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Toronto Maple Leafs v. New York Rangers

First off, remember the Festivus contest. Enter early and enter often. There are four entries thus far so your chances of being chosen for the voting is great. Maybe the winning streak dulled some of the rage but the Leafs have been providing a lot of ammunition over the past week.

Those are the standings in the Eastern Conference with over half of the season left to play. Yes, the Leafs are in twelfth. They are also 6 points out of fourth in the conference. They also have 44 games left to play. But that's good enough for Damien Cox to once again re-iterate his position that the season is over. I am sure that the Kim and Godd will have a lot to say about this article but let's look at his ridiculous assertions.

The first is that the season is over. Anyone with half a brain can see that that is clearly not the case. FOURTY-FOUR games remain with 6 points separating the Leafs from 4th place and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Even if all of the other teams win their games in hand the gap will still be 6 points. I am glad Damien Cox wasn't President of the United States on December 7, 1941 or Prime Minister of England from 1939-1945 or we'd all be speaking German or Japanese.

Second, and readers of this site can only imagine how hard I laughed when I read this gem that only serves to show how little Cox really knows about hockey:

Now all the signs are sour, including:

  • Andy Wozniewski, a regular member of the club's six defencemen all season, was sent to the press box Thursday in favour of Carlo Colaiacovo.

Dear Damien, want to know why Herpes has been there all year? Because Carlo's been hurt all year. This isn't some competent defenceman being traded to Detroit because the fans are booing him. This is a terrible defenceman FINALLY being benched for continued crappiness. Seriously, if I was the editor of The Star's sports section I would fire Cox for suggesting that having Andy FUCKING Wozniewski replaced by Carlo "The Risen Christ" Colaiacovo was anything other than the greatest thing to happen to the franchise since Conn Smythe decided to build himself a Cashbox on Carlton.

Finally, I just hate the smug look on his bald face beside writing like this:

Either the NHL standings are lying and have been lying for three months, or the Maple Leafs have clearly established themselves as also-rans with very little chance of qualifying for post-season play. There's not even very much to argue about any more.

Well, the standings certainly do not lie. The Leafs are in 12th and 6 points out of 4th. What they show is that it will be a dogfight to the end to make it to the playoffs. Rather than interpret that just the Leafs are mediocre (as the anti-Leaf is prone to do) it makes more sense to suggest that the entire conference is mediocre. But then again you can't fill your Leaf-hate quota with that kind of intelligent comment. Oh, but take Damien's word for it. He doesn't hate the Leafs or love them (and I want to know which morons are writing him letters and accusing him of having a pro-Leafs bias because they should be prohibited from procreating) he just covers them. Sure.

To get the Leafs back on track and to send a message to certain detractors legendary funny man Chevy Chase has agreed to tweak an outburst from the movie that made him an internationally renowned movie star - National Lampoon's Vacation:

I think you're all f--ked in the head. We're six points from f--king fourth place and you want to bail out! Well I'll tell you somethin'. This is no longer just a hockey season. It's a quest. It's a quest for wins. I'm gonna win and you're gonna win. We're all gonna pick up so much f--king wins we'll need plastic surgery to remove our god-damn smiles. You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of your assholes!

Go Leafs Go!

Here are the home and road splits for some stats that might be considered either interesting or scary. The Rangers' road penalty kill looks set to ensure another frustrating night of watching the Leafs pass the puck around the neutral zone. It would be nice if the Leafs' powerplay could start working it's way out of the cellar since it's now actively costing the team games just as blatantly as when it was giving up a shorthanded goal every game. Look at the OT/SO records. If the Rangers only had 2 wins and the Leafs 5 the buds would be in 5th and the Rangers would be in 12th. But let's still cancel the season.

Home/Road Maple Leafs Rangers
Powerplay 15.1% - 22nd 13.9% - 27th
Penalty Kill 79.4% - 26th 85.9% - 6th
OT/SO Record 2-8 5-4
Score/Trail First .524/.235 .652/.214

Remember to put your guesses for who will score take the first shot, get the first penalty, and score the first goal in the comments. I'll keep a running tally of the results in the right sidebar. I'll update the results from the last three games tomorrow.

As always, the comment section is a wonderful place to vent and rage between periods or make hopeful predictions that you can tout in the future if they happen to come to pass. Each period and overtime/shootout gets their own section so just reply to the relevant section's main post and question how the team can look so good one night and so bad the next or even from minute to minute within the exact same game. Whatever you want to say all that you need to say it is to set up an account to comment so register and share your thoughts.