February 05 2013 12:01PM
The Toronto Maple Leafs enter a game on a two-game losing streak for the second time this season. The first time they did it, they escaped with a 4-3 dramatic overtime win over Buffalo with Matt Frattin as the hero. The Toronto Maple Leafs also enter a game against the Washington Capitals for the second time this season. The first time they did it, they escaped with a 3-2 dramatic regulation win with Matt Frattin as the hero.
The obvious conclusion here is that Frattin steps up in big moments, and against the Washington Capitals. That is called "narrative", gentlemen, a flimsy premise based on one or two pieces of anecdotal evidence ignoring all context surrounding the event.
February 05 2013 10:22AM
I don’t have the video available for last night’s Leafs game, but a point was made by the Sportsnet crew about Phil Kessel, getting to the goal after the game that triggered a spark.
Doug Maclean referred to the ‘turn back’ the act of stopping short and turning back with the puck while attacking which I think is a good thing. I feel that’s what Kessel has to do break the funk, change it up to catch defenses of guard.
Exactly what Phil Kessel shouldn’t be trying to do right now is forcefully score goals.
February 05 2013 09:20AM
The good news is the Canucks have had a 2-0 lead in five of their first eight games, and a one goal lead in two others. The bad news is they've given away 8 points to conference opponents in those games.
That being said, the Canucks are off to the best start in years. And so is Luongo. As I said last time, try and remember that the calendar is meaningless. Forget that it's January and just pretend that it's October.
The Canucks' start feels way better now, doesn't it?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting there is nothing to worry about in Canucksville. In fact, there are always plenty of concerns. The last time I completely gave on my pessimism, they were up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final. And we know how that turned out...
February 05 2013 07:10AM
Who says Brian Burke is full of hot air?
Leafs TV aired it's annual 'Behind the Draft' special this past Friday, and shone a little more light on the Morgan Rielly selection. Immediately after Burke took to the podium and called Rielly's name, and before Rielly reached the stage, the microphone picks up a quick conversation between Burke and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
"Is that who you wanted?" Bettman asks.
"We had him first... rated first overall." Burke responds.
February 04 2013 09:02PM
Photo credit Abelimages via NHLInteractive
Now we're into uncharted territory.
Phil Kessel had a handful of six-game goal-less stretches in his Maple Leafs career. He's had seven and eight, even a nine-goal stretch, but this is the first time he's gone ten. I don't even know what to write in this space anymore. Early in the game, Alex Semin took away a surefire goal from the mouth. On a third period powerplay, Cam Ward slid across to rob him on an excellent Tyler Bozak set-up. There's no rhyme or reason to why this continues. Kessel has been getting two or three A-grade opportunities per game, yet nothing's working. No workmanlike goals, no shots, he's hitting posts, crossbars, pads…
Carolina won, but it didn't feel like they should have. It was a different variation of a common Maple Leafs-theme, where a Southeast division team blows out the Leafs in a midweek game at the Air Canada Centre. Except usually in those games they start poorly, and Toronto came out flying in this one, jumping on several Carolina turnovers but converted only once before the Canes settled in. After Matt Frattin scored to make it 1-0 Toronto, the Canes got four goals from four different goal scorers unanswered to win it by a 4-1 final. Analysis below.