Post-Game: Leafs/Devils – Overtime Overload

Post-Game: Leafs/Devils – Overtime Overload

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    On a night where the real buzz was focused on mounting trade talk, the Leafs tied a NHL record for consecutive overtime games.  Vesa Toskala played an exceptional game in net, and the Leafs came alive in the third period to transform an otherwise dull game into an exciting back-and-forth goaltender’s battle. After an almost full five minutes of riveting overtime play, Toronto eventually succumbed to an Oduya winner.

    Here are some notes from this Tuesday night throwdown:

    -Try to remember the last time the Leafs have entered the trade deadline in such a definitive “seller” position.  Don’t hurt yourself exerting too much effort with this one guys–it’s been a while.  It is definitely an unusual feeling to know that major pieces of our team will surely be moved before tomorrow’s deadline.

    -Coming hand-in-hand with this were the two scratches of Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore.  Yet another repercussion of this trade deadline frenzy, and one that undoubtedly threw the Leaf squad off their game, as they seemed confused and listless on the ice for long stretches at a time.  This was of course coupled with going up against the best team league-wide in the new year: the New Jersey Devils.  The Devils will be at the very least Eastern Conference Finalists this year (you heard it here first).  Amazing depth on a forward corps that looks after business in their own end, a blueline group that gets their job done, and a man named Brodeur.

    -From the mouth of Brian Burke himself, he turned down an offer of a late 2nd rounder for Ian White.  With the advent of “Tank Nation” has come a tendency of some keyboard-jockey, armchair-GMs to sensationalize draft picks.  It’s pretty common to see messages urging our GM to get rid of all of our skaters and the stickboy for as many draft picks as possible.  This is a far cry from reality.  While the mentality of “the more we have, the higher chance we get a good player” is stasticially correct, it’s hardly the best method.  A nice piece was written by Scott Cullen over at TSN.  The numbers don’t lie, and there is roughly a 25% chance that a player picked in that late 2nd round area would play at least 100 NHL games, and a much smaller chance that he would play the game at the same level as Ian White.  White has shown determination and consistent effort, and will be a great utility player down the road for this team.

    -A lot of people were half-expecting Jason Blake to deteriorate into the perimeter-playing, puck-hogging player they knew so well upon the removal of Dominic Moore from his side.  Hopefully, we can all be reassured that Blake’s transformation has been completely his own.  He showed his usual doggedness on the puck and John Mitchell (the Moore heir-apparent) was one of the lucky benefactors tonight.

    An interesting sidenote of this game was Tomas Kaberle’s absence from the third period of play.  While this had most of Leaf nation drooling at the thought that Burke had found a team willing to meet his king’s ransom for our Czech blueliner, it was later revealed that Tomas had not returned due to injury.  Of course, the questionable degree of this injury will lead to speculation that this is a tactical play by Brian Burke.  While we can say with a fair amount of confidence that Antropov and Moore have played their last games as Leafs, the other members of this Toronto squad that are on their way out is still very much a mystery.  Call in sick, skip your classes, and get ready for the most productive Toronto deadline-day in recent memory.

    As always, interested to hear your thoughts.

    Cheers,

    Nik