February 09 2014 04:32PM
The Leafs head into the Olympics hot! Against a Canadian team, too.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 09 2014 04:12PM
The Toronto Marlies and Hamilton Bulldogs face each each other too often. I lead with that as my opening paragraph too often. How about this; today was a game featuring two very fatigued teams. The Marlies have been everywhere in the league over the past month, with multiple road trips and crowded weekends. The Bulldogs just played a game in Ottawa last tnight. This wasn't going to be a game where speed killed, but rather an endurance war. Despite a hot start by the Marlies, this game fell in favour of their cross-highway rivals, with a score of 4-3.
February 08 2014 07:07PM
Shortly after Phil Kessel made the score 2-1 for Toronto, Craig Simpson (in his infinite wisdom) decided to call Kessel a "one shot scorer". I'm not sure about that description. Kessel came into the game third in the NHL in shots on goal. His shooting percentage of 11.2% is not an eyebrow-raising distance from the mean.
Kessel scores goals, lots of goals, because he takes a lot of shots, and because he has an excellent shot, and he uses it, game after game after game. He also belongs to the Toronto Maple Leafs for eight more years, and he helped the Leafs beat the Vancouver Canucks for the first time since before the first lockout. When the Leafs last beat the Canucks, Kessel was playing with the United States' national development program's U-17 squad. Yes, it's been a while. And the final was 3-1 for the Leafs.
February 08 2014 03:34AM
The number one movie the last time the Leafs defeated the Canucks. Seriously.
So the Maple Leafs hit Game 60, going into the Olympic break, comfortably in a playoff position and with a chance to really take a big lead against a struggling opponent that's just been devastated by injuries. Living out in Vancouver, you can't throw a stone without hitting somebody that's complaining in some respect about the Canucks (and believe me, I test this theory daily) and the theory out here is that the team is no longer a playoff team. It has some good fixtures on defence, but no game-breaking talents and too much cap space tied up to holdovers of the 2010-2011 team.
This represents the best chance for Toronto to beat Vancouver for the first time since November 24 2003, playing at home against a team at the bitter end of a losing road trip.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 07 2014 07:52PM
The last time the Toronto Marlies took on the Grand Rapids Griffins, it was an away-and-away in two different cites. Both games were won by the Marlies, but the most memorable was the first game, an outdoor game in front of about 15,000 people at Detroit's Comerica Park, as part of the Winter Classic festivities. The weekend brought the Marlies to 3-0-0 against the Red Wings Affiliate, and tonight, they had an opportunity to call the season series a sweep. They did so, winning 4-1.