October 18, 2008

Deep Thoughts Vol. 10: Leafs & Rangers Edition

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.


Lordosis said...

Once again, I'm not for "tanking" in any sort of sense, where "tanking" means losing games on purpose. What I AM for, is a Stanley Cup, and I believe the best way to get there is a proper (and patient) rebuild. So far this season, I've liked for the most part what I've seen (to be fair, I missed the Habs/Leafs game). Good work ethics, sound defensive play, etc. However, I've also noticed a lack of offensive ability (which is no surprise to any of us). I do not see this as a playoff team, and if you aren't in the playoffs, you wanna be far far away from them, for the better draft pick. Worst place we can be (and where we've found ourselves lately) is that 9th/10th spot, "only" a few points out, but still sacrifising the future to make that push. I mean, a 2nd round draft pick for Yannick Perrault? Are you kidding me? All I want is the team to improve, put in an honest effort each and every night, and build through youth/draft/patience. Each victory, be it moral or actual, gets people thinking in a way they never should. One of the problems with Leaf Nation (and maybe all nations, I don't know) is that the highs are too high and the lows are too low. All I ask is you don't lose perspective of the end goal, a Cup, and to me, the best way to do that is gonna take a few years of rebuilding. And with that rebuilding, yes, comes trading of assets (see Kaberle, Tomas; Toskala, Vesa; Kubina, Pavel; etc). Now, I don't know the best time to trade them, but I DO know that historically the Leafs have had a hard time trading assets when they've peaked, instead waiting far too long and not getting much in return. So, to summarize, tanking no, rebuilding yes, not having one game alter any opinions definitely.


ps, enjoy your comments and participation in the Barilkosphere.

eyebleaf said...

Lordosis: You and I are, and forever will be, united in our desire to see the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. I hope you know my reference to you in the post was humorous and good-hearted, and I'm glad you came by and left a comment.

As for the Leafs, I too have been impressed with their skating ability and work ethic. While we may not be the most skilled team on the ice every night, we shouldn't get outworked. And you missing the Montreal game was a good thing, it was a rough night at the office.

I think a deal like Perreault for a 2nd rounder has to be looked at for what it was: JFJ trying with all his might to save his job. He had to make the playoffs, and that's why he made that deal. That deal happens because the Leafs left a lame duck GM in place. The guys at the top have to be smarter than that.

You're right, assets need to be traded at their peak, not at their low (see: McCabe, Bryan), I just have a hard time imagining this team without Kaberle and Toskala. I mean, I'm still getting over the loss of Sundin, you know?

I'm with you on the rebuild, it has to be done and it is happening. I think guys like Grabs, Steen, Kulemin, Tlusty and dear God Luke Schenn have bright futures. There's no point in sending Schenn back to the 'dub this year when it's clear he can play.

I just think that we need to have a look at THIS team, and by a look I mean 20-25 games, before we can really know who they are what they are capable of. They could be a playoff team. As you saw last night, if we can shore up the PK, we can be strong defensively, b/c we've got a great goalie. Shutout's will happen, but I have faith in the offence. A lot of these guys are new to playing with each other, so it might take a little bit of time. But a tough October schedule has gotten off to a half-decent start, with the Leafs picking up points in 3 out of 4 games, so let's see where we are in November.

You make a great point about keeping an even keel. I try and do that, and struggle with it at times as you can see. But, hey, that's what being a fan is all about.

I hope you'll continue to read. Cheers, bud.

wrap around curl said...

I also say "fuck your birthday."

I am a salty broad.

dani said...

I don't know about you, but I'm really starting to hate Stephen Valiquette. Mother fucker is like nine feet tall.


And that is my comment.