March 25 2013 04:56AM
A few thoughts to kick off your week, and previewing the things we'll look at on this blog in Toronto Maple Leafs analysis…
No. 1 - John-Michael Liles is out, Joffrey Lupul is in
The defence will again see some changes as John-Michael Liles went down awkwardly on Saturday and limped off the ice. We didn't see the extent of the collision, but it sounds like it's a little less worrisome than we initially thought. I thought on the play there was a chance that perhaps Liles' calve had been sliced by Danny Paille's skate:
March 24 2013 12:14PM
This humble pie is delicious!
I ain't even mad. My sincerest congradulations to Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren for passing Ilya Bryzgalov and Evgeni Nabokov in points last night.
March 23 2013 08:53PM
Photo: Abelimages/NHL Interactive via Getty
In his 378 games with the Boston Bruins, Tim Thomas played a game by stopping fewer than 75% of the shots against him just 10 times. The Bruins have been a team in construction for some time, culminating with the 2011 Stanley Cup. They had the goaltending since the dawn of the post-lockout era. They signed Zdeno Chara to shore up the defence and gradually added pieces. The scoring didn't show until the Stanley Cup year, when Milan Lucic blossomed, the team added Nathan Horton, had a healthy Patrice Bergeron and junior stud Brad Marchand broke out.
But the team was always excellent in goal. Where "toughness" is used as reasoning for why teams without obvious talent win games, "goaltending" is usually the cure. Thomas played just six seasons in Boston as the starter, but was without doubt the best of his era. No matter what the team was in front of him, as they rebuilt the defence around Chara and the forwards around Bergeron, Thomas was there to provide them great goaltending.
Anton Khudobin is not Tim Thomas, and the Toronto Maple Leafs ate him up. The Bruins held the Leafs to 13 shots, but when you've lost 8 straight times to a dominant divisional opponent, a Rembrandt isn't always required. Sometimes you just need a Picasso, and the Leafs painted one Saturday. They may not have deserved a 3-2 result, but they jumped up to a 3-0 lead and held on, and that's all that counts in a playoff drive.
March 23 2013 01:04PM
Hockey news doesn't typically happen on Fridays, and hockey blogs aren't frequently read on Fridays, so we often don't post a lot of things on Fridays. However there have been a few small events that have arisen between the end of the Leafs last game against Buffalo and Saturday afternoon that would warrant a few eyeballs.
First there was Joffrey Lupul's public questioning of the league's disciplinary decisions. Then Leo Komarov was placed on injured reserve. Then came speculation that hey, maybe Ryan Hamilton will play with Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel tonight. So there's lots of activity floating around, and lots of discussion, but I think we'll focus most of this on the game against the Boston Bruins tonight on Hockey Night.
March 22 2013 01:09PM
I meant to talk about the game and ended up ranting about goons. Screw goons.