Editor's Note: The Negative Nancy Notebook (or NNN) is a daily look at how anyone, from Toronto writers to the opposition's media vultures to other bloggers, can always find a stormy cloud for any silver lining. It runs after every (usually) Leafs game and tries to highlight the bad in case anyone started to feel too good about the Leafs. Right now it's pretty easy to write. Someday soon we hope that it'll be a bit harder.
While Maurice was not surprised by the reaction to his comments, he was mildly miffed that his sense of humour appeared to be forgotten after two years in Toronto where it was part of the daily routine with the media.
In fact, Maurice's humour was often dry and subtle, and was followed by pauses of awkward silence in the media scrums until he explained that he was actually waiting for someone to "get" the intent of his words.
After you stop laughing at the hilarity of the Toronto scribes being too thick to understand sarcasm remember Maurice's comments about wanting the Leafs to lose every game for 10 years. What's the big deal? If Paul Maurice didn't feel upset about how things played out I'd call him a loser. Technically he is a loser but he's not a loser. Does that make sense? Here's what I mean:
Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser
- Vince Lombardi
Too often the Leafs have been good losers. Last night Blake showed that he was going to prove to his former coach that his anger last year was justified:
The dagger was wielded by Leafs winger Jason Blake, the one player who offered public criticism of Maurice shortly before he was fired as head coach by the Leafs last April when the 2007-08 NHL season ended. Blake, who said Maurice and his assistant coaches never used him properly, had five points in the Leafs' 6-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes last night. It was his first three-goal game as a Maple Leaf and gave him 13 goals this season, two fewer than he scored last season playing for Maurice after signing a huge free-agent contract with the Leafs.
Blake was talking about an almost unbelievable third period, one which saw the Leafs holding a 4-1 lead before allowing a very flat Hurricanes team back into the game.
Carolina bagged three goals – a soft one by Tuomo Ruutu, a power-play marker by Eric Staal, and the game-tying effort from Scott Walker – all before the period was 10 minutes old.
I think that was the Leafs' way of letting Paul Maurice know that he was getting beat by a terrible hockey team. It certainly added a little panache to his first game against his old team with his even older team. A straight blowout wouldn't have been as much fun as showing that they could blow his team out and that his team could fail to get a point by giving up a goal late in the third. It was like a PTSD flashback for the Space Cowboy. Just how much like the Leafs were the Hurricanes?
This should be worth about 10 bullet points. For the third straight game, the team looked uncommitted to making the effort it takes to win in the NHL. While their four-goal spurt tied the game, the effort prior to that didn’t warrant any points. Maurice’s starting line combinations were a flop, perhaps contributing to the slow start that sputtered to a stop once Toronto scored the game’s first goal. Ward didn’t do much to help the Canes’ cause, looking especially bad on Blake’s wraparound goal. Carolina allowed goals on both Maple Leafs power plays.
Yikes. So let's talk about how Jason Blake has 13 goals so far and only scored 15 last year. In which season has he come closest to being worth $4M? If you said this year then give yourself a star.