I went to a Bruins-Leafs tilt last year, and here we go again ... except this year we have surprise on our side. This year the Bruins are about to find an oddly energised Jason Blake. We all know he can shoot, but can he score, and it's a peculiar equation indeed to ponder. Play him more, and you'd think he'd be entitled to be on the opening faceoff.
Here's what I'm liking and looking forward to: Antropov continuing to evolve as the captain he sorely wants to be, a stepped-up Van Ryn who will evolve despite the pundits' recent predictions he's only a swapped salary, and Blake. I'd like Jason to score one goal a game for the next thirty games ... is akin to saying I'd like the Leafs to win the Stanley Cup every year for the next thirty.
Here's who I think needs to really step up to the plate tonight: Mr Mayers, Mr Moore and Mr Stajan. I'm watching just a little less intensely however Mr Frogren, Mr Tlusty and Mr Hagman. Less pretty stuff and more goals ... or, just stuff the front of the net... and pretend to be a Phil Esposito... while creating excellent scoring opportunities.
I was calling for our Euros to step up last game, and they did. They worked hard, and set the pace. They led by example. I really don't think Boston this year is challenging for the Cup, so if in essence Toronto can start believing they were once typically known as lumbering, slow and unenergetic and are now fast, creative and effective then the sky's the limit.
Let's think of underdog teams that went all the way. Someone just told me the Phillies this year weren't supposed to contend. Well, who is? A lucky bounce here and a lucky bounce there....