Hello “Leafs Nation.” Top of the morning to you. I imagine all the “band wagon” fans are back on board the “Leaf Train” this morning. Hope you enjoy the ride.
As you know I went out on a limb before the start of the season with the prediction that: The Leafs would win the Cup in six games against the Vancouver Canucks.
My Maple Leafs looked awesome in the exhibition games, they could do no wrong. Jonas Gustavsson lived up to his moniker “The Monster.” The defense looked tight and some of the young prospects were on fire. All was well in “Leafs Nation.” It was like Christmas came early.
Burke looked like a genius, the Hockey “Gods” were finally looking down favourably upon The Maple Leafs. The grass seemed greener, the air smelt cleaner, fresher, the sun was a brilliant yellow and the skies were clear and blue, people were friendlier…and then it happened.
Game 1 of the 2009-2010 Season. The greatest rivalry in N.H.L. history were facing off at center ice at the A.C.C. The always hated Montreal Canadiens were to be our first victims of the season. We drew first blood, Colton Orr sent a message to fellow pugilist Georges Laraque by dropping the gloves in the first two minutes of the game.
Newly signed defense man Mike Komisarek was on a mission it seemed to prove that any allegiance to his former team was buried deep beneath The Maple Leaf he now wears. The coach was even concerned that Komisarek might get too worked up when facing his former team, and he was right as Komisarek watched two goals from the penalty box. When all was said and done our future Captain took five minor penalties and a major for fighting. Can you say “Heart”? This guy reminds me of Wendel Clark or Doug Gilmour in the “heart and soul” category.
The bad dream turned in to a “Nightmare on Bay St.” as the losses and injuries kept coming in one after the other. The “Hockey Gods” had turned away from the Maple Leafs again.
In Washington the “Great 8” scored on his first touch of the puck 77 seconds in to the game. Give Toskala some credit here, the puck was nearly invisible.
Bad bounces and bad luck continued to plague the team as well as penalties. By week 3 of the season the Leafs were off to their worst start in Franchise history.
With a week off to practice and bond the team headed out west to face the Canucks. A prelude to the Stanley Cup Finals. For the first time this season the Leafs looked good, tape to tape passes, out working their opponents at either end of the ice. They just couldn’t get the puck past Luongo.
It’s not the first time the better playing team got beat by a hot goal tender. Not to take anything away from Joey MacDonald but he’s not our number 1 goal tender, suffice to say our team probably has the jitters and is playing on one nerve that’s nearly broken.
Last night in Anaheim the “Hockey Gods” gave us back “The Monster” and our team confidence it seems. Niklas Hagman scored a “hat trick” of power play goals. Yes “Leafs Nation” the power play was working well.
With plenty of hitting, face washing, and running of our goalie many fans may have thought the penalty box was the team bench for the Ducks. In a dramatic turn of events the referee’s pulled out their whistles in favour of the Leafs.
I think it’s safe to say that the Leafs have found a goal tender, if they can keep him healthy I believe he’ll get better with each game. Last night he was steady and smooth, taking away angles and challenging shooters.
Worry not “Leafs Nation” the last time the team had a start that was nearly as bad as this was in 1967…doe’s that year bring back any memories for you “Original Six” fans? It should that’s the last time The Toronto Maple Leafs hoisted the Stanley Cup.
I said it before and I’ll say it again…Toronto is going all the way this season. Mark my words it’ll be an all Canadian final, The Vancouver Canucks vs. The Toronto Maple Leafs for the Stanley Cup. I believe the Leafs will get it done is six.
After last night I’m not sure this still stands, but it’s been true for some years.
You know you’re a Leafs fan when:
You get barred from the Zebra pen at the local zoo for shouting obscenities and complaining about poor officiating.
Until next time “Leafs Nation” B-Leaf it could happen.
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