Game 36 - Leafs defeat Panthers 2-1 in OT

Steve says:

Nice Christmas gift from the buds! Thanks boys. It was all we could ask for. Some more spectacular goaltending. Some good looking PP and PK. Some good forechecking. And even some good old hard skating (and not just by Blake for a change).

So now we have a couple of days to eat lots of food, drink rum and nog until we cant keep our eyes open, play street hockey well into the night (thanks to a glow in the dark hockey ball!) and open overpriced gifts and stockings filled with socks and chocolate....sounds great right?

It gets better...

Here's a little gift for you to think about while you are all nestled warm in your PJ's.

In our conference, only 2 teams have a better record over their last 10 games...Ottawa (7-1-2) and Buffalo (7-3-0).

The Leafs have the 3rd best "last 10" in our conference heading into the X-mas break (6-3-1).

Also, even in our losses, we have been right in those games. We haven't looked too bad...so some bounces go our way and we play the full 60 minutes, and I bet the New Year will be a bright one for all of us.

Merry Christmas and I'll be back after the Boxing Day game.

GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!!


The Return of Chris...and moving on

Steve says:

Holy Mackinaw!!!
Chris has returned...now we can have that uplifting pro-Leaf spirit back again...oh...wait...never mind...

moving on...

looking at tonight's games...it would be good if the following teams in yellow could help out the struggling buds by winning...

Sabres over Flyers (this doesn't really "help" us per se, but it keeps us in the race)
Iles over Pens
Av's over Rangers
Oilers over Devils

The other games going on don't really have any bearing...these wins don't move us up at all...but they keep the race close...as bad as we are doing, we are still only 5 points out of 4th place....so we need to minimize the number of games in hand for the other teams...

Chris says:

If you have so much faith in our team why do you spend so much time crunching the numbers to see how other games affect us?

That's a man who doesn't believe the Leafs can do it on their own.

Steve says:

Actually...it's just the sign of a guy who is working for the Gov't and bored out of his mind...
I fully believe that if the players on this team all sat down and said "OK boys, we've had our fun...time to go out there kick some ass" that we could take many of the teams in the NHL...
but instead they are getting wrapped up in the small details and are believing that they are not as good as they are...
bad vibes are running through our team....

Game 35 - Leafs lose again...2-1

Game 35: Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Wins 2 -1

Steve says:

I didn't catch the game cuz I was out with my son playing hockey...trying to teach him the one-timer. I figured "this game is in the bag". We have been kicking TB's butt lately, and Toskala has been spectacular, we've lost a couple so we'll be hungry for a win again, AND TB has put in a backup rookie goalie from the AHL.

No way we could lose right?

well...wrong...and it is all the fault of 2 things...

1. why do we not have guys camped in front of the net waiting for Jason Blake's multiple rebounds?
2. composite sticks....when will players learn that the benefits of having a slightly lighter stick do not outweigh the negatives of broken sticks leading to turnovers, and in this case, a game winning goal for the other team...

At least my boy got better with the one-timer...I can't wait for his game on Sunday.

this rookie backup from the AHL just schooled our #1 line!

Chris says:

I'm back! Did you miss me?

Yah well, screw you too.

When I last posted on Hockey Talk the Leafs were slowly spinning towards playoff elimination as third period collapes and a porous defence had combined to sap the will of even the most diehard fan.

It's nice to see how some things never change.

There's precious little that's really positive to say about the Leafs these days. McCabe is gone for 6-8 weeks and, depending on how charitable you're feeling, that little development can be viewed in a lot of ways. My two cents? You can't trade him unless he's out on the ice daily and nightly and ever so rightly, proving his "worth".

But that's just sour grapes from a guy who's afraid his team is going to be on the outs once playoff season rolls around again.

A quick analysis. Our O is what it is. Most nights they're good enough to pot a least a couple goals in the other team's net. Out backstopper? Not quite top shelf, but definetly a cut above what we icing at the same time last year. Our D. Nonexistent.

They're older, slower and less skilled than our opponents. Without a significant upgrade on our blue line you might as well just stick a fork in us, we're done.


looking at tonight

Steve says:

Well...the Islanders didn't hold up their end of the deal and the Sabres beat them and thus took over the 7th spot in the Eastern conference, knocking us down to 9th...again. Isn't it funny how, when faced with the opportunity to advance themselves into a playoff position, other teams not only do NOT choke, but rather they excel! Must be nice.

Hopefully our guys can take a lesson from the Sabres and come out with the guns blazing tonight and the wagons circled around the net. I expect Raycroft to get the start tonight. Toskala needs a break from the awful Defence we have been providing.

Here are my hopes for tonights winners:

Toronto - Tampa
Boston - Pittsburgh
Washington - Montreal
Atlanta - Ottawa
Carolina - Florida
Minnisota - NY Rangers

If all things go according to plan we will be back in the race at 7th place after tonight...

Go Leafs!


A new Hockey League?

Steve says:

A Russian tycoon has hired former NHLPA head Bob Goodenow to help start a new pro league in Europe that would compete for players with the NHL. This means that we might start losing European players to this new league. Currently, top teams in Europe frequently lose players under contract to the NHL. In exchange, they get just $200,000 (U.S.) per player. The Europeans don't feel like that is enough and it seems as though they might be banding together to keep their precious hockey skills homeside.

What will Kulemin do? Will Ovechkin go home?


Tuesdays Games

Steve says:

Here's who needs to win (in yellow) on Tuesday night:

Leafs vs Canes
Sens vs Bruins
Penguins vs Rangers
Coyotes vs Flyers
Thrashers vs Lightning
Panthers vs Habs
Canucks vs Devils

If all of this happens, then the standing will look like:

1 - Sens
2 - Devils
3 - Canes
4 - Bruins
5 - Habs
6 - Penguins
7 - Leafs
8 - Flyers
9 - Rangers
10 - Panthers
11 - Sabres
12 - Islanders
13 - Thrashers
14 - Lightning
15 - Caps

That would put us 1 point out of 5th and only 3 points out of 4th!

Not bad for a team that got off to such a rocky start.

Go Leafs Go!

Wings beat Caps..yay!

watching some more

Steve says:

I am still keeping an eye ion the progress of the other teams even though we have yet to reach the halfway mark. Some people may think that this is nuts to watching the numbers so early. But to you people (you know who you are) I say that this is when the Leafs really lost last season. Yes we had a great run at the end to almost make it, but it was these games last year that caused us to have to play so hard at the end. SO I look at these games as being just as important as the last few...

so, last nights good news is that the Devils and Coyotes won their games. That keeps us right in the race with the other teams around us losing some game in hand.

Tonight there is only 1 game of any consequence to us, and it is minor actually...and that is to have Detroit beat Washington.
that will keep the caps down at the bottom which could help us in a few ways...not only in standings, but eventually the Caps ownership has got to make some deals to get things going for them. Hopefully when they do get to that point, the Leafs will have a GM in place that could work a deal to land us Ovechkin or Semin. I think we have a few more years left in Sundins tank and getting a guy like Ovechkin (a long shot I know) could be really sweet. Ovechkin has stated before that he would like to be a Leaf at some point. Hopefully he gets the chance.

ps. McCabe may need surgery to fix his wrist. Normally when something like this happens, the fans get all mad at whoever did it to our player....but I watched the replay a few times and it was a clean hit..McCabe just went into the boards weird...


Game 33 - Habs roll over Leafs...again

Steve says:

Wow...we looked awful out there...so many defensive breakdowns...on the Koivu goal, both our defencemen were standing still in the high slot! He just walked out from the corner and deked Toskala for an easy goal.

It was painful to watch after they have been playing so well.

Speaking of painful,...McCabe went down hard in the third with a broken hand (broken in 3 places!) so he'll be gone for about 6-8 weeks. That could be the difference on our defence and could be the difference in our season ....of course, this is McCabe...so maybe somehow this will actually turn out as a benefit for us...

From last night, 5 of the teams we needed to win did,(Yotes, Canes, Penguins, Wings, and Sens) but the most important of all those wins did not happen. That puts us back in 9th again. Points wise we are tioed with the Penguins, but they have a game in hand. We are 1 point out of 6th place...

So tonight we need a few things to happen:
Devils over the Flyers
Yotes over the Rangers
Blackhawks over the Panthers

That will keep everybody close and help us out with those games in hand...

and hopefully the boys can regroup around that loss in Montreal....

Game 32 - Leafs beat Thrashers

Steve says:

It all happened so fast......4-0 Leafs win...
was a great game...they did not look tired from the rest of a few days off...


a quick look at tonight

Steve says:

I'm on my way to coach my sons game...so here is a quick look at who we need to win to night to best fit the Leafs needs...

Leafs (obviously)
Black Hawks
Sens (eewww...2 games in a row we need them to win...at least they are helping us with the dirty work...)

If this all happens...we could end up in 6th place after tonight...

Go Leafs!


from last night...to tonight

Steve says:

Some good things happened for the Leafs:
Sens beat the Penguins
Devils beat the Bruins
Flames beat Tampa

but, with the good comes the bad

habs beat flyers
isles beat yotes

So after all the dust has settled, Toronto gets bumped down to 10th place.
The good way to spin this is that we are now in a 3 way tie for points with Pittsburgh and NYIslanders. Pittsburgh has played the same number of games as us, and the Islanders only have 1 game in hand.
The Habs, Rangers, Bruins, and Devils have all also played the same number of games...so we can really see where we sit right now...which is out of a playoff spot.

That means that our future is really in our own hands now. Hopefully we fans will not be left on the edge of our seats hoping for some other team to win in order to decide our playoff fate this year.

Of the games happening tonight, here is who I hope wins...

Caps over Sabres
Flames over Canes
Leafs over Thrashers (duh)

Go Leafs Go!


watching the race

Steve says:

I am keeping a close eye on the other teams in our division while we are waiting to play. They are all finally (or have already) catching up to us in terms of games played. Now after tonight we shall see where we sit in terms of points.
Here are tonight's games and my hopes for the winner in bold. In brackets are the # of games played and their points AFTER tonight's games if they go according to my hopes. All of my "predictions" are based on a regulation win...I'll let you waste your time calculating all the possibilities of the OT win extra points...

Ottawa (30/43) vs Pittsburgh (31/32)
Devils (31/32) vs Bruins (31/32)
Flyers (29/36) vs Habs (31/33)
Tampa (32/31) vs Flames (no affect on our conference)
Islanders (30/30) vs Coyotes (no affect on our conference)

I know it is weird to cheering for other teams to win (esp the Sens...eeeeyuch!...actually I cant say that I don't want the Pens to beat the snot out of the Sens...even if it means our job is harder down the road) but what this does is puts the Leafs in a position to be able to jump over the Pens, Bruins, and Habs as well as increase our lead over Tampa and NYI.



Steve says:
To maintain our #9 position in the Eastern conference while we are waiting to play, we need a few things to happen tonight.

We need Buffalo to beat the Islanders (preferabbly in regulation) ...that will hold off New York until we can play on Friday and hopefully extend our lead above them.

The other game that is happening tonight poses a bigger problem for us. Atlanta vs. Boston.

If Atlanta wins, they will have 31 points and a game in hand still which makes it very close for us.

BUT if Boston wins, it holds Atlanta a few points behind us, but extends Boston's lead above us.

Both outcomes present good and bad points...

such is the parity in the NHL..


Road Trip!

Steve says:

With that sweet home win, the boys in blue get themselves ready to hit the road on a 7 game road trip. They will not be back at the ACC until Sat. Dec. 29th vs. Rangers (Avery vs. Belak anyone?).

Anyway, here are the teams we are playing on the road, their last 10 game record and their position in relation to us in the standings:

Thrashers 5-4-1 below us
Canadiens 3-6-1 above us*
Hurricanes 4-6-0 above us
Lightning 3-6-1 below us
Panthers 6-4-0 below us
Islanders 3-5-2 below us
Flyers 4-4-2 above us*
(* equal in points, but they have games in hand)

So it looks like we have a good chance of not only winning some more games on the road, but with the race being so close (only 7pts separate us from 1st in the East!) we could really put ourselves in a good position heading into the 2nd half of the season.

Also, with the issues that teams like the Sens have been having lately, and the schedule they have in front of them, there is a chance of a few losses which would be great for the Leafs.

All of theses games are "4 point" games meaning that if we win in regulation, not only do we get 2 points, but we keep the other team, who happens to be in our conference race, from getting 2 points.

Hope we can keep up the winning ways.

As an aside, there is talk of the Leafs talking trade with San Jose...Marleau for Kaberle?...personally I think we should stick with the happy group we have for now...I think adding Marleau would only add to our offense..which isn't really an issue..it's the D we need to secure going forward.


Game 31 - Leafs extinguish Lightning 6-1

Steve says:

woo hoo...that was a "shitkickin" to quote the coach of Tampa Bay. Great play all around. Even the PP was looking good. Blake with a sweet tip in. Toskala gets an assist. Even Wozniewski made a pretty sweet pass.

I will say that when this team is clickin, they really click! Nice to see them rebound off a loss with a commanding effort on home ice before a 7 game road trip.

Now we get to the real serious section of the season. We are in the meat and potatoes part of the season. we need to get our record over .500...preferably 5 games over .500. That would put us on pace to be 10 over .500 by the end of the season and that would put us in good position for a playoff spot. These are the games that matter most. We've had some time to make some mistakes and learn how to play as a team. Our PP still needs some love, but it is starting to look better. We are finally combining shots with the patient passing and it is getting results.

Our D is collapsing nicely and we have really eliminated the 2-1 rushes that killed us so many times at the top of the season.

And of course, Toskala has been playing the kind of solid goal tending I always knew he was capable of. This is the kind of consistent positional play I was waiting for. He is very aggressive in challenging the shooter which can lead to rebounds, but 2 great things have been happening as of late. Firstly, he is standing up more and not allowing himself to be baited out of position. Secondly, the D has become much better at clearing the rebounds out to the forwards who are collapsing down more to get the puck out of our zone.

All positive things that they hopefully will continue to execute over the next 2 weeks on the road.

Go Leafs Go!

ps. The Leafs management are cleaning some cap space by putting Battaglia on waivers today. I wonder if this means a trade is coming up...I hope JFJ doesn't do anything stupid.

Game 30 - Boston wins 2-1

Steve says:

I went to this game since I was visiting friends in Toronto. Chris however wussed out after pulling an old-man stunt during his afternoon knitting session. No worries, I went anyway...and got a ticket for $50....all those people who think it is impossible to get Leafs tickets have probably never tried.

As for the game, it was pretty boring to watch...the trap Boston played pretty much killed the Leafs multiple attempts to carry across the blue...which is what was pissing me off...why could PM not see the 1-4 trap and tell the guys to go back to the dump and chase?

Also, any time White or Woz touched the puck, it usually ended up as a turnover...I mean there were some seriously bad passes out of our zone....

The Leaf goal was lucky by Blake...caught Auld daydreaming I think...the first Bruin goal was lucky..same thing..Toskala dreaming about something...the 2nd Bruin goal was a nice screen job and slapshot...

I think that, as boring as this game was, if the Leafs had decided to take more shots on goal, they could have pulled off a win...instead they tried to make the perfect pass...but it usually ended up on a Bruin stick...

I cant wait for the next game I go to at the ACC...I'll need to make sure Chris isn't at his bridge club meeting...


Game 29 - Holy Antropov! another win! 6-2 vs. Rangers

Steve says:

Wooooooo Hooooooo!
Now this is what I am talking about! solid Defensive hockey (except for the Rangers 1st goal...we looked like old Leafs on that one) and some creative and aggressive offense is gonna take us far.

I would have liked to see a higher SOG number, but as long as they are going in the back of the net, I can't really complain.

Toskala is really doing it for us. Yes Antropov got a hat trick, but it is the extra confidence that the guys seem to have that Toskala can pull off a few big time stops in a game to keep us in it.

I love that at one point during the game, they showed Sean Avery checking his blackberry...you know a team is getting whooped when the players start checking email during the game!

Good on ya boys!

I'm heading down the 401 to Toronto tonight to see some family and friends...Chris and I are gonna get together to try to get some cheap scalper seats at the ACC for Sat. Hope we get to see win #5 against the Bruins...the key to that one is to get at the goalies fast and early to shake them all up...and use Blake's speed to get around Chara.


pregame brain emmisions

Steve says:

well....now that we have achieved the elusive 3-game win streak it will be very interesting to see how we come out tonight. It seems like each time we get players back from injury and insert them back into the lineup, we fall apart (ie. Mark Bell and the Sens game where we got whooped). So with Kubina coming back in, and Tlusty and Kronwall being sent down to the Marlies, tonight's game should be a sign of how well the core of our group is doing.

Belak will be playing , but not to take out the Ranger tough guy Sean Avery...Avery is out with wrist surgery.

Sean broke up with Elisha Cuthbert a while back...and now his wrists need surgery...I wonder if there is any correlation between the two ...?


Game 28 - Another win ! 3-1 vs Preds

Steve says:

Can you beleaf it? Vesa Toskala steals a game for us...we finally have a goalie who can steal a game or two for us. We haven't had that since Belfour or Cujo. The Leafs got a lot of lucky bounces and some stellar goaltending which is nice for a change.

Not only that but some 2nd line and 4th line scoring didn't hurt either. Way to go Wade.

I would have liked to see some stronger D overall. I thought that Nashville spent a lot of time in our zone. Even if we just ice it, we gotta find a way to get that puck out of our zone when the pressure is on. Vesa wont be able to steal every game for us.

Mathematically, we are only 7 points behind Ottawa for first place in the Eastern conference. The sens have a few games in hand, but it is just that close...the sens lose a few, we win a few, and it's a whole new ballgame.

good job boys...Go Leafs Go!

ps. The sens have now lost 7 in a row....not sine 1997 has that happened....there are a lot of broken ankles from all the people jumping off the bandwagon...just as I predicted


Game 27 - Leafs win...AGAIN! 4-2

Steve says:

A 2 game winning streak !!!
Now that was a great game...total domination for most of the game. A slight breakdown in the 3rd made me a bit nervous, but they managed to pull it off. Very good job boys!

The aggressive fore check and the blanket coverage on Crosby (nice kick Vesa!) had our boys looking in fine form...and watching Roberts go into a hissy fit was pretty funny as well...

After the loss to the Habs, Vesa said something to the effect that if they keep playing the way they did that night, they would be a hard team to beat....and it looks as thought he may have known what he was talking about.

For the first time in a while, I am excited about Leafs play again instead of the management (or lack thereof) side of things...of course that means we will probably lose...lol!

but hey...at least we are not the Sens ...6 losses in a row!!! and more to come I am sure.

Go Leafs Go!
hey kid...watch where you are going...that blue ice is mine alone


Game 26 - Leafs Win! Leafs Win! 4-2

Steve says:
Sundin with a sweet backhander...how that went in, I'll never know...and Toskala playing a great game especially near the end with a HUGE blocker save!
On the 2nd goal by Notlanta (ha !), Enstrom just walks in from the right point while Stajan is caught watching the puck instead of taking his man out....I hope someone points this out to him because that is how we are letting in most of our goals. Our defensive mode is supposed to take out the man...but we often get caught watching the puck or following the man in to the corner...must be more careful to watch for open players.

It was a great game for the players last night...but there is a problem that the win creates....it allows the OTPP to stay the course just that much longer with JFJ....and if the Leafs manage a win on Saturday, then who knows how much longer JFJ can stretch that into him keeping his job.

I went and reviewed JFJ's actual record of trades etc. and it was pretty depressing. Most of the people we traded our future away for are no longer playing hockey and/or only played 15 or so games for us...woo hoo (/sarcasm) .

I hear reports out of Florida and McLean with regards to management changes...I wonder if that will turn into anything ...do we want it to?

ps. Ottawa lost it's 5th in a row.... :-)


as bad as it is...

Steve says:

As bad as it all is...if you look at the standings, you will see that if the Sens and Detroit lose 5 games at some point and the Leafs win 5 games, we would be right back near the top...
so a couple lucky bounces, a few strong defensive games, and all this mess could turn around quickly...


from Practise

Steve says:

Even though there is a shitstorm around them...the boys in blue and white still need to keep on keepin on...
so...here are some quick note from practise today...

- Tucker not at practise after taking a slapshot to the foot
- Tlusty / Blake / Wellwood practising on a line together

Game 25 - Habs win in s/o 4-3

Steve says:

Captain clutch gives the Leafs (and PM and JFJ) hope with 17 seconds left thanks to some real hard work by Jason Blake....but the PM fucks it all up by putting Tucker in the shootout!

I really feel bad for Jason Blake...the poor guy cant buy a goal....he is working so hard and in the last few games I have seen at least a dozen shots that would have gone in had Jason not been jinxed by some weird voodoo.

And as for Vesa toskala...poor guy again...our D just keeps leaving him out to dry. I wouldn't say even one of those goals was his fault. He didn't let in one bad goal with the possible exception being the only that got jammed under his pad..but can you say "goaltender interference"?

The Hab player was all over him and jabbing Toskala with his stick...at what point does it become interference/slashing/spearing ?

It will be interesting to see if the OTPP finally steps in and does something about this train wreck. Sundin and Toskala deserve better.

ps. I think the zamboni driver was drunk.


vs the Habs - a preview

Steve says:

- Price in nets for the Habs
- Lafleur called the whole team a bunch of 4th liners
- Toskala starting for us
- Poni may not play, and if that is the case there is a possibility that Mark Bell could go onto the 1st line

WTF?! Mark Bell on the 1st line...

What the hell is PM thinking....with his job essentially on the line tonight ..he is gonna try Mark Bell on line 1?

Taking a stand

Steve says:

That's It!
PM is a middle man
JFJ, middle man
even Peddie is a middle man...
time to cut the bull
who do we go after to instigate change with the Leafs?

This is from the OTPP website press release from Feb. 11th 2003

Robert Bertram, Executive Vice President, Investments with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, said, “We believe in the solid future of MLSE and its passionate commitment to developing championship teams. Winning is good business.”TD Capital’s John MacIntyre, echoed these sentiments saying, “We are pleased to be part of a team committed to winning - on the ice, on the court and as a sports and entertainment business.”

These people need to be reminded of what we as fans expect!

click here to contact the OTPP and let them know how you feel!

Watch the game on Tuesday...take note of every advertiser on every commercial. Tell them that you will not buy there product any longer until change is made with the Leafs.

Write to the station you watch Leafs games on and tell them you will no longer watch the Leafs until change is made. ( http://www.cbc.ca/contact/ )

Cancel your Leafs TV and let them know that they can have your money again, when the Leafs make change.
(yes Chris I know ...I still have not got my sorry ass down to Toronto to pay up on our bet...I suck...)

and of course,Write a letter to the MLSE and the ACC to tell them that you will not be there to buy the watered down beer and overpriced hot dogs until the Leafs make change (http://www.theaircanadacentre.com/contact/)

I know people will still go to games and I know people will still but merch..I am talking about a real easy thing to do to apply even just a bit of pressure...to remind them all that "winning is good business"


Game 24- Holy frik another loss!

Steve says:

COME ON!!!! To the yotes!?! to the fuckin YOTES!!!!
who the hell decided to put Raycroft in nets????
Toskala is 6-2 vs. the yotes and you dumb shits decide Raycroft should start?!?!?

I must admit that I was watching the Sens game (hoping for the loss...yesss!) while listening to the Leafs game (stupid NHL and it's viewing zones) and one thing I will say that really pisses me off.
When Gerber got pulled by Ottawa, he was mad. He stayed in his net the whole time Emery was preparing...making a very uncomfortable scene on the ice. He just stayed there and Emery had to pretend like he was adjusting his gloves....for like 5 minutes, he would not move....and when he finally did give in, he slammed his stick on the bench...yelled "fuck fuck fuck" so loud that the people behind the bench looked shocked. Then he had a scowl on his face the rest of the game.
Now compare this to Raycrofts reaction. As soon as he got the signal, he power skated off the ice, was gloveless and wearing his little baseball cap before Toskala was even in the blue ice!
Raycroft stopped one short of leaning back and taking a nap for frik's sake!

Game 23 - Dallas wins

Steve says:

I am not even going to put up the core...it doesn't matter...a loss is a loss...although I will say that a loss to a team that I really thought we could beat stings a bit more. I'm not sure the boys should have been watching the NFL game before their game...maybe instead they could...oooh, I don't know...let me see....they could maybe



Steve says:

Well after the latest Leaf loss, it looks as though we are finally seeing some change towards making this club better...as reported by the Globe and Mail...

While the Toronto Maple Leafs coaching staff and players are excited about their trip to Dallas and Phoenix for the U.S. Thanksgiving Day weekend (they have a luxury box rented for the Dallas Cowboys-New York Jets game on Thursday), there wasn’t a holiday spirit around the executive offices at the Air Canada Centre on Monday afternoon.Word spread quickly around Leafland around 3:30 p.m. that long-time executive assistant Ann Clark was fired by her boss, general manager John Ferguson Jr. Most of us reporters know Ann because when she was brought into the fold a decade ago by Ken Dryden, it was her we had to call to set up interviews with Dryden, Mike Smith, Pat Quinn or Ferguson. She always exuded class, was pleasant to chat with, professional, courteous and incredibly competent.It’s never a good development to lose your job with Christmas just around the corner, and the news was like a George Foreman body blow, especially since the reason she was given for her dismissal was the old “we want to go in a different direction.”We can only hope that the next direction Ann takes will be a pleasant one.

That's the big move? Fire the secretary? What the hell is going on at the ACC offices? Did she not make the coffee strong enough? Did she forget to water the plants? Are her dictation skills slipping? (btw...if you Google in the images for "secretary", you get a lot of pictures of women doing very non-secretarial work...NSFW!)
Why the hell is the management focused on the performance of an assistant (who actually sounds like she knows what she is doing) rather than what the heck is going on at ice level???


Game 22 - Boston wins 4-2

Steve says:

Wow...I wish I was a tire salesman in Toronto with a dealership near the ACC. With the # of blown tires in the third period that the Leafs have had this year, I'd be rich by now...and there are stil 60 games to go!
I thought they were doing good until the mid 2nd period. Thats when things started to fall apart and we couldn't get back to the original Defensive game plan.

Tukka Rask really came back to bite us in the ass tonight. Nice trade Ferguson.


Game 21 - The Battle Of Ontario - Leafs win 3-0 !

Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto wins 3-0
POST # 100

Sundin?...where did it all go?

Steve says:
ooooooooooooSNAP! what a game! The forwards came back to help the D. The D was almost always in position...only 1 major breakdown (the 3-1) but Toskala...WOW TOSKALA...bailed us out.

And at the end of the game, as if the win wasn't sweet enough, Toskala stonewalls Alfie the Clown. Alfie looked like he might either cry or take a cheapshot at somebody.

And of course when the game was over the Sens, being the sore losers they are (emphasis on loser) take a cheap shot at Sundin and punch him in the back of the head knocking his helmet off...

But we showed great composure all through the game...great patience on the Tlusty goal (nice work for a wannabe porn star). Sundin with the Sonic Boom slapper through the 5-hole.

The win was sweet. Having my brother in law over for the game and throwing it in his Sens loving face was sweet. Walking down the halls of work today with everyone giving me dirty looks in my blue and white was sweet. The change room being quiet at my sons hockey practise the next day as we donned our Leaf practise jerseys was the sweetest of all.

Great job...now..can they do it again?


I was watching this game with about a half dozen Leafs fans (and a couple Sens lovers)

What I found really telling was that even when the Leafs were slowly starting to build their lead in the third and despite some really solid play at both ends of the ice, everyone in the room was waiting for the Leafs to tank.

"Oh they're up 3-nil, but the Sens'll come back soon and take it all away"

You'll never find a bunch of people rooting harder for the Leafs to win and more convinced that they won't.

What does that say about our team this year? What does that say about our chances?


Game 20

Boston Bruins @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Boston wins 5 - 2


"Gee Chris. Why aren't you writing about the recent loss of the Leafs?"

"Well, Phantom Reader" I'm not writing about the Leafs because I have absolutely nothing to say that I haven't already mentioned in the last 19 some odd posts."


"Allow me to break it down for you. Raycroft was in net (cue furious head nodding). The defence was at its best, which is to say it had more holes in it than a colander and frankly the whole team was skating around the ice like a bunch of multi-millionares who were just there to earn there paycheques. So good on you Toronto. You've managed to live up the expectations of all your fans. Which isn't saying much these days."


a little ditty

Steve says:

At least we get a tune out of it...

Fine for Fighting


Here's the fallout regarding the Tucker/Avery scrap.

Rangers: $25,000 fine
Avery: $2,500 fine

Leafs: $10,000 fine
Tucker: $1,000 fine

So both squads got dinged. But I think, by the size of the fines, you can see where the league has decided to lay the blame.

Steve says:

oh yeah....Tucker is Blake's hero huh...
check this out

Slow News Day

Here's what I'm gonna say about Jiri Tlusty. Allowing a bunch of "risque" pictures to make there way out into the real world is stupid NOT criminal.

Let's make sure we all keep this in perspective here. Hockey players, especially young ones, will always do stupid things. Ever played in a tournament a couple kilometres from home, hanging out with a bunch of bored buddies? I guarantee you'll get up to all sorts of stupid pranks.

This is pretty tame and the only person who's hurt by it is Tlusty and, by association only, the Leafs.

Let's be grateful that he's not doing some of the stuff some recent NHLers have done.
a) Tried to kill his agent.
b) Manslaughter on the ice
c) Betting on games.
d) Getting in drunken bar brawls
e) Messing around in his marriage.

Suddenly this looks like a simple case of boys will be boys. It must be a slow news days if legitimate organizations have to paste this all over their front page.

I'm looking at you Toronto Sun.

Steve says:
I dont see what the issue is here..so a kid took pics of his willy wonka and probably sent them to his then-gf...who cares...get over your fear of nudity North America...

The only thing sad about this is that the Toronto Sun said that Tlusty was the centre of the Hockey World's attention...IMO ..hardly...seems to me the whole Hockey Hall of Fame thing is a tad bit bigger news..
in a word...meh


Game 19

Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs
Montreal win 3-2 (OT)

Steve says:


We played so well last night. Really patient passing and play making. If it wasn't for Price being so damn good last night, that game would have been a blowout.

And then McCabe happened.

How does this guy look at himself in a Leaf jersey? Who does that? In pee wee hockey they are taught to never put the puck to the middle. He could have done any number of things...thrown it in the right corner...skate in and take a shot....pass into the left corner where Sundin was WIDE open...but McCabe chose to do the one play a defence man knows to NEVER do...throw it across the middle...

Maybe he just figured he could save us all some time and elected to jump right to the Shootout portion of the evening.

Next time, don't do us any favours McCabe....

As an aside, Blake looked great and was actually passing for a change...Raycroft was pretty solid..made some decent saves including a toe save that I, along with every other viewer, thought would go in.

That's 2 points for McCabe against us...and counting...
What can I say?
Steve has pretty much taken the words out of my mouth. Every bone headed play McCabe makes further reduces the likelihood that we'll ever be able to trade him for more than a package of airline peanuts and stale flop sweat. We're already bearing the weight of his over priced contract and I can't see that changing any time soon.
The only positive as of late is that we have played a lot better since the spanking we rec'd by Ottawa...so..maybe we just bench McCabe and get some wins for a change...you know, McCabe might be ok with playing in the minors...I'm sure he can't be enjoying being the scapegoat.


Trash Talk

Apparently the whole tete a tete between Avery and Tucker the other night was because Avery had some choice words about Blake's cancer.

Genuine class.

I can see this popping up again the next time these two clubs meet.

Tucker shows Avery what happens when you talk shit to Toronto!
Steve says:
I bet Avery and Tucker get verbal warnings and that's it. Avery's agent tried to cover it up by saying that Avery made remarks about Tucker and his game...but if you saw it happen, it's pretty obvious he was talking to Blake first, and Blake was standing up to him. When Avery puts his glove on Blake, that's when Tucker stepped in and it got messy...
I like what Tucker did. You don't touch another player during the warm up and if the allegations against Avery are true (which we all know they are..let's be real here) then Avery should get a lot more than a verbal warning...but Betteman is a wuss...and that's as far as this will go...


Kubina out

Steve says:

Will we ever have a full lineup?
Kubina has re-injured his MCL...he'll be out for weeks...argh...

Game 18

New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Rangers win 3-2 (s.o.)

Steve says:

Leafs lost a close one...in a shootout...
I have never been a fan of the shootout...I know it adds tension and excitement, but the problem I have with it is that it takes away the "team" aspect of the sport.
All through minor hockey we preach "team team team" but then in the NHL, we say Team, until it comes to winning the game.
I dun..old fashioned? maybe...

Anyway, I am impressed that we came back from being down 2 @ home to tie it up...it showed good disciplined play on the part of the Leafs (except Tucker who fell for Avery's little game within the game).

Toskala played well..too bad about the loss...his record does not do his performance justice.


A mixed bag of tidings in this game. I'm loving that Toskala is the go-to guy in net now. He's far from perfect but he's got a quick little glove hand that's tough to beat.

More than once in this game Toskala kept the Leafs in it, especially in the third period and OT when the Leafs were taking penalties at extremely inoppurtune moments. Although a shout out is definetly in order for the PK unit. There were a couple of set up passes that skittered arcross the front of the crease, but overall they did a great job, challenging the puckhandler and willing to lay their bodies on the line to stop the shot.

Something that I'm noticing more and more about the Leaf's game is their stick work in the neutral zone. Top notch boys. They're making sharp, crisp passes in the neutral zone and really doing a fantastic job of carrying the puck up the ice. This is head and shoulders above last year's dump and chase mentality. Dump and chase can work, but to often you're just throwing the puck away.

A loss, but a loss with potential.


Game 17 vs Buffalo Leafs win 3-0

Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres
Toronto wins 3-0

Steve says:

Hey Buffalo...who's yer daddy?!!!
suh-weeeet game! I can't believe I am saying this but the Leafs played a near flawless defensive game!..and a lot of it had to do with McCabe...Holy frik! Even Raycroft played a great game. Nice save at very key times...something you cant usually say when describing Raycrofts play.
Maybe Tucker and McCabe saw something from up in the press box for the last little while and passed it on to the rest of the guys....oh wait ...I know what it is...
They probably said "Hey Leafs...play some frikking basic defense and we can win some games"

I loved how the 3rd checker on the forecheck stayed in the high slot all game long taking away the passing lanes, creating turnovers and...the thing I was most excited about...there were always... ALWAYS 2 defence back.

I dont care if the trap is boring hockey..
IMO, until we start piling up some wins...play that trap...
nice work...hope we can keep it up against the Rangers.

The art of the backhanded compliment

Steve says:

from mapleleafs.com

Although it may not help them become better defensively, the Leafs will be happy to get rugged forward Darcy Tucker and defenseman Bryan McCabe back on Friday.

I think it is sad that getting a veteran defence man back from injury isn't expected to help us defensively...!

someone should really proofread these things before they post them...


Wow, with a rousing endorsement like that, who WOULDN'T want to trade for McCabe.

Act now and you can get a goalie who doesn't actually stop goals (Raycroft) and a forward who hates to shoot the puck.

small revenge and full health...almost

Steve says:

Even though it doesn't help the Leaf cause any, it was nice to see the Sens get their asses handed to them by the last placed team in the North East Division, The Washington Capitals.
Ovechkin was just awesome and the Sens played like the lazy spoiled team that I like to believe they are. Finally a team was able to recognize the main Sens play of the trailing winger...someone finally caught on. I have been preaching defense against that play for a year now and finally some coach said to his wingers, "watch for that trailing winger on the Sens" and lo and behold it worked...

Tonight we have everyone back except Carlo...Paul Maurice seems to think that reuniting his PP (formerly listed in the top 5 last year before injuries) will help his team. What he doesn't seem to fully accept is that it is his defence that is letting him down...he says they are practising for full team defence...

hopefully we see that tonight...

Go Leafs!

Chris Neil is a goof..and Alfie is a clown


Game 16

Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators
Ottawa wins 5 - 1

Steve says:
I arrived ridiculously early to the rink in an attempt to avoid rush hour traffic. I still cant figure out why the Sens rink is out in the middle of nowhere...but that's another issue..
I brought my lovely wife with me who is also a Leaf fan, although I noticed some signs of her cracking under all the Sens propaganda while we were there...we'll have to work on that...

I wanted to grab some dinner, but both of the restaurants in the building served everything with meat...and I do mean everything...even the salad has chicken!...whats a vegetarian to do?...

Then the Leaf fans started arriving in groups...so many in fact that I am pretty sure we outnumbered the Sens fans in the seats. The atmosphere was pretty exciting. They put on a big show about the "Battle" of Ontario and all that...Leaf fans were very vocal upon welcoming the team during the warmup.

Then the game started and I knew something was amiss on the first play in the Sens zone...WE WERE PINCHING OUR D!!!!
"Oh no" I thought. Don't leave Toskala out to dry...yet that is precisely what they did. The Sens recognized what we were doing and made us pay every time.

Bell's first shift was awesome...he was leaving his feet on every check...just pummeling the Sens...and he kept it up on the few shifts that he got...Wellwood had some nice hands, but didn't pass the puck very well...

I don't need to go into details about the game on the ice...I'm sure you will see many replays all over TV...but what was going on in the stands was great...even when down 3-0, Leafers were still every bit as vocal as before...The heckling, the chants...all so loud and really spirited...hell, even after the game there was a Leaf fan who had a poster of Alfreddson made up to look like a clown stood on top on the stairs at the exits and got a chant going...

All that energy even after an ass whooping reminded me why I love this team so much...we just keep beleafing that one day we will rise to glory, we will take down the giants of the game and stand victorious....and it will be sweet..

Go Leafs Go!

here are some pics.

On the way to the rink, a storm was brewing...

The Leafs were outskated at every turn (please note the trailing Sens winger at the bottom of the picture...!)

Sens fans chanted "RaaaayCroooft" when Toskala got pulled

At this point the game was tied...the opening faceoff!

They looked good at warmup...lol


Ouch. They make it really hard to be a fan some days don’t they.

The Leafs rode into Ottawa last night, up against the best team in hockey right now. And the end result was a shellacking that’s become more and more familiar over the past couple of years.

It used to be that we could count on the Sens inexperience and nerves to have them drop a game (or two) whenever they came to town. These days Ottawa reserves their choking for the playoffs.

So what killed us last night? Same old story, the odd man rush. After Toskala’s stellar performance in net a couple days ago I think all of Leaf Nation could see that we’d finally settled on a starting puckstopper. Unfortunately, Toskala may not want the job. I mean would YOU want to be the guy responsible for being the last line of defense after your shoddy D has once again dropped the ball. I sure as hell wouldn’t.

Where is the defense? What is being done? If the fans can see the problems with such crystal clarity why can’t the front office? You know, if I came into the office on a daily basis and regularly failed to perform the basic tenets of my job they’d sling my arse out onto the street and rightly so. I realize that professional sports is not a desk job, but the principles remain the same.

Last night marked the return of Kyle Wellwood as well as the first appearance from Mark Bell in a Leaf Jersey. Both got solid amounts of ice time and neither one made much of a impact on the game.

The single goal scored by the Leafs? A powerplay zinger by Antropov.


Game 15

Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens
Toronto wins 3-2

Steve says:

Way to go boys...win or lose, that was an exciting game to watch! But Wins are best...:-) Friggin Toskala stood on his head ! Of course that means our D wasn't doing it's job to it's fullest potential, but all's well that ends well (insert nervous laugh here).

Kilger gets a nicely timed goal which proves that putting the puck on net is NEVER a bad play...NEVER EVER.

Sundin has had a couple of goals recently that have proved that also...

I am only a few hours away from the Leafs/Sens game on Tuesday and I hope we can forecheck hard, and not get sucked into our corners because that leaves the high slot open which is where the Sens #1 line gets 90% of their goals. They do the same play over and over again, and the best way to defend against it is to take away the passing lane...and send a heavy in to check the Ottawa player in the corner...pressure.

We cant keep up with speed or skill, so we need to use muscle plays and force our way to the net..jam in some shots...no pretty passes because Phillips and Volchenkov are too good at reading plays and intercepting which often creat 2-1 or 3-2 which will be morder for us.

and of course, stay out of the box...

Go Leafs Go! bitch slap those Sens!

Game 14

Toronto Maple Leafs at New Jersey Devils
New Jersey wins 3 - 2

Steve says:

ok.. a little late so the sting of the loss has worn of (such is the life of a Leaf fan)...i do recall not being happy with the number of penalties we took...but still liking what I saw from Toskala...


great pic

Steve says:

i cant begin to describe how not happy I am with that game...so instead, here's a funny picture..


Trade Talks at last

Steve says:
Finally there are some real trade talks happening...rumours still...but these seem to have some weight to them rather than the usual fluff that floats around the NHL....
from a rumour site...

"A possible trade between the Leafs and either the Coyotes, Ducks, or Avs. . . this deal is a big one and there are very some big names involved going both ways...I also am told that it could happen as soon as today or could be a "weekend blockbuster." This from various sources throughout the NHL. I have been completely swamped by this one since around 10 pm last night. "

So we shall see...some of the names kicked around have been McCabe (of course), Kaberle (noooo!), Doan (yesss!), Getzlaf (hell yess!), and a myriad of others...in various quantities and assorted picks...

Hopefully something good will come of this...maybe we can get Phoenix's 1st round pick somehow....maybe a 1st round in 2 years so we can get Tavares the legal way...
God no. Please. Not the Coyotes.
Their taint of failure is worse than ours.


Game 13

Washington at Toronto
Final Score: Washington wins 7 - 1

Ovechkin goes for a skate in Toronto
Steve says:

Holy hell! what is with this team and falling to shite at home?

I cant believe that Washington chased Toskala from the net!

That defense was painful to watch...again we followed the puck like it was a magnet and left the high slot open...

Our guys forgot who they should be covering...often that guy left open was Ovechkin! Who the hell leaves Ovechkin open?

Get it together boys..we know you can't win all of the games...but you should have won last nights game...
ps. I am 1 week away from the Sens/Leafs game in Ottawa that I have tickets for!

Chris says:

Seriously. Stop it.

Just stop it. Do the Leafs have a multiple personality this year or what? Or maybe the faint praise from Leaf Nation after two wins in a row combined to give them a false sense of security.

What a crap game.

On one hand I'm glad, because I have Ovechkin in my hockey pool and I pulled down a couple good points last night.

But mostly I'm disgusted. The Leafs are going to lose games like any other hockey team. But what the hell is the story with all these blowouts? Did they learn nothing from the lessons of the last two games? Was it some sort of elaborate tease?

Come one guys, get it together. You've got some of the most generous fans in the world and they'll forgive a lot. But one thing they won't let you get away with is playing hockey without a decent grasp of it's basical fundamentals.

Do better.


Games 12

Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers
Final Score: 4 -1 Leafs


There we go! That’s more like it!

We’ve won two games in a row. No matter how tenuous the claim that’s officially a strike.

I think you may see Toskala moving ever so sloooowly into the starter’s position now, if by now you mean finally. He’s had two solid starts in net now, the momentum is with him and there’s also going to be the psychological aspect. The team is starting to feel like they can win in front of Toskala and that’s huge. Like anyone else, when the team mentality is sucking (see recent uninspiring start to season) they’re going to over think the situation, play conservative hockey and generally beat themselves. When they think they can win, they’re going to play good aggressive hockey and make things happen on the ice.

Aside from a slow start on Saturday it wasn’t a particularly noteworthy game. Yes we managed to protect our two goal lead in the third period, which has been a problem as of late. But with that exception it wasn’t spectacular hockey. Rather, it was the kind of game we need to win on a nightly basis. One we where show up, get ourselves on the board and then protect the lead through smart hockey and capable defense.

In net, see above, Toskala was more than capable, shutting down the Rangers and even managing to fan the Rangers when they had a two man advantage. Goal scorers for the evening were Kubina, Antropov, Pohl and Kilger with the empty netter.

Steve says:

I thought that we finally played some good positional defensive hockey which has been missing since...well...since as long as I can recall....years even...
A win against the Rangers, one of if not THE lowest scoring team, is not super spectacular, but a winis a win and since it is 2 in a row, I'll take it and love it!


From left field...

Chris says:

In case you’re dead…ooor have been living in some sort of cave, on Mars perhaps, you’ve missed the Leafs “Big Play” yesterday.

The Leafs are chasing John Tavares and trying to get him to sign up with their Marlies farm club.

The 17 year old “phenom” is a mere five days to young to qualify for the 2008 draft. So the Leafs are offering him a chance to opt out of that draft and play for the Marlies instead.

It’s hardly written in stone, the AHL has the same age requirements as the NHL and Tavares doesn’t seem to have a burning desire to get out of his commitment with Oshawa Generals. So it would take some rule bending and a little more incentive for him to sign on.

But even though it’s a slight possibility. It’s a possibility nonetheless.

Honestly, it’s nice to see the Leafs and JFJ think outside the box and try something like this. It may not work, they may fall flat on their faces, but just the fact that they’re out there knocking on doors and trying to create some opportunities shows that maybe they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make themselves a better team.

Good for you. What took you so long?

Game 11

Steve says:
...And help they did! Nice job by Tlusty to get his first 2 goals :40 apart in his first NHL game...keep it up!

BUT the most important factor of last nights game is that our D stayed at home...no pinching except when totally safe to do so...we dropped our shots against from the average 45/50 per game down to 25! Toskala can handle that every night...

As for the whole JT thing, (in case you don't know, JFJ has made an offer to John Tavares from the Oshawa Generals to come and play for the Marlies) I don't know if JFJ can make it work...but it is an act of desperation....and sometimes desperation results in miracles.
Chris says:

Some good news out of Leafdom for a change.

Now that’s the game we’ve been waiting to see.

At only 19 years of age Jiri Tlusty broke into the NHL in a big way last night, scoring twice, a mere 35 seconds apart, to lead our boys in a romp over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

What’s that Sidney Crosby? Suck it?

I think maybe he will.

Vulgarity aside it was a hell of a game last night. The third period, traditionally a dying ground for this Leafs this season, became a scoring exhibition of sorts. Besides Tlusty’s pair, the Leafs other scorers for the evening were Steen, Devereaux and Kaberle.

Maurice needed to shake things up. We’re scoring lots of goals but our defense has been letting games that we have in the bag slip away from us. When you’re struggling as badly as we are right now, there are worse strategies then calling up a couple of hungry young players to take a crack at the big time. Well, for one game at least, the gamble has paid off.

This is as it should be. No one’s place in the roster is secure. You need to earn, every night, the right to step onto that ice.

Much like last year we seem to have been bitten by the injury bug again, besides Wellwood and Colaiacovo recent additions to the list include McCabe and Tucker. Speaking of which, whatever happened to Wellwood and Colaiacovo? The last time I heard both players were on the mend and mere days away from being back in the lineup. Yet so far we’ve seen nothing. What gives? News on this subject from the front office has dried up and I haven’t the foggiest idea of what their status is.


Leafs say "help us" to Tlusty and Kronwall

Steve says:
I like bringing Kronwall up cuz we need some actual desire on our blueline and Kronwall will bring that cuz he wants to play in the big leagues...

The marlies are undefeated in regulation (4-0-1) and a large part of that is...(deep breath) defence!

Yes Leaf Nation...you can breathe a little easier because the future of our D actually has some bright spots.

One of the most promising stats that our mini-Leafs have in their favour is that when they are leading after the 2nd period, they are 4-0-0!

there is hope...

The O is doing their job....

Steve says:

In case any of you don't think the Leafs have enough offense to win take a look at this...(it also highlights the fact that it is our D that is letting us down)

Chris says:

Antropov? Can you believe it?

What I like best about the whole Antropov scenario is how reasonable his price tag is. Under 2 mill a season.

True Passion

Steve says:
I just saw again last night why I am a Leaf fan... and no...I don't mean the game. In my son's locker room, as you can imagine, there are more Sens fans than Leaf fans (being in Ottawa and all). But there are 2 guys who cheer on the blue and white.
At the beginning of the season, only Nick was brave enough to wear the Leaf jersey...then another kid did a week ago, then yesterday there were 3 of us...even though we are getting our asses handed to us by backup goalies, the Leaf passion was becoming stronger within the locker room...I heard other kids say that they didn't really think the Leafs should be doing as badly as they have been, and that they think the Leafs will turn it around before this season is done. Then on the shooting drills, the kids wearing Leafs jerseys scored the most goals. On the Defensive drills, the Leaf kids were poke checking and clearing the zones like pros.
Maybe there is something to cheering for the underdog. Seeing a team that is awful turn things around and beat some much "better" teams is way more rewarding than jumping on the bandwagon of whatever team is hot right now. That's what bugs me about Sens fans. Once the Send start sucking in about 2 years due to injuries and whatnot, you will see the Sens fans jumping ship faster than you can say "Iceberg".
But Leaf Nation will still be intact and we will still be bleeding blue and white...one Leaf kid at a time!

Game 10

Chris says:

So the Leafers lost a game to the powerhouse Atlanta Thrashers.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t say that with a straight face either.

Well, somebody has to lose to the last place team, it might as well be us. The good news here is all in the stats, three assists by Blake, a goal and two assists by Sundin and some solid goal tending by Toskala. We also managed to slink away with a single point, thanks to Poni’s third period heroics.

But this stuff is merely the icing on the cake. Leaf fans hunger for a real meal. To see their squad go out there and dominate instead of half-assedly relying on the big guns. Nobody makes the playoffs by hoarding single points from OT losses.

Unfortunately the cushy home stand is over now. We’ve got a six game road sched coming up. Maybe a little adversity will toughen this team up. Maybe what we need is the laughter and jeers from other fans as their teams sharpen their sticks for an easy W. Maybe we need to stop telling everyone we can play good hockey and start actually doing it.



Call Up

Chris says:

The Leafs have called up Anton Stralman to start in tonights game vs. Atlanta. With a blue line plagued with holes this is the Leaf version of throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks.

While we're not exactly injury free right now, we are going into a game where the opposing team is suffering a couple key injuries to their own line up.

This is put up or shut up time.

Steve says:

ANOTHER brutal loss...man this is getting rough. I think for the next game we should put Sundin and Blake along the penguins blue line, and then everyone else hang back in our zone to help on D...
just brutal...how do you lose against the worst team in the league, when they don't even have a coach....wasn't this the team that just a few weeks ago gave the Eastern Conference champs a run for their money?


Injury Report

Chris says:

I'll take a knee to the groin for a thousand please Alex.

Tucker is out indefinetly from undefined ligament damage in his right knee. So that doesn't tell you much, but really it's all you need to know. Ligament damage is never good and it almost always means a long time on the bench.

This is not good news. Tucker may not post the highest numbers but he provides a lot of heart and soul to this team. With our unessecary and ongoing goalie baggage, and our continuing lapses at defence, I think it might be time to jettison one of goaltenders and fish around for a Tucker replacement if it looks like he'll have to ride the pine for any length of time.

Look at it like found money. Personally, I feel okay staying with Toskala.


Game 9

Steve says:


Chris says:

WTF was that? Ever been so mad at what's happening during a game that you've chucked a remote control at the television? My only consolation is that Raycroft wouldn't have been able to stop that either.

So. Another meltdown for the Leafs. The first two periods were great. Strong, consistent performances from the all the Leafs. We brought it right to the front door of the Chicago Blackhawks and the results were on the board. Up 3-1 by the top of the third.

But even as early as five minutes remaining at the bottom of the second the Leafs were showing signs of self destruction. It was a seemingly endless string of penalites that started it all.

Hooking, tripping, delay of game, apparently we were trying to run the entire gamut of the NHL penalty book. After starting the third with two men down it looked as if we were going to escape the glut of penalities unscathed.

Well, in the end, that wasn't the case. Andrei Zyuzin snapped a goal past Raycroft at 1:04 in the third period and the Leafs were done. Their mental focus was shot to hell and the Blackhawks proceeded to run up the score on them. In the end all the Leafs were able to do was score one more goal.

If they aren't hanging their heads in shame today they should be. But in all likelihood, would you hang your head in shame when you've got millions of dollars to make the pesky pain go away? I thought not.

It's one thing to loose a tightly fought match, but it's quite another to lose a game that you so neatly had in your hands.


Game 8

Chris says:

So, I really enjoyed watching last night’s game on Leafs TV when…

Wait a minute, I still don’t have LEAFS TV!!!!

That’s right, Steve is still not living up to his end of the bargain from the Great Playoff Bet of 2007, a fact that I became very aware of last night when I wasn’t able to tune into the game. It must be because L-TV is so expensive, I mean at 2.50 a month Steve is gonna have to cut down on his never-ending stream of morning latt├ęs.

So, here’s what the newspaper tells me this morning.

A FanTAStic come from behind win from our boys in blue. Down 2-nil the Leafs come came back to win it by a score of 3-2. The Leafs were rough and aggressive, knocking around the Panthers a bit.

Goal scorers for the night were Jason Blake, Bryan McCabe (insert jaw drop here) and Nik Antropov, with 28 seconds to go in the third. Other notable mentions are Captain Mats Sundin with two assists and some pretty tight puck stopping by Toskala. All in all, it may not have been a pretty win, but one we’ll take nonetheless.

Hey, we’re Leafs fans, we’ve got pride but not THAT much pride.