Raking Leafs

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

10/05/2007

0-1-1

TOR @ OTT 10/04/07 - Stats

Leafs Lines
Blake-Sundin-Antro
Poni-Stajan-Steen
Kilger-Pohl-Tucker
Bates-Newbury-Boyd

Leafs Pairs
Kab-Kub
McC-White
Gill-Woz

Toskala


Truth be told, one point of a possible four is what I expected in these first two games. Sadly, I was right. But the games did illustrate the Leafs are alot closer to their rivals than I had given them credit for, and there are alot of positives to build on for the remaining eighty games of the regular season.

First and foremost, Blake and Antropov look dangerous. Sundin doesn't have his legs yet, and at this point the other two are carrying him. Once he gets up to speed, this could be a scary good trio.

The second line is producing. It is only two games, but so what. Steen and Stajan and Poni aren't winning any style points, but the puck is going in. Their play should provide a boost to the rest of team.



Boyd is looking solid. His skating is top 5 on the team, and this should see him usurp Tucker on the third line at some point. I'm not sure how the fourth would look without him, (Bates - Newbury - Tucker?) but the third would be able to skate with almost anybody and cycle effectively. When Bell debuts, where does he fit? Does he bump Pohl down to L4, and skate with Kilger and Boyd? Bates-Pohl-Tucker is a very decent L4. Or is B3 a possibility?

Woznewski can hang. Apart from an awkward faceplant into the boards of his own doing, Andy doesn't look out of place. Automatically deferring the puck to Gill on the break out won't work all season, but for now it is letting him build his confidence. Could this be JFJ's pump and dump project leading to a masterstroke trade?

Toskala, Toskala, Toskala. That is what a starting goaltender looks like. Challenging the shooter, moving quickly laterally, reading the play early, making the tough traffic stops look routine. His tracking of the puck is exceptional. Even the way he follows the puck when it goes behind the net is a step above Raycroft. My nerves won't be nearly as taxed this season everytime the opposition shoots the puck.

I imagine I'll have plenty of inspiration to critique this team in the coming weeks, so I'll leave it on an up note for today.

UPDATE - This blog is due for a link update/cleaning, but in the mean time I wanted to say thanks to Pens Blog for mentioning Raking Leafs in their Northeast division preview. If you've never been over there, check them out. Also, go check out PPP's new digs. Gone is .blogspot. and in with the photoshop. Pension Plan Puppets is lookin' good, and gets an extra special endorsement from my extra special lady friend.

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2 Comments:

  • At 11:43 AM, Blogger Laura said…

    I wish I had your confidence in Sundin but i think his time has come & gone.

     
  • At 2:23 PM, Anonymous PPP said…

    Thanks Ninja!

    I agree with your first line. Instead of the panic that seems to be emanating from the city how about being pleased that the Leafs played the defending finalists so hard.

     

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