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Ron Wilson's Loyalty to Dead Wood Results in Capital Punishment

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 12:  John Mitchell #39 of the Toronto Maple Leafs handles the puck during the game against the Buffalo Sabres on December 12, 2008 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Mark GregoryContributor IIIOctober 3, 2009

Wilson’s insistence on going with a veteran lineup has stalled the momentum that the infectious “Kid line” brought with them to the Leafs' lineup during the preseason. Leafs lose again, 6-4.

Game Two had the same two culprits as in the Leaf opener. Toskala was atrocious in the opening frame, letting in the first goal at 1:17 of the first period. Mike Komisarek took an unnecessary penalty and the Leafs were quickly down 2-0. After this quick one-two combination the Leafs looked dazed and ended the first period down 3-0.

Burke looked like he was sucking on lemons, watching his Leaf team implode in the first period.

Finally, Wilson had seen enough and put in Gustavsson, who played reasonably well against a potent Washington offense, allowing three goals in the final two periods, making several tough saves as he was left out to dry several times on odd man rushes as the Leafs pressed the Capitals zone looking to make a game of it.

The questions the management should be deflecting after this debacle is how the Leafs have been helped by demoting it’s promising rookies.

The defense again looked to have glaring weaknesses as White and Finger was the strongest Toronto defense pair on the night. Beauchemin again made some glaring errors for the second game in a row.

Where was all the in-your-face, eliminating time, and space Komisarek promised before the game???

Well, a message has to be sent. If I’m the coach, Toskala would be demoted and MacDonald would start the next Leaf game. And another bad penalty next game by Komisarek should mean a serious reduction of playing time.

Lee Stempniak, Mitchell, and Wallin were the best Leaf line through the first two periods producing many good scoring chances, culminating in Stempniak scoring to cut the Washington lead to 3-1. But the capitals responded quickly and often to build a 6-1 lead at the end of the second.

In fact the Capitals made the Leafs look like a second tier team through two periods. In the third, Ponikarovsky, Grabovski, and Hagman each scored to make the final score closer than it really was.

Well it’s back to the drawing board for the Leafs, and hopefully the Buds don’t need to start Toskala again to find out he has lost his mojo, maybe he can find it back with the Marlies or some team will mercifully take this reincarnation of Raycroft off our hands claiming him off waivers. 

One can dream...

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