Tonight we welcomed Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk and Eddie Belfour to the Hockey Hall of Fame. All three players have a very strong Toronto connection but – next to Wendel Clark – Killer will always remain one of the biggest Leaf heroes of all time. Contrary to popular belief, Doug Gilmour wasnâ€™t nicknamed Killer because of the look he gave other players, or because of his style of play. Brian Sutter gave him that nickname because he thought he looked like Charles Manson. At first he even called him Charlie.
Gilmour turned this franchise around, and made it credible again. His work ethic and style of play made him unforgettable, even if, like myself, you only got to see him play a few times. How could we forget Eddie the Eagle, or Crazy Eddie, who, besides being an All World goaltender, prolonged the stereotype of quirky goaltenders. Nieuwendyk played only one season in a Maple Leafs jersey, but that doesnâ€™t make his contribution to this great game any less notable. Congratulations to Mark Howe as well.
1 â€“ The Leafs are 10-6-1. Flaws exposed, this time by a fairly weak Sens team.
2 â€“ Zenon Konopka and Mike Brown went at it early. As itâ€™s often the case with Brownâ€™s fights, this was also an energetic affair. Good bout.
3 â€“ 13:01 is the amount of time the Senators needed to put the first shot on Ben Scrivens. It came off Spezzaâ€™s stick after some nifty sickwork but Scrivensâ€™ glove hand made light work of it.
4 â€“ Schenn’s game looked better tonight. He looked more composed and built on his effort against St. Louis. He also got an assist on the Bozak goal. Good job by Kessel on the first assist but fantastic work by Lupul to reach the blueline in time, negating the offside call. Deceptive shot by Bozak, good quick release.
5 â€“ This is what happens when you donâ€™t take advantage of your powerplays – no way the Senators should have been leading after two periods of play.
6 â€“ We canâ€™t seem to get sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Itâ€™s usually one shot, and itâ€™s one and done, or itâ€™s a chance off the rush, but rarely a period of sustained pressure in the offensive zone during 5-on-5 play. Also, again, we have trouble retrieving the puck on the forecheck.
7 â€“ Grabovski is passing when he needs to shoot and shoots when he needs to pass. That whole line has been guilty of overpassing the puck and bad decision making when it comes to pass/shot selection.
8 â€“ We opened the third period with two high quality chances when Dion jumped up into the play but we got burned on a 2 on 1 the other way and Zach Smith scored to make it 3-1 Sens.
9 â€“ Along with lack of a good cycle and solid play on the boards, weâ€™re also not scoring dirty goals, not getting enough second chances, and we donâ€™t jump on rebounds, allowing the other team to clear the puck with ease. Again, all this is connected to bad zone entries, bad dump ins, and a lack of blueline support and strong board play. All the ingredients of solid cycles and sustained pressure. Consider our second goal a blueprint of how to get things done. Joffrey Lupul fought hard for that goal and was rewarded. I liked the last four minutes of play in the third, play like that for 60 minutes and weâ€™ll be just fine. Unfortunately the Leafs seem to have a tendency for trying to win games with part efforts.
10 â€“ We might have outplayed the Senators, and we might have had more shots, but the only stat that matters is the final score. Special teams are a big part of winning hockey games. We canâ€™t continue to be this bad in that department and we need to start addressing our issues before the hot start makes no difference anymore.