Let's Talk Kulemin Instead

First off, congratulations to Cujo for not handing away another game and getting his 450th win in an NHL regular season. Secondly, did anyone pay attention to Kulemin last night? Other than the tap-in goal, I mean. Kulemin is easily our best fore-checker. Watch Ponikarovsky; skate in 20 feet, wave stick one-handed at either defenseman, retreat. When Kulemin goes in the defense has to get away from him. It's like watching a flock of birds in flight; one turns, they all do. Not to mention the fact that if he keeps playing with Grabovski, he will keep scoring goals like the one below for a long time.

Dear Mr. Wilson,

Please stop putting Kulemin on the fourth line. I think his defensive game is great. Let him start scoring goals. Let's not make him into Stephane Yelle or PJ Axelsson.




More Pogge Wishful Thinking

Tonight's game is where us, as Leafs fans, will find out if Ron Wilson is a superstitious coach. Justin Pogge got his first NHL win against the lowly Thrashers and a black-cat-avoiding coach would put the same goaltender in the net for a rematch. Especially because it was somewhat of a whimsical choice the last outing. I'm sure Brian Burke would like to see Pogge a bit more over the next stretch to make sure that getting rid of Vesa Toskala would be a great idea. I'm sure that the Maple Leafs could use another half-full bucket of pucks for their practices.


Laid Down

"Laid Down" was initially a mistake name for my Leafspace blog. It was actually a description of one particular game. Now it is the Anthem of one of the most piss poor Maple Leafs teams that I have had to watch. Last night was the first time I have ever fast forwarded through a game. I just knew it was going to end as it did. Really, you don't have to be Kresgin to see it some nights. The formula is there; a player reaching a milestone, any opposing player from within 500 miles of Toronto playing that needs their first goal/point, long opposing team losing streak, Toskala in net = GUARANTEED LOSS. Every time.....even when the Leafs were better. Don't forget how great they are on Banner nights too. I think I finally went over the edge to frustrated........and I didn't even swear after the first goal on Toskala............


Like a First Date for the Second Time

You're standing on the front step, waiting to get the courage to ring the doorbell. You reach up and find that the doorbell doesn't work. You tentatively rap your knuckles on the door, feeling the harsh sting from the frozen wood. Her father answers the door and looks you up and down before asking if he can help you. You say that you're here to pick up your date "The Playoffs" and was she home? Again her father looks you up and down and turns his head away and yells to your date that you were there to pick her up and were 59 minutes late. Your date comes down the stairs, looking beautiful, like you hadn't seen her in four years. She walks slowly to the door and gives you the same slow look up and down that her father did. Looking down yourself you finally notice what they already had; that your pants were around your ankles. This was the second time in four outings that you felt the breeze, but never thought to look down until now. Knowing that you had two days off, you walk home to take a break and maybe go knock on her door again on Boxing Day.

Merry Leafs Christmas!


Hagman Is My Hero

I really enjoy watching Hagman and Kulemin on the fore-check. For two small-ish guys they play big in the corners and aren't afraid to go to the net. Hagman, in particular, is willing to take abuse. Hagman came back from a concussion to score a goal a game from in close. Also something that brings me much joy is the Tikannen-esque attitude that Hagman throws around at times. The staring down at Nabokov after a late goal in a 5-2 loss to the Sharks was as satisfying a useless goal at the end of a game as I can imagine. I hope to see the Kulemin-Hagman-Grabovski line sticking together, especially to get Kulemin off of the fourth line. He isn't going to get any better offensively playing with Deveaux, but he may learn a bit about taking the body. He does fine now, but he could be even more physical to great effect. I have a feeling there will be another Hagman goal tonight, assisted by the lately-silent Grabovski. I am calling a Toronto win of 3-2 with Pogge getting his second win of the season.


Pogge Gets The Call

Justin Pogge's shining numbers: 10-9-3, 2.86 GAA and a .890 Save Percentage. This says way more about Cujo than it does about Pogge. This is also a harbinger of Burke's idea a his Maple Leafs team; bring up the prospect goalie, playing ok, and let the chips (and losses) fall where they may. My guess is that this is a short lived experiment, maybe until the Christmas break is over. I wish Pogge luck, win a game tonight and earn another for tomorrow. Maybe he won't be forever scarred from a loss.......maybe.


Fooling Ourselves

This is the second or third time that I have found myself getting hopes up that there is a corner being turned by this incarnation of Leafs team. This time it was a 3 game win streak, instead of 2, but the crash was just as hard. Did Toskala have you thinking he might have his shit together? Nope, first scoring play, first goal. Just like in New Jersey and 4 of 5 contests prior to that. Did Cujo have you feeling nostalgic? Had me remembering high scoring affairs with Grant Fuhr show-boating in goal. Overall, I am at peace with the re-building faze. Not saying that I don't curse throughout an entire game while watching. I don't think that my passion will ever wane in that regard. If the Leafs someday win 81 games I will swear when they drop the last one. I can't wait til Mats Sundin comes back and saves the franchise.....what?......Vancouver?........awwwwwwwwwwwww


Stralman Sent Down

After altering the very time-space continuum that my life revolves around(that being that there is ALWAYS a Saturday night Leafs game calling me to drink Molson Canadian) the Leafs have made a logical decision to send the only AHL available defenseman down to the minors. Stralman was playing ok, which obviously wasn't good enough for Ron Wilson. While being a plus 1 on this Leafs team (on defense, to boot) is pretty amazing, he will be watched in the minors to see if he can throw up bigger numbers in a lesser league. Good luck, Anton. Hopefully you can respond better than Colaiacovo did, with his guarenteed roster spot and all. Speaking of which Colaiacovo is now at a .5 point-per-game pace, compared to the .1 point-per-game pace he had with the Leafs. While Steen has doubled his PPG average to a more impressive .4 PPG. Although he still remains on pace for a very low plus/minus. Does anyone miss these guys yet?


Avery Response

Following is my response to a Morris Dalla Costa article on Slamsports:

"I thought I was the only one not impressed by condoning what Avery has done by referring to Rachel Hunter as his "squeeze". I believe it was another Sun writer that I can't recall checking to see what their name was. I'm not disagreeing with the need to implement better, easy to understand conduct rules. But as seen with the "Avery Rule", the NHL head office tends to have quite the reflexes in its knee-jerk reactions. Hopefully, the NHL uses the time it has taken well and comes out with a sensible edict for Avery(and not embarrass themselves more in the process). One thing I think that gets lost in the mix is that sometimes it isn't easy being a Hockey fan. Avery perpetuating the block-head mentality colors the stereotypically perceived hockey player in an even worse light. NFL fans scoffing that hockey "isn't even a sport" then have fuel to further mock our fanaticism for the sport. I don't see any other players this dim-witted on T.V. It's unfortunate that Avery had the opportunity to mouth off to such a huge audience(and I must admit that the media were standing and waiting for their Avery-ism). Jeremy Roenick and Brett Hull are no longer comparisons like they were a mere few years ago. Those guys seem like prep school debate stars in comparison now."

We can see what a truly penitent man Avery was at his meeting with Bettman by the respectful eye gear he wore for even more attention leaving the NHL building. I hope he languishes in the Quebec Senior Mens fighting Hockey League(if anyone can remind me the actual name of the league, I'm embarrassed I couldn't remember or figure it out).


18,000th Goal!

The 18,000th goal in Leafs history was scored last night by Matt I-almost-threw-the-game-away-in-the-first-period Stajan. Even more important was the rookie goal leading Grabovski's goal in the third period. Most of the night it looked like a mistake to have a guy playing that needed IV drips just to hydrate, but I guess it paid off, Ron. My one question in this short post is this; is Deveaux ever going to beat someone up to keep his job? Burke is watching, Andre. Last, but not least, if you didn't like Finger yet, now is your time! I'm just as pissed as Greg Millen that FInger ended up in the box for what was basically wrestling a dummy to the ice after destroying Mollen with a clean hit. Have a nice day, Derek Armstrong.