I'm always bitching about the Maple Leafs' perplexing inability to kill penalties, so let me be the first to raise a glass to their efforts when down a man last night. Eight for eight on the penalty kill, my friends. Outstanding.
I guess three days of practice really helped. Who knew, eh Allen Iverson?
The Leafs ended up on the wrong end of the score, losing 1-0 in a shootout, but I'm not going to make like most of the "Negative Nancy's" out there, who will tell you how bad the Leafs were last night and how the tanking of the season is off to a fine start (Lordosis at PPP, I'm looking right at you, big daddy). In the words of my homegirl Wrap Around Curl, "fuck that noise."
Vesa Toskala was sublime last night. What an effort, making 32 saves, a number of them of the difficult variety. When he's on his game he really is one of the top goalies in the league. He did get some help from his goal posts, but all the good goalies do. As a goalie, and a good one I might add, I speak from experience. My posts and I, we're tight. We help each other out. It's a give and take relationship, and I'm sure it's the same between Vesa and his posts. I actually talk to mine. We exchange pleasantries. I'm curious as to whether Vesa does the same.
Here's some deep thoughts:
- I don't know about you, but I'm really starting to hate Stephen Valiquette. Mother fucker is like nine feet tall.
- Jonas Frogren is a shot-blocking machine. I'm loving his passion.
- Poor Marc Staal got his ass kicked by Jamal Mayers. Attaboy Mayers. Pick on someone you know you can deal with. Hollweg, you taking notes, jackass?
- Matt Stajan's out of the dog house. But he still sucks. I know, he responded to his press box banishment and played better. My point is, he still sucks.
- If Ponikarovsky takes another lame hooking penalty I think Ron Wilson is going to bench him. And what's with all the Poni hate all over the place? You people are all crazy.
- Antropov and Grabs have got to start scoring.
- Nikolai Kulemin is a breakaway machine. I wonder how many more times he can go to the well and use the same move.
- I hate shootouts.
- Everyone hates Jason Blake. Except me.
- Toronto was 33-24 on the faceoffs last night. Practice man, we talking about practice.
- Seriously, I hate shootouts.
- Niklas Hagman is quickly becoming one of my new favourite Leafs.
Luke Schenn played a shade under 26 minutes last night, and blocked a number of shots. He was out there on the penalty kill and he was out there in the last minute of play. You name the situation, he can play in it. Fuck it, let's keep him. The future is now, and I'm pretty sure this guy isn't going to be too pleased about it.
The Leafs went into a tough building against the NHL's best team, killed eight penalties, shut out their high-scoring opposition, and came out with a point. I'll take it.
Some will say the Leafs have won only one game out of their first four. Not me. I say we've only lost one out of four in regulation time, against some pretty formidable competition.