The wait is over and the new-look Leafs have hit the ice, and won a game, without needing to go into overtime. They looked good, shutting down the Capitals and scoring opportunistically late in the third to seal it, notwithstanding the typical cliffhanger at the end, after several missed empty-netters.
The pre New-Look Leafs almost beat New Jersey the other night, and now the team look forward to the Saturday night tilt against the Oilers. It promises to be interesting, from the perspective that the Oilers are supposedly big and fast, yet lost earlier in the season to the mighty Old-Look Leafs.
The deadline day changes to The Leafs are not what I was hoping for, but I like Mayers lately, as well as Devereaux, Mitchell and Van Ryn.
The latter, a shining addition this season, augments a solid defensive group: Frogren, White, Finger and Schenn, not to mention the offensive wizardry of Kubina over the past few weeks.
I don't think the injured newcomers, Heward and Reitz, for example, will be posing much of a threat for playing time on the blue line.
However, this seriously must leave Kaberle expendable, or at least time to heal certainly before trading season is re-opened and Burke continues the re-tooling on the way to The Cup.
Wonderfully, it seems Gerber has something to prove, and based on his poise against Washington (well until there was about 30 seconds left in the game) I think he's going to over-perform down the stretch and surely we'll see Pogge thrown in, certainly learning from an interesting collection of mentors, if you throw Kolzig into the mix.
Then there's Stapleton and Hamilton who are tossed into the fray. The latter looked awesome tucked alongside Blake and Mitchell, but the latter has been looking even better skating circles around defensemen lately.
It seems confidence abounds nowadays and the fun is back, which thus brings into the spotlight our favourite little speedy man: Grabovski. I like him though and think he adds spark—some pizzazz is entertaining after all—and besides, a little razzle dazzle here and there will easily inspire a teammate on the bench.
I don't know whether Grabovski fits into the Burke model of a Cup winning team, but I'd keep him around with Kulemin, though I'd add Blake and thus we'd have The KGB Line to cheer on to The Cup. In the meantime, Leafs 6, Oilers 2.