It's not so bad being a Maple Leafs fan heading into the tailend of the season and it seems the team won't have beaten the Habs enough this year to secure a berth in the Cup finals.
However, the Maple Leafs have been fun to watch and are certainly winning their fair share of games lately due to some inspired play from John Mitchell, Jeff Hamilton and Jason Blake up front. The latter in fact has scored quite a few decent goals lately, worthy of mentioning, and good to see 25+ goals this year.
Martin Gerber is standing tall between the pipes since being picked up, and without Kaberle, Van Ryn or Frogren, Ian White and Pavel Kubina have really picked up the slack on defense.
But these days a young fella named Phil Oreskovic is really impressing me, while Luke Schenn and Jeff Finger have been simply rock solid.
However, Leafs management should hire Tie Domi to give in-yer-face toughness lessons to Mitchell, Hamilton and Blake, in my humble opinion, and it'd be money well spent. It's interesting to speculate as to why Ponikarovsky is blossoming all of a sudden. Too little too late.
I also think Grabovski will go the way of Godynyuk, Antropov, Borschevsky, Yushkevich, Yakushin, Khristich, Mogilny, Berezin, Kondratiev, Markov and Korolev, to name a few.
I mentioned early in the season that Kulemin merely had to take control of a nice little snapshot, and I'd have to say he's been looking good in these last few weeks; gaining confidence each step of the way.
Jamal Mayers is finally showing some jump in his game and delivering some grit, and leadership, as well as Brad May (finally) and Devereaux, as a respected veteran who paid his dues this year.
Hopefully, Matt Stajan will provide some spunk in the last few weeks, and ensure his future with the team by scoring a few more goals and maybe evening out his +/- stat.
I don't know how many more perfect shots Stempniak can possibly take aimed directly at the opposing goalie before one of those goalies finally falls over and lets one in.
On the team next year I'd like to see the impact of guys like Ondrus and Newbury, but I see Tlusty is gearing up for training camp and a shot at staying on the team next year... unless of course Burke swings the Sedin twins.
This would answer the sniper question, the finisher they don't have at the moment. I keep seeing it in players, flashes around the net from time to time, but no finish. So I'm banking on Lecavalier.
There's a reason Burke took the salaries of Tampa players resting in the infirmary for the remainder of the season.
If not, I'd take Mike Cammalleri, Tim Connolly, Marty Reasoner or Kyle Calder if they're still available this summer. Toronto will beat Washington, who are next up, btw. I predicted a thrashing of the Habs.
The Leafs, if anything, are entertaining and fun to watch these days. The victory against Tampa last week was a gem, though throwing away the lead almost killed me.