Well, that was some start.
Toskala making a number of key saves. "Mucho energiya" from the Tlusty-Grabovsky-Hagman line. Kulemin proving what I have been saying for three years—he has real skill with a mind for defense.
Oh yes, and don't forget—an 18-year-old defenseman who looked anything BUT out of place.
I understand the Stanley Cup-winning champs had a lot of distractions, and perhaps that could be used as an excuse—but let's give credit where it is due. Apart from Holmstrom's Bionic Arse and his inexplicable ability to see pucks under his nether regions and put them in the net, the Leafs did a remarkable job of shutting the home side down. And get this—it was "a-la-wings" style.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us understand one thing. This will be a season of ups and downs for the youthful Leafs. But also understand something else. Despite the fact that the Leafs are relatively unproven as a whole, they are definitely faster, grittier, and have more raw young talent than last year's squad.
And another thing, Ron wilson is the right coach for this motley crew of castoffs, late bloomers, unprovens, and never-heard-ofs.
As a fan of this team, I can honestly say I have not been this excited about any Leaf team since probably '93. This is truly a new beginning—and I say a good one.
Despite a fantastic Game One, Game Two could be horrific. It should not matter. What I saw tonight was fun and very entertaining to watch and showed plenty of promise. These are all things that were sorely lacking last season.
Tonight the bandwagon stopped in front of my house, and I jumped on. Fortunately, it came with seat belts for the bumpy road ahead.