December 10, 2006


The Leafs' losing streak has reached an unfortunate seven games. Tonight wasn't even much of a game. 5-1 Detroit, and it was never really close.

The Leafs have, along the course of this streak, become a very undisciplined hockey club. They're killing themselves. Ten power plays for Atlanta on Tuesday, and a season-high 14 power plays for Detroit tonight. Detroit was 5 for 14 on the PP tonight, and their power play has been terrible all season. 21 of their 31 shots on goal came on the power play. All their goals came on the power play. As you can see, Detroit's power play was the integral part of tonight's game, and it got them 2 points. There's just not much a team can do when they are short-handed that often in a game. And against a skilled team like Detroit? It'll cost you. Say goodnight.

Some of the penalties were justified, but as usual, some weren't. The interference call on Kaberle was bogus, as was Sundin's first hooking penalty. It's hard enough to beat the Red Wings, but it seems like these days the team is also playing against the refs. During a losing streak everything is magnified, and I'm the first to admit that the Leafs have been playing poorly, but the officiating really hasn't been helpful in the last little while. I'm not talking about the lazy penalties that guys like Kilger are taking - blatant interference and tripping calls. I'm talking about Sundin just using his stick to swipe at the puck on the ice, and being called for a hook. It's ridiculous. That's one thing I don't like about the "new NHL." It seems like you can't touch a player with your stick anymore, because the refs are so trigger happy. Some games are just too power play heavy. It makes the game boring and really effects the flow of the game, and flow is what hockey is all about.

Tampa Bay's up next Tuesday night. I believe this team has been through enough, and will win agianst the Lightning. This just can't continue for much longer. The bounces are bound to go our way one night, and I'm calling Tuesday. The Leafs didn't play extremely poorly tonight. To look on the bright side, they didn't give up a goal 5-on-5. I know, I'm stretching it here, but it's all I have to work with.

Raycroft was pulled afer the 2nd period tonight. I thought it was a decent call, although I'll never blame a goalie for giving up a power play goal. It's difficult out there, and he faced a couple of situations when the Leafs were down two men. But at the end of the day, Raycroft's goals against average is now above three goals a game, and his save percentage is now below 90%. Sobering statistics. One's that show he's simply not getting the job done, although each goaltender is partly a product of those in front of him.

I don't know anymore. Maybe the streak won't end on Tuesday. I just don't think it can last much longer. The Leafs aren't this bad. I continue to shake my head. Now I'm just starting to laugh it off, as if to say that I am simply out of solutions. But the laughter is only a front. I am deeply concerned. I wonder what JFJ is thinking. I wonder if he's got any trade talks going on. I think it's pretty clear to everyone that the Leafs need some help.

Goodnight, Toronto...