Thursday Mashup: Bruins in town, Verhaeghe signs, Ranger named Leafs’ Masterton nominee

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 10: Frederik Andersen #31 of the Anaheim Ducks watches as Paul Ranger #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs scores off a pass from Phil Kessel #81 Toronto Maple Leafs take a 3-0 lead during the second period at Honda Center on March 10, 2014 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins lost their first game in regulation since March 1st last night (17 games), and of course it was to a team the Leafs needed to have lose in the Detroit Red Wings. The Leafs only hope at this point is winning all of their remaining five and Columbus taking eight or less points out of their remaining 14 (they will not be able to win any tiebreak scenario given the ROW difference).

The Bruins come to town tonight in a back to back situation for them and an (absolute)must-win game for the Leafs. Columbus is in Philadelphia tonight. A shocking win over the runaway Eastern Conference leader (and current Presidents Trophy race leader) combined with a Blue Jackets loss in regulation would at least make things mildly interesting in the final four games.

Two news items from yesterday: The Leafs signed Carter Verhaeghe to his entry-level deal and the 18-year-old centerman will join the Marlies for the remainder of the season. Paul Ranger was named the Leafs’ Masterton Trophy nominee for his comeback season following three years out of the game.

More Leafs news:

– The Toronto Marlies are on the verge of clinching their third straight North Division title. Go see a Marlies game this Spring. A good team that plays very unlike the Leafs.
–  David Clarkson’s contract is buyout proof. Only solution to the problem is to attempt reclamation next season.
– We Match Up Well Against Boston, says Jake Gardiner. It’s been a couple of months since anyone has matched up well against Boston.
– Maple Leafs could learn a thing or two from Boston. Like, “try to be one of the best teams in hockey, rather than not one.”
– Paul Ranger considers return to the NHL a success. Feel good story here amid a lot of down notes the last few weeks.
Tim Murray weighs in on the Leafs analytics debate. Murray sounds reasonable on the subject: There will be times when an organization must pick between eyeballing vs. numbers on a decision, but there’s no harm in looking at both.

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  • Uncle Otis

    Uggh…as if waking up from that hangover game with the B’s last night wasn’t bad enough ( did the ref see the puck in someone’s pants?)..I have to click on a Tim Murray article that swings me to the triple P’s
    When did we start détente with the highschool hockey superstars?

  • Uncle Otis

    Judging by how good the B’s looked last night,we might know in less than 30 mins if the Leaf’s lose or not too
    Detroit stole one.

  • drummond

    Seriously, the Clarkson deal is one of the worst deals ever. It will be killing the team for many years. The only hope is that Clarkson somehow manages to get to 10-15G and 30PTS levels. His contract would be horrible anyway, but somehow swallowable especially compared to the cost of buyout.

  • The_Irv

    We will have to wait and see… I’m going to give it another half season or so before I start jumping all over the contract. This was a funny year so I think he deserves a bit more time before he is entirely written off despite how bad he has been.
    Next year will hopefully bring in a new coach and he may thrive in the system.
    Despite how bad his season was I think it’s still too early to write him off entirely yet.

  • MaxwellHowe

    So Verhaeghe will be in the same boat as Rielly next year, won’t he?  He can play with the Leafs (very doubtful) or go back to juniors, but he won’t be able to play with the Marlies.  In any case, hopefully next year will be Conner Brown’s chance to play in the AHL.  Best thing abpout that – Marlies have a shit ton of big mean bastards to shield him as he gets accustomed to the pro game.

  • drummond

    CanuckUKinToronto drummond  But right now the leafs may persuade the other teams that he failed given the pressure in TO and some other lame excuses. Someone may buy that. If he fails to produce anything next year as well, the contract would truly be immovable, no other team will touch him.

  • MaxwellHowe

    CanuckUKinToronto drummond Put him on the 4th line and tell him he has to play his way off it.  Or he can become a permanent healthy scratch.  He needs to find that spark that brought him from the ranks of the undrafted to the 30 goal mark.

  • Yaknowwhat

    Good Morning fellow Leafers!!!

    Just not feeling it tonite… I think the Bruins are relishing the thought of snuffing us out….and after the effort I seen against Calgary can we really expect a victory….unless this team has sprouted some balls and found some determination….I just can’t see us beating the Bruins….Bruins 4 Leafs 2…

  • MaxwellHowe

    Yaknowwhat Can only really hope the Bruins are a little tired – late in the season, B2B game.  And I will note, recent days notwithstanding, the Leafs play best when they bring emotion into the game.  Hopefully the Bruins do bring out their best.

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks