With Alec Brownscombe - Â With Ottawa winning, and the Leafs losing three in a row including an awful effort on Sundinâ€™s night, the boys needed to step up in a big way. Unfortunately, it was the kind of loss that will only fan the Flame on the trade/Rick Nash speculation.
On a special special night, where every player in a Leafs jersey wore No. 13 in warm-ups, Mats Sundin was once again welcomed home as a Leaf. Many consider him a hero and that's the way it should be. He definitely earned his place in the rafters of the ACC because, in addition to the sublime talent and franchise record setting numbers, he had an undying loyalty and desire to win. Unfortunately, a beautiful speech and ceremony gave way to an absolute shitting of the bed by the current Leafs.
Since I didn't have a chance to watch many Leaf games in Crotia prior to 2004 (ones I caught were on satellite TV on a German program called DSF and tapes I got from virtually everywhere â€“ thatâ€™s how I got to see Gilmour and Clark), I took every opportunity to watch Leaf players play international hockey. Occasionally, our national television took pity on us hockey fans and gave us World Championship games, like the quarterfinal in 2003, which featured Sweden and Finland in Helsinkiâ€™s Hartwall Areena.
As you are well aware, Sweden and Finland are big hockey rivals. To add to the flavour, the 2003 World Championships were held in Helsinki, Turku and Tampere, all Finnish cities. Coming in you already knew it was going to be a really emotional game. It turned out to be one of the most memorable moments Iâ€™ve ever witnessed in hockey. [more…]
This was a good test. After three straight losses, the Flyers were eager to redeem themselves in front of their fans (trap game!).
James Reimer (expectedly) didnâ€™t start in Winnipeg but the Leafs still needed to grab two points in an important back to back encounter. Oh look, itâ€™s Nik Antropov! What, no Kyle Wellwood? For shame Jets, for shame.
The Leafs needed to get two points out of a Western Conference team that, besides the last two positive results, isnâ€™t doing that well in this part of the season. Sure, Sam Gagner was in his best stretch of hockey as an NHL player, but even so this was a very beatable team. The Leafs took full advantage of a bad defense.
In a Battle of Ontario with a playoff feel, two very important two points were on the line. Coming into this game Ottawa held a three point advantage on the Leafs in the Conference standings and the boys in blue needed to narrow the gap.
The Leafs decided they wanted to celebrate Grabovskiâ€™s birthday by looking (for the most part) like the Oilers of old. Grabo was Mark Messier and Phil Kessel played the role of the Great One. But as the time was ticking down, we saw the lesson of old creeping its ugly head once more. Â You don't let such an experienced team back in a hockey game. One goal, one mistake is enough to change momentum.
This was an Islanders rematch and the final game prior to the All Star break. Kessel, Lupul and Dion needed to take care of business in NY before heading off to Ottawa. They did just that.
The Toronto Maple Leafs battled the NY Islanders in what wasnâ€™t a must win game, but rather a smart game to win. January was starting to look very bleak and the boys managed to turn that around. But to fully turn it around we need a win tomorrow night. Round 2 next.
It was rivalry night in the ACC as the Leafs hosted the Canadiens. The Habs were one of the teams we were supposed to take both points from. Tomas Kaberle made a return to the ACC, but this time he was wearing a much hated jersey. A part of the anthem was done in French and it was the only part that Randy Cunneyworth had trouble with.
The Leafs hosted a struggling Minnesota Wild in a game where our team desperately needed to put some points on the board. Good thing we did just that.