Raking Leafs

Mixing metaphors and casting cliches about hockey and the Maple Leafs for the ether's pleasure since MCMLXVII.

1/11/2006

Star favoritism? Quite the opposite.

Last night saw the return, and quick exit, of big Joe Thornton in Boston. Just minutes into the first period, Joe was given the night off after a somewhat questionable hit on Hal Gill, which was more Gill's fault for not being able to play against like-heighted opponents than anything. The book was thrown at Joe, as he was called for 'intent to injure', and given 15 PIMS and a game misconduct, which in my opinion was in the interest of public safety and not for Joe's actions. No matter, Marleau and company stepped up and layed the hurt on the Bruins.

During the last game of the evening, the Leafs took on the Canucks one superman down. Though Toronto looked horribly disorganized on the back end, Superman's replacement toppled Bertuzzi with an awesome open-ice hip check pinch at the blue line, and the Leafs closed the first period up 2-1. Early in the second it became apparent that Bertuzzi's teammates wanted to protect the fragile forward and repay Carlo's kindness. Canuck forward Ryan Kesler supplied the punishment, in the dirtiest form possible; a hit from behind about 4 feet from the end boards. Kesler first swatted at Carlo's stick, disarming and distracting the promising young defender, then shouldering him to the ice. Luckily Carlo was able to return to the game after returning to the lockerroom. But the travesty was the punishment, or lack thereof, which Kesler received for his barbarism; 2 minutes for boarding. Adding insult to almost-injury, Kesler later added an assist on the lead-taking goal.

Having witnessed both checks, the latter had far more intent to injure than the Joe's shoulder-on-shoulder right up against the boards. Kesler should've been thrown out of the game. My girlfriend, who is new to hockey, even noticed the horribly one-sided officiating. However, the refs did clean their glasses and get one critical call right. With less than 30 seconds remaining on a Leaf powerplay, Steen split the D on a smoke signal of a pass from Kaberle, was hooked by Ohlund, but fought off the stickwork to roof a beauty backhand to pull the Leafs to within one. The ref's arm immediately shot up on the hook, and the call put the Leafs right back where they should've been more often last night, on the powerplay.

Khavanov also did a great job of sneaking down from the point. He scored one, but could've easily had another two; he fanned on a beauty Domi pass, and Allison was too slow, go figure, moving behind the net to feed an open Alexander.

No excuses though. The Leafs handed the Canucks some goals, in particular Kronvall. But the blue and white were presented with a massive shaft from the refs, which ended up being the difference in the game.

P.S. - I frickin' love those Canuck throw-back sweaters.

Leaf Lines
Steen-Sundin-Domi
Ponikarovsky-Allison-Tucker
Stajan-Wellwood-O'Neill
Kilger-Wilm-Belak

Leaf Pairings
Kronwall-Colaiacovo
Kaberle-Klee
Khavanov-Berg

2 Comments:

  • At 12:01 PM, Blogger JP McGovern said…

    Great stuff. Keep it going. I really (really, really) like the lines and pairings at the end. I wish every hockey write-up had the same thing. I think it should be a standard in box scores, for Pete's sake.

    Anyway, very nice.

     
  • At 12:31 PM, Blogger ninja said…

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. Now I just have to keep at it.

     

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