WOW ! what a sweet play by Joey Crabb. Where have the Marlies been hiding this guy? Is he the Toronto version of Skinner?
Just 6 points from the 8th and final spot for the Playoffs. Do you think that the Maple Leafs can do it?
The 4 teams that are jockeying for that spot are Toronto, Carolina, Buffalo, and Atlanta. Its a pretty tight race.
The one team that has been actually hot recently is ... drum roll please.... those pesky NJ Devils. You can never count out Brodeur. And yet the Devils have won 5 Straight WITHOUT HIM. The Moose is loose in NJ with Johan Hedberg playing like he wants to be an everyday NHL starting goalie on a team that has nowhere to go but up and that makes them dangerous, However, let's be real, Ilya Kovalchuk is a misfit on this team worse than Hermie the Elf who wanted to be a dentist. Why would you dump all that money on an offensive minded sniper on a defensive trap boring team? It's like putting dubs rims on a 1975 AMC Pacer. It just doesn't fit right - right? So with that we have Atlanta, Carolina, Buffalo and Toronto.
Atlanta - I just cannot see that big dumb stiff Nik Antropov ever playing in another single NHL playoff game ever again. I may be wrong at that but I just can't see it. Head coach Craig Ramsey has done a bang up job with the bits and pieces of players from other teams to form a revamped Atlanta team this year but I just feel that this is a season of growing for them and that they will probably be 9th and on the outside looking in.
Buffalo - If there EVER was a team that has HAD TO put together a winning team with very very little salary money to spend on its players and has seen its players grow up and develop only to walk away to other higher contracts (Daniel Briere and Chris Drury set them back years) it's the Buffalo Sabres. Longest tenured coach Lindy Ruff has had a "Ruff" job of making chicken salad out of chicken sh!t. That can only go on for so long. I feel that the Sabres will drop to the 12th or 13th spot after the trade deadline comes to see the Sabres shipping off another player to get something rather than losing him in the free agency market next season.
Carolina - Probably 10th spot, This team has been inconsistent all year long, They started out HOT overseas in Finland and looked like the Hurricane was a swirling again winning 2 straight till they came back to North America and lost 2 straight. This team has played win one lose one all season long. The Justin Bieber lookalike contest was over and Skinner won and has a lot of NHL talent to boot as well. Bottom line, win one lose one is .500 Hockey and you cannot make the playoffs with that chemistry.
THAT LEAVES THE MAPLE LEAFS. This is the year that the Maple Leaf does not wilt, brown and fall off the playoff tree. It buds and gets some confidence in the 8th spot to help foster confidence for future playoff runs. Some questions remain however. If you get an 8th seed and snap a 6 year post season drought for TO, and win or lose the first round, does Ron Wilson come back? If the Monster gets healthy soon do you keep Gustavsson? Do you ship of Jiggy? Do you send the Kid Reimer back down to the Minors ? all that said, I think that the Maple Leafs will get the 8th spot.