The best part of this game was the opening ceremonies. I guess standing around made both teams a bit sluggish because almost simultaneously my two friends and I looked at each other and noted what a terrible game it was turning out to be. TO has shown that too much bad press can cause "allergies" so in order to keep Leafs Nation from the embarrassment of having their PR reps overreacting to their empty bottles of painkillers here are 5 reasons to smile today:
- Andrew Raycroft looked really good. He made great breakaway saves on Dany "The Tomahawk" Heatley and Jason Spezza to keep the game close. The third goal was a bad bounce and, while the first one came off a huge rebound, where the hell was McCabe? Did the vacant space behind the net really need covering? FOCUS! Positive thoughts..
- The first period! The Leafs were on top of the sens and created some really good scoring chances. Once the players stop grinding their sticks to dust then the scoring question can die. Once the Leafs can keep this up for 60 minutes they will be a difficult team to beat.
- Faceoffs - The Leafs won 64% of them. This is a good sign for the season because puck possession is, obviously, vital. It is much easier to kill penalties when you can clear the puck immediately. Following on, it is much easier to set up your powerplay if you do not have to lug the puck all the way up ice. Sundin and Peca will be vital to keeping this stat up.
- Paul Maurice showed that this is a different Leafs team. He benched players for long periods of time, he swtiched up lines that were not clicking, and he played Mats about 3-4 minutes more than he averaged under Pat Quinn.
- The NHL regular season is a marathon not a sprint. While last night's game was disappointing (from both sides' point of view) there were enough good things to keep everyone's wrists safe.
The funniest incident in the game occurred after a Raycroft save when the new go-to goat Hal Gill gave Spezza a nice noseful of stinky glove. Spezza proceeded to try to get at Gill but was stopped by his teammates. What are the odds that he was whispering "do not let me go guys" while yelling "Let me at him! I am going to kill him!"?
With a new spin because I hate how predictable the mainstream media is about sports (ie. choose a story, repeat ad nauseum, do not take opposing evidence into account) here is the bloggers' view of last night's game in...
The Final Word
How many times am I going to hear "who's going to score on this team?" before I start clenching my jaw and talking back to the little voices in my head. I get it. We all get it. Is there any one on the planet with a remote interest in hockey that hasnâ•˙t heard this trope? Can we somehow form a goon squad to make announcers and analysts put a loonie in a jar every time they offer this up? We could raise the GDP of a small country for a worthwhile cause by the 10 game mark. Let's figure out how to make this happen.
Bitter Leaf Fan agrees that something has to be done about the myopic press
Toronto would have been up a few goals if not for Martin Gerber during the first 10 or so minutes of the game, and were the dominant team in the first period, however, they were unable to sustain that pressure and fell apart in the second, allowing Ottawa to blow the game wide open by capitalizing on their mistakes.
Chris McMurtry giving the Leafs more credit than anyone name Damien Cox