Martin Gerber stole this game for the Toronto Maple Leafs.Â A few months ago, that sentence would have made absolutely no sense for so many reasons.Â In his first game as a Leaf, Gerber played in a fashion that will make more than a few Senator fans shake their heads in frustration.Â Other than a late goal that broke his shutout, Toronto’s new Swiss goaltender stopped a Washington squad that has admittedly struggled of late.
Here are some notes from this Thursday night toss-up:
-Jeff Hamilton was definitely an interesting move by Brian Burke.Â He was brought in to inject some offense into Burke’s NHL squad without drawing from the recently booming AHL development of players such as Jiri Tlusty and Tim Stapleton.Â While Hamilton won’t be in the long term plans of the Maple Leafs, he’s a small firecracker with the ability to pot some goals.Â Hell, you know you’re small when the barely six foot John Mitchell calls you “a little guy”
-Speaking of John Mitchell, he’s had a few good games riding shotgun with Jason Blake.Â The kid has the tools to be the next Dominic Moore, and a capable third line forward down the road.Â However, when he was smothered with plugs like Hollweg and May on fourth line duty he didn’t have the tools to support his speed or skill-set.Â Here’s to one of the best indirect results of clearing out players at the trade deadline: the increased development of some of our youngsters.
-The summertime window where the NTC’s of Kaberle and Kubina will be lifted has been quite publicized.Â So has the possibility that Burke held off trading them now, but fully intends to explore his options then.Â One has to think if that is the case, then it has been a wise move.Â We know Kaberle’s value, talent and contract taken into account, will not change.Â Furthermore, Pavel’s value has continuously been on the rise after a lackluster start.Â Kubina has played lights-out hockey the last month or so and has been reminding teams around the league why he is an offensive force to be reckoned with.
With a grating touch of irony, the goalie that many fans hoped would lead our charge back down the standings and towards the prize of a high draft pick began a movement in the exact opposite direction.Â Undoubtedly, the need to prove himself prompted some of Gerber’s flare tonight, but it is very likely that the lack of pressure and the pride factor will result in more strong play down the stretch.Â Here’s to hoping that we see a bit more of the Swiss cheese that we got so used to in an Ottawa uniform.
As always, interested to hear your thoughts.