The NHL season is a marathon not a sprint and each leg of the course is unique. In this seven part series we’ll look at the make up of each one, how the Leafs have fared, what games they’ll need to win, and what games we’d love to see. We’ll even do it for the months that the Leafs don’t show up to play.
Regular readers of Pension Plan Puppets know that November is the single most important month on the calendar. Regular fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs will recognize it as the month where the 2010-11 season went well and truly off the rails. October ends with a tough stretch of games on the road but November brings with it the opportunity for the Leafs to put a dent in the 90 points that they will likely need in order to make the playoffs.
Wednesday, November 2 at New Jersey
Thursday, November 3 at Columbus
Saturday, November 5 vs Boston
Tuesday, November 8 vs Florida
Thursday, November 10 at St. Louis
Saturday, November 12 vs Ottawa
Tuesday, November 15 vs Phoenix
Thursday, November 17 at Nashville
Saturday, November 19 vs Washington
Sunday, November 20 at Carolina
Tuesday, November 22 at Tampa Bay
Friday, November 25 at Dallas
Saturday, November 27 at Anaheim
Wednesday, November 30 vs Boston
Of the fourteen games in November, seven are against non-playoff teams from last year. As a bubble team, the team has to rack up as many points as possible from the Ottawas and St. Louis’ of the NHL. When a team travels the second fewest miles in the league there isn’t much to complain about. However, taking a look at that four game road trip I imagine that if Ron Wilson and Brian Burke were in a buddy comedy they’d look like this at the end of that trip:
Record Since The Lockout
Geez, last November wasn’t very good was it? If you’re keeping track, those were the most important points lost last season.*
*This will make sense later if it doesn’t already.
Friend of the blog Jason Chimera, Alex "The Russian Wellwood" Ovechkin, Alex "Lazy Russian" Semin, and Bruce "Wing Sauce" Boudreau were part of three of the Leafs most memorable games last year. This game won’t represent a measuring stick for the Buds – the Caps are only technically in the Leafs’ league – but the November 19th game will give Leafs fans a taste of what it’s like to watch a Stanley Cup Contender.
The Capitals will be hungry for two points in Toronto
The next day against Carolina will feature a match up against any number of former Leafs as well as a competitor for the final playoff spot. But the biggest game of the month will be November 12th against the Ottawa Senators. That game, while a likely two points for God’s Team, doubles as the Hall of Fame game on the weekend on which the latest class will be inducted. There will certainly be a lot of Leafs’ related content:
Sure, it’s half of the month but good lord those last six games have the potential to be awful. A cross-continental road trip sandwiched between home games against the class of the Eastern Conference (Regular Season and Post Season Editions).
There are some good sports writers in Toronto. They are enjoyable to read. However, the mittenstringers in Toronto generally have a larger hand in setting the agenda among the average Leafs fan much to our chagrin. Too often these guys go unchallenged. Howard Berger’s finally been shown the door and his tenure will soon pass into history with nary a memory other than this spectacular pantsing by Ron Wilson that spawned a long-lived meme.