Thursday, March 22, 2007

The East's Eighth Will Be No Chump

If (or when, for the half full crowd) the Leafs make the playoffs, I have a really good feeling about their prospects. Whichever team does takes the eighth and final Eastern spot will have damn well earned that berth. There are five teams looking for the last two spots (I'm assuming Tampa will get their act together), and you can be sure whoever gets there won't crawl in on their knees.

True, eighth isn't the hottest place to be, it's a invitation to Buffalo after all, but under my logic, if you can play the next ten games well enough to lock up a playoff spot, you can at least give the number one team in the NHL a good show.

New York, New York, Montreal, Carolina and Toronto are the challengers, two playoff spots are the reward. The Islanders will probably take one, as long DiPietro keeps up the ubermensch performance (and thereby qualify for an apology from every single hockey fan who ever said anything bad about them in the off season, myself included). The Rangers did a lot just to get back into the race, and Shanny might return soon too, so counting them out would be silly, but we've already given one spot away, and the second is reserved for the Maple Leafs... so... yeah. They'll choke eventually. Carolina doesn't seem to have anything big going their way, nothing stands out about the defending champs, and Montreal is too busy being Quebec's newest daily soap opera to find any success on the ice. The Leafs have their number one power play unit back with the return of Tucker and Wellwood. The Leafs played five hundred hockey while they were gone, and now that they're back, logic, if nothing else, says that the Leafs start to play better.

They beat (a severely undermanned) New Jersey (by one goal) last night, which is promising. Of the five teams, Toronto has the hardest schedule, playing just one non-playoff team in their final ten. Luckily though, Toronto also plays the four teams around them once each, placing Toronto's fate in their own hands. A home and home against Buffalo looms, which is good, because it will give us a potential preview of the first round. If the Leafs get swept here, than preparing for the playoffs is pointless. If they turn in a good performance, just spilt the series, hope will continue to sparkle.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Hunting The Most Dangerous Prey Of All

We don't like cheering against Carolina. It was less than a year ago we were rooting for them in the cup final. Now we are forced to hate them passionately. Catching the dying seconds of the 'Lina-Devils game, with New Jersey up by one and the Hurcs pouring it on like they were never going to play another game, we had to struggle to remind ourselves that damn it, Carolina is in Toronto's way. They must be sacrificed. New Jersey did it's job (Martin Brodeur for MVP anyone?) and Carolina lost.

These playoff races make strange bedfellows.

Another reaction we weren't thrilled to meet: cheering for Ottawa. They picked the Islanders apart tonight, which is good news. Hey, does it make us bad people that the first thing we thought when we saw Dipietro go down was, "Sweet"?

The Leafs play back to back now against the cannon fodder Capitals and the sinking Canadiens. Assured wins? Only if we weren't talking about our Buds.

Until then,


Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Please get off the front page of the sports section. Nobody cares.

Thank you,


(P.S 100th post. High Five?)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Marry Me, Darcy

Here is why the Maple Leafs are going to make the playoffs: Darcy Tucker is back.

Scoring two goals for the Leafs last night, the second coming in overtime against those damn Ottawa Senators, Darcy Tucker is what the boys in blue have been missing (and also Kyle Wellwood, who made his return last night as well, but damn it, this is a love letter to Tucker, not Wellwood).

Down 3-1 in the third period, despite outchancing Ottawa, the stage was set for another loss. It was only two nights removed from their last game in Ottawa, an ugly 5-1 loss. Then Boyd Devereaux scored, and suddenly it seemed almost inevitable that Nikolai Antropov would eventually score the tying goal before the clock ran out. He did, overtime ensued, and Darcy Tucker one timed a dandy of a doozy past Ray Emery.

This only befitting the man who recently did the home-team discount for the Leafs signing for the modest sum of three mil per while still injured. Now he's playing again, and scoring again, and the playoffs are within reach. Every game is important, yadda yadda yadda, but the Leafs have the only guy on their team who seems to understand it back.

Good things ahead.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Numba Ate

The Leafs won tonight, which is always a pleasant change of pace, especially when playing in front of the home suits. It was against Washington, 3-0, so don't read anything too deep into it, but anytime from here on out the Leafs win, it's going to be a big deal.

The win put them into eighth in the tight (tight like man's- well, you know the rest) Eastern Conference, tied with Carolina at 73, and trail the New York Islander Experience Featuring Ryan Smyth by three. Not much to get worked up over, though the Leafs do hold a game in hand over their competition.

The game itself was notable for Darcy Tucker's return to the scoresheet, one game after returning from injury. The newest, once again Leaf Yannic Perreault also scored, giving him, and Tucker while we're at it, both twenty on the season (We are sad to note that even after missing twenty plus games, Tucker is still second in team scoring. Sad for what could have been, or sad that no one else really stepped up? It's a toss up).

The real test is the up coming home and home against Ottawa. The Leafs are of course missing Tomas Kaberle (we won't comment on The Hit, other than to parrot what has already been said, the real punishment for New Jersey would have been to force them to play the bum for three games), but hopefully the return of Tucker and Pavel Kubina will balance out the scales.

Till then,