April 21 2013 04:34PM
I'm hearing it everywhere this season, well, mostly on Coach's Corner and on the comment section of my website. "The Leafs are winning because they're tougher and fighting more."
In fact, the New York Rangers lost their fighter Brandon Prust in the offseason. They've gone from 1st in the league in fighting majors to 24th (through Saturday, according to HockeyFights.net) and have gone from Presidents' Trophy contenders to bubble team.
Prust went from New York to Montreal in the offseason. Montreal went from 22nd in fighting majors last season to seventh, and have since gone from a lottery team to a team competing for the title in the tough Northeast Division with the likes of the Boston Bruins! The other team in that division, Toronto, lead the league in fights and are going to make the playoffs for the first time in nine years!
Clearly, fighting means something right?
April 21 2013 02:27PM
PLAYOFFS. PLAYOFFS! FEELINGS! EMOTIONS! BAHH!!UjfndkjsnvkjNSFkdjgnjvi
April 20 2013 08:59PM
Photo by Jana Chytilova/NHLInteractive via Getty
To be quite honest, I didn't think that Bob Cole's call of Joffrey Lupul's clincher was his best work. I remember a similar goal in 2002, when Joe Sakic scored on a breakaway with just over a minute to go for Team Canada in the Olympic Gold Medal Game. Cole blurted out "JOE! SAKIC! SCORES! SURELY THAT'S GOTTA BE IT!" as the visiting fans in attendance celebrated.
Joffrey Lupul's goal wasn't as big as Joe Sakic's that afternoon, but it may be remembered in Maple Leafs lore. He capitalized on a giveaway from whatever remains of Sergei Gonchar's corpse, sped past him and Chris Phillips and powered a wrist shot at Craig Anderson's shoulder.
And, like the snows of yesteryear, the Toronto Maple Leafs' playoff drought is gone from this earth. I understand that the residents of Oilers Nation are accepting donations for their second degree burns—they accidentally dropped the playoff drought torch when we passed it over to them earlier this evening.
Leafs win 4-1. In the words of Navin Vaswani: "Playoffs!!1"
April 20 2013 07:43PM
"Now they come to centre ice. They Leafs slow to clear… they're onside! Sundin tried to go in… he lost the puck and it was cleared away to centre. Look out, they're out they're again these Flyers are coming hard… SCORES!
That is it! Jeremy Roenick got a break. He come in, and beat Ed Belfour after the Toronto Maple Leafs did everything but win the hockey game in the last two shifts. It comes at 7:39 of the first overtime period. The Leafs stunned, their season over, and the Philadelphia Flyers will go on to meet Tampa Bay."
A lot happened there. I remember watching that game and being amazed at Sami Kapanen making it to the bench after being hit hard by Darcy Tucker. In today's game, that's a sure concussion and the play likely would have been called. Danny Gray had a post this summer about "the other uncalled high-stick" on Mats Sundin
More importantly, it was the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs played a playoff game. That changes this season, as the Maple Leafs officially clinched a playoff berth Saturday night with a win over the Ottawa Senators.
April 20 2013 02:17PM
It's going to be Bob Cole broadcasting tonight's Maple Leafs and Senators game. It ought to have a good playoff atmosphere. Say what you want about Hockey Night in Canada—their production is second-to-none and their microphones relay in the perfect amount of crowd, ice and broadcaster noise.
This will be the last game Ottawa and Toronto play against each other this season, barring some sort of wizardry that allows the two teams to meet up in the playoffs. The teams almost certainly won't be the 4-5 matchup. But with Cole calling the game, a loud, multi-partisan crowd at Scotiabank Place, and a relevant game between two winning teams playing against each other in April for the first time in nearly a decade… this is going to feel kind of cool. As long as the Senators wear their old red jerseys with the black swish and not the boring ones they have now.