Friday, October 06, 2006

Leafs 6 Sens 0 (WTF??)

By The Meatriarchy

OK everyone be honest. If you had come late to the game last night and were told that it was 6-0 and the goalie had been pulled you would have figured the Sens were at it again right? Just like last year?

What a difference 24 hours makes.

But despite the almost universal writing off of the Leafs by the Toronto media in the aftermath of the season opener the Leafs played almost the same game as they had the first night and the result was much different.

The key difference? Gerber.

He stoned the Leafs in game one turning aside 34 shots and looking incredible. Last night he looked ordinary and the result was far different.

Yesterday in the aftermath of the first game I could only find two people in the Toronto media who were willing to point out this salient fact: get over 30 shots a game in this league and you will score. They were radio colour man Jim Ralph and Leafs coach Paul Maurice. Maurice to his credit was adamant that the Leafs played reasonably well in the first game and after last night's game he made it clear to the media scrum that he felt that they didn't play a great deal different last night.

But if you had listened to the radio or read the papers yesterday you would have thought it was the last game of the season not the first.

Now we are only 2 games into a long season and one victory doesn't mean a hell of a lot in the long run but the glee with which the reporters and columnists dissected the loss in the home opener was in full mode yesterday.

Howard Berger commiserated with Fan590 afternoon drive host Bob McCowan (who opened the show on Wednesday complaining about how much he hated hockey) about having to follow "the wreckage" that is the Leafs around for a whole season.

Berger however wasn't ready to write the Leafs off completely saying he preferred to wait because the season was still young. How long is he prepared to give them? 5 games! That's right 5 whole games will be the barometer of an 80 game season under a new coach with a completely different system.

Meanwhile over at the Globe Dave Shoalts weighed in with a gloating column entitled "Leafs faults on full display" Maybe today we could have one with "Toronto Sports Media Faults on display"?

Raycroft who stopped 33 shots in game one was excoriated all yesterday for having what the experts claimed was a "bad game" and by extension John Ferguson was a complete fool for signing him. Would any of these experts have listened if you told them that Raycroft would have shutout in the books before Gerber??

Sens fans it is obvious after two games that Havlat and Chara will be missed sorely. Giving up over 30 shots in two games to a team that isn't supposed to make the playoffs (lots of prognosticators have the Leafs finishing dead last in their division) is not a good omen for a team with Cup aspirations.

And face it this team did not look as dangerous in the past two games as they did all last season. Even in the first game which they won I didn't think they looked that great.

Did Alfredsson play last night? I didn't notice him at all. And after the midway point of the game Spezza, Heatley and Redden seemed invisible as well. And Mezaros had an awful night going -3 overall.

I think the most improved player over the past two nights was Tucker. In game one he was barely evident but last night he was at his edgy abrasive best.

O'Neil as well looked a bit better also. I like the idea of a Tucker-Stajan-O'Neil line if this guy can get his game back on track.

Candiens are in town on Saturday. Let's keep the momentum going!!

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