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Versteeg in. He will slot in on the Leafs’2nd Line with Grabovski and MacArthur.
Christian Hanson gets the call to play on the 4th line between Orr and Brown.
Gunnarsson in. Lebda out.
Look for Orr to drop the gloves with Boogaard again.
Rangers (4-4-1) vs Leafs (5-3-1)
The Leafs need to get used to the fact that every game has critical implications for their playoff hopes.
Washington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Boston have 4 seeds in the East almost locked in. Then there’s Tampa Bay, New Jersey, Montreal, Buffalo and Carolina. Ottawa, NYR, NYI and Atlanta aren’t too far behind. Let’s not kid ourselves. The only team in the East that the Leafs SHOULD be ahead of in the standings come April is Florida.
Come April, 6 to 8 points will separate seeds 7 through 11, as has been the case since the lockout. So when the Leafs take on the Rangers tonight at the Air Canada Centre, they need to remember one thing: every game they play is a 4-Point game.
If Steven Stamkos were a Maple Leaf, this wouldn’t be happening.
In 9 games this season, Stamkos has a stat line of 8 goals and 18 points. The next closest player is Ryan Getzlaf with 13 points in 10 games.
Yet somehow, if we polled the intelligent portion of the hockey universe today, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin would be the runaway favourites in a conversation about the best forwards in the game right now.
Yes, the season is young. And yes, Crosby and Ovechkin are off to “slower” starts than usual. But Stamkos is out-producing them nonetheless (by a sizable margin).
To put it into perspective, Leaf Nation is buzzing about Kessel’s 7 goals in the first 8 games of the season. Some say he is a legitimate contender for the Rocket. The more mentally unstable ones have even gone as far as to suggest the possibility of Kessel winning the Hart.
Can you imagine what would happen if Kessel had Stamkos’ stat line?
Let me be clear. I am not here saying that Stamkos is better than Crosby and Ovechkin. I am simply saying that Stamkos deserves to be in the conversation.
Leafs (5-2-1) vs Bruins (4-2-0)
The Toronto Maple Leafs are actually ahead of the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings. The Bruins do have 2 games in hand, however, making this the proverbial 4-point game in the battle for division rank.
The Leafs put an end to their 3-game skid on Tuesday against Florida, thanks to a missed Goalie Interference call on Colton Orr and yet another Phil Kessel goal. The Leafs hope to retain that top spot in the Northeast Division with a win against the same team who traded them Kessel a little more than a year ago.
Tyler Seguin (profanity) sucks. He is the worst (profanity) forward on the planet.
Tuuka Rask also (profanity) sucks. He is the worst (profanity) goalie on the planet.
Jared Knight sucks so (profanity) much that he couldn’t make a team that has Tyler Seguin on it.
Oh and even if we finish 29th-30th again this year, Adam Larsson and Sean Couturier are the worst (profanity) prospects in the history of the game.
I (profanity) hate the Boston Bruins.
Give us a win tonight boys.
Caputi has been called up by the Leafs to skate in place of Colby Armstrong, who left last night’s game with an injury after being slashed by Chris Higgins on his hand.
Keep an eye on Caputi to make the most of this opportunity after a strong preseason. He will slot in with Brent and Sjostrom on the Leafs’ 3rd line.
Everyone is up in arms.
The Florida Panthers. Colton Orr just trampled over their back-up goalie. The ref was standing right there. RIGHT THERE. Yet somehow he only noticed the puck go in. Not the 220 pound guy who obviously took the goalie out of the play.
The Media. Everyone is calling it 100% goalie interference. Asking why the referee didn’t blow the play, why the call didn’t go upstairs, why NHL coaches aren’t given challenges like in the NFL.
The Toronto Maple Leafs. Even Ron Wilson and Colton Orr admitted it was goalie interference when talking to the media. Wilson even went as far as to say that Orr should have gotten a penalty.
Here’s what Leaf Nation thinks: We’ll take ‘em however we can get ‘em. We know it wasn’t a goal. We know it was a penalty. We don’t care. We’ll take it.
Phil Kessel scored (again) to make it 3-1 anyway.
Go Leafs Go.
Brian Burke, on the AM640 yesterday, talks two trade offers, Phaneuf and Nazem Kadri.
Listen to Brian Burke on AM640.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Nashville Predators have a lot in common. Both have young stud Captain defensemen who play a similar game. Both have good goaltending. Both are strong on the backend. And both have a core of forwards that isn’t deep with offensive talent.
But the Nashville Predators are better.
You can thank Barry Trotz for that (the fact that he has not yet won the Jack Adams trophy is criminal). Every year sports journalists write off the Predators, and every year around February the same sports journalists churn out a string of articles about how the Predators keep on proving their doubters wrong.
The journalists aren’t just bandwagon jumpers. In fact, they are right. On paper, the Predators had no business making the playoffs 4 out of the last 5 years; after the 2006-2007 season, the Predators should have finished out of the top 8 in the Western Conference every single season. On paper.
Dear Toronto Maple Leafs,
Please stop sucking. This city of 5.5 million people needs you.
Think of us like Gotham City. In ruins.
We have not seen a playoff game since the 2003-2004 season. There are people in this city who have never been old enough to legally see a Leaf Playoff game in a bar even though they are over 19.
Over the course of the last 6 years of post-season drought, we have bought each of your new jerseys (home, away and third), bought tickets to the games, spent thousands of dollars on bar tabs and planned the parade route each year (we’re keeping the blueprints because obviously this is the year right?).
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