Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mats Who? Oh, And Raycroft Too

Out of the blue, Leafs captain Mats Sundin is out for a month. A seemingly innocuous hit by an over Eager Philadelphia player caught up to our favourite Svenski on Wednesday when it was announced that he would miss 3-4 weeks with tendinitis (or whatever it's called. We're no doctors).

Flashbacks of last season are excusable. It was just one season removed that Mats was felled on opening night by a puck to the eye. He missed one month, but the Leafs played some decent hockey, thanks to a renaissance version of Eric Lindros (except after that one inspiring month, he kinda took the rest of the season off).

No Big E this time around, could the captainless Leafs rally in Boston? If you said no, you obviously missed the key part of the question. They were in Boston. 6-4 was the final, thanks largely to the ad hoc top line of, get ready for it, Nik "Borat" Antropov, Alexei "Ponikabobsky" Ponikarovsky, and Kyle "Sophomore Sensation" Wellwood. Inspiring? Perhaps not, but it worked. Antropov and Ponikarovsky both picked up 3 points a piece, and Boston provided their regular doormat position.

Now the bad news: Andrew "Razr" Raycroft, making his first return to Beantown since being given the boot, was in full domination mode when he went down with what looked like a groin injury. J.S Aubin stepped in and, well, the best you can say is that he did just enough to get the win.

To recap: The Leafs are now missing, besides a handful of defensemen (Pavel Kubina is still a week away) their best player in Mats Sundin, and their top goalie, in Andrew Raycroft. The Leafs probably could have done just fine without Matty, but without Andy too? Things do not look particularly sunny in Leaf land.

We'll also use this opportunity to ask, What the hell Boston? We did predict that they would struggle, because, well, that's what Boston does, but we figured they wouldn't be this bad. They have so many quality players, Chara, Bergeron, Murray, Savard, Boyes, Stuart, and yet they play so poorly. Actually, the mystery isn't that hard to solve: they have no goaltending. After a moderately decent 2005-2006, Boston decided to hang their skates on youngster Hannu Toivannen, decrying him the next Cam Ward. Er, not quite. So now Boston is in dilly of a pickle. The prospect they got for Raycroft, Tuuka Rask (possibly the coolest hockey name ever? Shut up Hakan Loob) is still a few years away.

So that's that. What, did you expect answers or something? Look, if we had those, we wouldn't be writing this blog right now.

Also, a shout out to our b-boys, the Raptors, who are off to a 2-2 start, which, frankly speaking, is all we ever asked. That second win came of a last minute three pointer from Chris Bosh, which is good to see, because many people are predicting a down season after contracting Tim Duncan disease. Andrea Bargani hasn't been particularly good, but the season is young. Patience, would be the operative word.

Until next time,


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