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Don Cherry

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Shea Weber

What’s the acceptable scoreline against Norway? Is 3-1 too competitive? Should we panic?

All joking aside, it was consistent dominance throughout by Team Canada. There will be some complaints about too little conversion of possession into more goals, but that’s more of a testament to Norway goaltender Lars Haugen, who stopped 35/38 shots, as well as loads of blocked shots by the Norwegians.

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Toronto Maple Leafs’ win, a 6-5 victory in OT, marks best start
for the franchise in 20 years (1993-1994 Toronto Maple Leafs).

Randy Carlyle and Dallas Eakins are probably going to want to forget this game; it was poorly played with more turnovers than we’ve seen in a while, complete 5-man defensive breakdowns, poor goaltending, no hitting, no commitment and/or sacrifice in the way of blocking shots or being hard on the puck.

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Listen, I disagree with Don Cherry a lot. Being European, I take issue with a lot of the stuff he says and does. That being said, the relationship is sometimes quite bi-polar.

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Don Cherry Kisses Nazem Kadri

What a night for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans.

They’re not contenders yet, but this is looking like an offensively-inclined, hard-hitting, glove-dropping, entertaining, winning hockey team; just like the vision Brian Burke pitched to us five years ago. Randy Carlyle spoke about injecting the pride back into this organization before the season started. We’re getting there.

After the jump, take in the HNIC segment that capped off a great night in Leafs Nation – Nazem Kadri on Coaches Corner. In a great moment, Kadri is the recipient of the Dougie Kiss as a battle-worn Frazer McLaren gives the Grapes Thumbs Up and a smiling Colton Orr looks on.

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    In the first column of this two-part series, we took a quick look at Leaf prospect Jiri Tlusty’s breakout campaign in the American Hockey League this season. Entering a season where expectations were tempered and hope and patience were preached, we’ve been privy to a few oustanding seasons by Leaf youngsters across all levels of junior, minor, and collegiate hockey. Today, the spotlight’s on Mikhail Stefanovich of the Quebec Remparts.

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      For all the hype surrounding the seemingly inevitable fight between Grabovksi and Kostitsyn, the two Belorussians were not quite at the forefront of a very chippy game between the Leafs and the Canadiens.  The animosity apparently encompassed both squads, as the tone was set early by a first period showdown between Georges Laraque and Brad May.  As is the case with most matchups of these two rivals in Montreal, the crowd’s energy fed into a quick-paced sixty minutes that saw both teams control the play in the offensive zone for lengths of time on end.

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        The craft of writing fiction requires an author’s innate ability to capture – and maintain – the reader’s attention. It’s sleight of hand – or pen in this instance, with twists and turns deciphering an ending not envisioned by the reader. The process takes vision, vivid imagination, a well scripted story line and ‘sleight of pen’ to playfully mislead readers into a perceived outcome, while planting thoughts and doubts that in the end make for a fantastic story.

        It happens in the hockey world, too, and might be happening to Leafs fans currently. It could be a main factor in drafting Victor Hedman over John Tavares in the 2009 draft.

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          poggeSo much for easing Justin Pogge into his second start against the low-scoring Minnesota Wild. With that degree of spotty defensive coverage, even the lowest of low-scoring teams would’ve lit up the Leafs for 5+ goals last night.

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            Thanks to the lack of high end technology (No PVR damnit!) at home, I was faced with a tough decision tonight: CHL Top Prospects Skills Competition or Leafs vs. Preds. Sadly, I chose the Leaf game. Pretty much a low chance, slow pace snoozer from the get-go so I eventually started flipping back and forth to catch glimpses of the NHL’s next crop of exciting young stars showing off their various talents. Little metaphor there I suppose?

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              Coaches Corner maybe becoming increasingly irrelevant as the staunchly patriotic Don Cherry rambles about musings better suited to an age when every player was nicknamed “Butch” and that a Swede was something related to jokes about corners. But as Cherry provides the antithesis to contemporary hockey analysis I once more find myself agreeing with his misty eyed old school view of hockey in the wake of Don Sanderson’s tragic death. Sure I may find a lot to fault Cherry with, but the way in which he handled Sanderson’s passing was touching and unerringly appropriate at a time when fighting found itself once more centre stage for bandwagon discourse.

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                The approach entering the ’08/’09 campaign from head coach Ron Wilson and general manager Cliff Fletcher is that performance is the primary measuring stick while results in the win/loss columns are only of secondary import.