March 06, 2009
That was quite the debut my new favourite Toronto Maple Leaf Martin Gerber, wasn't it? What a ... goalie. Thirty-seven saves on thirty-eight shots. Forty seconds away from a shutout. What a hero.
The fact that Gerber comes via the Ottawa Senators makes his splendid effort, albeit just one game, that much sweeter. I think Leafs fans would agree that there exists in life a certain joy that comes with screwing the Senators. And it never gets old. I thought it might. But it hasn't. And it won't.
Oh yeah, the trade deadline. Look, all you really need to do is read this. But I like what Brian Burke did and what he was able to accomplish.
I wasn't happy with the return for Nik Antropov at first, but understand it now. Even though there's no way we're getting that conditional pick. (Rangers have to make the semifinals. Ha.) Regardless, I have put my faith in Burke. I trust that the deal was the best offer on the table.
Dominic Moore for a 2nd rounder? Sure. Fill that draft pick cupboard.
By trading those two, Burke proved that players who sign in Toronto will do so on his terms. And it's been a while since I got that feeling from a Leafs general manager (if ever?).
As for the trade with Tampa, in which the Leafs essentially bought a 4th round draft pick for about half a million bucks, it showed the type of creativity that has for too long been AWOL from Toronto's front office.
Alex Ponikarovsky is still a Maple Leaf; there was some doubt as to whether he was in the minutes before the deadline. As are Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina. And that's a good thing. I believe all three of them can be part of the solution.
And I like the addition of Gerber. A lot. Burke is proving to young Justin Pogge that he is going to have to earn every God damn inch of that crease. Pogge will not be the man between the pipes for the Maple Leafs until he deserves to be. Period. And say what you want about Gerber, but he's come to Toronto with better statistics than any other goalie in this town.
I like Gerber's acquisition a whole lot more after the Leafs went into Washington and handed the Capitals only their ninth home loss of the season last night. Dude was phenomenal. Made a number of great saves. It helped that the Caps were missing some guy named, what is it, Alexander Ovechkin? Yeah, I think that's his name. But, hey, a win's a win, and full marks to the Leafs, especially Gerber, as they continue their late-season surge to
9th place in the Eastern Conference miracle city (you really should read Puck Huffers) and the playoffs.
Speaking of the playoff quest, I'll be at the Leafs game on Saturday night, in my new Gerber jersey. If you see me on TV, I'm the guy holding the PLAYOFFS!!!!1 sign.
Vesa Toskala? Get. Well. Soon.
Let's be honest, Toskala was really close to being taken out back behind the ACC, and having the shit kicked out of him. February saved him. February also put him back in my good books. I can't stay mad at a goalie for too long. Well, except Andrew Raycroft. He's clearly the exception to that rule.
Speaking of the useless Raycroft, I've added Marty Gerber's save percentage to the "Interns of the Iced Igloos" sidebar I've got running on your right hand side (above). And you know what? Gerber's winning. As long as a Leafs goalie - any, one, whatever - finishes with a higher save percentage than Raycroft, the universe is in good shape.
And how about John Mitchell last night? Twenty-one minutes of ice time, five shots on goal, and an assist on Pavel Kubina's game-winner. He also went 6/11, 55%, in the faceoff circle. Needless to say, Mitchell is skyrocketing up the depth chart right now. He definitely needs to take Antropov and Moore out for drinks over the summer.
The story last night, though, was Gerber. He thought his NHL career might be over when the Senators banished him to the AHL (you know, because Brian Elliot is so good). Now that he's back, he ain't going out like that. Anybody else looking forward to Monday night, when the Leafs are in Ottawa?
Welcome to Toronto, Martin.
Welcome to the good side.