October 27 2011 04:07PM
In some ways, being a goaltender is like being the leader of a political party. There are limited opportunities at the highest level, and many candidates vying for them. There are star candidates and unknowns, with the latter succeeding almost as often as the former. Both goalies and political leaders often find themselves blamed with or credited for the accomplishments of the people around them.
There is at least one more similarity: once the candidate has secured a job for a contending entity, there is not much patience for failure. When that patience runs out, the candidate is out of a job.
Jonas Gustavsson has tested the patience of the Toronto Maple Leafs and their backers.
October 27 2011 10:39AM
Tonight marks the 590th meeting between these two Original Six franchises. The Leafs enter the game with a 5-2-1 record and a healthy Tim Connolly for the first time this season. Will he mesh with Kessel? Will he help our beleaguered PP? Will he spontaneously combust at some point during the game?
October 25 2011 01:55PM
At the outset of the season, there wasn't a pundit or hockey writer around who suggested that the Toronto Maple Leafs or Winnipeg Jets were surefire Eastern Conference playoff favourites. Toronto was lumped in as a bubble team while Winnipeg was sort of on the fence between a bubble team and a lottery team, partly driven on their first-half success of last season.
By the way, the only thing weirder than writing about Winnipeg in an Eastern Conference analysis would be writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Western Conference. Or the Vancouver Canucks in the East. Or the Ottawa Senators in first place.
But who are the other bubble teams in the Eastern Conference who will compete against these teams for the playoffs? We can be sure that Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington and Philadelphia are essentially locks, while the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning may be right there. Also on the bubble, I think it's safe to say that Carolina, New Jersey, Montreal, NY Rangers and Florida will be right there by season's end, competing for a pair of playoff spots.
October 25 2011 01:42PM
Ladies and Gentlemen, lend me your tears- Grabbo being Grabbo
One of the things I’ve been noticing is that in the games they have won the Leafs have been able to roll four lines consistently most of the night. The 4th line isn’t necessarily putting up big minutes, but they play more, and later into the game than when Colton Orr is in the line-up. This gives the Leafs top players a bit of a rest and allows them to play long shifts later in the game.
October 24 2011 01:15AM
Another week has passed in the season, and with that, it's time for another review of matters around the league. In this installment, the Canucks make the first significant move of the year, two first rounders appear on divergent paths, and the Leafs face life without Optimus Reim.