Saturday, March 31, 2007

This is a really, really important day

At this point of the season it probably goes without saying, but still. Tonight probably makes or breaks our playoff hopes. Let's look at what we need to happen tonight:

Philadelphia has to beat the Rangers, one way or another.

It'd be nice for the Rangers to pick up a clean (regulation) loss, but it's not essential. If the Rangers are kept to 87 or 88 points, that sets up a massive game tomorrow night. If they pull off what would seem to be the easy win and get to 89, well, I won't be very happy, because it doesn't give the Leafs the chance to pass the Rangers tomorrow.

Tampa Bay needs to take a clean loss to Washington.

I should also note that it would be convenient for Atlanta to lose to Boston, too, but since someone has to win that division, I suppose they can win. However, Tampa needs to lose, and they need to not get any points while doing it. If they can stay at 88 points, they're still within reach for my end of the weekend sixth place scenario, which would be fantastic.

Buffalo and Ottawa need to take care of business once again.

Buffalo had the Islanders last night, Ottawa had Montreal. Tonight they switch. They got wins last night and they need to pick up two more. As an interesting side note, if Buffalo wins, they clinch first place in the conference. It's weird cheering for Ottawa, but it's important to keep the teams beneath us down, so I'm fine with them winning (although if everything else falls into place, I suppose the Islanders may have a win here). If New York and Carolina don't get back into it soon, they're going to be left behind.

Montreal obviously needs to lose because they stand directly in front of Toronto. If they lose and the Maple Leafs win, we sit one point ahead of them with a game in hand, which is a great position to be in after they seemed so far ahead of us (and had that terrible five game winning streak to boot).

Toronto needs to keep Crosby off the scoresheet.

Aside from the fact that this would help towards my dream of seeing Thornton catch and pass Crosby for the Art Ross, it's the key to winning against the Penguins tonight. If Crosby doesn't get anything, we can take them. If gets a point, maybe. If gets a couple, we're probably fucked. If we win this game and sit in the playoffs at the end of the night, I will go ahead and say we will stay there.

Also, if we win, we have the Rangers tomorrow in a game that COULD see us end up in sixth place (it's looking unlikely after Tampa's win, but that's ok).

I guess that the most important things for this weekend are Montreal losing again, Toronto getting two wins, and the Rangers getting two losses. If nothing else on this list happens, these are the ones that probably mean the most. We should be fine if that happens.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

*BOWENISM* - Mar. 29/07 - Maple Leafs vs. Thrashers

Well, just the fact that Joe Bowen opened up tonight's broadcast with the words, "Welcome to HOTLANTA!" made me know that tonight's Bowenism would be a good one...and here it is:

The Superheroes of the String Saunas

Remaining Schedule of 7 Eastern Teams; Realistic Results?

I am in class, as Dave just mentioned. I'm not even going to look at the Leafs running boxscore on yahoo tonight; simply because I'm taping the game and will watch it later. So instead I am going to entertain, well maybe not entertain, but keep myself busy, with this blog. Yay. Here's what it is going to be ... a look at each of the schedules for the teams we are fighting with. I'm only looking at 7 teams though, Atlanta, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Us, New York Islanders and Carolina. Fuck the Panthers. I'm not including Buffalo, New Jersey, Ottawa and Pittsburgh for obvious reasons (they've clinched a spot, and they are too far ahead anyway). Here goes nothing.

Atlanta Thrashers - 5 Games Remaining - 89 Points - 1st in Southeast Division - 3rd in the Eastern Conference

Tonight - vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Sat. Mar 31 at Boston Bruins
Wed. Apr 4 vs Washington Capitals
Fri Apr 6 at Carolina Hurricanes
Sat Apr 7 vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Realistically ... the Leafs are playing better than the Thrashers, and should win this game (0 Points). Should beat the Bruins (2 Points). Should beat the Capitals (2 Points). Hopefully will beat the Canes and Islanders with no overtime so the Leafs can benefit (4 Points). This gives the Thrashers 8 more points, finishing the season with 97.

New York Rangers - 5 Games Remaining - 87 Points - 3rd in Atlantic Division - 6th in Eastern Conference

Sat Mar 31 at Philadelphia Flyers
Sun Apr 1 vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Tues Apr 3 at New York Islanders
Thurs Apr 5 vs Montreal Canadiens
Sat Apr 7 at Pittsburgh Penguins

Realistically ... should beat the Flyers (2 Points). Beat the Leafs in OT (2 Points). Beat the Islanders and Canadiens, once again to help the Leafs (4 Points), but lose to the Pens (0 Points). Finishing with 8 more points, and a total of 95 Points.

Tampa Bay Lightning - 5 Games Remaining - 86 Points - 2nd in Southeast Division - 7th in Eastern Conference

Fri Mar 30 at Carolina Hurricanes
Sat Mar 31 vs Washington Capitals
Tues Apr 3 vs Carolina Hurricanes
Fri Apr 6 vs Florida Panthers
Sat Apr 7 at Atlanta Thrashers

Realistically ... Two games against the Canes? Eww. Split these two games, one win, one loss, with no overtime (2 Points). Beat the Caps and Panthers (4 Points), lose to the Thrashers (0 Points). 6 Points more, finish with 92.

Montreal Canadiens - 5 Games Remaining - 86 Points - 3rd in Northeast Division - 8th in Eastern Conference

Fri Mar 30 at Ottawa Senators
Sat Mar 31 vs Buffalo Sabres
Tues Apr 3 vs Boston Bruins
Thurs Apr 5 at New York Rangers
Sat Apr 7 vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Realistically ... lose to the Sens and Sabres, but with as well as they are playing, let's assume they get two points, one way or another (2 Points). Beat the Bruins (2 Points). An overtime loss to the Rangers (1 point). Can't give them anything against the Leafs (0 Points). 5 points, finishing with 91.

Toronto Maple Leafs - 6 Games Remaining - 84 Points - 4th in Northeast Division - 9th in Eastern Conference

Tonight at Atlanta Thrashers
Sat Mar 31 vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Sun Apr 1 at New York Rangers
Tues Apr 3 vs Philadelphia Flyers
Thurs Apr 5 at New York Islanders
Sat Apr 7 vs Montreal Canadiens

Realistically ... a win over the Thrashers (2 Points), some how getting a point over the Pens (1 Point). Same with the Rangers (1 Point). Beat the Flyers (2 Points). Beat the Islanders (2 Points). Beat the Canadiens, probably in overtime (2 Points). 10 points, finishing the year with 92.

New York Islanders - 6 Games Remaining - 84 Points- 4th in Atlantic Division - 10th in Eastern Conference

Fri Mar 30 at Buffalo Sabres
Sat Mar 31 vs Ottawa Senators
Tues Apr 3 vs New York Rangers
Thurs Apr 5 vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Sat Apr 7 at Philadelphia Flyers
Sun Apr 8 at New Jersey Devils

Realistically ... losses to all the teams, minus the Flyers. Without DiPietro, give them 3 points just for fun. Finishing with 87 on the year.

Carolina Hurricanes - 5 Games Remaining - 84 Points - 3rd in Southeast Division - 11th in Eastern Conference

Fri Mar 30 vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Sun Apr 1 at Florida Panthers
Tues Apr 3 at Tampa Bay Lightning
Fri Apr 6 vs Atlanta Thrashers
Sat Apr 7 vs Florida Panthers

Realistically ... again fuck the two games between teams we are fighting with. Split them (2 Points). Lose to the Thrashers (0 Points). Panthers ... they're playing decently ... I can wish can't I? (3 Points). Gives them 5 points, and a total of 89.

Realistically - or maybe hopefully on my part - here's what the standings would look like come April 8th at roughly 11:59pm.

1. Sabres
2. Devils/Pens
3. Thrashers ... 97 Points
4. Sens
5. Devils/Pens
6. Rangers ... 96 Points
7. Lightning ... 92 Points
8. Leafs ... 92 Points

9. Canadiens ... 91 Points
10. Hurricanes ... 89 Points
11. Islanders ... 87 Points

Tampa would have more wins, and therefore would get the tiebreaker with us. I'm not going to lie though, this is a very plauisble situation ... especially for the Leafs. I don't think I'm asking for too much here ... am I? Let me know.

Live game blog tonight!

Just kidding. Me and Steve are in class, and Jared is drunk in a ditch somewhere. So you'll have to watch the game for yourself. One or more of us will probably have things to say about the game afterwards.

Go Leafs Go!

Killing two or more birds with one stone

The week has gone magnificently thus far, as covered by the team here at BBP and you know, having your eyes open. The Maple Leafs have moved up to ninth, two points back of Montreal and Tampa for the seventh and eighth spots and three back of the Rangers for sixth. We sit tied with the Islanders and the Hurricanes at 84 points, although we sit on top due to more wins over New York and less games played than Carolina. That's another big advantage for us over the three teams in front of us, all of whom are within three points: we've got a game in hand over everyone.

Tonight Toronto spends that extra game, and we go up against the Atlanta Thrashers. Earlier in the week I was pretty scared of them, but now Atlanta has lost three straight and only sits five points ahead of Toronto (and once again, the Leafs have a game in hand). Obviously, Toronto can't end up in third, but hurting the Thrashers only helps us, as having all three of the Southeast teams being forced to take only one spot (the division title, giving them third) leaves more spots for us. If Carolina, Tampa, and Atlanta keep losing, it's not likely all three will get in. Which is good news.

Technically, we can't actually move up in the standings tonight, given that Toronto is involved in the only Eastern game of the evening. Even if we pick up the win, we'll still sit in ninth. We'll be tied with Tampa/Montreal, but we won't have the game in hand anymore and we have less wins than both of those teams.

Still, we need the win once again. I'll call it a must-win situation, and that's because we're giving up the precious extra game. We NEED the two points to continue the drive. If we win tonight, and all three of the big games tomorrow night go our way (Tampa and Carolina NOT going to overtime, preferably with a Tampa win I suppose; Ottawa beating Montreal in regulation and Buffalo beating the DiPietro-less Islanders in regulation), and we get a little bit of luck combined with a win on Saturday, we could conceivably be battling the Rangers for sixth place on Sunday. With us possibly walking in with the lead in that race. I don't know about you guys, but I'm damn excited.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mar 27th - Canes vs Leafs - Game Review

Well there's not much more to say; I covered all I needed to in the previous posts. I'll do a few bullet points though.

- It was a must win game. Not a must rape. It finished 6-1 (a great goal by Ponikarovsky, for the 6th of the evening).

- The only interesting story of the 3rd period was that Paul Maurice absolutely destroyed Chad Kilger. I don't know for certain what his actual ice time was in the period, but he was out there seemingly the entire 20 minutes trying to get the hat trick.

- Oh, I did forget. Matt Stajan got a huge breakaway (another pass from Kaberle, he's been great since his return; save for the first 5 minutes on Friday night) and got stoned. Haha, fuckbag. Normally I'd be pissed, but since it was 6-1 at that point, I just chuckled heartily.

- One thing that I loved about the game (aside from the score) was Paul Maurice. I can't pinpoint the exact moment, but it was just after either the 4th or 5th goal, the camera panned the Leafs bench. You caught a quick look at Paul Maurice, who had a slight smirk on his face, and pumped his fist twice, ever so slightly. Just as fast as it came; it went. Back to business. The reason I liked it was because I've never seen Maurice show any emotion (in the "happy" side of emotion, I've seen plenty of anger). Maurice knew the importance of this game, and that brief moment of happiness said it all.

- That said, I do have some positives, negatives and wrapup comments I'd like to briefly mention.

- The Leafs stayed out of the box for the most part. No dumb penalties.
- Scored plenty of goals, none of which came from guys named, Sundin, Tucker, Antropov, Kaberle, Wellwood or McCabe. Albeit one from Ponikarovsky otherwise he would have been mentioned in that list too. Good to have others scoring though.
- Leafs dominated the entire game, as we have done quite often lately, save for one bad period.

- Sundin isn't scoring. While we're getting goals from others, it would be nice to get him going as well.
- Raycroft did a few things that made me scratch my head. He was lucky he was able to bail himself out; usually those turn into bad goals for our opponents.
- We're scoring too much. Save some goals for other games (this one is kind of a joke, incase you don't recognize my sarcasm).

Wrapup Comments
- Perreault had a goal and an assist, giving him 500 career points in what was his 800th game.
- Kilger's two goals gave him 200 points in his career.
- Raycroft notched his 35th win of the season, leaving him two shy of Ed Belfour's franchise record of 37 (set back in 02/03).
- Leafs are in Atlanta on Thursday.
- I'm going to leave the talk about the results of the teams we are chasing to someone else, I've posted enough tonight; I presume Dave will get to that either tonight or tomorrow. I will say things worked out fairly nicely.
- Finally, fuck, I was anything but brief again.

Mar 27th - Canes vs Leafs - 2nd Period Quickie

As much as I hate to admit it, maybe that embarassing loss to the Sabres on Friday Night was a blessing in disguise. Since then the Leafs have played like a team possessed. It's only after the second period though. I better not go too in-depth, just incase they do blow it again.

Kilger scored another goal to make it 4-1. Ward allowed a huge rebound off a Johnny Pohl shot (fuck you Dave, Pohl is amazing). We (the TV audience) almost missed the 5th goal as TSN's broadcast randomly cut to an overhead shot of a random arena on an intermission. I thoroughly enjoyed watching a pair of zamboni's gliding gracefully across the ice. Anyway, a long pass from Hal Gill sprang (or is it sprung?) Yanic Perreault on a breakaway who snapped it over Ward's arm. Laviolette pulled Ward after this goal. As a result of all this ... 5-1 after 2 (smiles while rubbing hands together).

Everything else ... Montreal scored 3 unanswered and lead the Rangers 3-2 (WTF?) mid way through the 2nd. Jersey leads the Islanders 2-1 late in the 2nd. Florida has extended its lead to 3-1 over Tampa, just starting the 3rd there.

See ya for the game review?

Mar 27th - Canes vs Leafs - 1st Period Quickie

I'm feeling like shit today, really randomly, so I don't feel like sitting straight up for very long. Hopefully I can reel this off without rambling.

Great start for the Leafs tonight. Scored 47 seconds into the game. Bit of a weak goal by Devereaux, but we'll take it. The second goal was scored after Cam Ward was trying to clear a rebound, and ended up batting the puck into his own net, another weak one. The third Leafs goal came off a fucking lazer of a shot by Kilger on a delayed penalty. Only downside is we allowed an early goal ourselves on a 2 on 1 (Erik Cole assisting on Eric Staal's 29th of the Year). 3-1 after 1.

Good news out of town. Florida has scored 2 goals since I started this blog and now lead the Lightning 2-1 in the 2nd period. The Islanders are down 1-0 after 1 to Jersey (and apparently DiPietro is out indefinitely; always good to hear). Finally the Rangers have a 2-0 lead on MTL after 1.

Quoteable: "He started like Perdita Felician ... but since then he's calmed down" Glenn Healy re: Cam Ward's start, and the first Leafs' goal of the game (this was before the 2nd and 3rd goals were scored. It made me laugh).

Hope that wasn't too lengthy. Start fof the 2nd, so back to bed I go.

*BOWENISM* - Mar. 27/07 - Maple Leafs vs. Hurricanes

So, this is my first post of a Bowenism. What is a Bowenism you ask? Well, it's pretty straight forward. A Bowenism is the term which Maple Leafs broadcaster, Joe Bowen, uses to introduce the goalies. They are always a collection of descriptive words that start with the same letters.

So, on that's the Bowenism for tonight!

The Creatures of the Crescent Creases

Monday, March 26, 2007

Want Some Good News?

So apparently I'm supposed to be the emotional guy (Dave suggests this below). Which I suppose is a fair claim to make since everything I've posted so far has been based on emotion. I guess all my posts are underlined by emotion though, regardless of whether it is here, elsewhere, or even in relation to my other sports teams (Packers and Jays by the way). The fact is, I love sports, and I get extremely emotional about it. I don't know how Dave can stay so calm. A win makes me exstatic. A loss crushes me, usally for days (I'm still fuming about Friday night, despite the big win on Saturday). Anyway, this post wasn't supposed to be emotional, and yet I started getting worked up again. I'm stopping now, and going to mention what I originally came for.

I was just checking the schedule for tomorrow night; this is where the good news comes in. As you should know by now the Leafs have an ENORMOUS game against Carolina ... at home. The good news is (or bad news depending on the results) everyone we are chasing is also playing. How is that good news you ask? Well dear readers take a look at the opponents.

New York Rangers (87 Pts; 6th in East) @ Montreal Canadiens (84 Pts; 10th in East based on Tiebreakers)

The Canadiens have been playing really well as of late (see Dave's post below) but the Rangers have been playing even better (and as Dave may have mentioned; I can't actually remember if he did) are probably out of reach by now. With Lundqvist on our side, the Rangers should (and hopefully will) beat the Canadiens Tuesday Night.

New Jersey Devils (96 Pts; 2nd in East) @ New York Islanders (84 Pts; 9th in East based on Tiebreakers)

The Devils might not win the Atlantic this year when you combin their recent play with that of the Penguins (the two teams are currently tied with 96 point apiece). But they are the Devils afterall. They're just one of those teams that constantly scares me. As many injuries as they have, they still have a fucking wall in Martin Brodeur. That's all the reassurance I need. Good chance the Isles lose this one.

Florida Panthers (76 Pts; 12 in East) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (86 Pts; 7th in East)

While the Lightning aren't sitting in the "three prong 84 point" teams ahead of the Leafs, they are still ahead of us - but not by much anymore. They currently sit at 86 points and are struggling lately (4-6-0 in previous 10), so I thought it was worth mentioning their game too. Also, Florida currently trails the Leafs (albeit by 6 points) and could mathematically pass them (chuckles at the thought of Florida passing the Leafs). I guess it would be helpful if the Panthers won, but I won't hold my breath.

Carolina Panthers (84 Pts; 8th in East based on Tiebreakers) @ Toronto Maple Leafs (82 Pts; 11th in East)

How could I leave this one out? All the other games I mentioned will mean nothing if the Leafs don't take care of business themselves. At this point we need wins, while the teams ahead of us need to lose (pretty crazy thought eh?). As you can see by the point totals of all the teams the Leafs are fighting with, there's a serious opportunity to gain ground on all of them come Tuesday night. Let's hope to hell the Leafs can pull out another win.

Monday, March 26

Yesterday both New York teams faced off and of COURSE it went to overtime. The Rangers prevailed and overtake the Lightning for sixth, while the Islanders lose their game in hand over Carolina and Toronto but move into a tie for eighth.

You know, there's not much to say today. The Leafs have the day off, resting up for a HUGE game in Carolina tomorrow night before coming back to this area for a three-games-in-four-nights stretch starting Thursday (Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and the Rangers).

It goes without saying that the Carolina game is an absolute must win, far more than other "must-win" games have been lately. A clean (regulation) win over the Hurricanes not only puts the Leafs up at 84 points, which right now seems to be the "going rate" (although, given that Montreal, Tampa, and both New York teams are also playing tomorrow, that could very well change), but it keeps Carolina from getting farther ahead, which was the big problem with Saturday's emotional win (that everyone else won, too). But of course, I'm sure all three of us are going to chime in tomorrow with more detailed (me), emotional (Steve), and irrelevant (Jared) thoughts. And isn't that why you come here?

As for the weekend, well, all three of those teams are flying right now and will be really tough to beat. Atlanta's lost their last two, but one of those because of a fluke goal against Pittsburgh yesterday and the other was against San Jose, when Jonathan Cheechoo suddenly remembered he was a 50 goal scorer last year. Pittsburgh is 7-2-1 in their last ten and are making a strong push for the Atlantic division title. The Rangers have won 5 straight, are 7-1-2 in their last ten, and have the best goalie in the entire league for the past two months or so in Henrik Lundqvist.

There's a possible eight points up for grabs in the next week. I'm going to say right now that it's absolutely essential for Toronto to pick up no less than five of those points. That would put them at 89 with three games to play, which should be enough to keep pace (especially if we get a clean win against those dastardly Hurricanes). Then to close off the year we have Philadelphia, Montreal, and the Islanders. The worst team in the league and two of the teams we need to beat. Let's say we got 2-1 (wins over the Flyers and Islanders and a loss to Montreal) in that last week; if we get five points this week, that leaves us at 93 points when the season is done. That will probably be enough to get us in. So, if we can keep pace or even get a little ahead this week, our destiny will be ENTIRELY in our own hands.

We're not dead yet guys.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Captain Planet?

Something about this picture really made me laugh. Then I started to long until we see Sir Paul McCartney starting to attend Leafs' games at the ACC with his "No More Land Mines" shirt on.

I know Sundin's a good captain in the dressing room and on the ice and stuff...but Captain Planet...c'mon.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Well, colour me shocked

Toronto hung on to win 4-1.

I'll definitely take a series split from Buffalo; three or four points here would have been a LOT better but I think two is impressive enough. More important than the actual points here is the moral victory: after last night, the team needed to show that they weren't going to be too shaken up. Look at Edmonton after the Ryan Smyth trade (although granted, Edmonton has been a fucking terrible team all year and I picked them to finish 13th in September). The team was destroyed emotionally. Toronto needed to get a quick win here to prove that they weren't going to let the collapse on Friday get to them. This was really important for Raycroft, since goalies are always a little wonky like that. Raycroft had a great game, Toronto got that win, and I have confidence in the team again. Maybe we're still behind the pace, but we're still alive. And that's important.

The only thing that sucks about this is that everyone else in the race picked up four points over the last four days. It would have really been nice if someone else could have done their job. Off the top of my head (meaning I haven't looked at standings and won't be doing that to make the math correct), Toronto sits at 82 points - which is good for 11th. Montreal and Carolina move back into their tie for eighth with 84, and both of them have more wins than Toronto.

I don't know. It's going to be really, really tough. But this team showed tonight, coming off of last night, that they still have a bit of moxie in them. I'm not going to count them out yet.

Oh Fuck ... Here We Go Again

The Leafs are up 3-1 in the 2nd Period. Anyone willing to bet they fuck it up again? I'll give it 2-1 odds that they lose. Place your bets now.

A Weekend with the Slugs

It's been an emotional weekend as I'm sure you can pick up from Steve's rantings.

The game last night was... well, weird. I didn't see much of the first two periods, as I was continuing my usual tradition of "not actually watching the Leafs play", but then Jared arranged a get together for the last period of the game and pounds upon pounds of chicken wings. It was us here at BBP along with one raging faggot/Sabres fan (another came later... after the win... wearing a Sabres jersey. Which I can guarantee he put on just as the Sabres won the game, and that he probably would have hidden if the Sabres lost (or, alternatively, if Buffalo still sucked, probably wouldn't even own it).

What I did catch of the game was really weird. Toronto was hanging with Buffalo. That... well, that shouldn't happen. And I guess the only explanation I can come up with for what happened in the third period is that Buffalo realized "hey, what the hell, why is Toronto winning?" and decided to not put up with that. The Leafs completely fell apart. We were sitting there, enjoying our artery-clogging food and the fact that our favourite team was handily winning over arguably the best team in the league (well, Brett wasn't, he stayed kind of quiet. He only really talked to order his food, talk about something non-hockey related, or, interestlingly, praise Toronto. I guess the lesson here is that Buffalo fans are really just Ottawa fans who realize how gay they are for liking Ottawa and wish they were still Toronto fans). As Steve mentioned, there were other (drunken) Leafs fans in attendance; the one guy who was wearing a Toronto jersey kept yelling and carrying on with Jared, who was in his McCabe jersey.

Then, all of a sudden, everything went to hell. I honestly cannot explain, rationalize, or even describe what the hell happened. Everything went wrong. Everything. Four unanswered goals. Goals on consecutive shots. Brett coming out of the closet and trash talking the Leafs. The other guys in the bar got up and left. We saw one goal and thought it was the replay of the previous one, only it was actually a new goal. It was horrible. No one player, event, or magical elixir deserves the blame - everyone shit the bed in the last 15 minutes. The worst part is that we weren't even surprised.

So now we're into the second game, midway through the second period, and the Leafs are up 3-1 again. Devereaux is on speed this weekend, Tucker's having a beast of a game with two goals (making up for the horrible game he had last night, I guess), Raycroft is playing great, and the crowd is really into it. Hell, Ryan Miller even got chased from the game, and we got to see Ty Conklin. Ty Conklin.

Can Toronto win this game? I don't know now. Before last night, based on the first half of tonight's game I would say they definitely could. The Leafs are in charge out there. But last night we had a 4-1 lead and that went to hell, so I'm nervous for how the rest of this goes. We need the win, no question. Especially with both New York teams winning earlier today, Montreal having Washington on the bill for tonight, and Carolina inexplicably leading San Jose. As it is, we're three points out of a tie for eighth. Letting Montreal and Carolina take points while Toronto gets none will be a complete disaster.

Fire JFJ ... shame it won't happen

So maybe I'm just ranting for the sake of ranting. Maybe I'm ranting because Memphis just lost to Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament. Maybe it's because I can't seem to beat my high score in a pinball game. Maybe it's because the Leafs are about to start, and I'm still pissed about last night. Whatever the reason is, this rant just came to me while listening to Don Cherry in the pre-game.

What I propose is firing John Ferguson Jr, the Leafs shitty GM. Why? Because the Leafs are fucking balls and someone needs to take the fall. This year there's no Pat Quinn to blame though and you're not going to fire a first year coach in Paul Maurice (well I wouldn't put it past JFJ). So what do you do? You fire the architect, the guy who put the team together. The same guy that decided McCabe was worth 5 plus million a year, and deserved a no movement clause. The same guy that thought Kubina was worth roughly the same amount. To be fair, I will acknowledge the Kaberle signing was good, and to sign Tucker for as little as he did was a fairly good move as well. That's not the point though - this team is shit, and someone needs to be blamed and I'm blaming JFJ.

Now, it's all well and good that I'm saying to do it but it's not going to happen. Why? The Leafs (the team on the ice and the front office) are rewarded for mediocrity. Leafs fans have made this franchise one of the most valuable in all of sports. Leafs fans continue to support this team, despite failure, after failure, after failure. Fuck, one of the most recognizable sporting franchises in all of North America, if not the World has not won a championship since 1967. In fact they haven't even been to Stanley Cup Final since the league expanded from the original six. They're simply a miserable excuse for a organization. Yet the fans (myself included) flock to them as if they are golden gods and we put hard earned dollars into the pockets of the owners. These people are making money hand over fist - and are loving it. Yes, like anyone else they are happy because they are making money, but more important than that, they're happy because they know they're pants-ing every fan that goes through the gates at the ACC and are driving a god damn fucking bus up their rectum, and all the fans turn around, smile, and say "thank you sir, may I have another?"

Yes, the Toronto Maple Leafs Organization mother fucks their fans. We put so much time and money into this team, and yet we never ask for anything in return (apart from an occasional anal penetration). I mean who needs a Stanley Cup? What the fuck good is that going to do? The ACC is filled every night regardless.

If the Toronto fans want a Cup, they're only going to get it by doing one simple thing. Sending the owners a message. Not a message like this blog, not an angry email, not a fucking letter that's just going to be trashed. A real message. Stop going to the ACC. Stop paying for a mediocre product. You wouldn't do it for the Jays. You wouldn't do it for the Raptors. You wouldn't do it for the Argos. You certainly didn't do it for the Roadrunners. I don't know, but I'm assuming you wouldn't do it for the Rock (the NLL team). So why do it for the Leafs? I can't answer that.

What I can answer is that message will never get sent. People will never stop watching the Leafs. The Leafs aren't going to win their fans a Cup, and yet fans will keep showing up. The owners will continue to buttfuck us and take our money; AND WE'LL SMILE WHILE THEY FUCKING DO IT. WE'RE A MISERABLE BREED.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Fuck You Matt Stajan; Season Over

Well that was a fucking shitty game if you are a Leafs fan. Sure if you're a Sabres fans you're grinning like a fucking moron.

Well I don't have anything to say in defence of the Leafs. That was bullshit. A 4-1 lead, only to blow it all fairly late in the 3rd and lose 5-4. That's fucking balls, there's no other way to put it. They should be ashamed of themselves. They absolutely dominated that entire game. It was a fucking mauling. We (all of us at BBP and some other friends; who happen to be Sabres fans) were out for dinner. There were other Leafs fans there, and we were all celebrating, thinking we'd just won an extremely well played game, and we were that much closer to a playoff spot; when all of a sudden everything goes to hell, and the Leafs shit on themselves.

Well fuck me. I'll call it now. Despite any mathematical chances and despite the fact the other teams could still lose, and everything stays the same (minus games remaining) the Leafs season is over. That loss will be the straw that breaks the camels back. That's it. Nice try, we faked being a decent team for almost the entire year.

Also, fuck you Matt Stajan. Like sure it's all well and good you finally decided to score a goal (the Leafs second of the game). It's also great you decided to assist on the 3rd goal. But fuck you that you decided to do it right after I called you Matt "Can't Score" Stajan. Honestly, that's fucking bullshit. I hope Cam Janssen (at some point next season because we will not be joining the Devils in the Playoffs) takes your fucking head off. I hated you before, but making me look like a fool on a brand new blog? That shit ain't gone fly. Fuck that.

Mar 23rd - Leafs vs Sabres - 1st Period Quickie

I'm going to try and get as much down as I can. I had quite a bit to say, but I don't know whether I can remember all of it now.

- Battaglia turned the puck over in our own zone leading to the Sabres first goal (PP). Bates had plenty of time to get the puck out, but as seems to be happened far too often lately, the Leafs players are getting very little on clearing attempts (especially the back handers) usually leading to a great scoring chance, or as was the case tonight a goal.

- McCabe. While he scored late in the period to tie it at 1 (5 on 3 PP - Kaberle nice little one-timer setup), he continues to fuck up in his own zone. Another brutal giveaway lead to a great goal scoring chance for the Sabres - Razor bailed him out.

- Stajan sucks balls. I've never liked him, and I'm starting to like him less and less ... he just fucking sucks. He had a breakaway, and shot it right into Millers chest. Then a few moments later, the Sabres think they are about to clear the puck and a Leafs defenceman (whom it was I can't remember) jumps in and keeps the puck in. The Sabres are all caught leaving the zone, the puck is shovelled to the front of the net where Matty "Can't Score" Stajan is waiting all alone. Of course he didn't score; look at the nickname I gave him.

- Kaberle showed a bit of rust earlier, but seemed to work out the cobwebs towards the end of the period. Can't fault him too much for that.

- Very phsyical first period - from both sides. Lots of hitting, lots of scurmishes after the whistle. Loved it.

- Also a very fast paced period. Made for a very entertaining first period. Let's hope the next 5 periods are this entertaining.

- Won't be posting after the next two periods, BBP is going out for wings and to watch the game. Hopefully posting an overall game review later though.


So, it's about time I put something up on here. This could also be the first of two posts today...providing I get around to posting tonight's Bowenism.

Anyhow...I just thought this would be a neat little post to start off my time here at Bring Back Potvin. I have assembled an all-star cast of Leafs. However...this is no ordinary "all-star" team. Please see below...
**Forwards must have never scored more than 40 pts/season with the Leafs.
**Defensement must have never score more than 25 pts/season with the Leafs.
**Goalies must never have played more than 25 games a season for the Leafs.
**All players come from 80s/90s/and 00s.

1. Tom Fitzgerald // Alyn McCauley // Shayne Corson
2. Mike Foligno // Steve Sullivan // Gary Valk
3. Wayne Presley // Mike Krushelnyski // Todd Warriner
4. Tie Domi // Kirk Muller // Ken Baumgartner
1. Jason Smith // Jamie Macoun (30 pts...but he's exempt due to his moustache)
2. Bill Berg // Drake Berehowsky
3. Bob McGill // Sylvain Lefebvre
1. Marcel Cousineau
2. Don Beaupre
3. Damian Rhodes

This Is It ... !

If you're a Leafs fan, you've heard the words, "must win" virtually non-stop these past few weeks. Whether it be Paul Maurice, the players, the media or other Leaf fans, someway, somehow these two words have been mentioned prior to every game for the last little while. The next two nights will be no different.

As Dave so eloquently mentioned below, all the teams the Leafs are fighting with won last night (Montreal, Carolina and New York Islanders). The Leafs are currently sitting in 11th place - behind each of the aforementioned teams - 2 points out of 8th.

Friday night versus Buffalo. In Buffalo. Saturday night versus Buffalo. In Toronto. Four critical points sitting on the table, of which the Leafs need to secure two (at least). Anything less, and the season is over. Period.

The Sabres are a tough fucking team, but the Leafs have played them well - which won't be good enough over the next 36 hours. "Well" won't suffice. The Leafs need two extradoinary efforts against the President's Trohpy team (tied with Nashville at 101 points) in order to keep themselves in the hunt.

The question is, after such an emotional game on Tuesday versus the Devils, do the Leafs have enough left? As they stand at the moment I don't think they do. That's as they stand though, Kaberle is "supposed" to be back tonight and should enfuse them with some energy, and hopefully (HOPEFULLY!) the ability to score a fucking powerplay goal.

Come Saturday at roughly 10PM EST everyone should have a strong sense of where the Leafs season is going - let's just hope it's not to hell.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Oh, you don't say?

I want this blog to be pretty much only about the Leafs and not the NHL in general, and this does relate to the Leafs in a roundabout sort of way, but I need to vent for a minute.

So you know, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in a playoff race and all, trying to get that elusive last playoff spot in the East. Well, maybe even seventh. Or sixth, if Tampa really falls apart. Whatever, the goal is the playoffs, right?

But of course there's these other teams playing the games too and they all want to make the playoffs too. Well, sort of. Philadelphia probably gave up on the playoffs in mid-October, Washington is a year or two away from making a serious run, Boston gave up last season (this will be good for like, I don't know, five years? Seven?), and fucked if I know what Florida's doing.

So those four teams are out, and then there's the cats at the top of the standings. Buffalo, New Jersey, Atlanta (hey guys, welcome back from the dead, glad you could join us), Ottawa and ( really, really kills me to say this) Pittsburgh. They're all securely in playoff spots, so it's really just the last three in play. Tampa Bay has a pretty decent lock on sixth from the looks of it, so maybe we'll count that and not get too upset over them winning tonight. I mean, shit, does it really matter what that Jekyll and Hyde team does anyway? They're either going to take the division back, stay in sixth, or fall off the face of the earth. So yeah, let's not count them.

That leaves the Rangers, Islanders, Canadiens, Hurricanes, and of course our heroes, the Toronto Maple Leafs. They're all fighting for those last two spots. The Rangers played last night, demolishing the Flyers (and Todd Fedoruk, incidentally) 5-0 in a win that would have been a lot more impressive if they were playing last year's Flyers. I guess we can't be too mad at them, either, given that if they lost to Philly we all probably would have been laughing at them so hard we would have forgotten that there was even a hockey game, or several, on tonight. This post would probably just be "BRENDAN TRAN-AHAN" over and over and over again.

The Leafs also had the night off, which was ok, because the other three teams in the race all had games tonight and have all been spotty of late. I mean, what better opportunity to gain ground than to not actually do anything but let your opponents waste a game and make it easier for you, right?

Except it didn't exactly happen that way and all three of those teams fucking won. The Hurricanes beat Washington 4-3, which probably makes sense because Carolina SHOULD beat Washington but they haven't been winning those games lately and it would have been nice if they could have kept that up. The Islanders beat Pittsburgh just because the Penguins are a bunch of fucking assholes who fuck up everything that I want them to do. I hate them and want them to suck balls all year (because, for whatever reason, I don't think that getting yet another top five pick will help them in anyway... no, I tend to not think like that when it comes to Pittsburgh, I just want to see them lose and lose badly. I officially hate this team more than Ottawa now, and dammit, I'm a Leafs fan, I hate Ottawa more than Hitler hated Jews) so of course they go out and win all fucking year, have everything come together and end up not only in the playoffs, but possibly winning the division and getting home ice. If they don't win the division, they get to play Ottawa, which is fantastic because there's going to be nothing to draw me into the playoffs like the two teams I want swallowed up into the ground and die only happen to be in the same God damn first round series. Sure, one goes home, but one goes on, and fuck that. AND! To top it all off, when I want them to beat the Islanders to help the Leafs' playoff hopes out, well they fuck that up too. Fuck Pittsburgh.

Which brings us to Montreal. Montreal was down 3-2 after the first two periods, and then decided not only were they only going to shoot four times in the third in a bizarro attempt to get back into the game, but that they're going to score on all four of those shots. I'm not sure WHY they decided that was the best strategy but fuck me, it sure seemed to work out because the ended up scoring five unanswered goals in 22 minutes and slugging Boston 6-3. I mean, Montreal SHOULD beat Boston, but they should not beat Boston like that. Suddenly the up-and-down Canadiens I mentioned earlier today have won three straight (tonight's Boston game, another game against Boston where they won via 1-0 shutout, and the game on Saturday where they beat the Leafs in a shootout) and Toronto sits in 11th.

What a great day.

Belated thoughts on the Belak game

The Leafs don't play again until tomorrow, and I haven't given any sort of thoughts on the win over the Devils on Tuesday, and I still can't figure out the new Blogger-template issues, and the new blog is still looking too empty for my tastes, so here we go.

As usual, I didn't actually watch the game, but I read about it and had both Jared and Steve tell me about it (in particular, the big fight, which we'll get to in a second). I'm very happy with a win against the Devils, a team that I picked before the season to win the Cup and one that I'll probably be picking again in a few weeks to win it all. Lots of people were/are surprised with how good New Jersey has been; not I. I expected this. I also expected the Leafs to be fairly mediocre, and while they've definitely been a better than I had credited them with (although given that I placed them in about 10th, maybe not THAT much better), I still would count them out against a top team like the Devils.

But they won, and won in regulation at that, giving a much needed two points to a team that is struggling in the playoff race. The best part is that neither Carolina nor Montreal, the other two teams that Toronto sits tied with for the eight and final spot, haven't been showing much life lately. Granted, Toronto's been on-and-off with the results, too, but for whatever reason they always seem to hang with the big boys, and that counts for something - particularly with a big home-and-home against Buffalo this weekend. Normally I'd count them out against Buffalo (following my rule that teams that dominate should handle this Leaf team pretty easily), but my confidence is boosted following their showing on Tuesday. I think Toronto can pull out a win and an OT loss, and I'd be pretty happy with three points. I wouldn't be surprised to see them sweep, and I would be surprised at this point to see no points from this weekend. I guess I'll officially predict a win and a loss, picking up another two points, and hopefully neither Carolina nor Montreal will do anything of note so Toronto can get some breathing room like both Tampa Bay and New York did this week.

Of course, if the Islanders are getting a healthy DiPietro back, then that adds another card into the mix. A card I don't particularly want to deal with, given that the Isles have a game in hand and a pretty decent lineup. Of course, they've also lost four straight, so maybe their problems are deeper than DiPietro. Hopefully.

So I'm sort of optimistic heading into the weekend and the final drive for a playoff spot, which is especially weird for me and this Leaf team. I guess after they've gotten this far with such a weak team, they might as well make it. They'll probably break my heart again but whatever. I don't think I can really stress how important this weekend is for the team. A good showing probably puts us on the fast track to a spot... provided Carolina, Montreal, and the Islanders don't all keep up.

As for the Belak fight...

Well, I didn't think that much of the fight itself. A lot of the marvel at this brawl came, I think, because of the build and the reaction it caught. Most fights in the NHL don't have a good story behind it; this one certainly did. And the crowd's reaction to it was outstanding - they blew the god damn roof off. For Belak. That's pretty damn noteable (and hopefully it won't happen again, because the only time it SHOULD happen is in an instance like this and well, why on earth would I want someone to take out our best defenseman?). Quite frankly, Belak became an eternal fan favourite in Toronto on Tuesday and has it made here for life. But again, that's not necessarily a good thing - no matter how awesome it was to see his name get chanted as he struggled to hang with a much smaller man in a fight, he's still pretty useless. If it wasn't for his ability to play forward and defense he probably wouldn't be on the team. Or any team.

The fight itself was sort of bland I thought. Yeah, it was long, but it ended because both guys got tired out and not from any conclusive decision (though you'd probably give it to Belak on emotions alone). Actually, I think you really have to hand it to Janssen - he knew what was coming and took it like a man. I mean, fuck him, but he gained my respect back (well, some of it) with that fight. I guess I'm just thankful Toronto wasn't getting killed so that McCabe didn't go and Bertuzzi Janssen. That would have been... well, not good.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


As you are probably aware, Wade Belak and Cam Janssen had one hell of a fight tonight during the first period of the Leafs and Devils game. In case you missed it, here's a very quick summary. Belak and Janssen were both on the ice (a good start if you want to fight). They were a distance apart, but they knew what to do. They circled center ice. The fans all rose to their feet. For 1:36 Belak and Janssen threw fists at eachother. Belak landed a few big shots early, that made the crowd erupt into a "Belak, Belak, Belak" chant. Janssen landed a few near the end, until they both tired out. The fans once again erupted into the previously mentioned chant.

- Who would have known Wade Belak would have EVER got a standing ovation.
- The "Belak" chant egnited the ACC Crowd like I have NEVER heard before. The Leafs fans are generally dormant since the only people that can afford tickets are rich fuckers.
- The Leafs played with energy from that point onwards, which lead to their first goal and a 1-0 lead going into the second.
- I'm so very proud of Paul Maurice for dressing Belak. He absolutely had to do it, just incase Janssen took more liberties on our best players.
- I'm so very proud of Wade Belak for knowing what his role was, and going out and sparking the team virtually right off the drop of the puck (if you want to be picky it was 9:23 into the game).
- Fuck Cam Janssen for taking Tomas Kaberle from us. Our powerplay has since gone 4-44 (including the first period of tonight's game).

- (Edit:I added this after the game ended) One of the biggest reasons the Leafs won 2-1 tonight - first time all year we've won 4 straight on home ice - was Wade Belak. As Dave mentioned to me earlier, I never thought anyone would be singing Belak's praises, but here we are. He set the tone early, and from that point on in the game, the Leafs were energized, the crowd was loud, and the Leafs played an overall physical game. They played well defensively, Raycroft kept rebounds close to him; but it all started with Belak's fight. The only negative I can find with the game was that Raycroft got lucky on a few shots that beat him and hit the post ... other than that, a well played game. In for a tough home and home with the Sabres on Friday and Saturday night though.

Here it is incase you for some insane reason have not seen this ...