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 lattés.

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.


busy day off

Steve says:

Hartly got fired in Atlanta. Talk of Pat Quinn or Pat Burns taking his place.
Poni expected back on #1 Line with Sundin and Blake on Thursday.
McCabe getting roasted by hockey media.
Leafs spend entire day working defensive zone coverage drills.
Flames lose a 4 goal lead and lose the game in shootout.


Chris says:

The rumour mill has it that Wellwood could be making his first appearance of the season on Saturday. I have yet to be wowwed by Wellwood, but that's primarily because he's injured so often.

Colaiacovo is apparently on the mend as well.


The Return of Bell

Steve says:
Not only is it super frikkin cool that I have tickets for the game on Nov. 6th with the Leafs returning to Ottawa to avenge their losses..but it also marks the return of one MARK BELL!

Hopefully he will bring some actual skill and power to this lackluster D of ours!
Go Leafs!

Chris says:

Really? Mark Bell? That's who you're tagging as the Great White Hope of the Leafs?

Did we reach the bottom of the barrell so soon?

In an unrelated item I too will be in Ottawa on November 6th. But sadly it won't be for the game.

Game 7

Steve says:

Raycroft was great.
Gamache was great.
McCabe was McCabe.
So we lost.
We need to send him away...far far away...and bring up some hungry youth who actually want to help us win. McCabe (and the defensive play as a whole) was so terrible that it staggered my mind last night.
No goalie can face 40-45 shots every night and be expected to win. No Goalie could...not Luongo, not Gerber, not Brodeur...no one...
we need defence!
we need defence!
(continue repeating until blue in the face)

Chris says:

There was a time when I was pretty stoked to have B-Mc on our D corps. Of course, a lot of that positive karma was pre-lockout.

Back then McCabe had a hell of a slapshot from the blue line and was dumping forwards on their collective asses faster than you could say "pay raise". But then the lockout came along. Suddenly the only the thing the "can-opener" was good for was two minutes in the penalty box. And the once vaunted slap shot? Not as effective when the other team knows its coming and sets up their D accordingly.

It was enough to get McCabe 5 years, 29 million dollars and absolutely no-trades without his say so. If only the ink had time to dry before he started stinking up the joint. I guess its hard to care about hockey when you're fornicating in a big pile of cash every night.

Here's the bottom line. McCabe is our highest paid player and as such he either needs to play like it, get benched or be traded. And my money's on the trade. We need to take what we can get for this guy and run. Look, I knock around a couple of sports for fun and I've made more than my share of mistakes on the field. So I know that perfection just isn't possible. But in the NHL there is no excuse for shoveling the puck into your own net. At this level of play you will be judged for each and every mistake you make, fairly or not. He's either incomptenent or he just doesn't care anymore.

I suspect it's a bit of both.

For whatever reason, McCabe's early career promises have ripened into a smelly pile of rotten crap. Maybe he just can't take the pressure of playing hockey under the microscope of such a hockey mad town. Whatever the reason, I've run out of patience and out of excuses.

Bryan McCabe your time here is done.


Game 6

Chris Says:

Sid the Kid broke his personal scoring draught, by scoring a pair of goals on us, please pardon my surprised face, which make all the difference when the score ends up being 6 – 4.

An aside, will Sidney Crosby get saddled with this nickname for the rest of his life? Or will he grow out of it? A note to Sidney, “The Great One” has been taken.

Again our Defense was porous at best and it seems like there’s not going to be much hope for these 07-08 Leafs if they can’t stop the other team from scoring. Even the greatest goaltender in the world is only as good as his defenders. What do you think we could get for McCabe right now? A six pack and a half off coupon at McDonald’s? Right now, if it were me, I’d settle for just dropping his salary.

Next up Buffalo, and if you've been following that team's games lately you'll see that we're in for a rough one.

Steve says:
Mcabe is killing us. It's as simple as that. With his defensive issues leading the way, our goaltenders are getting killed out there. It's too bad because Toskala and Raycroft are both actually playing really well...but have nothing to show for it.


Game 5

Steve says:
Sundin Sundin Sundin!

Well he finally did it. Mats Sundin is the top goal scorer and point getter of any Maple Leaf Ever!

Good on ya Mats!

And, as the gracious leader that he is, he immediately thanked the fans for their help along the way.

There will be many sites praising Sundin for all of his accomplishments so I am sure if you want more Sundin stats you can Google them easily enough. I want to talk about the game itself.

The loss to Carolina was exactly what the Leafs needed to kick them in the ass. They have been playing (for the most part) slightly above mediocre hockey and squeaking out wins here and there. Then a team like Carolina comes to town and say hey Leafs, suck on this!

The team could have gone one of 2 directions after the loss to the Hurricanes...suck more or kick some ass....I'm glad they chose the latter.
Everything was really firing for the buds. they cut back on penalties (still more than I would have liked, but getting better), the defencemen actually started to hit. They called up some speed in Gamache (who I thought should have made the opening roster) and I gotta say that Raycroft looked pretty sharp.
The thing that made Raycroft look sharp is that our defencemen cleared the front of the net and they cleared away rebounds for a change. Most goalies in the NHL can stop what they see. It's the screened shots and the rebounds that get behind them. So when our defencemen actually do their jobs, even Raycroft looks good!
If they can keep up that style of hitting defence and solid rebound clearing, our goalie tandem will take us a long way!

Go Leafs!
Chris says:
So they gave Mats Sundin all three stars last night.

Not too shabby. Scratch that. It was freaking amazing.

In an 8-1 slaughter of the Islanders Sundin finally found that elusive point number 917 to sneak past Sittler as the Leaf’s all time point leader.

Sundin is slowly but surely winding up his career. Which means the opportunities for him to hoist a cup over his head are starting to shrink. Is this the team that can help turn it all that around for him? My gut reaction says no. Essentially we’re the same team as last year, good, but not good enough. The Leafs made a smart upgrade upfront landing Blake but what they really need is another high level sniper and a consistently solid puckstopper. Both of which have eluded this club for the last couple of seasons.

But it’s a long season and we’re barely out of the gate here. And while it’s nice to get in a drubbing like that every now and again, that accomplishment is diminished slightly by the fact that the Leafs were on the receiving end of a similar pounding only two nights earlier.

With such a demanding schedule ahead of them the trick to making it into the playoffs is going to be consistency, and unfortunately, on that front we’ve been found lacking.

So while it’s important to enjoy this milestone while we can, our number one focus has to be on making sure that we’re bringing our A-game to the ice, week in and week out.


Poni sits

Steve says:

Poni is sitting out tonights game after running into Kilger during practise.

Chris says:
Apparently yesterday saw a fairly spirited practice as the team tried to work of the stink of failure from the Carolina game, which is how Pony got hurt.
Keep working boys.

Late start...?

Steve says:

There is a high possibility to a late start to next season. The NHL is looking hard at pushing back the start date for the 08-09 season in order to avoid some American sports TV conflicts such as the World Series in baseball.

This really sucks IMO because once again we are altering our sport to better suit the Americans. I think we (being the NHL) have been plugging away at the southern states long enough for even a blind person to see that hockey is not going to become the "next big thing" down there.

Why the NHL is beating a dead horse at the expense of all the other teams has me dumbfounded.

If you put a team in Winnipeg tomorrow, you would have sold out games every night.

If you put a team in Hamilton (like Balsille offered to do with a 50mil bonus to boot) you would have sold out games every night.

Why keep putting teams into markets where the best you can really expect is between 5-7000 for attendance?

Just doesn't add up.
Chris says:
Just more of the same B.S. from Betteman and company. Apparently the fact that League and the Sport is a cherished Canadian institution doesn't mean crap to them.
Didn't the Sens playoff schedule get severely screwed around last year because of a NASCAR race or something? Who wants to watch playoff hockey in the afternoon.
What really pisses me off isn't that the League seems to have forgotten Canada, its that they go the extra mile to consistently spit in our faces. The death of the Hamilton Blackberries being the perfect example.
If you want to build the brand, try putting hockey clubs in cities, Canadian cities, where the fans actually want to show up.
Put a team in Hamilton, Winnipeg, Quebec City or even on the East Coast. And if the current business model doesn't support that structure, trying paying the players less. Because a sucessful NHL benefits everyone. There's nothing I hate more than watching some game in the grapefruit belt and looking at an arena that's only half full. That's just depressing.
These guys have blinders on and they're systematically ignoring the easy saves in pursuit of a couple American billionares and a broadcast contract.
How about pursuing the fans instead.


Game 4

Chris says:

A brief analysis of last night’s 7 - 1 loss against the Hurricanes.

“Oh hey Chris, what are you doing?”

“Punching myself in the gut repeatedly.”


“Because it hurts less than watching the Leafs play”

If you happened to miss last night’s work shop on how to score goals, you didn’t miss much. In fact, you didn’t miss anything at all. Actually, I stand corrected, Sundin did tie Sittler for career points at 916. Not like that makes up for the whole sordid affair. It's time to sit back and let the excuses fly.

Steve says:
OUCH! Poor Vesa. He must be wondering "what the hell am I doing here?". I remember a Habs game where they were playing so poorly that Patrick Roy took the puck from behind his net and stick handled all the way out past 3 players to past the red line as his way of telling his team, "look, if I can do it, with all these pads and nobody to pass to, why cant you guys?"
He got a penalty because there is some rule that says Goalies cant go beyond the centre ice (stupid rule btw), but it woke the Habs up.
Maybe Vesa needs to do something like that.
Anyways, I really don't blame Vesa for last night. Yes it is bad when a goalie lets in 7 goals, but in his defence, here is a quick rundown of the goals:
Goal #1 - this one is partially Vesa's fault, he went down to early (as he appears to do regularly) but also, Justin Williams is allowed to walk in form the half boards and get a clear shot...that should never happen...but it does all the time, cuz our D guys are afraid to hit.
Goal #2 - again, no help by the D to clear a rebound
Goal #3 - Toronto D is killing a penalty,...poorly
Goal #4 - if you watch the replay, Boyd Devereaux actually watches the Carolina player skate past and into the zone with the puck before snapping out of his daydream to try and chase him down, but by then it is too late and the puck is in the back of the net. Would have been nice for Vesa to stop this one.
Goal #5 - another bad PK
Goal #6 - another bad PK (starting to sense a theme here...penalties = goals against)
Goal #7 - this one hurt the most IMO. Kilger simply watches as Staal skates in, goes past him, drives to the net and stuffs it not once, not twice, but 3 times on the short side. Kilger doesn't touch Staal once! NOT ONCE!
It's called defence you lazy bastards! hit them as they come into your zone! They cant shoot or pass when they are flat on their ass!
Last night Vesa stood on his head trying to give us a chance, but when my 11 year old sons team plays better D that the Leafs, what chance did they have?
better pick up your socks boys or nights like that will happen again and again.
ps. Did you see McCabe trip over his own net, under no pressure by Carolina...man,...that guy is starting to really suck lately...oh...and hey Steen...try opening your eyes when searching for the puck...!


Game 3

Steve says:

We got win #1 under our belt! It was a great effort by all of the buds to come back from being down 3-1.

Once again the refs made some pretty bad calls on both sides including one on Sundin in Overtime, and then right after we killed that off, one on the habs...but that last one worked in our favour so I won't complain too loudly.

Once again Toskala made some huge saves to keep us in it. Now if only we didn't have to score 4 goals to win a game...

I am glad that Blake is such a strong person to be able to to play as well as he has knowing that he has a rare form of cancer. Hopefully he is telling the truth about his ability to continue playing. I hope he recovers and that his family doesn't need to suffer.

Good job boys...now lets keep the train a rollin'!

Go Leafs!

Chris Says:

I have a confession to make. I was watching this game at a restaurant in Montreal when I should have been paying attention to my lovely and gorgeous fiancé who was sitting at the table with me.

Oh, by the way, Steve, I’m going to need a groomsman. Save the date.

Anyway, moving on. This was a great game. It was good to see the boys in blue battle back after getting down two goals. Toskala was sharp and the defense wasn’t totally porous. But in the third period Toskala was leaving the net a lot to field the puck on the boards and that was making me nervous. On more than one occasion a Habs player could have easily given him a well placed nudge. Raycroft has the same habit and it’s that kind of wanderlust that could see a quick goal scored on an undefended T.O. net.

Stay between the pipes boys and if you’re gonna leave the safety of the crease, at least be smart about it and don’t chase after every puck skidding across the ice like an over anxious retriever.

Three assists from Sundin and that ain’t shabby. But I want to see the old man scoring goals. He may not have m(any) more seasons left in him and I’d like to see him run up his stats while he still can.

And finally, Jason Blake. For those of you still unaware Blake was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The good news is apparently CML is highly treatable so Blake’s prognosis is positive. Having gone through my own cancer scare with my mother this year I know how heavy this kind of stuff can be. I wish him all the best and I hope that he comes through this thing in flying colours.


Game 2

Steve says:
First, the good stuff.

Ok, on with the rest...

Steve's Report Card
Game 2

Offense - C

Defence - D

Goaltending - B

Overall, it was more of the same. More Penalties. More Defensive breakdowns.
I didn't think that Blake-Sundin-Antro really gelled too well last night. But Toskala was really good. It was nice to see our goalie making a few great stops at key times to keep us in the game. It must be frustrating for him to make all those stops and then still lose because of the 10 penalties we took against one of the most offensive teams in the league. On top of that, we totally failed to make anything of the chance we got on the powerplay (I don't think we can call ours, a "power"play). At one point we had an extra man for 4 minutes. and what happened? Nothing, barely even a scoring chance.

I do have a bone to pick with the reffing in the league however. This is not because of the penalties. Don't worry I'm not some guy who whines when his team loses that the refs were paid or anything stupid like that. No, this is because of inconsistency from one game to the next depending on which ref you get. The Blake goal which was disallowed due to Goaltender interference was a correct call. As much as I didn't like it, it was the correct call to make (although my Leafer side says that I am sure Blake did everything he could to get out of the way). My issue with it is the fact that 20 minutes later in a different game, Phoenix scored a goal and they had players literally sitting on the Blues goalie. How does that goal count but the Blake one not?

Inconsistency from ref to ref has plagued this game for decades. There needs to be a standard set and met each and every night from every ref so that the players know each night what they can and can not do.
Go Leafs...take this same game (minus the penalties) to Montreal (1-0-0, 6th overall) and kick their asses!


Game 1

Steve's Report Card
Game 1
Offense - B
Defence - D
Goaltending - C

I felt that our Sundin-Blake-Antro line was fantastic, especially when you consider that it was only their 3rd time playing together as a line. Good things to come from them. Lines 2 and 3 were average, generating some chance. Line 4 was ineffective. Not as much hitting as I would have expected.

Defensively I thought it was a sideshow. I was screaming at my TV for our D to hit guys like Heatly, and Alfredsson. They really only showed up for the 2nd half of the 2nd period. Much improvement to be made, but I think Paul Maurice can do it.

Goaltending, Raycroft was basically the same as last year. Andrew made some good saves (like stopping Alfredsson on the breakaway, atta boy Andrew), but also let in some weak ones, which is pretty much the same story as last season. This is a game where, if he had made a couple of key saves, I would now be praising his off season training or something like that. But it looks like he took off his skates, went south, got married, came back and put his skates back on.
Hopefully Toskala is no longer suffering from media-itis.

Final comments - Overall I am happy with the Leafs performance. When playing the supposed 2nd best team in the NHL, the buds looked pretty damn good.

Go Leafs Go.
Chris says:
Steve already kinda said it all didn't he.
Blake-Sundin-Antropov? That's a line I can see good things from. Even if that one goal did go off the skate, our boys were in place and the timing is right. We can only get better there.
Defence. I'm sorry, I didn't see any defence. I DID see a lot of scoring on Raycroft. But that's nothing new. None of it looked like Defence however.
So. We solider on. But we'll get an opp to match up against them soon enough. Hopefully this time the outher come will be a little more in our favour.


Steve says:
I forgot to mention this before...
The bluejackets have put Peca on injured reserve list...He missed all pre-season game due to groin strain...http://bluejackets.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=338932

Chris says:

He'll be back.



all the 0's go away in a few hours...but why is Toronto in 11th place when we all have 0's?


Steve says:

Chris says:
You fuck hole. How'd you swing that?
Steve says:
my work has inter office want-ads and this one lady bought a bunch of tickets, then her husband bought tickets for the same nights (ha!) so she is selling them cheap-ish $125 for the pair... I checked online and the best left at the 300 level is $160so that is gonna freakin' ROCK!!!! what do you think of the goalie controversy going on right now?
Chris says:
Put in Raycroft until he pooches a game, then put in Toskala until he does the same. You wanna play, show it.
Steve says:
lots of money to pay a guy to ride the pines!
Chris says:
Well fuck yah. Ideally I'd trade somebody. But do you see that happening anytime soon?Obviously they want to kick the tires on both of them and hope one of the two stands out.But in the meantime, it'll always be a guessing game.
Steve says:
funny how Maurice wouldn't say who was playing, but Raycroft did... and then Toskala looked upset... makes me wonder if it is PM playing games or Raycroft trying to sneak in and pressure PM to put him in
Chris says:
Raycroft got the nod according to the Star. I don't think Mo would play games...but I'm not sure.
Steve says:
normally he doesn't... but shit is going on... think he is being jerked around from above
Chris says:
Well, that's always the problem isn't.
It's like having your manager stand over your shoulder while you're at the computer. Only they're the ones doing the typing.
Steve says:
Here are just a few images to remind you how I feel about the Sens... Go Leafs Go!

that last on is the best!

the difference in coverage

Steve says:
I don't miss a lot of things about the actual city of Toronto. Don't get me wrong...it's fun and everything...but I prefer the Ottawa climate and temperament...BUT ..one thing I do miss is the coverage of hockey. Even thought Ottawa went to the final last season, this is the coverage we get on game day...

But in the Toronto paper...here's what ya get on game day even after we have missed they playoffs for 2 years in a row...

Oh well....I guess if the Ottawa paper had more it would probably make me mad too...can't win i guess.

Go Leafs Go!

Chris says:

That's right ladies and gentleman, boys and girls of all ages. We're officially in go mode for another season of Leaf's hockey.

Steve and I will be here tomorrow to provide you with our shockingly partisan and completely shallow coverage of any and all games. Expect a never ending series of detailed hockey conversations including...

"Why do we pay McCabe so much?"

"Raycroft; just what is up with his glove hand?"

"Who will win the battle of the Leaf Goalies?"

"Seriously, Ottawa, we just know you're going to choke again..."

...and many, many more.

So join us as Hockey Talk goes live for the first time to bring you, the fans...so really just Steve and I...exactly what you want.

The Toronto Maple Leafs


hours...tick tock tick tock

Steve says:

We are mere hours away from the drop of the puck...

I can feel the tension in the air in Ottawa...oh wait..never mind...those are just my nerves. Ottawa fans think that game 1 is already in the bag and everyone of them is walking around with an air of supreme smugness which I would love to see wiped from their dirty crybaby faces.

I really hope Tucker puts the hurt to Alfredsson. I hope Sundin gets a hat trick. I hope Blake gets a wraparound and tucks it under Gerber(isn't that a baby food company...how fitting).

I hope Raycroft gets his shit together and finally uses his glove....I don't think Toskala will be in nets on Wednesday.

We need it now almost as much as we did at the end of last season folks...

let me hear you

Go Leafs Go

Go Leafs Go

Chris says:
I've been slammed with my new job lately so I haven't had time to troll the net and see what is going on in the center of the Hockey Universe. But it's always nice to see the Blue and White start another year of hockey. We haven't been great in the pre-season so far, very much like a team trying desperately to get back in the swing of things.
I feel good. I think that if we can keep our top players healthy that we'll take a lot more of those close games that we let slip through our fingers.
I think Steve said it best.
Go Leafs Go!


a sad quote...Elisha Watch '07

Steve says:

I found this quote from EC in regards to nude scenes and Playboy....warning, it is not a happy quote....

“I wouldn’t cancel out a nude scene but, right now, with my life and my career, I don’t feel the need to do that. I don’t feel it’s necessary. “I’ve been doing fine finding roles that don’t need to have full-frontal nudity in them. There have been points where we’ve had to use body doubles, and, obviously, as I get older, the roles get more mature. “I never shy away from saying, ‘OK guys, we can do this; let’s just use a double.’ I feel I give a lot to the public and there’s a few things in my life right now that I’d like to keep to myself - my breasts being one of them.

it's a terrible Monday...

Leafs Nation is just a bit worried

Steve says:

so...here are my notes for the last game against Detroit

first of all...we had the Marlies out there..so don't get all freaked...but I am a bit concerned because the errors that were made, were not made by the young uns so much as the team as a whole....

goal #1 - what the heck was Vesa thinking coming out of the net when there were 3 red players deep in the Toronto zone?

goal #2 - Vesa makes a good save but lets out a big rebound which Ian White does nothing with in terms of defending and Detroit puts it in...I dont blame Vesa for that one...Ian White was just standing there

goal #3 - another rebound, another non play by the Leaf D man. White and Coli are both to blame...they were killing a penalty, but it was weak PK indeed

goal #4 - i cant believe Vesa lets that in...routine shot should have been a routine save.

Battaglia looked really good out there...had a lot of presence which is missing from the blue and white...
Chris says:
I had to fight the urge to pick up a pair scalped tickets to this event. S and I were meeting friends at a Jays game and we had to walk by a looooong line of scalpers just to get there. So unfortunately I won’t be able to offer up a first hand POV to this game. However, a buddy of mine wasn’t above flaunting his seats to me over drinks the night before.

When I quizzed him about the game after the fact he wasn’t able to give me the details of who scored and who was in net. BUT, he did remember that they asked fans to stay behind after the fact to be extras in the new upcoming Mike Myers’ film being shot here in Toronto, Love Guru. He’s Australian so he can be forgiven for his faulty hockey memory. As an aside, I got a sneak peek at the Love Guru script, it’s going to be hilarious and a nice shot in the arm for Leaf fans.

Here’s all you need to know about the game.

Detroit 4. Toronto 0.

And Toskala was puckstopping, in theory anyway. I forget, how much are we paying to have two goaltenders who can’t keep the puck out of the back of the net?

Postscript: Downie got a twenty game suspension, when and if he makes it to the big leagues. Not long enough IMO.