April 28 2013 04:21PM
Did you know it's been a while since the Toronto Maple Leafs last played a playoff game? It's true. Be reminded every day between now and about the first intermission of Game Two, and possible for the first two periods of Game Three when the Leafs play at home.
The Leafs overcoming some very long odds to make the postseason is a pretty cool story, and their opponent has yet to be determiend. (Although it may be determined by the time you read this column, but I won't be able to file anything else until about 3 a.m. Eastern, and who is going to read anything at that time?)
Part of what's gone on in the time that it's taken the Leafs to make the playoffs is that it seems every team has developed some sort of national anthem schtick—Rene Rancourt in Boston fist pumping after singing the Star-Spangled Banner, Mark Donnelly in Vancouver letting the crowd sing the middle section, Montreal fans booing the Star-Spangled Banner and Phoenix fans showing up late, if at all.
What can Toronto do to separate itself? Well…
April 28 2013 01:11PM
The Leafs lose to the Habs, and in doing so, might not get to play the Habs. Wait - what?
April 27 2013 08:45PM
Colton Orr watches the third period - Graig Abel via NHL Interactive
It's upsetting that the last three games of the Toronto Maple Leafs' season were entirely devoid of meaning. Practically locked into the four spot, Randy Carlyle had the opportunity to skate new line combinations, start his backup goalie or get Jake Gardiner going. None of this happened, and while the Leafs had a couple of good efforts against Tampa Bay and Florida in a recent trip, they completely mailed in their last game of the season, emphasizing brawn over brains and playing an utterly embarrassing final game of the season as hockey fans across North America tuned out to watch Minnesota and Columbus.
46 minutes in penalties in that third period. I had the game on mute so didn't catch what happened to Clarke MacArthur and Frazer McLaren. Didn't care. Once the Canadiens took a 3-1 lead with the Leafs only having taken 7 shots, you knew what kind of game it would be. Either they didn't have the effort or the focus or their effort and focus was misguided. At puck drop, Ryan White, Brandon Prust, Colton Orr and McLaren were on the ice. While no fisticuffs ensued, at only a couple of points in the evening did you get the impression the Leafs were worried about hockey.
April 27 2013 03:17PM
It's Game One of the series between the Toronto Marlies and Rochester Americans. The Marlies are buying into the organizational philosophy of "get out-shot and somehow not lose", down 29-9 on the shot clock after 40 but tied 3-3.
Thanks to Drew MacIntyre, of course, who made this absurd save against Johan Larsson.
April 27 2013 02:37PM
Here we are. Game 82. Wait. Game 48. I was promised at the start of the season a hectic final day thanks to the short season, but it seems 14 of 16 playoff spots are already locked down, and in the East, the only thing that can change is some shuffling of seeds.
This won't be much of a preview. This time in the season you can throw out the predictive numbers, in part because they won't have too much effect on the final standings, but mostly because teams play at half speed when the games don't particularly matter. This game either doesn't particularly matter. There's talk about going into the playoffs on a high note, but that doesn't matter at all.
Stanley Cup-winning teams are 4-4-2 with 1 tie in their last game of the regular season since the 30-team expansion. The 2002 Detroit Red Wings won just one of their last 10 games before going on to win the Cup.