The Vancouver Canucks are Stanley Cup contenders. The Toronto Maple Leafs are not. One team is 7-2-1 in their last 10 and the Leafs are 4-5-1. This is the last game of the West Coast Waffle week that has been a mixed bag with a great 4-1 win over the Oilers and a dispiriting 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames. These two teams played a pretty good game in Toronto with a weak goal allowed by Jean-Sebastien Giguere torpedoing a strong effort by the Leafs. The Canucks' offence features seven players with more than 17 points while the Leafs have six. The big difference? Daniel and Henrik Sedin who have 37 an 36 points respectively. That top-end talent is what the Leafs need to find a way to insert into the line-up.
Seeing Leafs fans take over another Canadian arena is always great. The presence of two large groups of opposing fans makes for a better atmosphere. What I could do without is the Napoleonic Complex their fans have. I understand it's hard to be the only team out of six without a real rival so they try to manufacture one when they can. It's funny because even out West they are at best third in relevance and arguably fourth. Edmonton and Calgary hate each other more and you only needed to read their respective papers over the past week to know they get their knickers in a twist over the Leafs more than Vancouver. Hell, considering how many fans are out there Montreal is probably above Vancouver as well.
Nucks Misconduct's good preview of tonight already features the tired whining about the start time in the comments. I know the dirty hippie stereotype is overwrought but something has to be responsible for having so few brain cells left that they cannot understand that more viewers is better than fewer viewers.
WAAAHCast has his collection of whining including, shock!, more on the game's start time. The insults he levels at Leafs fans are pretty fresh. There's 'godforsaken sense of loyalty' which I understand is an odd concept for a fanbase that became NBA fans during the club's tough times. Of course, once they saw that the Grizzlies sucked they let that team leave the city. They are the bandwagoniest of the bandwagon fans in Canada. Levelling the 'delusional' card at Leafs fans is pretty funny considering they revered and just retired the jersey of a player that only got his team past the first round when St. Louis was ravaged by the flu. Then again, they also have high hopes for the team to win the Cup when they have made no big changes and have the same core that's been run over by the Hawks in two consecutive playoffs.
Anyway, once we're done with them I'll be glad to have their small man syndrome in our rearview mirror. Nazem Kadri and Brett Lebda are scratches tonight. Mike Komisarek slides back into the lineup. Getting a win tonight is definitely a big ask but what isn't is that they put forth an effort they can be proud of.
Tonight's starters courtesy of Left Wing Lock:
|2010 - Jonas Gustavsson||16||844||4||8||41||2.91||416||375||.901||0|
|2010 - Roberto Luongo||24||1404||14||8||59||2.52||669||610||.912||2|