Raking Leafs

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

2/01/2007

Young buds starting to bloom

TOR @ NYR Jan.31/07

Line Combos

Fact check - Ian White pounced, but not on a loose puck after a blocked shot. Mighty White read the play, a pass from the blue line after a short cycle in the corner, and jumped the pass. He deserves credit for both the interception and the hail mary pass. Lundqvist ending up in the net after his countryman beat him to the glove side was sweet; the Leafs needed a "buckle down and capitalize on opportunity" win.

Berger got it right; "I saw Ian [White] break up the play in our zone and as soon as he did, I decided to take off. He made a great pass to me..."

How about Poni? After getting blindsided with a late hit from Aaron Ward that left the winger lying on the ice with his face in his gloves, he came back with a vengence.(Berger gets points for noting this as well) First, it was a clean but vicious hit on Malik along the boards that stung the massive Czech. Then it was a power play goal, which couldn't have been planned, but appeared too perfect not to be; a pass across the crease that deflected off of a defender's skate directly into the top right corner. The slo-mo replay showed Poni looking for Antro in the right circle, but just as he passed the puck Ward's left skate crossed the lane. Something to ponder: "The Leafs now are 10-0-2 whenever he hits the scoresheet."

How good does Stajan look right now? The guy is skating like the wind, static-clinging to his man, winding up through the neutral zone ala Mike Modano, winning races for the puck, cycling. Just awesome. Keep it up Matty.

How about that Carlo? Goal-saving swat. Shaking off a late hit/boarding call. Steen is finally showing some confidence and creativity on the regular. That wrister he unleashed in Carolina that rang off the post was wicked. Antropov is just plain mean right now. Pronunciation lesson for Rangers play-by-play: An Trow Pov NOT An Trop Ov. Bates with the awesome back-check. Belak not looking like a liability, but an asset. Last night I was really impressed with his acceleration. That's right, I said acceleration. Pohl continues to impress. His smarts are what got him here, and I love smart players. Newbury is a late season surprise that should really boost the team down the stretch.

And I have to mention O'Neill who is playing his best games as a Leaf right now. Green is meshing nicely, and has already taken over title of Poker Champ. McCabe looks like a new man on the left side. I haven't felt like smacking him upside the head in a while now. Gill was awesome on Jagr.

Raycroft has been ok, too.

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3 Comments:

  • At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This goes to Garfield. Do you actually think the refs are helping the pens? If you think that then you must feel that their recent winning streak was a fluke. You are entitled to your opinions but being a penguin fan for a lot of years I for one as well as all the fans who have attended games this year are very excited to see our team doing well after the season they had last year. Go Pens.

     
  • At 7:30 AM, Blogger ninja said…

    I do. And I could be wrong. I haven't even checked the stats, to be honest. But from the ten or so Pens' home games I've watched Crosby&Co. seem to get more powerplay chances, or more opportune chances, i.e. right as the period starts on a clean sheet of ice.

    The Pens' do lead the league in PPO/G at the moment, but I'm not sure how many of those came at home vs. on the road.

    In any event, the Pens are a much improved team from last season, a team that I thought would make the dance in the pre-season, and it is great to see them doing well.

    I just have a hunch the League has a financial interest (growing the american market, N.A. young super star story line, etc.) in the Pens making the playoffs this year. And I don't trust the league.

     
  • At 7:32 AM, Blogger ninja said…

    I'm not sure what I think about the wins. I know every team goes through ebbs and flows of getting the better of the penalties in any said game. I just haven't seen a Pittsburgh ebb this year, where they had to fight through getting jobbed, and still came out on top.

     

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