Wilson versus Carlisle. I've long had the theory that European players could never help the Leafs win a cup because they simply never skated on a pond or a local rink pretending to be a Leaf and thus hoisting the vaunted Cup after a dramatic last-second win over Montreal, of course. It makes me wonder if they solely play for the money.
Tonight's game against Anaheim is a chance for our new European players to make a stand and defeat a defeatable team - soundly - and without remorse. Hagman has shown some promise, as has Kulemin. But I liked what our coach had to say about Kaberle and Kubina the other night - specifically about them not knowing much about Leaf history.
So, I'm thinking Wilson has something to prove to another former Leaf: Randy Carlisle. The Ducks are having a terrible season, so far, and I'm sure many anti-Leaf fans would say the same about our team. But here is a chance to turn the corner in this young season and show us fans we have a killer instinct.
There are a ton of opposing players who arrive in Toronto expecting to have an entourage in the stands and who play quite well due to that support - and surely Leaf fans will try their best to support our boys' efforts.
It's time for Ponikarovsky, Antropov and Grabovski to show up and play with passion (or spirit), a la Clark, a la Gilmour, and how about a decent hip check, a la Glennie once in a while. We all loved the open-ice hit Steen delivered the other night - but then he was born in Canada, and just might have skated on a pond in Winnipeg once.
Frogren has enjoyed ice time, surely due to his Viking-inspired ancestry, but he had better start crushing a few Ducks tonight, and not Hollweg style either. With respect to the latter, perhaps we can assume he is just a little too excited to play for Toronto.
It must be tough for our young Canadians to skate and not see and hear the raucous crowds they experience in Calgary or even Vancouver when they play in those cities, which is likely what those Ducks will enjoy tonight. However, I believe a win is in the cards for the Leafs tonight and it will mark a corner in the road to the Cup this year.
Unless, of course, Blake scores a goal, and it ends up in a 1-0 victory and if Mayers gets an assist after a feed from Moore...