By The Meatriarchy
The Leafs should be well rested for this one since they technically haven't played a game since Thursday against Boston. They did show up for an optional skate on Saturday night but really didn't break much of a sweat.
Belfour has only played half a game since Tuesday so he should be fresh as a daisy.
This will be the homecoming of Gary and Joe and look for both of them to play with some fire in their bellies. The big obstacle is of course in goal with Florida's phenomenal Roberto Luongo one of the best in the game right now.
The Leafs are nursing a number of injuries right now and will be without Sundin, Andropov, Berg, and Czerkawki and possibly some others.
Florida and the Leafs have very similar records with the Panthers being one point ahead of the Leafs in the conference standings. Their goals for and against totals look wildly different until you subtract the two Leaf lopsided outings (Atlanta and Ottawa) then they look almost identical as well.
This will be a very interesting match-up as many will see it as an old vs new battle from a Leafs perspective.
More importantly however is how the Leafs will respond. Not just to the debacle that was Saturday night but to the past week in general. The Leafs have looked poor even in some of the games they have won. In fact they looked better in the first three games of the season when they were 0-3 than they have looked over the past half dozen or so when they have been 3-3 (roughly).
It might be time for Quinn to re-adjust his lines somewhat as the Allison-Tucker-O'Neil line has been dreadful in their own end. Also Lindros has been somewhat invisible over the past few games. A good shake up might give all these guys some incentive to play better. Steen is one of the most responsible defensive players they have right now. Perhaps he moves to the #2 line?
Just a thought.
And just to prove that I don't always disagree with Damian Cox here is a link to his column in today's Star which I pretty much agree with. At least more than I ever have with him in the past.
UPDATE: Link to Cox's column now fixed.
If I remember correctly from last nights "news" the lines are:ReplyDelete
O'Neill Lindros Ponikarovsky
Steen Alison Stajan
Kilger Wilm Belak
Tucker Wellwood Domi
Seems to me that Belak is pretty much done as a Leaf - as soon as Sundin comes back he will riding the pine (one can hope).
(The link didn't work so I assume you mean todays Damien Cox article)ReplyDelete
Good to see Damien Cox back tracking because I am sure that if you go back 2 months you will probably find an article on bashing the Leafs for having no youth and how bad they are going to be because of it. And his comments on McCabe are simply contradicted by history:
Bryan McCabe, for example, has soared as a player and contributor in a way that might not have occurred had the club spent millions over the summer to bring in, for example, the very available Chris Pronger or free agent Sergei Gonchar.
McCabe stands alone as the club's go-to defenceman, with Tomas Kaberle a distant second, and he has responded so positively to the difficult challenge laid on his plate he now looks to have a good shot of playing for Canada in Turin.
McCabe was a damn fine player in 2003-04 and was the go-to guy then too until Leetch was bought in and he became the co-goto guy. He quarterbacked the PP and played the most minutes in 2003-04, just like this year. And some people (although clearly not Damien) recognized that as McCabe was 4th in Norris trophy voting.
And while Damien can bash the Leafs for trading youth, not much of that youth has played well elsewhere. Remember Eric Fichaud, Sean Haggerty, Landon Wilson, et al. I am sure Damien was critical of the Leafs trading them at the time but where are they today? And Damien was also probably one of those guys who criticised the Leafs for trading away future Norris Trophy winner Kenny Jonsson. He talks about Brad Boyes but the jury is still out on him. He's only played 14 games in the NHL and the Sharks thought so highly of him that they traded him away a year later.
Trading prospects for current talent was part of the landscape of hockey at the time. Sometimes the Leafs traded for veterens (Nolan, Leetch, etc.) and sometimes they traded veterens for youth (Gilmour, Ellett for Sullivan, Smith, and McCauley).
Oh, and just to be sure Damien wasn't being too upbeat on the Leafs he had to throw in a criticism in: "albeit at glacial-like speed". Hmmm. One has to wonder how fast he would like the Leafs to draft, develop, and promote players. That isn't something you can do in 2 months or was he expecting Tuukka Rask to be here and the #1 goalie already?
Sorry, that was the wrong link. This is todays Damian Cox article.ReplyDelete
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