October 30 2013 02:13PM
After a fine performance against the Oilers a night ago and leaving the city in ruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs head south for a Wednesday night showdown against the Calgary Flames, a rough-and-tumble, quick, exciting team that launched out of the gate and defied preseason expectations. They've risen all the way to 5-4-2 after a lovely start and are 6th place in the Pacific Division.
Okay, maybe their start was a little less hot than it seemed. The Flames were forced into keeping Sean Monahan, the sixth overall pick from last June who was producing when the team had to make a decision on whether to keep him around. There's some twisted voodoo going on in Calgary—between 2010 and 2012 the team finished with 90, 94, and 90 points and failed to make the playoffs each season. They were the poster boy team for winning not enough games to make the playoffs, but too many good games to land a decent draft pick.
So far this season, the Flames are on pace for 89 points.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
October 30 2013 08:21AM
Phil Kessel is awesome. The man who we described on here as a steal at eight million dollars per season now has nine goals and nine assists in just thirteen games. This is probably unsustainable, to say the least, but it appears likely that Kessel will have his third consecutive point-per-game season in blue and white, and his fifth at a 30+ goal pace. Forget about whether there's a way to get more out of him for a second. We can all agree the Leafs should be very happy to have him, right? About that... here's just a small sample of the Toronto Media over the past few years.
October 30 2013 03:53AM
October 29 2013 10:45PM
Come on, Phil. Act like you've been there before.
Phil Kessel really is too good.
The glaring hole in his game is on defence. He has trouble recovering the puck, but once he gets it, he's unstoppable at this point. Kessel is a step faster than anybody else on the ice. Kessel has a little more awareness than anybody else on the ice. He thinks a little quicker. He is known for his goal-scoring, but he's almost as every bit a playmaker. He can shoot from any angle, from any speed.
The Edmonton Oilers traded away Ryan Smyth at the 2007 trading deadline, in the hopes of finding the next superstar. One played at Rexall Place on Tuesday night in Edmonton, but he wasn't Edmonton's. Kessel scored twice and had two helpers in a 4-0 win by the Leafs over the Oilers.
October 29 2013 12:14PM
What are the big stories leading into the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers game? Both teams have lost some key players to injury in the early going, but the Leafs have managed to persevere and have one of the best records in the NHL. The Oilers stumbled out of the gate, were a respectable 2-3-1 on a tough six-game Eastern road trip and have generally bounced along so far, defying the positive expectations set for the team.
Tell you the truth, this year was the first in recent years that I'd bought into the Oilers preseason hype, and while I'm sure they're a better team than the record indicates, they're already pretty far back of a playoff spot, and nothing about their numbers suggest that they're due for the quick and fast turnaround they need to inch closer to the Western Conference playoff race. The Pacific Division is an absolute nightmare. Five teams from the Pacific are Top 10 puck-possession clubs in the early going, with just Edmonton and provincial rival Calgary lagging behind.