a case of wishful thinking on the case of Deveaux and bitter fan-dom on the case of McCabe. Although I did giggle a bit when I first saw McCabe wearing a hamster cage at the beginning of the game. I was thinking. "Aww, look at him, he's trying so hard to make the playoffs. He's playing through the pain." Douche. You can never make me like McCabe again! I lost faith in him when Chara tossed him like a rag doll years ago. Anyways, I know that you ALL dislike McCabe as much as I do. And if you don't you should. Because he sucks............
Sportsnet emailed me every Canadian team's starting lines except Toronto's. I am predicting Andre Deveaux score his first NHL goal. There's no reason why a guy his size can't smack a goal line tap-in after 20 games. He has 11 in the AHL in 28 games. I just watched on Leafspace that he gets more ice time in the minors, so maybe Ronnie could pop him on the first line with Mitchell and Blake. You know, 2/3rds of our old FOURTH line. I would like to start today by officially pleading to have Hagman back. At least have him drop every opening face-off puck. How about getting him on the bench? Maybe Grabs can start scoring again with a heaping helping of Hagman. I will miss Kulemin tonight. I can't wait to see who they put Grabs with, Stempniak probably. Here's the overall prediction; McCabe scores(not saying which net), Deveaux takes the NHL seriously and a)wins a "fight" b)scores first goal, Leafs win 3-2, Schenn has a sunburn and creams everything in sight.
Yeah I took it to Blake yesterday, but I am now officially flip-flopping. This would be my third or fourth flop on this guy. My favorite part of last nights game was after Blake scored what would turn out to be Mitchell's goal. He skated to the bench to slap (fist pump) hands and wound up for the first high-five. It more resembled a punch. I wonder if the person on the other end of that pump/slap/high-five? Grabovski? Does anyone know? That would RULE. Apparently Grabs and Blake hugged it out in front of the cameras after yesterday morning's workout. The competition level being raised seems to have helped. Everywhere but the powerplay. While they controlled the puck for long periods of time in the Tampa zone, there were no real scoring threats. They did give the Tampa penalty kill a few nice chances. After the half way point of the game it turned into The Luke Schenn Show. I'd actually been thinking lately that Schenn has gotten a little less noticeable. Schenn knocked about 8 players senseless last night and pulled a sweet spinnerelli at the left(off)point to walk the puck in for a shot. I am sticking with my conspiracy theory of the Super-Secret Schenn Producing Offense Project. I keep seeing Schenn do things on the ice that don't seem quite natural for him. Such as pinching at the point or trying to unleash a slapshot. His wrist shot is quite effective and he is getting better at getting shots through where they were hitting shin pads and producing break aways before. Here's to a 10 goal season next year. ANd Ron/Brian....I'M ON TO YOU!
I've been off for a week with what I'll call "Hockey Sadness". It makes me sad that Jason Blake doesn't get along with Mikhail Grabovski. The saddest part of that is that they are two of our heavyweights with our current lineup. Though I can't vouch for the actual reason for the dust up, I would imagine it had something to do with who had the longer scoring drought recently and this didn't make either one of them laugh. Blake makes a comment about being a ten year vet, while leaving out he's actually only played decent hockey in 4 of those years. I'm sure Mikhail let him know that with his signature two fingered salute. Other things I've missed blogging on; Mikhail's almost hat trick, Kulemin's foot goal, Ondrus trying to fight everyone, Oreskovic being ok, 8 - 6 win over the Flames?????, Gerber being ok-ish, and the Leafs being a zillion points out of the playoffs.
Or IS it?
Or IS it?
On a night when your favorite team is playing against a true bottom feeder, playing their rookie goaltender, it's a great time to notice that they no longer have any gamebreakers. Jason Blake was already on a downslide before Moore left, Antropov carried his line and I think there is a missing persons out on Stajan. Watching Matt Stajan play lately makes me miss Alex Steen(which is grounds for removal from my blogging privileges). The lack of a true difference maker was appallingly clear sitting through the give-away-fest last night. Alfredsson walking in and blasting a slapshot over Cujo uncontested spoke to the inadequacies of this floundering Leafs team. I am thinking that the tank may be started in earnest for all those waiting for it. Gerber is set to start against the Islanders tonight. Watching two teams with nothing to lose should be a spectacle similar to 2nd graders fighting under the monkey bars. Hopefully we can at least get a 7-6 blowout instead of waiting 2 periods for a goal, as has been customary the last month or so. Prediction: 5-2 Islanders.
Cujo will get the start for the Leafs tonight. This will add fuel to Don Cherry's idea that Gerber is a little emotionally soft and couldn't handle the taunting he would be sure to receive. After reading an article saying Mike Van Ryn needs knee surgery, I was left wondering if we'll ever get to see what he can do for us. Van Ryn will go for surgery for a torn MCL and should be able to resume skating in 8 weeks. Next year will be another debut of sorts for Van Ryn with the Leafs. Probably to a much larger role. Hopefully he can stay healthy. I've watched after each of his returns(3 in total) and Mike never holds back and has no fear of the corners or of being hit. This is something that Brian Burke should recognize and want to keep around.
I truly hope that he can be. Although the common joke at PP is aboot losing every game for the rest of the season( and Gerber's hand in helping do that), I just don't find it fun or entertaining. Like losing to the s'Oilers, down 2 defensemen. It's taken me two days away from the slaughter to blog about it. It hurt that much. My Father being an avid s'Oilers fan doesn't help either. I am hoping that Gerber can take it to the Sens tonight, just so I can have a fun game to watch. I'm not overly excited about dropping games to such douchey teams. One thing that can make this time of the misery and woe a little more enjoyable is the watch the young talent from the minors get their break in the big league. I look forward to Phil Oreskovic beating the poop out of a Senator. But who will it be?
We've seen it before from the other side. Gerber can either shut you down or just shut down. Last night was shut you down night. Quite a few shots went wide on Gerber, making him look better. There were actually two exploding sticks that kept him safe on sure open-net goals, as well. It was also another "Who the hell is this John Mitchell kid and why didn't you call him up earlier" night. I've been hard on Mitchell all year, not quite understanding the allure to the coaching staff. He can skate, pass and, when it suits him, shoot the puck. Last night he held the puck while screaming behind the net, passed it to the point and it resulted in Kubina's 13th goal on the season. Usually Mitchell would have held that and passed to a waving opponent's stick, but this time the hockey gods saw the pass through. The end result was still funny, though. It only could have been better if the game ended in a drum solo.
Diminutive forward Jeff Hamilton will make his Leafs debut tonight. I have yet to figure out why. Why sign a guy who was out of a job yesterday to play for a team with Gerber in net(read: bound to lose). Where are the kids I keep hearing about? When I read "Jeff Hamilton" my brain computed it as "Ryan Hamilton". You know, the huge left wing that we traded Earle for? I find this very curious.
Gerber gets the start tonight. One of the saddest things about the Gerber pickup is that I can no longer take the satisfaction of knowing that at least the Leafs didn't have a goalie as bad as Gerber......That being said though, I think Gerber's going to do really well tonight, only letting Ovechkin score twice. I have a feeling that our defense will be pretty piss-poor. I am waiting to see who else dresses tonight with Antro and Moore gone. Tim Bits was sent down and I haven't heard anything of him being called back up yet. Kaberle is still hurt, but White can fill in. White looked sort of uncomfortable back up front, anyways. Ben Ondrus will be called up filling in for Hagman, who is still feeling the effects of Witt's cheapshot. Prediction Leafs 4-3
Semi-Official word is that Moore is being moved for sure. Contract negotiations have stopped and Burke is looking for the best deal to move him.(source TSN.CA online audio stream)