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