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In a shaky and at times sloppy game, the Leafs pulled out of yet another overtime with a shootout win.Â Vesa Toskala had a night in net that was a simple summary of his season to date: solid at times, with glaring weaknesses and questionable play marring his effort as a whole.Â Nonetheless, in a tilt that saw another Leaf rookie debut and a season stalwart leave the game with an injury, Toronto ironically secured two points against one of the very teams that many “tank-minded” fans badly want to see move up in the standings.
During the post-game news conference following the shootout victory over the Rangers, coach Ron Wilson acknowledged that Jeff Finger and John Mitchell, injured during the game, are “99%” unlikely to play against the Islanders on Thursday.
To take their places, Anton Stralman and Tim Stapleton have been recalled.
With all the focus on the trade deadline the past few weeks, some minor moves by the Toronto Maple Leafs organization — namely with the AHL Marlies — have gone relatively unnoticed.
Mark Bell is no longer a Leaf, Boyd Devereaux is back in the NHL, and Bates Battaglia remains with the Marlies.
Nothing beats slaughtering Cindy “headjerk” Crosby and his fellow flightless Birds. Nothing.
I think we’ve come to learn that – play your back-ups against the Blue and White as much as you want on any other night – don’t underestimate the Maple Leafs if it’s Saturday night. The Leafs now boast a 9-5-1 record on Hockey Nights in Canada as compared to their 12-20-9 record during the rest of the week. So as much as they may exacerbate your already depressing work week, at least they don’t ruin your weekends. On this Valentine’s day affair, the lowly Leafs were by no means their lovable selves from the opposition’s perspective.
The craft of writing fiction requires an authorâ€™s innate ability to capture – and maintain – the readerâ€™s attention. Itâ€™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 â€˜sleight of penâ€™ 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.
“Oh well, screw it.Â It’s time to go on to the next one.”
Rinse and repeat Justin, as these words left the Toronto tender’s mouth after getting shelled for six goals in a loss to the Minnesota Wild last week.Â One would hazard a guess that the young goalie will need some more of this good humour after seeing a similar fate tonight.Â Likely exhausted from the extensive bus ride to Buffalo, the Maple Leafs as a team did very little to support their rookie netminder.
The Maple Leafs have recalled Justin Pogge from the Toronto Marlies for tonightâ€™s game in Buffalo. Toronto looks to rebound from an overtime loss last night at the hands of Bryan McCabe and his Panthers, while the Buffalo Sabres are making a pitch for their fourth straight win at home.
A heedless penalty from Alexei Ponikarovsky in the closing stages of the third period and a predictable Vesa Toskala pratfall in the subsequent overtime period undid a strong effort from the Maple Leafs that was deserving of the two points tonight.
So 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.
Tonight, the Leafs will play the Minnesota Wild. Justin Pogge will be joining the Leafs for the affair and will get his second start this season. Mike Van Ryn, despite feeling well over the last week, has finally been cleared to play for the Blue and White after suffering a mild concussion in mid December.
There are a ton of rumors flying around on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Some a downright ridiculous and some may very well have merit. This is a close outlook on a few of those rumors and speculation. Weâ€™re under 2 months away from Hockey Christmas, where all the wonderful surprises of wanted and undesired gifts are passed around. A shopping list is what we all hope the Leafs are after, but sometimes thereâ€™s other plans that could be in place which may not seem so attractive at first. Consider that the following is merely speculation and rumors.
A combination of terrible goaltending and suspect defensive coverage undid the Maple Leafs tonight as they sat on an early 3-0 lead thinking they would ride it to the finish line, failing to take into the account the fact that, with a goaltender that’s seriously struggling between the pipes, leads can disappear on the turn of a dime, let alone over the course of 40 minutes. The end result is one which will please neither side of tanking/playoff spectrum.
In a season where everyone either predicted or was warned the Leafs would place bottom 5 in the East, Iâ€™m a little surprised the team was booed by the clubâ€™s faithful fans in a tilt with the Nashville Predators.
Random thoughts and opinions from (roughly) the halfway point of the season:
* Glad to see the mustache is back in style.Â Â In fact, when I was younger I grew a goatee just because everyone else was doing the ‘stache.Â Then the ’93 Canadiens all grew goatees during their Cup run, and it became a social mainstay.Â Â Yes, folks, it’s true: my hatred of the Habs has nothing to do with the Leafs, and everything to do with facial hair.
In October 2008, a reporter set the Barilkosphere into a tizzy with a certain writing. The intention was simple, a deliberately cruel finger pointing at Leafs Nation.
The backlash was tremendous, and it inspired Pension Plan Puppets to trigger a massive response to the piece. It shows the unifying force behind the internet, allowing fans the opportunity to voice dissent.
Slow starts off the hop have been endemic for the Leafs this season, but tonight went above and beyond a poor start as the listlessness didn’t seem to wear off until the second intermission. A woeful first two periods killed the Leafs, but they can take some solace in a much-improved third period of play that made the score-line respectable. Additionally, Bryan McCabe played a role in both the Leafs’ goals and Jason Blake recorded the team’s first shortie in over a year. So it wasn’t all bad.
Jiri Tlusty will return to the Leafs’ line-up for Thursday night’s game against Buffalo to fill the void left by an injured Jeremy Williams. The timeline on Williams’ shoulder injury isn’t yet known. Meanwhile, Luke Schenn has returned to full contact practising and appears to be less than a week away from returning to action.
ANTON STRALMAN (# 36)
Birthdate:Â August 1st, 1986
(for all you stargazers out there, that makes him a Leo).
Hometown:Â Tibro, Sweden
Firstly, an interesting item of news – the Vancouver Canucks have acquired goaltender Jason LeBarbera from the LA Kings in exchange for a 7th round pick. Update: Hat-tip to Sarah, who points out that Curtis Sanford has been placed on the IR alongside Roberto Luongo, necessitating the deal for another ‘tender.
Ron Wilson will stick with the struggling Vesa Toskala as his slumping Maple Leafs, fresh off two consecutive losses by a collective score of 12-3, look to get off the schneid against Alex Ovechkin’s red-hot Washington Capitals.
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