Wednesday, November 2, 2011


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Sunday, October 30, 2011


Last night featured a battle of two teams at the top of the NHL standings. The NHL leaders took on the Northeast Division leaders, with the Northeast Division leading Maple Leafs edging out the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3.

Pittsburgh may have the best penalty killing thus far but that didn't seem to matter, as the Leafs went 2/3 with the man advantage.  All the scoring for the blue and white came from the top two lines as Grabovski, Connolly, MacArthur and Kessel put the puck in the net.  On a night where former Leafs Captain Mats Sundin was in attendance, current Leaf Captain Dion Phaneuf played a great game.  He laid a big hit on Evgeni Malkin and notched 2 assists.  As a result, Kessel, Grabovski, MacArthur and Phaneuf all had 2 point nights.  Jonas Gustavsson was at his best in net again making 34 saves, two of which were scary good by way of his glove hand.  Phil Kessel was the first NHL player to reach 10 goals this year.  The last time a Leaf player managed that was in the 1949/1950 season.

Tonight, the Maple Leafs are in Ottawa as they try to derail the suddenly surging Senators. 

Friday, October 28, 2011


What do the musical "Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark" and the New York Rangers have in common? They both failed miserably opening night on Broadway!  While the Spider - Man play had a myriad of problems the Rangers issue was clear, a 4 -2 win by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs welcomed Tyler Bozak and Tim Connolly back into the lineup, however James Reimer is still recovering from whiplash symptoms and was placed on IR.  That meant Jonas Gustavsson got the call in between the pipes.  Despite being knocked into the net three times by Rangers forwards and letting in a shaky goal early in the game, Gustavsson played his best game of the season.  He made a spectacular glove save late in the first period, on his way to a 28 save performance.  After allowing the opening goal of the game, the Maple Leafs scored four unanswered goals from Matthew Lombardi, Joffrey Lupul, Clarke MacArthur and Mike Brown.  In addition to a goal, Mike Brown absolutely pummeled Rangers forward Kris Newbury with rapid fire fists during their second period fight. Tim Connolly played a straight forward game but didn't look out of place on the top line, creating several scoring chances.  Phil Kessel added an assists to his point scoring totals and Jake Gardiner got his third assist in his young NHL career.

Saturday night will feature a battle of the NHL's top scorers as James Neal and the Pittsburgh Penguins will be in Toronto, to take on Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Watching your favourite team loose is never an enjoyable experience, but it is inevitable.  Some losses are easier to swallow then others.  The Leafs loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night was one of those losses.

Make no mistake, I hate it when the Blue and White loose, but in this case the effort was there and ultimately that's all you can hope for, that the team competes.  That was certainly the case as there were several times throughout the game that Toronto carried the play in the offensive zone.  Defensive miscues and Jaromir Jagr (yes the Mullet Man is back in the NHL), cost the Leafs two points. I know Jagr is on the older side of his playing days, but he's no Moses.  Well, someone should've told Mike Komisarek that because Komisarek seemingly moved out of his way, leaving him all alone on a breakaway for his first goal upon returning to the NHL. I swear that goal looked like the scene in The Ten Commandments where Moses parts the red sea.  The second mistake came on an ill advised pinch by John - Michael Liles late in the game, sending Jagr on another breakaway.  He scored giving the Flyers a two goal cushion.

For the Maple Leafs, Phil Kessel scored his 9th goal of the season, while David Steckel did his best impression of Phil Kessel as he scored his third goal in as many games.  Despite the loss Jonas Gustavsson was solid in net, making a phenomenal pad save on one of Jagr's three breakaways.  The Maple Leafs will reportedly have James Reimer, Tyler Bozak and Tim Connolly back from injury and in the line up for their next game against the New York Rangers.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


As you can probably tell, their was no blog written for the game against Boston on Thursday.  It's not because I didn't want to write about a Leaf loss.  Truth be told, I was at a family function and didn't get a chance to pay much attention to the game.  In retrospect, that's probably for the best given the result.

On to last night's game.  Let it be known that I hate the Montreal Canadiens, and think their fans are the most ignorant and obnoxious bunch in the NHL. And that's saying something, given the fan base in Philadelphia.  So there nothing better then watching the Leafs beat the Habs in Montreal on a Saturday night.  As is typical for a game between these two rivals, it was a back and forth affair ending in a one goal difference, with the Leafs claiming victory by a 5-4 count.  Goal scorers for the blue and white were David Steckel, Phil Kessel(Yeah, he's still on fire), Dion Phaneuf, Nikolai Kulemin and of course, Mikhail Grabovski in overtime.  Two of the five goals came on the power play and the penalty kill was perfect.  In addition to their goals, Phaneuf, Grabovski, and Kessel all had assists.

The game got a little scary when James Reimer left the game at the end of the first period after a collision with  Montreal's ever so small captain Brian Gionta.  Jonas Gustavsson played the rest of the game.  The monster looked uneasy in net, and was to deep in his crease for two of the three goals he allowed.  Reimer suffered whiplash symptoms and is listed as day to day.

As a final note.  Is anyone else sick of listening to Glenn Healy.  My blog is pro -Leafs, obviously.  I'm a fan, not being payed to be impartial.  As a broadcaster for a national network, you'd expect some impartiality. All you get with Glenn Healy is anti-leaf rhetoric.  I mean the fact that Healy suggested that Reimer was faking the severity of his injury to draw a penalty? Are you kidding me.  Is this guy bitter because Reimer can make a save, whereas Healy couldn't stop a beach ball? Or is he bitter because the Leafs didn't hire him, when they we're searching for a new GM post Pat Quinn?  Either way, if I was CBC I'd tell Glenn Healy to take his bag pipes, lift his kilt and stick it where the sun don't shine!  Next up for the Maple Leafs are the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I've been to quite a few games in my life time. I've seen regulation wins and just about every type of loss imaginable.  Be it in regulation time, over-time, and the opposing team tie the game late to win it in the shootout.  At yesterday's game against Winnipeg, for the first time live, I saw the Maple Leafs come back from a two goal deficit and win the game in a shootout.

As usual, the Leafs started slow out of the gate.  That slow start extended through the first two periods, where a pitiful grand total of 12 shots was amassed.  Of course, two former Leafs Antropov and Wellwood, (the NHL equivalent of Borat and Richard Simmons respectively), notched assists on two of Winnipeg's goals. The Leafs power play which has been as unsuccessful as finding water in a desert, erupted for two goals 27 seconds apart to tie the game before Matt Frattin scored the shootout winner.  Kessel and Lupul were a dynamic duo on the ice.  Kessel tallied a goal and two assists, while Lupul scored twice (breaking the net cam on his first goal).  John-Michael Liles had a good outing with two assists. Jake Gardiner returned to the lineup and was the Leafs best defense man logging 25:09 in ice-time.  Goaltender James Reimer allowed 3 goals on 29 shots but was perfect in the shootout.

Colby Armstrong suffered a lower body injury and will miss tonight's game against the Boston Bruins.  It's being reported that Nazem Kadri will be called up to fill his spot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Here come the cliche's.  You ready?  It was bound to happen eventually. Want another one?  All good things must come to an end.  As a Leafs fan though, this one is my all time favourite; Oh well, at least we got a point. Take your pick but no matter what cliche you use, the Toronto Maple Leafs lost 3-2 to the Colorado Avalanche in overtime.  To be honest, the Leafs didn't play well enough for the win, so I'll gladly take the come from behind point.

Aside from Milan Hejduk (yes he's still playing, despite being the same age as Moses was when he received the 10 Commandments), Colorado's youth provided the rest of their offense. Goals came by way of Daniel Winnik and David Jones. As is typical with ex-Leafs who played average in Toronto, J.S. Giguere played a strong game stopping 27 shots to help the Av's to victory.

From the Blue and White perspective, Phil Kessel continued to put the puck in the net scoring his league leading sixth goal of the season.  Nikolai Kulemin guaranteed the Leafs a point, scoring late in the third period.  In addition to a goal, the Grabovski line had a bevy of scoring chances.  On the negative side, our power play was atrocious, Mike Komisarek's lack of foot speed was ever so apparent (insert Gardiner back in the lineup ASAP), and Carl Gunnarsson looked lost out on the ice.

I'll be in attendance as the Maple Leafs play the Winnipeg Jets for the fist time in 15 years on Wednesday Night.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Ok, first off I've got nothing against the Calgary net minder but the tittle; KESSEL DOUSES FLAMES!, was already taken.  Plus this rhymes.  On with the blog.  The Toronto Maple Leafs improved to 3W -0L with their 3-2 victory Saturday night over the Flames.  It wasn't easy though, as Calgary jumped out to a two goal lead scoring 1:27 seconds apart.  Of course as is always the case with former Leafs, Lee Stempniak and Niklas Hagman had assists on the goals.

After that, the Phil Kessel show began.  He started out with an assist on Joffrey Lupul's goal, which pulled the Leafs to within one.  Then Kessel powered passed a Calgary defense men and roofed the puck passed Kiprussof.  After two periods the score was even.  Kessel would then get the game winner early in the third, as he tucked the puck into the back of the net, just as a mother would gently tuck her child into bed for their afternoon nap.  With a three point night Kessel now has 5 goals, 3 assists for 8 points on the season.  More impressive then the offensive numbers, is Kessel's determination on the defensive side of  the puck, which has been incredible over the first three games.  Taking a cue from the WWE circa the late 80's, I've officially nicknamed Phil Kessel "Saturday Night Main Event!"

While I'm on the subject of defensive play, Tyler Bozak put on a clinic.  He prevented 3 potential goals from Jarome Iginla with relentless back-checking.  Add to that winning 74% of the face-offs he took, it's no wonder the Leafs were perfect on the penalty kill.  Then there's James Reimer.  After allowing two goals on two shots, he made 30 consecutive saves the rest of the way. Not the least of which were several pad saves in the third period to preserve the win.  If that isn't enough to provoke ZZ Top to re-work the song "Legs" in honour of Reimer, I don't know what is!

The Maple Leafs will continue their five game home stand Monday night, against the Colorado Avalanche.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Halloween is 21 days away, yet the Toronto Maple Leafs felt the need to scare the crap out of me three weeks early.  Wow, what a game!  The Leafs dominated the contest over the lowly Ottawa Senators for 50 minutes, until a near meltdown saw the game end in a two close for comfort 6 - 5 win.

Despite the nail biting finish, there were more positives then negatives in this game.  The power play accounted for  key goals by Mikhail Grabovski and Joffrey Lupul,  At the same time our penalty kill went 6/8 on the night, improving to 11/13 over two games.  Then there's Phil Kessel who recorded his first hat-trick as a Maple Leafs, the third of his career.  He now has 5 points in this early season.  All without Tim Connolly.  Imagine the potential amount of points Kessel can put on the board when his injured centre returns to the lineup.

You know it's a holiday that comes around once a year when Colton Orr scores a key goal.  David Steckel continued to prove his worth with a 65% winning percentage on face-off's. As for Dion Phaneuf, he continues to lead by example.  Not only did he get an assist increasing his point total to three, but he proved that he is the Leafs answer to Elvis Presley.  He keeps cranking out the big hits!  That CLEAN open -ice hit was as stunning as his girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert!

Make no mistake, the fact that Ottawa made the game close is alarming.  However, at no point in the game did the Maple Leafs give up the lead.  As the saying goes, they bent but didn't break.  You can't blame Reimer for any of those goals.  He was left by himself, while the team seemed to go into holiday mode 10 minutes too early. Still it's better this happened now, as the team has a week off to correct the mistakes.

The Toronto Maple Leafs next action comes against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.  Until then, Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm thankful for family, friends, good health and a perfect 2-0 start to the regular season. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reimer Rallies Leafs To A Shutout Victory!

It seems like forever since I sat down to write a Leaf Blog.  Ok so forever is about 5 months, but it felt longer.  I'm not going to run through all the off-season roster moves in detail.  If you follow this team, you'll know that Tim Connolly, Matthew Lombardi, John-Michael Liles, Cody Franson and David Steckel are the new additions to the team.  Let's cut right to the chase shall we, the 2011-2012 Season Opener against those dastardly Montreal Canadiens.

The first period was one of the worst periods of hockey I've seen. The Leafs were lackluster.  Puck possession was non-existent, they couldn't make a crisp pass to save their lives, oh and did I mention were out shot 14-4?  Had it not been for James Reimer and some stellar goal tending, Montreal could've easily had a couple goal.  Speaking of Reimer, he was perfect the rest of the way with a 32 save shutout win!  What a great way to quiet all the over -reacting fans who were worried about his pre-season numbers.  Who cares about pre-season? I'd rather him struggle then as opposed to now, you know when it really matters!

If the Maple Leafs hope to improve this year, the penalty killing needs to be alot better then last season.  After 1 game, so far so good.  Not only were they 5/5 on the PK, they even scored a goal while a man down.  Mathew Lombardi and Mike Brown broke away on a 2 on 1 rush and after a couple missed opportunities, Lombardi lifted the loose puck over a sprawled Carey Price.  Talk about a feel good story.  Here's a guy who missed an entire season due to concussion, and he gets a goal his first game back.  For a guy who's supposedly not up to game speed yet, he's fast.  At full speed, he might just be the fastest skater on the team.  Basically, he's the Leafs equivalent of DC Comics superhero The Flash. Dion Phaneuf got the insurance goal with a rocket of a shot in the third period, capping off a two-point night for the Leaf captain.

Leaf rookies Jake Gardiner and Matt Frattin didn't look out of place.  They had solid games.  Another player who stood out was newest Leaf David Steckel, a face off specialist to be sure.  Going 18/25 on the draw for a 72% total.  Travis Green and Peter Zezel would be proud!  Even Mike Komisarek had a good game.  He didn't even take a penalty.  I'll give you all a minute to pick yourselves up off the floor! He used his body, stayed in his own end, and made the safe plays.  That's what he needs to do.  Don't try to be Mr. Everything, because your not!

After beating the NHL's version of  McDonald's small fries (definitely not nearly as good), the Maple Leafs will battle their provincial rivals on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


We're still in the race, we're hanging on by the tiniest of threads, but we're still in the playoff race. In their last 8 hockey games the Toronto Maple Leafs went 4 - 3 - 1.  As a result the Leafs sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, five points out of the 8th and final playoff spot currently held by the Buffalo Sabres.  Giving away an extra point against the Islanders, and loosing to Chicago, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia didn't help our cause.  However, important wins over the Sabres, Hurricanes, Bruins and Wild have kept hope alive for Leaf Nation.

I was lucky enough to be at the game against the Boston Bruins and what a game it was.  This game had it all. Luke Schenn's impression of Bobby Orr was an end to end rush, that got the Leafs the opening goal of the game.  As if that weren't enough, history was made as Nazem Kadri scored his first career NHL goal.  The rarities continued as Joey Crabb had a goal on his way to a 3 point night.  Mike Brown also chipped in offensively.  James Reimer made several miraculous saves in the 5 - 2 victory, and followed it up with a 3 - 0 shutout against the Wild.  Along the way he made three breakaway saves, two of which came shorthanded.

Let's face it, the task ahead of the Maple Leafs is daunting.  Their going to have to win the majority of the remaining 8 games and get help from other teams in order to pass Carolina and Buffalo.  We're Leaf fans, and hoping against all hope is something we are experts at.  As the song says, "Never Say Never." Wow!  Did I just quote a Justin Bieber song?  Well, desperate times call for desperate measures.  

Friday, March 4, 2011


The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a playoff race in the NHL's Eastern Conference. Could you imagine uttering those words about two and a half months ago? I certainly couldn't. A 4 - 0 - 2 record in their last six games, has seen the team collect 10 out of a possible 12 points. That stretch sees the Maple Leafs sitting in 10th place, a minuscule 3 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot. Even more tantalizing is that 7th spot is only 4 points out of reach. During those six games, the Leafs beat the Islanders, Canadiens, Penguins, and the conference leading Flyers. A shootout loss to the Penguins, and an overtime loss to the Thrashers garnered the team two valuable points.

James Reimer has been the force behind this playoff push. This guy is simply unbelievable. His precise positional play,calmness, and jubilant attitude toward winning is infectious, and has caught hold of the entire team. Reimer has a record of 12 - 4 - 3, with a save % of .929, and a goals against average of 2.28. His new nickname in Toronto is Optimus Reim. Quite fitting, since he is standing tall and leading the charge. In last nights game in Philadelphia, Reimer was outstanding in the first period, making several key pad saves to keep the team in the game. Then in the final minute, Reimer made two astounding glove saves to preserve the win for the Maple Leafs. Clearly, their is more to this young goalie then meets the eye.

Not to be outdone is Phil Kessel. After a scoring slump of fourteen games, the shackles have come undone, and Kessel is a scoring machine once again. In his last 16 contests Kessel has 15 points, 8 of which are goals. Captain Dion Phaneuf has also risen to the occasion. Since the Kaberle trade, Phaneuf's ice time has risen to about 30 minutes per game. He's scored 2 key goals in the last six games, and was the architect of Grabovski's overtime winner against the Penguins. The Maple Leafs look to inch closer to the playoffs, when they battle the Stanley Cup Champion, Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night in Toronto

Friday, February 18, 2011


The Saga has finally ended! No, this is not a review of the Star Wars films, I'm talking about the Tomas Kaberle saga that's been on again/off again for the better part of the last five years.  Before the Kaberle deal, the Leafs sent Kris Versteeg to the Philadelphia Flyers for their first and third round picks in the 2011 NHL entry draft.  As good of a player as Versteeg was, I think he is better as a supplementary player on a Stanley Cup challenging team.  The addition of the draft picks, especially the first rounder fills a void the team has in that area.  Onto the big deal.  After 12 years of service with the Maple Leafs, Tomas Kaberle has been traded.  The Leafs have sent the puck moving defender to the Boston Bruins for young prospect Joe Colborne, a first round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional second round pick in 2012.  Colborne plays the centre position, stands at 6'5, and weighs 225lbs.  I'm happy with this deal because we get a good young prospect, and another first round draft choice, for a player who would have walked away from the Maple Leafs on July 1, leaving the Leafs feeling the Sundin syndrome all over again.  For those still criticizing the Kessel trade and the amount the Leafs gave up, this should be great news.  Since the Beauchemin trade, Brian Burke has brought in five first round picks.  Two, for this year, Colborne, Gardiner in 2008, and Joffrey Lupul in 2002.  Add to that mix, Luke Schenn and Nazem Kadri, and the Blue & White have a bevy of first rounders on our hands.  Clearly Burke sees the value in them, and has a plan for the future of this team.

While Colborne will begin his career in Toronto in the AHL with the Marlies, the big club has continued their late season surge in search of a playoff birth.  In the 4 games since my last blog, the Maple Leafs have gone 2 - 1 - 1 gaining 5 out of a possible 8 points to decrease the gap from the 8th playoff spot to 6 points.  During this stretch, Phil Kessel broke out of a 14 game scoreless drought.  He now has 3 goals in his last 2 games, a pair of them which came against his former team. Mikhail Grabovski also scored two goals against Boston, including the game winner with 61 seconds left to go before overtime.  It was the combined efforts of Joey Crabb, and James Reimer who lifted the Leafs to victory in Buffalo, a place they haven't won in for two and a half years. The Leafs will look to continue to chase down a playoff spot when they face the ugly step-child of Ontario and Quebec, the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The Toronto Maple Leafs have made a trade with the Anaheim Ducks.  Before I get to that let's look at recent on ice results.  After a strong result against the aforementioned Ducks, the Maple Leafs went on to loose their final 3 games of January heading into the All Star Break. This left the team 12 points out of the final playoff spot, and fans scratching their heads at the thought of Boston reaping the rewards of another top five draft pick at this years entry draft.  February has turned the Blue & White's fortunes around, as the team has won 4 out of 5 games with the only loss, predictably at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres.  These winning ways are largely due to Marlies call ups Tim Brent, Darryl Boyce, and goaltender James Reimer. Reimer recorded his first ever NHL career shutout on Feb. 3, 2011 against the Carolina Hurricanes. With their recent play the Leafs currently sit 8 points out of the final playoff spot.  Now I'm not delusional, so I'm not about to make any great claims.  However, last year the odds of Philadelphia making the playoffs were pretty slim, but they did, on the last day of the season.  At the very least, this improved play would move the Leafs up the standings,  decreasing the quality of Boston's draft pick.

Now, on to the hot topic of the day. The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded Francois Beauchemin to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Joffrey Lupul, defensive prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional draft pick in 2013. Wow, I didn't think the Leafs could get that much for Beauchemin.  Joffrey Lupul is coming off a serious back injury that required surgery, which may cause some fans pause.  Let's remember, that fan favourite Gary Roberts suffered what looked to be a career ending neck injury prior to arriving in Toronto, and had fantastic years here. Lupul has scored 20+ goals 3 times in his career amassing a total of 117 goals, 121 assists for 238 points in 421 games.  Lets face it, in almost 2 seasons with the Leafs, Beauchemin was a defensive disaster. In 136 games with Toronto the defense man had a miserable 7 goals, 31 assists, for 38 points and was a combined -17.  The Leafs needed a forward, the Ducks needed defense.  Both teams got what they wanted/needed, lets see what happens on the ice

Friday, January 21, 2011


Four games is the maximum number that the Toronto Maple Leafs are capable of winning in succession.  At least that appears to be the case.  For the second time this season, the teams winning streak was halted at four games, followed by by a disappointing series of losses.  The winning streak that went from January 6 - 11, came to a startling halt in the form of a 5 - 1 loss at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes.  To make matters worse, that loss was followed up with a 2 - 1 overtime defeat at the hands of the Calgary Flames, and then a 7 - 0 embarrassment from the New York Rangers.  The commonalities of all three losses are lack of scoring, lethargic effort, and defensive  disorganization.  In these games, the Maple Leafs scored a combined two goals.  The most frustrating aspect of these losses, is the team has proven on several occasions that they are more then capable of a higher standard of play.  Case in point, was last night's contest against the Anaheim Ducks.  The Leafs rebounded from their terrible performance in New York with a 5 - 2 win.  Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur once again proved that they are two of the most consistent Leafs this season, as they were in on 4 of the 5 goals.  Grabovski scored twice to take over the team lead in goals (20), while MacArthur had a goal and two assists, to remain the overall points leader (40).  Tyler Bozak played arguable his best game of the season.  He scored the game winning goal, and was superb on the penalty kill, keeping the third ranked power play bottled up in their own zone, while creating scoring chances for the shorthanded Leafs.  The Maple Leafs will look to continue the flow of winning when they take on the Washington Capitals on Hockey Night in Canada.   

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


The Toronto Maple Leafs continued their four game road trip with back to back games in California facing Los Angeles and San Jose.  In addition to taking some Vitamin D from the sunny weather the Blue and White also took four points as they won both games.  Both games were very similar in how they played out.  Reimer made some huge saves early, and remained solid the entire game.  The Leafs gave up the lead, tied it, and took the lead, before giving up the equalizing goal.  Ultimately, the Leafs would get the wins by scoring in the third, and some frantic final moments would preserve the victories. That was the script in a nutshell for the Maple Leafs time in Hollywood.  Phil Kessel would score pivotal goals in both games, with Kulemin and MacArthur contributing with goals against the Kings and the Sharks respectively.  These wins would not have been possible without the contributions of Marlies call ups Joey Crabb, Darryl Boyce, and of course James Reimer.  Crabb assisted on both Kessel goals, while Boyce scored his second goal of the season.  James Reimer was simply outstanding in both efforts stopping a combined 70 of 74 shots.  The young goaltender now has a 4W - 1L record with a 1.92 goals against average and a .947 save percentage. The team seems to play a more sound defensive game in front of Reimer, as opposed to the main goal tending duo.  There has been talk that Giguere is healthy enough to return from a groin injury, and could possibly play the next game against the Coyotes.  This would be a mistake as far as I'm concerned.  The Maple Leafs and Reimer are in a groove right now, and there is no need to disrupt that. Reimer is a key reason why the Leafs have won 4 games in a row, and five of their last six.  It makes sense to ride the hot hand.  Ron Wilson has always preached that players have to earn their spot to play for the Maple Leafs.  Well, if he's a man of his word, Reimer will start on Thursday.  He's earned that,while Giguere and his injury plagued, mediocre season has not.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Well, the holiday season definitely halted any blogging consistency I hoped to have since my last entry.  Speaking of consistency, it is an issue that has plagued the Maple Leafs throughout the entire calender year of 2010, and to be honest, for the past six years.  Early on in this new year the team has looked constantly good. They have played four games since 2010 became 2011, and have won three out of those four contests.  In the three wins the Blue & White have had an outpouring of goals from three of their four lines. The Leafs stomped on their provincial rivals 5 - 1, left St. Louis singing the blues with a 6 - 5 shootout decision, and gave Atlanta quite a thrashing with a 9 - 3 victory. Their only blemish of this new year came at the hands of the Boston Bruins in a tight defensive contest that saw the Leafs fall by a 2 - 1 count.  The reason for the Leafs latest stretch of success? Well, on the surface it comes down to quick puck movement, and a balanced attack.  On a deeper level, the play of Mikhail Grabovski has been remarkable.  He has a streak of 12 goals in his last 14 games. He and his line mates Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin had 2 goals each in their massive victory over Atlanta.  Phil Kessel's strong play to end December and start January has him tied with the aforementioned Grabovski for the team lead in goals with 17.  While the Leafs defense is as unpredictable as ever, it has looked a lot better in front of James Reimer. In his three starts this season Reimer has a 2W - 1L record, with a 1.87 goals against average and, a .947 save percentage.  His performances prove he is NHL ready, which spells the end for Giguere's time in Toronto, as I can see the Leafs going with a Gustavsson/Reimer pairing next season.  The Leafs look to continue their winning ways on the road tonight as they tangle with the L.A. Kings on Leafs TV @ 10:30pm.