Note: The majority of this post can be found at The Battle of Ontario.
Apparently, the Hockey Gods decided that my penance was not enough for them to deliver a Leafs victory. Oh they teased me with a lucky goal by Jeff O'Neill. That had me thinking that maybe all the Leafs needed was a lucky bounce to get back on track. The Bruins were not capitalizing on the Leafs mental errors and I thought that with a continued decent effort in the third the Leafs could end this playoff-hopes killing streak. Then came the third period and the opponent's rope-a-dope plan went into full effect. The Bruins picked up their game and the Leaf were too shocked to match it. Thankfully, after 5 games in 29 days the Leafs have a New Year's Day and January 4th matchup against Boston to almost exhaust their compliment of Beantown Beatdowns. How does the league not see the problem with the schedule?
In all honesty, last night reminded me of watching a cooking show. The first 2/3 is great because you are learning how to make something that looks so good but the last 1/3 sucks when you realize that you are not getting any. So in that spirit, here is the recipe for (lack of) success that the Leafs have been following:
22 blue and white clad hockey players
40 minutes of hockey
20 minutes of mental errors
1 obliging opponent
1 sheet of ice
2 brutal referees
thousands of devoted fans
1 handful of mediots
Take your 22 blue and white clad hockey players and 2 brutal referees and toss them onto your sheet of ice. Have the players play a distinctly uncreative and workmanlike 40 minutes while the referees make horrendous calls on both sides. Ensure that the blue guys do not capitalize on any gift powerplays. This will usually result in a closely contested game and possibly a lead heading into the final 20 minutes. Right now our meal probably looks very tasty. This won't last.
These final 20 minutes will feature more bad calls by the referees and numerous mental errors. Now add your obliging opponent who will have spent the first 40 minutes frustrated and possibly trailing. Have them capitalize on the mental errors or gift powerplays until they are in the lead. Make sure that this happens so fast that it makes your head spin. Toss in thousands of irate devoted fans and a handful of mediots before serving the dish. If it taste bitter and eats away at your sould you made it just right. Serves at least six and hopefully no more.
Last nights goats:
Alexei Ponikarovsky - fell asleep at the blueline and let Brad Stuart waltz past him to score the equalizer.
J-S Aubin - Gave out a massive rebound right to Wayne Primeau who promptly buried it into the yawning cage. An exact replica of Patricia Bergeron's OT winner a few games ago.
- Darcy Tucker - Instead of staying by the point and covering his man he followed the puck down to the slot and left Patricia all alone. Bergeron rifled a shot past Aubin's glove to seal the win.
Hal Gill opens the floor to inventing a new word:
Frustration is a good word. What's more than frustrating?
It should also describe this visual representation of Leafs' fans this morning.
In other news that will do nothing to cheer up Leafs fans, Bitter Leaf looks at Raycroft's save percentage vis-a-vis the Leafs record (long story short: over .900 great, under .900 bad). He is also running a poll to name the NHL's answer to the Mendoza Line. My vote goes to either Glen Healy or Greg Millen. Go vote and be a part of providing hockey fans with another way to mock goaltenders.