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Negative Nancy Notebook - Puns are Fun

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.

For the second consecutive night, the Leafs got sloppy after building what should have been a healthy enough lead on an opponent. They blew a 4-0 bulge on the Hurricanes on Thursday before sneaking out of North Carolina with a 6-4 win.

- Rob Longley, Sun Media

That makes four times this year that the Leafs have built at least a 3-0 lead to start the game and have proceeded to blow it. Ron Wilson's explanation that the Leafs are just a bad team is absolutely true. It's not just that the Leafs have not been able to turn great starts into blowouts it's that they have done it against some bad teams. Carolina, St. Louis, and Atlanta range from flawed to atrocious and yet they have all managed to recover from having a pretty big deficit thrown at them.

White and rookie Luke Schenn seemed to get crossed up on the game-winner in which Peverley was able to get a clear shot on helpless Toronto goaltender Vesa Toskala.

No. Luke Schenn did nothing wrong on the game-winning goal. Peverley, on Ian White's side, must have been giddy to see his defenceman fly over to the opposite side of the ice in an attempt to pursue his vendetta against the Thrashers' captain. Well, that or he's a terrible defenceman.

With the loss, the Leafs dropped the second game of back-to-backs for the fifth time in six tries this season and saw their overtime record slip to 3-7.

Those are the statistics of a bad team.

Defencemen Ian White and Luke Schenn got their signals crossed and Peverley swiped a fat rebound into the vacated goal

- Working Class Howard Berger, National Post

Yeah, that's right. They publish that guy's rantings and ravings. Take a look at that lack of understanding of a basic hockey play. Ian White, the defenceman on the left hand side of the ice had no reason to cross over to Luke Schenn's side of the ice when he had his own Thrasher to worry about. Want more proof that Berger didn't actually watch the game?

But, Toskala came up huge in this match. He stopped Atlanta's first shot - a prime scoring chance by Kovalchuk on a 2-on-1 break after Schenn had turned over the puck near centre ice. Seconds later, Toskala again robbed Kovalchuk on a set-up from behind the goal. He was also sharp on a rebound near the crease that Colby Armstrong tried to convert.

Wow. What you'll notice when you read the rest of the linked article is that nowhere does he mention that Toskala was at fault for the Thrashers first three goals almost completely and at least partially on the fourth.

And if anyone had forgotten why Ian White was a healthy scratch at the beginning of the year here is White's explanation about the game-winning goal:

"Yeah, Peverley got an inside step on me, so I figured I'd let him go to the net and maybe switch off (on Kovalchuk)," said Leafs defenceman Ian White, describing the breakdown between himself and Luke Schenn on the winner.

- Mark Zwolinski, The Toronto Star

So basically since he had already screwed up he might as well gamble some more. After three years in the NHL you would think that he would have learned how to defend.

Toronto managed just three shots in the second period, a disturbing sum since they were facing a new, off-the-bench goalie in Kari Lehtonen, who replaced starter Johan Hedberg after Toronto swamped Atlanta with a three-goal first period.

That's the unbelievable thing. The Leafs had a chance to put their foot on Atlanta's throat and decided that they had the game won. But there is a silver lining in this stormy cloud:

Tavares' hat trick gave him five goals and six points in his first two games with the Knights.