October 15, 2008

Deep Thoughts Vol. 9: I Hate Ryan Hollweg Edition

I'm going to get right down to business: fuck Ryan Hollweg. Seriously, fuck him. It's obvious after Monday afternoon that Hollweg is nothing but a brainless monkey, good for only a few cheap laughs.

Ok, ok, fine. The man can dance. But he sucks at hockey. He can't fight, he can't score, he can't do anything but knock a man face first into the glass. Ryan, I don't know if you missed the memo, man, but you don't hit from behind. Stop it. Before you kill someone. If Hollweg keeps his act up, the league will have to start using those minor hockey league jerseys, you know, with the stop signs on em. Even then, I don't trust him. Hollweg has, in a very short time with the Leafs, proven that he is clearly an idiot.

Points squandered in October are the ones that always come back to bite the Maple Leafs in the ass come April, and Hollweg cost us a point on Monday. The Leafs were sitting pretty up 3-1 before Hollweg hand-delivered the St. Louis Blues an invitation to get back in the game.

It's clear that all Maple Leaf fans think Hollweg's a douche. He is. But I'm surprised many in "Leafs Nation" aren't thanking him. He was largely, if not solely, to blame for Monday's shootout loss, and isn't that what everyone wants around here, more losses for our beloved Leafs? You know, Tank Nation? The Tank for Tavares? To all you pro-tankers out there, go out and buy your Hollweg jerseys because this guy is doing more harm than good for the Maple Leafs.

Damn pro-tankers. They make me so mad. I'm not a pro-tanker, so what, other than an idiot, does that make me? A pro-just barely make the playoffs-er, I guess.

As for Hollweg, when everyone in the Leafs blogosphere is agreeing with Damien Cox, you know something's amiss. But Damien's right (*shudders*), this guy doesn't deserve to wear a Leafs jersey, plain and simple. Get him out of here, Fletchra. Pretty please.

Pour Yourself A Drink

I know it's only been three games, but the numbers don't look good my friends. Going into last night's NHL action the Leafs had allowed the most goals in the league (12) and, much to my chagrin, still can't kill a God damn penalty. 

The penalty kill is "performing" like a 72-year-old man in the bedroom. It needs help. The Leafs have killed off only nine of their opposition's 15 power plays, good for a 60% success rate and, you guessed it, sitting last in the league. Just how God-awful the PK unit has looked out there is what worries me. Guys are skating around like they don't have a clue. Montreal made us look downright silly on Saturday night when they had a man advantage.

This should put things in perspective: the Leafs and Habs have both played three games and Toronto has allowed more power play goals (six) than Montreal has allowed in total (five).

You know what else the Leafs suck at? Faceoffs. For teams that have played two or more games this season, the Leafs are, once again, dead last in the league, winning only 42.3% of their draw's. Sure, the Leafs will miss Mats Sundin's automatic 25-to-30 goals, but it's on the draw where his absence will be felt the most. He spoiled us when it came to faceoffs. He was money, always above 50% and at or near the top of the league every year. Oh, Mats.

Vesa Toskala's numbers aren't that great either: a 4.36 goals against average and a Raycroftian .860 save percentage. I blame the penalty kill for Vesa's poor numbers, but I'm sure he'll be the first to admit that he's got to have more nights like the season opener in Detroit.

Something To Be Thankful For

Yeah, the Leafs lost their Thanksgiving matinee thanks to that imbecile Hollweg, but I did have something to be thankful for: Matt Stajan was a healthy scratch. Ironically, he was replaced by Hollweg, so the whole thing didn't work out so well but, still, Matt Stajan was a healthy scratch. Say it. It feels good. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I think the Leafs finally have a coach who realizes that Stajan simply isn't that good. Pat Quinn loved him. So did Paul Maurice. And I have no idea why.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that if you give me the option between having Hollweg and Stajan in the lineup, I'm picking Stajan eight days of the week. But, that being said, now that Hollweg is suspended, I'm open to seeing Ian White on the wing before Stajan gets back in there. Let Stajan sit up in the press box for a little while. Maybe that'll get him to play with a little more gusto, a little more urgency. God knows he could use it.

Ron Wilson Likes Luke Schenn

Anton Stralman? Not so much. Stralman saw his first action of the season Monday afternoon, but he took a seat come the third period. It was Schenn who benefited, and Luke ended up with over 25 minutes of ice time. I think both of these guys have bright futures in the league and, in all honesty, I would have rather Wilson kept the six-man rotation running.

I thought Schenn looked his age, a mere 18 years old, on Saturday night against Montreal, but he rebounded with a solid performance on Monday. Schenn is fantastic, but Stralman needs to be given every opportunity to shine as well. Anton may very well end up turning into a special player in his own right.

Bottom line: we've got a few young studs on the blue line. If Schenn does end up going back to junior, which I hope is the plan, then a 25-minute game against the Blues is perfect for his development. Stralman? He'll get his ice time. It's only a matter of time before Carlo Colaiacovo goes down.

Oh Finger Where Art Thou?

Is it wrong that I'm excited to see Jeff Finger play? This is what it has come to. The days of Alex Mogilny and Brian Leetch are long, long gone, replaced instead by the likes of Mikhail Grabovski and Jeff Finger. Good times.

Paul Kariya's Fist Pump

Did anyone catch Paul Kariya's fist pump after he scored St. Louis' fourth goal on Monday? He displayed beautiful fist pump etiquette, employing the celebration on a game-tying goal in the third period. Well done, Paul Kariya. I salute you. I only hope Jason Blake was taking notes.

A Two-Horse Race

Democracy is at work here at Sports And The City, and it's clearly a two-horse race when it comes to the fate of the blog's welcome banner. Will Tomas Kaberle maintain his slim lead and replace Sundin? Or will Sundin live on in infamy forever here at Sports And The City? The poll runs through until November 1st. Vote early, vote often.

RIP Alexei Cherepanov

Hockey, in the long run, really doesn't mean much. May the young man rest in peace. 


Loser Domi said...

It's Tomas Kaberle...defennnceman for the maaaple leeeefs!

Scott Baker said...

Stralman was on the ice for the tying goal against in the third, and he along with just about everyone else out there were benched for the third and OT. It's harsh, especially considering it was a pretty confusing play, but it's what happens.

Tex said...

We knew the O would struggle at times, but defense was supposed to be the hallmark of this team. We've got a bunch of NHL vets on the blue liners, mixed in with some solid young pups and, to be honest, they are playing like crap. Vesa has got to stand on his head more often to give this squad a shot. Without it, expect more of the same.

MF37 said...

Strahlman worries me, I really haven't seen the upside in this guy.

As for the PK, hopefully the four days between games will give the team some much needed practice time and we'll start seeing better results from the speical teams.

eyebleaf said...

@ LD: I think you might love the song just as much as I do. Bless your heart.

@ Scott: That Kariya goal to tie it up was a weird and confusing play. The puck ended up sitting in the slot, awaiting Kariya. He swooped in and potted a beauty. In Stralman's defence, everyone looked whack on that goal, and he was a +3 on the afternoon up until that point. I didn't think it warranted a benching. I like Stralman, kid's got wheels and can start a breakout. He can learn from a guy like Tomas Kaberle, "defenceman for the Maple Leafs." Kabs makes a cross ice pass like you won't believe.

@ Tex: I'm with you brother. I don't get it either. Defence was supposed to be our strong point, with Toskala the anchor in goal. It doesn't make sense. Nothing has with this team the last few years.

@ MF: I think the upside re: Stralman is his skating ability and his first-pass out of the zone ability. He can move the puck and, as he proved last year with an end to end rush against MTL that resulted in a goal, he's got tremendous skill. He's not physical by any means, but a great puck moving defenceman. I like to compare all the smallish, fast guys to Rafalski, and hope one of the mother fuckers can turn out to be like him.

As for the PK, this one really boggles the mind. For the last three years the Leafs haven't been able to kill penalties. Why? What the hell is the issue?

And you're right, it's to the point where they might need to spend entire practices on the PK. They need to sort it out. Most other teams can do it at a respectable rate, why can't we?

I mean, we're talking about practice, man. Practice. We ain't talking about the game, we talking about practice.

Archimedes said...

Holy Crap...

Can you believe I honestly didn't think there was another pro-Leafs and Toronto based sports blog out there?

We really don't have nearly the internet-wide profile we should.

Go Leafs Go.

Greener said...

Nav, what a post!

eyebleaf said...

@ Archimedes: You wanna get high?

@ Greener: I do it for you, the people. Yo when's the next podcast dropping? The streets are waiting.