April 15 2013 02:13PM
It's a difficult afternoon to concentrate on hockey, so this New Jersey Devils/Toronto Maple Leafs "preview" post will just be a few numbers and line combinations rather than any pontificating spiel about roster decisions or optimization.
April 15 2013 04:52AM
Five laboriously-constructed thoughts focusing on players and storylines we'll be following this week at The Leafs Nation. This week: Phil Kessel the juggernaut, more shooting percentage junk, Randy Carlyle's Jack Adams candidacy, Nazem Kadri's usage and Mark Fraser's excellent segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
April 13 2013 09:14PM
"Nazem Kadri's league-leading talent" - Photo from Graig Abel/NHL Interactive
Carey Price has a reputation as a partier, but generally I thought that his indiscretions took place post-game as opposed to pre-game.
Saturday's Hockey Night game between Montreal and Toronto, previewed as a possible playoff matchup, began rather inauspiciously. The Canadiens had some puck-possession off the first shift, with Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges each having shots blocked by Mark Fraser.
But then Francis Bouillon high-sticked Nazem Kadri. It was Kadri's league-leading 28th drawn penalty, and everything fell apart. Tyler Bozak scored finishing a nice play between him and James van Riemsdyk. Estonian-born ex-KGB recruit Leo Komarov scored on a real weak goal by Carey Price after Komarov put the fear of God into him. Really rattled his brain. Jay McClement finished off a lovely play at the end of a good penalty kill and then Dion Phaneuf took another shot from the outside that made it through Peter Budaj's five-hole.
Four goals, five shots in the first period. 4-1 lead for Toronto at that point. Not surprisingly, everything fell apart at that point, and Toronto would get one more late in the game for a 5-1 win.
April 13 2013 02:32PM
The Montreal Canadiens start today's action in second place. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in fifth place. With the Boston Bruins playing the lifeless Carolina Hurricanes and the Maple Leafs playing their longtime Lower Canadian rivals, it just might mean that by Sunday morning, the 4-5 matchup in the playoffs would be MONTREAL-TORONTO.
Everybody's hoping for this outcome. There may be better matchups for Toronto on paper but what would signal the Leafs return to the postseason more than this? It would be the most-watched seven-games-or-less series in CBC history. An entire generation has passed without the Canadiens and Maple Leafs facing off the in the playoffs. It last happened in 1979.
April 12 2013 10:33AM
There was an interesting moment online Friday morning as the best fourth-line centreman in the league Mikhail Grabovski was reported missing from the Maple Leafs' practice.
It turned out that Grabovski just had a stomach issue and has stayed behind in New York City, but those were fun times. Allow The Leafs Nation, using a series of tweets, to demonstrate the five stages of grief, apparently called the Kübler-Ross model. I didn't take 100-level psychology. My first-year science elective was astronomy, where you learned about instruments powerful enough to record Mikhail Grabovski's quality of competition rating from earth.