Raking Leafs

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


Amen to this and that

Sharkspage has a great photo gallery from last night's Sharks/Oilers game, including one particular image that resonated with what I witnessed this weekend in the Devils/'Canes series.

Now, I understand the Devils were the least penalized team in the league during the regular season, so it makes sense they can play their game, stay out of the box, and win games. However, the officiating was so one-sided in Saturday's game, and carried over into the first half of Sunday's game, I began to wonder if some to-remain-unnamed parties interested in prolonging the series were influencing the way the game was being called. The Devils were getting the ticky-tack calls, and the Hurricanes were getting mauled without a whistle.

The referees handed the Devils the game on Saturday and they took it. In the opening minutes of play Cam Janssen took a run at one of the Adamses several beats after the puck had been moved and there was no call. It was blatant homerism, allowing the Devils to 'get into the game' on home ice. And it continued from there on out.

The refs tried a repeat performance on Sunday, but the Devils looked the gift horse in the mouth, and as a result the Hurricanes were finally granted a powerplay mid-way through the game. Before the referees realized how bad they looked, the Hurricanes were visibly upset and frustrated and rightly so on many occasions. It took a rough face-crunching cross-check from behind on Cory Stillman by Hale to finally wake up the zebras.

I try to give the referees the benefit of the doubt, but Games 4 and 5 of this series has to be one of the worst displays of lop-sided officiating I have seen in a long time.

UPDATE - I wasn't going to comment on Maurice's hiring, since it was the easiest answer on last year's entrance exam to the TML school of the obvious, but I wanted to highlight a couple of observations made by Duhatschek. The first speaks to the lack of adaptation of the Quinn-led coaching staff to the new rules, new enforcement standards NHL. The second addresses the level of preperation detail that is a Maurice trademark.

There was a laissez-faire quality to the Leafs under Pat Quinn, which just didn't translate well to the new NHL, with its stretch passes and quick counter-attacks - that Toronto either didn't or couldn't figure out
He had watched film on the Flames; identified a handful of their tendencies; and then introduced a few new drills to capitalize on them. He did what only the best coaches do — he explained the how of the drill and then he explained the why of the drill
As someone who bemoaned the country-clubbing attitude that permeated the team and was responsible for tendencies that crescendoed in the horrendous losing streak, this new approach should provide the type of team-play that I consider essential to success.


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