Stoney Point - October 14, 2014 - This past summer, I turned 46 years old and as a Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Bears fan that means that I have only been alive for only one of my team’s championships in 92 possible seasons. Some might say I am not too bright to choose these teams, but if nothing else I am loyal.
It was disappointing to the see a $200 Maple Leaf jersey hit the ice during the third period of Saturday’s match against the Pittsburgh Penguins. At the time, the Buds were down 5-2 and it was not a fun night for the fans. I understand that tickets aren’t cheap - throw in parking, dinner, a sitter and a few overpriced beers and it is an expensive night, but it is only game two of a very long season. Sadly, the same thing happened in Edmonton earlier in the week.
The Leafs have not sipped from Lord Stanley’s mug in close to 50 years – is it possible that Leafs Nation has finally lost its patience?
Don Cherry - On Saturday night, Don Cherry went on a rant that about the Maple Leafs not drafting a single Canadian player in this summer’s entry draft and went on to suggest that this is the reason that they have only made the playoffs once in the last 14 seasons. I like Cherry and consider myself a fan and I hate to bring fact into this argument, but of the 20 players the Maple Leafs dressed on Sunday night – 14 of them were Canadian. Throw in Brandon Kozun, who is a Canadian citizen that means that 75% of the lineup are from Canada. Perhaps the issue is they have the wrong Canadians on the team?
Phil Kessel – What was he thinking when he told the Toronto media that he had only skated four or five times over the summer. No surprise when he is held pointless for the first two games that he became a target. He had a strong finish on Sunday night with a goal and two helpers.
Would you make that deal? – Over the summer, if GM Dave Nonis was offered two players of the calibre of Kozun and Carter Ashton in exchange for Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren – it would have been like the IKEA commercial, “Start the Car! Start the Car!”. You can see why the Leafs made the move that they did and I guess the good news is if they need the toughness, it is simply a farm team call-up away.
Randy Carlyle – As the saying goes, Randy Carlyle is walking on thin water. His leadership and future with the team has been much discussed over the summer and the feeling was that he would be put on a short lease. After the 0-2 start, he had to be wondering what might be ahead had they lost in New York to fall to 0-3. (See Peter Laviolette last season in Philly to understand what an 0-3 start could mean.) The Leafs play 23 games in October and November – my prediction is that Carlyle will need 12 wins before November 30th to keep his job.
Injury Report – Currently on Toronto’s injured list are David Booth and James Reimer. Booth has a broken foot and is out for at least the balance of October. The injury report has Reimer listed as questionable for tonight, but the Leafs have already announced he will get the start.
Tonight’s Line-up – Jake Gardiner was a healthy scratch on Sunday night, due to the return of Cody Franson. Hard to imagine him not slotting in tonight. The coaching staff have been pleased with the play of Stu Percy, so will Roman Polak be the odd man out?
Enjoy the game!