October 20 2013 04:47PM
The Blackhawks are good-ish.
Sure Bernier let in a bit of a stinker to start the game, but he was the Leafs' best player by a mile.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
October 20 2013 04:01PM
The Toronto Marlies / Hamilton Bulldogs rivalry may be the most repetitive in professional hockey. Partially due to proximity, and partially due to the AHL's concept of scheduling, the two teams face each other twice every preseason, and a whopping dozen times over the course of the regular season. On one hand, having 18% of guaranteed games against the same team can be stale to some, but makes the games very heated. Not only are you developing these players to become NHLers, you're developing them go have pre-existing hatred once they get there. This plays out well for the Leafs and Habs; just look at how Nazem Kadri lines up against, well, anybody under 23 in Montreal. In that sense, the repetition yeilds entertainment rewards.
Neither team is thinking about that on the ice, though. They're focusing on two points, and today was Game 1 of those dozen matchups. The Marlies made the best of it,, and walked out with a 2-1 win.
October 19 2013 08:52PM
Mike Kostka. Mike freaking Kostka. You can't make this stuff up.
Many Leafs fans are pretty aware of how lucky the Leafs were to be 6-2-0 heading into this game, but there was still the stubborn group that said the Leafs are awesome no matter what. Hell, even Randy Carlyle said if they keep playing the way they do they'll get creamed by teams like the Hawks.
Hey guess what? The Blackhawks outshot the Leafs 40-20 and the Leafs lost 3-1. That often happens when the other team doubles your shot total. Carlyle called it. Anybody could have called that. Mike Kostka scoring the game-winner? That's just the universe being a dick.
October 19 2013 01:56PM
When the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for David Bolland at the draft, I praised the move as essentially being risk-free with the Leafs giving up absolutely nothing of value and acquiring a player that had been effective in 2010 and in 2011 but whose play had ultimately fallen off in the last couple of seasons. The Leafs brass said some ridiculous things in the summer about how Bolland just needed a chance in "more of a prominent role" (despite playing with Patrick Kane in Chicago last season!) and Steve Kasper even went onto say that Bolland was a "regular contributor" despite being on the lower end of Chicago forwards in several metrics, like points per 60 minutes (9th out of 12) shots per 60 minutes (12th) and point-contribution rate on on-ice goals (10th).
There were reasons to like the trade, just as there are reasons to like a fast food hamburger late at night. But the Leafs seemed to advertise Bolland like a fast food joint would advertise a hamburger in posters and on TV: looking much bigger, healthier and juicier than the real-life counterpart. The hamburger is still good, but it's a disappointment when compared to the advertising. So far this year, Bolland has played like the advertised hamburger.
Bolland is somewhat the focus in his return to Chicago tonight. He played 399 games with the Blackhawks including playoffs, and in two of those games, he was lifting the Stanley Cup at the end. He was a fairly prolific member of the 2010 team and definitely a player that fans of not-Chicago teams hated. He had a good career there.
October 18 2013 01:49PM
The face says it all.
Of course the Leafs, right? Of course.