Playoff Hopes Alive
They may not be alive and well, but they certainly are still kickin'
Let me first preface this by apologizing for the lack of posts lately, particularly during this crucial series with Philadelphia. I was having some internet problems. Don't worry though, I promise to repay all my loyal writers back for the remainder of the season and beyond.
I've spent all week working on a lot of things for the off-season (by saying this though, in no means do I think the Leafs are not post season bound, like Bryan Thiel said 'It's not over.') Anyways, be on the lookout for some of those articles in the coming weeks as the regular season (and possibly the on ice year) comes to a close for Toronto.
Home And Home Thoughts
I thought the Maple Leafs did a real great job both nights against the Flyers. They came on late in the first game, but boy when they can on, did they ever get it done. They may have shot themselves in the foot by going to overtime on night one, but was that exciting or what? Give Paul Maurice all the credit in the world for being gutsy enough to pull Toskala with the game tied 3-3.
The second night was not as dominating of a performance as night one, but they got the job done in regulation, thanks to a bomb from Pavel Kubina.
Vesa Toskala was fantastic in both games, and while I don't like to pump my own tires so to speak, I do have to play a little 'I told you so' when it comes to the Finnish netminder. A lot of people I know were not pleased the Leafs got rid of their first rounder to grab Toskala. I was somewhat familiar with him from watching the playoffs and I knew he would be a good addition (not like I was the only one though.)
Next up for Toronto is a huge tilt with Buffalo Saturday night on Hockey Night In Canada
As you know Mats Sundin left the game last night with a groin pull. He is listed as day to day.
Sundin said today after practice (which he did not take part in) that he did feel better, but he likely wouldn't see the ice on Friday morning either. Sundin will try to take the morning skate Saturday and decide from there whether he is good to go.
Fletcher Talks Leafs
Cliff Fletcher sat down with Mike Ulmer on Mapleleafs.com recently and talked about the most recent version of the Maple Leafs playoff push.
Fletcher says this push does not change the plan, and everything will still go as planned. Fletcher said the biggest reason the team has turned the corner is the return of Bryan McCabe. (On a side note, if this team could stay healthy, who knows what might have been? Sounds somewhat like another Toronto team that is about to start their season down the road.)
Fletcher also went on to state he has been very impressed with youngsters Jiri Tlusty and Anton Stralman. He stated he was real impressed with the way Tlusty went into a tough environment in Philadelphia and stood up for himself, which took a lot of courage from the young forward, not known for his chippy play.
He said he sees both Tlusty and Stralman as big pieces of the Maple Leafs future, however Stralman would be served to toughen up a little. The Leafs interim general manager said he has been impressed with the Swedish Defenseman's poise and skating, but needs to get stronger with and without the puck.
Toronto Marlies Update
The Marlies were absolutely hammered last night 7-1 by Grand Rapids (Detroit's AHL Affiliate.) It is the fifth straight loss for the Marlies, who appear to be reeling with the loss of regular Jeremy Williams, who is one of the heart and soul guys on the team.
If the Maple Leafs do not make the playoffs Williams,Earl,Stralman, and Tlusty will all be eligible to play for the Marlies in the post season.
That's Leafs Notes for today, Thursday March 13th. Be on the lookout for a new Leafs Notes tomorrow afternoon, as I will preview the big Leafs/Sabres tilt.