When you’re plying your trade in a hockey market like Florida, it is quite hard to convince people that youâ€™re a game breaking player. Itâ€™s a team that wins some, loses more and generally misses the postseason.
A clutch player? Forget it. After all, being clutch can only be proven in games that matter, and no offense to Panthers fans but they didnâ€™t exactly play many of those since 2005-06.
In Florida, with a team that hadnâ€™t made the playoffs since before you were drafted there, basking in the sunlight, itâ€™s not hard for people to forget that you were, in fact, a REALLY high pick. 3rd overall in 2003 to be exact. Itâ€™s also much easier to completely ignore your 142 goals scored during your 5 seasons with the cats, not to mention his +32 total for those five seasons. There really should be a piece of text about Stephen Weiss around here somewhere…
So, if youâ€™re Nathan Horton, you probably wanted a chance to compete. Hell, if you were a hockey player you want a chance to compete. He got one with Boston and is currently making Peter Chiarelli looking like a really smart man, Kaberle move aside. Horton has won 3 games for Boston during these playoffs. More like three huge games. He has 3 points in his last two games and is almost a point-per-game player in the postseason (all with the Bruins).
Personally, I love Nathan as a hockey player. Actually, when I envision a hockey player, Iâ€™m thinking of a guy just like him. Heâ€™s a pure goalscorer with size and strength who can fight and has a mean streak. Apparently, heâ€™s willing to compete and is a winner as well. Palm trees and deadly cats, who would have thought it? If he was a member of the Leafs, well, Iâ€™d worship the ice he skated on, but letâ€™s not go there. There are a good number of things I disagree with when it comes to Grapes, but Horton is not one of them. “He’s a hockey players’ hockey player.”
The Bolts vs. Bruins game was something we thought would characterize the series as a whole. A solid defensive game played with lots of intensity, coupled by stellar goaltending. Your typical game 7 if you will. In the end, a veteran wearing black and yellow bested one wearing the bolt. Roloson put on a show, not only during this game but throughout the playoffs, and you’ve got to feel bad for they way things turned out for him. Not for the Leafs though, because that conditional pick landed right where we wanted it to.
In 2006, Roloson led the Edmonton Oilers to the Cup finals only to get injured and miss it. Yesterday, he lost a game 7 of the Conference Finals by one shot, while giving up just one goal in the process. TimÂ Thomas raised his arms, shaking them towards the sky after the final horn â€“ after a sensational, record braking season, the 37 year old happy go lucky goaltender is finally getting his chance to play for the Cup, to any fan out there, Bruin or otherwise inclined, Thomasâ€™ story has to be a good one to tell.
When looking at Horton’s performance for Boston so far, do you think Stephen Weiss could manage something similar if he found his way to Toronto? Who are your favorite players not playing on the Leafs? Who will prevail in the Stanley Cup Finals?