May 01 2013 10:16AM
New to this season, every Nations site will get its readers and writers to vote on "Year End Awards" in a few different categories. It was a painstaking process to whittle down the nominations in each category to five apiece, and not only that, the pony transporting the ballots to Leafs Nation HQ got eaten by a bear.
But we finally got a hold of them, and some state-of-the-art polling software to get the reader involved as well. Hit past the jump for our nominees:
April 30 2013 03:09PM
Our long-winded preview went up Tuesday morning, and you should all check it out. We break down the matchups line by line and how everything should shake out in Toronto's first playoff appearance since the release of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.
If there are typos in any of the predictions, blame the email programs we copied and pasted from with the exception of our submission from Oilers Nation HQ. Their picks were sent to us this morning by carrier pigeon and the bloody thing was written in crayon.
Here are the panel picks, starting with Steve Dangle of the Leafs Nation dot com:
Fans have to be happy that the Leafs are back in the playoffs. It’s been a long, crappy wait. That being said, they’re playing the Bruins in Round 1, which is probably the Leafs’ worst case scenario going in. The Capitals are the 3rd seed, and while they have been on fire, they’re still beatable. The Canadiens’ are the 2nd seed, and while they won the Northeast Division and beat the Leafs soundly in their final game of the season, the Leafs completely pumped them twice in this short campaign. Besides, even if the Leafs hadn’t won those games, who doesn’t want to see a Toronto-Montreal tilt? Even the 1st seed Harlem Globetrotters Pittsburgh Penguins have had some trouble against the Leafs this year. But the Bruins. The freakin’ Bruins. That’s who they get.
April 30 2013 10:00AM
James Reimer is indubitably the key to victory. Photo via CP
For a while towards the end of the season, the fates were leading the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs on a collision course that would have surely torn apart the fabric of our nation, and ended up with Québec drifting out into the sea. But after an unlikely chain of events on Saturday—the Boston Bruins blowing a two-goal lead against the Washington Capitals and the capitulation of the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Montreal Canadiens—the stage was set Sunday for the Senators and Bruins to determine the Leafs' fate.
So, so much has gone right for the Maple Leafs this season, and sparing the clichés about the Buds being ready to play against any opponent in the first round… it's clear that the final game of the season between Ottawa and Boston didn't break the way they were hoping. Instead of a dream matchup against the Canadiens—both a ratings bonanza and a team whose weaknesses play into the Leafs' strengths—Toronto ended up drawing Boston.
We know the Bruins recent record against the Leafs, but what we don't know is how the Leafs can beat the Bruins over a seven-game series or how it will break down, line-by-line and matchup-by-matchup. Our detailed preview is below the jump…
April 30 2013 08:39AM
Let's face it folks, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is built for the playoffs. By which, I mean the organization is a profit generating machine, at least on the hockey side.
The fact that over the term of the previous CBA the Leafs managed to generate more profits than pretty much the rest of the NHL combined WITHOUT ONCE MAKING THE POST-SEASON is not only insane, but a testament to the
insanity dedication of Toronto hockey fans.
So kudos to you, Toronto. Your perseverance has finally been rewarded and your beloved Buds (what the hell does that mean, anyway?) have finally made it back to the playoffs.
But it's been a long absence, and some things have changed. So as a public service, I've put together a Graphic Guide to the NHL Playoffs for you...
April 29 2013 05:21PM
Here's a creeping narrative surrounding our Bruins and Leafs series already. It has to do, of course, with Phil Kessel, who has historically struggled against the Boston Bruins and declined to talk to the media today after a gathering of press hounds were waiting 25 minutes for an appearance.
Kessel's statistics against the Bruins in his career are, well, unflattering to say the least. In 22 games against his former club, he's scored just three times and is a minus-22. I would not characterize this as a fault of Kessel being unable to step up to the big game, as it has been portrayed twice in various media outlets today.