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Entries with the tag: giguere
For the first time this season, The Leafs are below the 500 mark. The talk around the city is that scoring is the problem and that criticism is not without merit (especially after being shutout 3 times in the last 6 games).
When the Leafs began the season 4-0-0, goals were aplenty. In those first 4 games, the Leafs scored 16 goals. In the 10 games since, they have scored 15. So naturally, the criticism wanders towards the area that was present before but is absent now.
But let’s be honest here. Outside of Kessel, the Leafs’ top 6 isn’t actually a top 6. It’s a collection of forwards who would slot 4 through 9 on virtually every other team in the NHL. Bozak is a prime example of this phenomenon. The City of Toronto has been all over the Leafs’ Line 1 Center to start playing like one, when that is not what he is (not yet anyways <- that’s the fan in me talking). Versteeg, Kulemin, Grabovski and MacArthur are no different.
Thing are quiet in Toronto today. 12 games in the Leafs are 5-5-2 and this city is fully aware of the fact that being at the 500-mark 82 games in will mean no playoffs once again. Some early season thoughts:
– The most dangerous player on the ice for the Leafs night-in and night-out.
– The only form of secondary scoring the Leafs have. He also leads the Leafs in points with 10.
– The Leafs’ best D-Man so far, no contest. Kaberle’s been solid offensively but Schenn has brought it at both ends of the ice. Not only that, he leads all Leafs’ D-men in +/- (4) and hits (42).
– Toronto’s goaltending tandem of Giguere and Gustavsson has been a major reason why Toronto has been in so many games this season. If they gave Gustavsson as much goal-support as they have Giguere, they’d be well above 500 right now. Want proof? The Leafs rank 12th in GA/G at 2.5.
Panthers (3-3-0) vs. Leafs (4-2-1)
The Leafs need a win tonight. Badly. Or else the team might just find itself on a tailspin to oblivion and the City of Toronto will push the panic button.
The Leafs’ 4-0-0 start raised eyebrows across the NHL. Brian Burke haters disappeared in that span as well. Gone was the criticism of the Kessel trade which flooded talk radio all the way into September. Gone was the criticism that Brian Burke failed to bring in a top line forward in Free Agency. Or the idea that stashing Kadri in the minors for another season was not the right move.
If the Leafs lose tonight, look for those critics to come back out of the closet. Not only that, but guys like Versteeg, Armstrong, Brown, Zigomanis, McArthur will all be exposed to the pressure-cooker that is the Toronto media.
Leafs (4-1-1) at Philly (2-3-1)
The Leafs have something to prove this game. After a 4-0-0 start, the Leafs have lost the last two games: An overtime loss to the Islanders which the Leafs dominated from start to finish but could not pull out the W; and a regulation to the Rangers in which the Leafs looked more like the team from last year than the team that began the season with the franchise’s best start in almost two decades. Which team will show up?
The heart says: This year is different. This year the Leafs will be a top 8 team in the East.
The head says: on paper, the Leafs are the worst team in the Northeast, and that means another year out of the playoffs.
We fall in love with the Leafs too easily. Already there is clamor around the city about the playoffs. Talk radio is flooded with how fast, how much more defensively responsible this team is. People are posting the current NHL standings on Facebook Profile pictures, calling for Kessel to win the Rocket Richard, calling for Giggy to win the Vezina.
Leaf Nation is the Charlie Brown of the NHL. We keep believing Lucy won’t take the playoffs away. But she will. And we will fall flat on our faces once again.