Thanks to my brilliant foresight I was at a relative's house for dinner last night. By the team the wonderful meal had ended and I made it back to my apartment the Leafs had pulled back within one and were headed to the third period. Unfortunately, getting home second in a two person apartment means that you don't have control of the remote which, as any man knows, is an absolute disaster in terms of dictating television watching terms.
Toss in the fact that the game was on LeafsTV (and all games against the Bruins should be seen by the smallest audience ever because they rank among the worst games played by the Leafs every year) and I had to settle with listening to the game on AM640 and reading a book. Luckily it was a good book because all I heard were two terrible goals. Ninja was considerably less fortunate.
Among the completely on-point observations that he makes:
Get the sense the Leafs are the cure to every other teams' problems?
That ability to miraculously solve the opposition's problems forms part of my 3 painful truths:
- If they trade a prospect/player away then you will have to watch him kill the Leafs every time he returns to Toronto.
- If a team is struggling then they will find that the Leafs are a cure-all for their ills.
- If a local boy is playing in front of his friends and family then get him in your pool because he is going to light up the Leafs.
Those are part and parcle of following the Leafs. Brad Boyes always scores on the Leafs, Steve Valiquette stood on his head last weekend, and the Bruins suddenly learned how to score goals.
And living out of market and watching Center Ice, I get to listen to out of town broadcast teams explain to their region's viewers how Toronto is one of if not the only NHL team to deploy man-defense, completely devoid of the zone-defense the kiddie's at home are used to watching.
Man coverage works with a fast team that communicates well. The Leafs are neither. Watching from close to the ice you can't hear the players talking at all. No surprise then that they will frequently end up covering the same man or no one at all. Which brings us to..
every time Andy Woziewski was on the ice the Bruins exploited his presence.
Seriously, what kind of sick joke is his presence on the blueline supposed to be? Where are the hidden cameras? Is this some sort of an extended Make-A-Wish? I only had to watch 5 seconds of the game's highlights to see the two quotes above in play. Marc Savard was being covered by Wozniewski and dished the puck to Mats' man. Andy figured it would make sense to double team a player that was standing still and against the boards. Savard stepped into the slot and he one-timed a shot in off the post despite having been gifted about 6 feet of space thanks to the generosity of Andy Wozniewski.
who thought of pairing him with Mr.Rash Decision himself?
I almost turned the radio off when I heard this pairing was on the ice. When I played (so long ago) I would try to isolate the weaker pairing on the opposition and try to time my shifts to matchup with them so that I could exploit them. I can only imagine the glee on the Bruins' bench and the fight to get on the ice when the Defenceless Duo hit the ice.
As for Woz, will no one rid us of that troublesome defenceman? He clearly needs a derogatory nickname and I think 'Herpes' is it. Every time you think that he is going to be displaced by Stralman or Kronwall something happens (Kubina or McCabe get hurt) to keep him around. He just can't be shaken but his effect can be limited. Congratulations Andy! You are Herpes.
There is no player of the game unless someone can make a case for one in the comments.