Raking Leafs

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

11/29/2006

Some kind of voodoo

TOR vs BOS 11/28/06

Line Combo TOI: note-lines are listed C, LW, RW

The Bruins became the Leafs and the Leafs became the Bruins. Atleast, that is how I saw it last night as Toronto pummeled Tim Thomas only to come away with a mere goal and another loss to a division rival fighting its way back into the Northeast playoff race. And with four games in hand, and three wins against the Leafs in the past month (two in regulation), Boston has taken a huge bite out of Toronto's lead and could now overtake the Leafs if they continue their hot play. But enough lamenting the new even more competitive divisional situation.

In defeat the Leafs played well. Actually, both teams were skating like the dickens to the point of inadvertent collisions and wobbly legs. Bates and Peca in particular in regard to the latter, O'Neill and Tucker, the former.

Kilger regained his early season form and was hitting everything in site, including putting Mara through the glass on the end boards.

Wellwood had the best game I've seen in a while, showing a tad more patience with the puck that makes all the difference. He should've scored a few times, but what are you going to do?

Peca provided much more of a threat with bik Nik on his wing, who himself had another great game and single-handedly created Toronto's lone goal. He is becoming the teams's second most dangerous forward, behind Mats. Sundin wasn't his dominant self, and didn't lead the team in ice time for forward for the second straight game, which is a trend I expect will not continue for long. Tucker played well, but didn't bury his numerous chances. (Darcy, if you get paid like a goal scorer, those in close chances have to go in) .

Kaberle's rushes up ice and Kubina's forays into the offensive zone were exciting, but unproductive. I do like Maurice using the two Czechs as a pair, as I hoped he would in the off-season, and with McCabe tripping on his laces, I expect to see more of these two. And more of Bell, who is inexplicably benched behind Belak.

Speaking of, I don't want to see Belak on another two-on-one for the rest of my life. He either does the wrong thing, or nothing at all, which was the case last night on Donovan's goal. I don't understand it. He's got a 50/50 chance of making the right choice; take away the shot or the pass, usually the pass, which makes the choice more like 75/25 since I'm throwing around percentages all willy nilly. And while I'm kneeling on his throat, I strongly believe Wade leads the league in TOI:GA. Oh well, maybe Nash will be inserted into the line-up so Maurice doesn't have to rationalize Belak's participation.

One other request; Can we please stop letting Boyes rack up the points against us? In four games, he has 2g4a12sog. His absence from the Leafs organization is starting to give me an ulcer. I think. Or maybe that's heartburn.

UPDATE: Definitely check out Bitter's coaching concerns. I've been worrying about the lack of adaptability myself.
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No six-pack for now. I might get to it on the weekend, but I wouldn't count on it.

8 Comments:

  • At 10:50 PM, Blogger Alan Linquist said…

    Hey man, I repect Tucker for doing the dharma thing (a douchebag must be a douchebag), but he totally didn't walk the walk after all the talk last night. Here's a great video of him getting flattened by Stuart, diving like an olympic hopeful, and then getting beat down by a Euro:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8184033705536293444&hl=en

     
  • At 10:37 AM, Blogger ninja said…

    This is the second time this season Tucker has had much less bite than bark, the first coming after the fight with Eaves, followed by Neil embarassing Darcy at center ice to start the game. I'm thinking it has something to do with him trying to control his emotions a little too much. An over-correction, if you will. I know everybody hates the guy who isn't a Leafs fan, but his actions on Saturday night were completely justified. The hit on Chara was clean, Savard raked his sack from behind then pirouetted to the ice like a pansy, and the 6'4" 220lbs Mara stepped in for some reason or another.

     
  • At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I wouldn't be surprised if Maurice took him aside and told him to rein it in. The old Tucker would have fought Neil at centre ice and gone after Mara right away. In the long run, this approach, while being a bit disappointing, is much better for the team.

     
  • At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I always loved Tucker, antics included. I still regret the day Jacques Demers stole him to T-Bay for nothing more than Stephane Richer. Tucker gets laughs, but gets results. The true heart and soul of the Leafs. And that's from a Habs fan!

     
  • At 10:08 PM, Blogger Alan Linquist said…

    It's weird that the heart and soul of a team can also be a dick. That's Hockey Anatomy 101.

     
  • At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Alan, most winners are dicks - from Messier to Claude Lemieux and Gordie Howe to Roy - it's a necessary competitive ingredient. What happened to the Habs once Chelios, Roy, Lemieux, and Corson left? No one remained to stir the complacent!

    Nice guys finish last.

     
  • At 11:55 PM, Blogger Alan Linquist said…

    I consider myself a nice guy, and as a matter of fact, I do finish last. That's why the ladies love me. But that's neither here nor there.

    You have a point. Most hockey greats were able to play the game with skill and also a chip on their shoulder. There are the occasional Ray Bourques in there, but the lion's share of killer hockey dudes are able to be dicks when it's called for. And those nice guys like Wayne who weren't dicks are always surrounded by jackasses. The jackass is an important role sometimes.

    I don't like Darcy Tucker, but I respect what he does.

     
  • At 3:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Same here, but Wayne and Ray's occasional dickheadedness never surfaced off ice, they were just never quite as blatant as Darcy is on it. Then again, who could be, right?

    As far as nice guys go, as long as I keep one loser behind me and one bastard in front, I stay motivated!

     

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