Tomas "Clutchosity" Kaberle Returns
TOR vs ATL 10/30/06 - T.M.L. Recap
To-Mas! To-Mas! To-Mas! After the last two games, I think it is safe to say that Kaberle's groin issue that kept him out of the pre-season is all healed up. I hope he can keep it up and show the rest of the league-that mocks him as over-exposed because he is a Leaf-that he truly is world-class.
Another story of the past two games has been the return of Antropov. He seems to be working well on the fourth line with Bates and Pohl. I'm not going to pin any hopes on Nik providing more depth, but IF he can stay healthy he should be a solid contributor and maybe push the players above him on the depth chart. A Capitalized and Bolded 'if'.
Speaking of the depth chart, Bates Battaglia is a great addition to this Leafs team. Talk about earning ice time. Bates, your drive is exactly what some of these lackadaisical Leafs need to see.
I'm worried about Peca's hip. He has hobbled off too many times for me not to. Great PK work last night. Those two clears two men down in the second basically decided the game.
Kilger almost had a 'goal of the year' candidate early against Kari 'Peachtree' Lehtonen, as he dove and swung at a rebound early in the first only to be robbed by Kari's glove.
Scary moment last night when Stajan went down at center ice from an knee on knee hit. Stajan is flying right now, and is basically our #2 center. Can't lose him.
I'm wondering about Steen's attitude. He seems to choose the glory play rather than the smart play. Whether it be in his own zone or while shooting and usually not choosing the better option to pass, or going offside, or what have you. Alex, you aren't going to get back to Sundin's wing playing the way you are. How about trying to get Stajan some points? He is your teammate; despite whatever competitive relationship you may have.
Bell is coming along nicely, and ripped a great shot on the rush. I'd like to see him get more minutes with an actual defenseman as a partner, but as long as he sticks with the club, I'll be happy.
Jeff O'Neill actually looked fast last night, scoring on a quick transition turnover. See Jeff, once you get the speed working, you can show off your poise with the puck and shooting ability.
Sundin and Tucker continue to do their job and do it well. But to be honest, I'm scared of over-paying for Tucker. His skill set is that of a young man's repertoire, and though he has been a bargain thus far, with the salary cap, the Leafs can't afford to get him back for all his hard work. Of course, his production this year has been stellar, but he isn't exactly creating a ton of chances, save for Kaberle's second in Montreal. UPDATE - Holy crap, a talking head outside of t.dot giving Darcy Tucker any kind of respect?! Well, if begrudgingly agreeing with Maurice's characterization of him as "an ever-present pain in the ass" is respect, it is a start. Of course, kudos should go 'the Dude' who reasonably considers Tucker's new role of "goal scorer." Silly me thought after last year, Tucker wouldn't still have to be the NHL's Rodney Dangerfield.
Leafs still shouldn't overpay him, though.
And finally, Kyle Wellwood. Nice shoot-out goal, but it is his even strength play that has me worried. He seems frantic on the puck and scared of attracting attention from defenders, which means the defensive scheme teams are employing against him is working. I don't know how to fix it, but it is something to watch. His point last night was awarded for deflecting Mats' shot off his knee, which Tucker eventually stuffed in, so Kyle isn't out of the (well)woods yet despite recording his first point in five games.
In the media today, Simmons picks up an argument I somewhat attempted to make here about a month ago, attempting to dispell the myth that Quinn didn't have a clue when it came to the draft.
Also, I've been getting google alerts lately and today one led me to Protrade PowerRankings which has the Leafs 17th (-6) on 10/30/06 - Be sure to check out Tampa Bay's blurb. And check out CBC Forecaster's look at the rookie crop as well as Mike Chen's piece on the same topic.
Finally, I wanted to draw attention to swami skillz of the mad hockey blogger who predicted the 6W-7L October for the "surprising" Leafs.
UPDATE - If you don't know the story of Terry Sawchuk's unfortunate end, or even if you do and want to tweak your morbid bone, check out Lowetide.