Toronto Maple Leafs
Justin Pogge debuted his NHL career with a .905 SV% and a 2.00 GAA.
Not too shabby.
Pogge displayed an active glove hand, quick lateral movement, solid positioning and decent rebound control. An aspect of his game I was particularly impressed with was his ability to make himself look big. Possessing a 6'3, 205 pound frame, Pogge's size is best utilized when screened or making the save through a crowd â€“ an asset Vesa Toskala is not blessed with.
Hmmm.. I just watched as a kid my brother used to beat in minor hockey lit up Toskala/Joseph for a hat-trick. Oh, and Wilson didn't [more…]
Former Maple Leafs captain, Mats Sundin may have inadvertently helped the Toronto Maple Leafs rebuilding effort. In signing with the Vancouver Canucks, Sundin may have already given Toronto the inside track at a piece Vancouver lacks to make them a contender in the West. That player presently wears blue and white. Tomas Kaberle.
The Maple Leafs, now bearers of a winning record at 14-13-6, are looking to continue their offensive onslaught against the league's fifth worst defense as they return home to host the underachieving Dallas Stars.
Ron Wilson appears to have assembled a winning combination up front. After an 8-5 beating at the hands of the Boston Bruins, Wilson re-united the line of Nik Antropov, Matt Stajan and Alexei Ponikarovsky atop the roster, kept in tact the dynamic third line of Jason Blake, Dominic Moore and Jeremy Williams and it's resulted in two dominating wins by a collective score of 13-5. For the first time since early October, the Leafs have surpassed the .500 mark at 14-13-6 after winning five of their last six.
Ed. Note: The timing seems just about right as the Leafs play Atlanta in Atlanta on Monday. Obviously, Ron Wilson will have to test him in spotlight of the ACC but this seems like the perfect scenario for Pogge to get the first one under his belt. If this experiment goes well, it may mean that Curtis Joseph will hang up his skates, assume a coaching position of some sort and Justin Pogge will back-up Toskala with a healthy dosage of appearances.... not to get too far ahead of myself, though.
It appears Vesa Toskala has been complaining of a sore groin for some time, and during the Leafs' 7-3 win over the Pens last night, the soreness had reached a limit. TSN is reporting that Toskala will be out of the lineup when the Leafs face the Thrashers on Monday.
Mats - firstly, you've made me look like a total sap having torn my heart out when staunchly defending your decision last March. Personally, that makes me more than a little bit pissed off (but I understand, I'll explain later).
As they hit the road for a three-game away stretch, the Maple Leafs look to extend their three game winning streak but must start by conquering the impenetrable fortress known as the TD Banknorth Garden, home to the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins. The 21-5-4 Bruins boast an 11-1-1 home record and are currently riding an eleven game home winning streak during which they've outscored their opponents by a collective score of 53-22. The big, bad Bruins are back.
On the topic of spin-o-ramas, here's a highlight reel play from Leafs' 6th rounder in 2006 Tyler Ruegsegger during recent collegiate action. [More after the jump, including an update from U of D head coach George Gwozdecky].
The Maple Leafs have recorded their first three game winning streak since March by way of a shootout win (you heard me correctly) over the New Jersey Devils. Joe Sakic Rookie call-up Jeremy Williams made it three-in-three and also sniped in the shootout to continue his tear at the NHL level. Fourth shooter Jason Blake won the game on a sweet spin-o-rama move but I still highly dislike him. Seriously though, his work rate and overall level of play have visibly improved in the month of December.
Vesa Toskala has reclaimed his role as the Leafs' top player.
Similar to last season, Toskala got off to a slow start, struggling to provide his team with solid goaltending. Looking at how the defense has performed this season, consistent goaltending is a necessity.
The Maple Leafs look to extend their two game winning streak Tuesday night as they entertain the New Jersey Devils sans Martin Brodeur. Rookie Jeremy Williams looks to continue a streak of his own having scored in each of his first two appearances this season.