By now everyone knows that not only is The Captain out of tonight's game but so is his heroic understudy Kaptain Kazakhstan. Things are looking dire for the Leafs. How dire? Well enough that Paul Maurice has tired of pussyfooting (ironic and suitable for the Leafs) around and is throwing some body slams to players' egos:
"There are certainly players on our bench who can play in our top nine, who believe they could score, who believe they should score, if the coach would just play them more..." said Maurice. "There they go. They have all the opportunity in the world."
The Muppet sums up Leafs Nation's response to finally seeing the coach call out the players that are stealing paycheques and costing him his job:
Who might he be talking about? Is it Kyle Wellwood, Mr. point-a-game in 06/07 repackaged in 07/08 as the softest player to ever wear hockey skates? Or Jason Blake, skating the puck around the perimeter as if killing time until his train arrives? Alex Ponikorovsky, with his pigeon-like killer instinct? Jiri Tlusty, who should be in the AHL? Mark Bell, his face hidden behind that full cage the most appropriate metaphor? Or maybe it's Darcy Tucker, the high priced veteran forward who's apparently holding out on more than just his no-trade clause?
There is a silver lining to tonight's game. If the Leafs win then great, they are one step closer to one of the improbable comebacks of all-time (or one of the most painful and useless late season surges since last year...or the year before). If the Leafs lose then the 26th place team is just one point back from knocking the Leafs into the draft lottery. They will also be eliminated per Mirtle so the process of shuttind down stars and flooding the ice with kids can begin. Basically, it's a win-win situation. Unless the Leafs win and then there might be some losing in there.
After tonight's game, Mirtle would like to remind us that we'll see nothing but our team's Rivals! for the rest of the year. This is great since the Leafs are chasing the Sabres and Bruins but terrible since it means that the Hurricanes, Panthers, and Capitals each get 2 more games against the Lightning and Thrashers. The Flyers are also screwed.
Finally, The Omen showed a bit of sensitivity about the negative reaction that his misguided article aroused. I know that in theory Cox has an editor but if that editor had taken the time to persue wikipedia as I did before penning this quick breakdown of Cox's Fallacy he could have saved his attention-seeking prima donna's feelings some bruising.
As always, put up your SPG guesses and I promise to update them tonight for the past four games. The best laid plans of mice and men and all of that.
Go Leafs Go!