So, last night happened. We watched the Leafs play one of their most exciting and intense games in nearly a decade, and promptly fell into a state of wondering after David Krejci scored his third of the night to win the game for the Boston Bruins. Some wondered if the Leafs still have a chance in this series. Some wondered about the players wives and girlfriends. Some wondered if this was really what they were waiting for for nine years. Lastly, a lot of people wondered about how awesome it would be if the Leafs no longer had Dion Phaneuf. Wait, what?
The Toronto Maple Leafs practiced today, with new lines. Lupul-Bozak-Kessel is back together, Jake Gardiner may actually play, and a bit more shuffling went down too. But here’s something that bugs me.
Colton Orr appears to be in tomorrow’s lineup, skating on line three. Matt Frattin isn’t. This, at least in my eyes, is a terrible idea.
(That’s the same jersey, by the way)
A few people have asked me what the Leafs clinching this playoff spot means to me. Let me put it to you this way..
May 7th, 2004. Jeremy Roenick scores an overtime winner for the Philadelphia Flyers to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs from the playoffs. A team stacked with future hall of famers, stopped by a temporarily good Robert Esche and a team offensively led by Alexei Zhamnov. It was heartbreaking for me at the time; but at the end of the day, just a “we’ll get them next year” situation. On the bright side, it was a Friday night, which meant I had two days to look back at the season while going for bike rides and playing on my PS2. After all, life was hard for a 12 year old in Grade 7.
To say that it’s “been a while” since the Leafs made the playoffs is probably an understatement. It wasn’t an easy process of failure to watch.
The cool thing about the Toronto Maple Leafs doing so well is unlike the typical listing of the scapegoats, we get to hear the reasons for the Leafs success. Some are reasonable (Jay McClement and both Goalies), some are great but sample sizes leave you weary (Nazem Kadri, Joffrey Lupul), and some are just plain wrong (Tyler Bozak, Colton Orr, Frazer McLaren, anything to do with Randy Carlyle and line matching). But in all of these, two guys are left unmentioned. Which is odd, because realistically, these two are the franchise players, and when the team goes cold, they’re first to blame.
Dion Phaneuf is one, and I’ll touch on him in a little while. But today, let’s talk about Phil Kessel. Amidst all the hype that the forward core is getting, few are talking about the fact that their best forward may be having the best year of his career.
Unable to sleep last night, I did what any other odd person does to wind down - I broke down hockey statistics to borderline pointless levels. Last night, my victims were the Leafs centres.
Now, I’m not going to bore a lot of you with Advanced Statistics. While they’re very good at showing things that can’t been seen at face value, plenty are still unfamiliar with them, and at the same time, I don’t consider myself to be completely knowledgeable on the subject. So what I prefer to do for arguments like this, is stretch the more basic stats to see what players production paces are.
Guess what? A member of the Toronto Maple Leafs is out with an undefined upper body injury with no real timeline. Here we go again..
Yesterday, Joffrey Lupul left the game following a hit to the head from former Leaf Jay Rosehill, immediately after being hit by Adam Hall. Lupul was so shaken, that he missed the bench on his first attempt to get on it, and once on it, could barely walk.
But guess what!? It isn’t a big deal and they’re not calling it a concussion, says Randy Carlyle.
Randy Carlyle says Lupul feels fine now. Said he’s 50/50 to practice tomorrow. Will have to see how he responds. (Jonas Siegel)
‘No, that’s a bad word. We don’t use that word until we’re 100% sure.’ (Mark Masters)
Of course, you shouldn’t actually take this word as the gospel, given the Leafs recent history with managing concussions.
Here’s just a few of the mishaps in the Leafs organization involving concussions in the last couple of years.
Making their first post-deadline roster move, the Toronto Maple Leafs have recalled Joe Colborne from the Toronto Marlies today, bringing the team back up to a full roster. Opinions are back and forth on this move. I’m in a weird spot where I see why it’s being done, but don’t necessarily agree with it being the best choice. Here are some things to consider..
The Toronto Maple Leafs make a single deadline move, acquiring Ryan O’Bryne from the Colorado Avalanche. Known to Leafs fans for his time in Montreal, O’Byrne had a goal and three assists in 34 games with the Avalanche this year. A stay at home defenceman, O’Bryne was acquired for a 4th round draft pick.
This is a crazy year for the Toronto Maple Leafs. For the first time in a long time, we can all agree that if the Leafs must pick a direction at tomorrow’s trade deadline, buying would be better. Though nothing is certain, the team looks to be headed to their first playoff appearance since 2004. So, what’s the issue? If the points are plenty and the target is upward, why complain?
The issue is simple; the rumoured target is incredibly counter-productive.
There’s a lot of hype in Toronto right now, centred between the pipes. Interestingly enough, it goes in a couple of different ways. Some of it is in excitement for what the team already has; James Reimer’s year has reminded many of his rookie run, and Ben Scrivens has been a very capable backup goaltender. Others look to what the Leafs may get, with rumours swirling about potential acquisitions of Roberto Luongo or Miikka Kiprusoff.
Which is why today’s news confused a lot of people, as the Leafs added an NHL component to Drew MacIntyre’s component. All of this hype, and an AHL goalie is the outcome? There’s a few ways to look at this.