Tuesday Mashup: Attack of the Copycat Jerseys

426
Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, right, reacts after scoring the game winning goal as Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman, left, look on during over-time NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, April 5, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Tonight, the Leafs will host one of the surprise teams in the League this season in the 31-16-5 Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite the loss of Stamkos after his 14-goals-in-17-games start, their reliance on the emergence of an inexperienced netminder and a supporting cast with quite a bit of rookie content, it’s  all come up aces for Jon Cooper, who is a serious Jack Adams candidate through 52 games.

Ben Bishop’s numbers are jaw dropping, with a 26-6-4 record and a .934 save percentage.  The decision to buy out Lecavalier and hand the captaincy to St. Louis, the Bishop for Conacher trade and the Valteri Filppula signing are looking pretty smart right about now.  They’re in great shape and are anticipating a big addition within the next couple of weeks.

The Leafs meanwhile appear to have everyone in wait and see mode at the moment. The way the team manages to win some nights and the pattern of results –  four consecutive losses in regulation, followed by six straight wins, followed by two losses (one in OT) – seems to have many fans unsure as to which direction this season is headed. That may be the answer right there – this is going to be a dog fight right until the very end in a heavily congested Eastern Conference playoff picture between positions 4 all the way down to 13.

Onto the links…

ICYMI: Anthony’s Monday Leafs Notebook looks at the PK and tons of other stuff
Doing a disservice to yourself by not reading this, if you haven’t yet.

JvR and Kessel are banged up, but expect to play tonight
Nobody panic!

JvR and Kessel’s health after the Olympics could be a concern
Everybody panic!

Trevor Smith is just about ready to return
Carlyle apparently plans to add him to the lineup. Too unrealistic to hope for four complete lines?

Phaneuf leads offensive attack plan from Leafs’ rearguards
Three points in his last four.

Nikolai Kulemin is not a fan of Don Cherry
I’m sure we’re all shocked  Cherry skipped past Clarkson and went right for Kulemin among wingers “paid too much” and have done “nothing.” 

Veteran backup Marty Biron feels Reimer’s pain
Even worse in Biron’s case – it was that prick Ryan Miller who took his job.

Tonight’s opponent, the high flying Lightning, have quite a few rookies
Many played under Cooper in Syracuse the season prior and love playing for the guy.

The Many Faces of Phil Kessel
Bookmark it for when you’re feeling blue.

SHARE
Previous articleLeafs Notebook - January 27
Next articleDave Poulin talks Olympics, trade deadline, state of the team
Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • 27leafs99

    Alec – does Tampa still play a trapping style of game?

  • mcloki

    Mornign Gents. Tonights game is going to be a big challenge.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Leafs have a way of rising to the challenge.  I demand they destroy the Lightning tonite and next week.  Who knows, maybe then TSN will set fit to move the Leafs to the rank of 18th or 19th best team.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Murph2417 A bold prediction of who will be netminder?

  • MaxwellHowe

    CanuckUKinToronto Not really a pressing question at all is it?  Well Phaneuf has to shut down St. Louis, if he can manage to catch up to him.

  • MaxwellHowe

    CanuckUKinToronto MaxwellHowe yeah the supporting cast for the Leafs has been altogether useless.

  • MaxwellHowe

    So Conner Brown scores 100 points in 48 games and morons who call themselv es Leaf fans already assure us that he might possibly be a third liner with the Leafs or second liner with the Marlies.  Holy crap, I understand the need for restrained expectations, but what else could the kid do?  So he is draft +2 or whatever, but how much better could he possibly do?  Leafs can draft all the rawly talented 6 foot 4 monsters in the first round, we can go on about their skating ability and wrist shot, but if they haven’t developed a hockey IQ or a scoring knack by the age of 18 – after years of paying – I really don’t know why people imagine that suddenly a Tyler Biggs or Fred Gauthier can become a 30 goal scorer when they never scored in any league they ever played in.
    Conner Brown obviousy has an instinct and work ethic that can’t be taught.  And he can work on his skating, even his stature to some degree.   I would take a prospect like Conner Brown over a Gauthier or Biggs any day of the week.  Good on the Leafs scouting personnel for selecting him.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Murph2417 CanuckUKinToronto MaxwellHowe Leafs just need to get invested in the game and skate.  Thats why the P{K suffering.  Guys are not skating or playing with urgency.  At least that deficiency gives me hope for the playoffs – they can and will up their game.

  • MaxwellHowe

    -Keon- not any more

  • MaxwellHowe

    -Keon- Then why is there such a value placed on drafting for mediocrity in the first round?  You know this, you’ve seen the Leaf draft choices over the years.  Kadri and Rielly are like double rainbows for Christ sake; a true rarity for Leaf fans.
    Leafs chose Gauthier – probably a great kid, don’t get me wrong, and the Habs wanted him, so OK, we screw over the habs, cool.  But that kid Petan who lit it up at the WJC?  Yeah he might never make it, he might be a Brandon Kozun.  But he might be a St. Louis or Fleury as well.

  • Burtonboy

    If my memory is correct did the Leafs not have success against Ben Bishop when he played for Ottawa?

  • MaxwellHowe

    Yaknowwhat MaxwellHowe Thats fair.  Consigning him to a 3rd line spot is not.

  • Cameron19

    MaxwellHowe We should just be able to say “Connor Brown is an exciting prospect” and not be totally slammed with a flurry of evidence compiled attempting to disprove that statement. Like you said, he couldn’t really be doing any better. He can’t play in the AHL yet, so he’s in the league he MUST play in, and he’s absolutely lighting it up.

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- Kind of player you need on your team to win cups

  • Cameron19

    -Keon- Pretty sure we beat him as a Bolt, too.  Go for the five hole.

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- They didn’t last yr when Bishop was there . Maybe that’s the’re problem lol

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- Not showing any love for the Turds at all.  I hate them as bad as I hate the Habs . Whats the matter Keon?This comment doesn’t suit you continuous narrative that the Leafs suck ? lol

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy -Keon- pffff….dime a dozen

  • MaxwellHowe

    Cameron19 MaxwellHowe Exactly, and he is doing it without some kind of obvious physical advantage – and even without McDavid around.  Surely he is not the only draft +2 guy in the OHL

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy -Keon- Problem with a lot of fans is if a player  doesn’t put up a lot of pts they are basically useless. I think we will be very happy with Freddy goats in a few yrs time.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe -Keon- No, what I am saying is that point producers are precious commodities in the NHL.  Grunts, not so much.  Not saying the grunts are not needed nor appreciated, but someone has to pot the goals

  • MaxwellHowe

    TheCanucksnaphook CanuckUKinToronto The US ain’t interested in a rival to its global currency supremacy

  • MaxwellHowe

    TheCanucksnaphook For Gagner or Parenteau.  can’t wait.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy -Keon- You need both

  • mcloki

    MaxwellHowe TheCanucksnaphook CanuckUKinToronto I’ll always go for the currency that is backed by nuclear weapons. These crypto currencies rely to heavily on the good will of the users and backers. All it takes is one person to create a backdoor to create millions for himself and all that goodwill is gone and with it the currency.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe -Keon- Sure

  • MaxwellHowe

    mcloki MaxwellHowe TheCanucksnaphook CanuckUKinToronto You always have the ruble.  or pound.  or franc.  or whatever they use in China and Israel.

  • mcloki

    MaxwellHowe Yaknowwhat I think people are consigning him to the 3rd line because we sort of like the top 2 lines we have now.  He’s going to need to beat one of those guys out. And finally on a Leaf team it’s becoming a challenge to break into the lineup.

    Our biggest problems are on the 4th line. Does anyone really think that Nonis is going to have a hard time finding replacement s for 4th liners in the summer?

  • Burtonboy

    TheCanucksnaphook you forgot to add ….. “eh fellas”

  • BBirde

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy -Keon- Grunts? LMFAO you obviously have not seen him play. His defensive game is probably already at the NHL level. He just needs to work on his skating and offense a bit more. He should slot in easily on the third line and could probably play on the second.

  • 4evrblue

    MaxwellHoweTheCanucksnaphook If its between those two I hope its parenteau

  • Dexter

    MaxwellHowe they do?

  • mcloki

    Where did everybody go?

  • Uncle Otis

    Not sure if this got posted…Daly saying they MAY reconsider sending NHL’ers to Sochi if a security breach happens before Olympics.
    That,and more indications the NHL will look to eliminate Olympic participation (see World Cup $$)
    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=442339

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Need a big win tonight boys, LETS GET THE W

  • MaxwellHowe

    Uncle Otis It’ll get to the point where Putin will fill the stands at the hockey games with elite units of the Russian military, each equipped with an automatic weapon and attack daogs.  Of course, the real purpose will be to “motivate” the Russian players.

  • dlb eh

    MaxwellHowe
    he can be a draft +2 all he wants and we can excuse him for being so dominant due to his age, but that Erie team was lousy a couple years ago and he has put up points regularily since he’s been in the OHL.  it’s no fluke.  he’s a hard working, quick thinking, mature kid.  he’s their captain for a reason, and he’s the biggest reason that team is formidible now.

  • GeorgeCastanza

    hat the fuck is wrong with Connor brown.  Someone tell him not to score so much.

  • Uncle Otis

    MaxwellHoweUncle Otis
    Didn’t work in ’72 😉

  • Uncle Otis

    Yaknowwhat
    And who are the most high profile athletes at the games? NHL’ers
    But I question if it isn’t more fear mongering amongst the media sorts
    As we know from sports..nothing sells like bad news and fear is contagious.

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/MapleLeafshttps://twitter.com/MapleLeafs/status/428174069742051328
    The https://twitter.com/search?q=%23TMLtalk&src=hash Game Day Skate coming up at 10:30am here: http://t.co/mpjOiDYtTi & on https://twitter.com/Leafs_TV https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leafs&src=hash v https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Lightning&src=hash 7p

  • drummond

    Leafs need badly sweep Florida teams. GLG

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/Bell_Lets_TaIkhttps://twitter.com/Bell_Lets_TaIk/status/428046763232989184
    For every retweet this tweet gets 5¢ will be donated towards mental health https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BellLetsTalk&src=hash

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Yaknowwhat The Olympics has turned into a gong show no matter where it is held. Corruption, debt, dirty athletes…and on and on. We are all sold a bill of goods by TV networks and Olympic committees that these events unite nations and give ” amateur ” athletes a showcase for their skills. What a load of crap. I wish the NHL wasn’t going, period.

  • dlb eh

    Connor Brown.  turned 20 a few weeks ago…
    2014-15 Marlies 3rd line winger, by spring 2015 starts to get a bigger role (because he just does everything the coach asks and does it well, setting a good example for even the veterans with his determination)
    2015-16 Marlies 1C, gets a spring call up to the Leafs and quietly puts up some points (again people question how he does it)
    2016-17 almost makes the Leafs out of camp, goes back down to captain the Marlies.  gets called up before Christmas.  the rest is Maple Leafs history.

  • Marlies Man

    Yaknowwhat Every second person in the athletes village region will be a security guard. That area should be safe. But from what I’ve read, that will mean less forces in outerlying areas. I can’t help but thinking something bad is going to go down.

  • Uncle Otis

    Hey Al Gore…where the fack is my Global Warming?
    Driveway is a skating rink and beer froze on the front porch in under 5 mins last night.
    And what the hell are polar vortexes and why have we never heard of them before?
    Dog days of winter

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Uncle Otis people started to get pissed off so they meteorologists scrambled to find something to call this nonsense

  • Burtonboy

    Uncle Otis Polar vortex is the new term for Siberian High . Remember the weather guy who always used that term. lol

  • lister

    I think Yzerman did the Leafs a favour with changing the Lightning colours. Gives my man-crush Stamkos a taste of the Blue & White. He’ll eventually want to wear the real thing. :-p