Stempniak to Help Leafs Beat Thrashers on the Way to the Cup

Graeme BoyceCorrespondent INovember 24, 2008

Steen had his chances.  Frankly, I had seen enough as well.  So, along with Carlo, the two are now eagerly heading to St Louis today. The Leafs are beefing up by taking Buffalo-native Stempniak along for the ride to the Cup. 

Recall the weak pre-season effort against the Blues—a 7-3 loss, due mainly to Cujo being between the pipes—when the six-footer scored twice to send our aging net-minder to the bench early.  Somewhat of a harbinger if you ask me.

In fact I've been pondering lately whether or not Burke should simply bring up Pogge and trade Toskala, with respect to lessening our dependency on euros. Oh, did I say Burke, I meant Fletcher.  Right.

The game on Saturday against the equally-youthful Hawks was a huge disappoint, especially on a night they honoured and were presumably inspired by one of the recent Leafs all-time faves. 

As I'm sure you'll agree, it seems the team either falls behind 2-0 or lets the lead slide away lately.  They need a little "killer" instinct.

Assuming his knee trouble is just a wee bruise, Stempniak will be a pretty good addition: a big right-winger with a decent shot, and a few (phew) on the power play.

I'm guessing given his recent slump, Antropov is on the block.  Well, as if he's ever been off the block.  The last time I checked, which wasn't today, it seems we now have quite a few Americans on the team...more than I can ever remember.

On Tuesday the Leafs play Atlanta.  This is chance for the Leafs to bounce back and stun the Thrashers, who of course will try to snap their own winless streak.

Here's my prediction: the formation of the KGB line.  Kulemin.  Grabovsky.  Blake.  Well, unless White steals the show, which is fine with me. 

Sooner than later, Moore and Mayers have to start getting some decent goals.  Or maybe just a few flukes, like the time Domi was energized after one bounced off his butt and into the net.

I hear Van Ryn is near to returning.  This is great news.  I really like his style and fortitude, plus his shot from the blue line was a bonus early in the season. 

Our boy Stajan better not get too comfortable—as all eyes are on him, from a management perspective, with his Leafs-leading stats these days.  Hagman needs a goal, and so does Schenn, badly.

Kubina did incredibly well late last season, where has his shot gone?  But while he takes a backseat, Kaberle steps up.  If the Leafs could all start clicking in unison, the Cup could be coming home to roost.  But I guess that's what all coaches and managers know.