December 27 2013 09:16PM
It wasn't pretty. I'm not even sure what it was, but the Maple Leafs got two points Friday night and New Jersey, Ottawa and the New York Rangers combined for just one. Despite a good second period by the Leafs, I'd be quite content if we destroyed every copy of the game film from Toronto's 4-3 shootout win against the Sabres and never discussed it again. It will be one of those games, six or seven years from now, we will look back on and say "Toronto won 4-3" and that will be the end of it.
This game deserves no detail, no respect. NHL hockey games play 82 times a year to account for the occasional stinker. On Friday, both Toronto and Buffalo brought it, and not in a good way. On one hand, the Leafs had a furious second period rally, scoring three goals in 8:05 against one of the best goaltenders in the world. On the other hand, the Sabres gave the worst player in the league 12:39 of ice-time and let him play over five minutes against Toronto's most dangerous line.
Still, a win. Those come by far too rarely for us to bicker about just how they come about.
December 27 2013 10:17AM
Three days without hockey, and when they give it back to you, they also give you the potential for a Jerred Smithson line with Frazer McLaren and Colt Knorr. Hardly makes it worth it. Smithson, McLaren and Knorr would be touched up by most of the top lines at the World Junior Championships this week, and those games are already on TV. We didn't need the NHL to come back to watch non-NHL hockey. I also doubt any of those players would even crack the Spengler Cup roster.
I suppose the saving grace is that Randy Carlyle usually makes one or two roster changes right before the game starts, so let's hope that it winds up with one (or two) (or all) of those three players getting a late scratch. The fact that it's plausible to think Carlyle will go back to that 38-22-28 line now that every player is available to him points to the problem—Carlyle can easily diagnose the problems ("we're giving the puck away too much" "we're giving up too many shots") but his solutions exist to exasperate the problems.
The Christmas break did not make me any less grouchy when it comes to Leafs lineup decisions, apparently.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
December 26 2013 01:47PM
The Air Canada Centre may be home to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but they don't exactly have exclusivity. The building was originally designed for the Raptors, the Rock remind us all that Lacrosse is a thing that exists, and tons of music acts make a temporary home out of the building throughout the year. Heck, I was here three days ago and there was a mountain near the hash marks! Today, the Toronto Marlies took their turn running the rink, taking on the Hamilton Bulldogs in front of a five digit crowd for the third straight year. Despite being heavily outshot, the Marlies dragged this one into overtime, but ultimately fell 2-1.
December 26 2013 01:13PM
On this episode, the guys work off their respective Christmas hangovers, talk about the World Juniors, and the best and worst of 2013.
December 25 2013 08:06AM
About this time last year we at the Nations were trying to figure out a way to make the seemingly endless lock-out interesting (and to keep the lights on as our advertisers fled in terror).
Flash forward 12 months and we're bigger than ever after adding Brian Sutherby, Daily Faceoff and getting JetsNation on its feet (with the help of some great new contributors). We have some big plans for the future and will likely be adding even more content, gear, features, contests and fantasy type games very soon.
Of course, none of this is possible without all of our readers. So thank you for sticking with us through the dark times and continuting to make writing and reading here interesting, challenging, fun and rewarding.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.