Toronto Maple Leafs
It's clinching night. If my beloved Maple Leafs defeat the Sens tonight at the Corel Centre, we're on to the second round. We're about 90 minutes from game time and I feel like I'm playing tonight. I'm anxious, hopeful and more than a little nervous. I really want to wrap this thing up in six to give our guys a little breather before round #2.
History is on our side. Here are the results from the previous 4 elimination games between the two clubs:
2000: East CQF, Game #6, Toronto 4, Ottawa 2, Leafs win series in 6 games
2001: East CQF, Game #4, Toronto 3, Ottawa 1, Leafs win series in 4 games
2002: East CSF, Game #6, Toronto 4, Ottawa 3, Leafs force Game #7
2002: East CSF, Game #7, Toronto 3, Ottawa 0, Leafs win series in 7 games
While we're talking Leafs here, I received an email from a gentleman named Drew who lives in British Columbia. His team is not the Canucks but the Maple Leafs. In his email to me, he shared his letter to God he wrote following our game four loss. I've pasted it below.
Hope you are well. I have a selfish request to ask of you. I was wondering if I could better learn from you how to conduct ones daily struggles if perhaps you could stop teaching me life's lessons by gouging the eyes out of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey players. It would also be nice in my humble opinion, if you could stop breaking the legs on the Leafs players. I must admit, I personally think it is revolting and I can't possibly see how such acts must occur. If there is something you are trying to tell us; please save us from ourselves tell us (especially me) in an easier way so we'll all understand what you expect from us.
One of your finest creations the immortal leafs is now locked in mortal combat with a boorish team with gaudy jerseys. As you well know it's been a VERY long time since you have blessed our team with the cup. I'm sure God you found it very gratifying to keep the Leafs and the Habs away from each other again in this playoff series. I was so hoping to see the Montreal - Toronto match but you said no. So be it. Would it be selfish to allow our team to defeat the Senators in this years playoffs? After all we have trounced them usually very well in the regular season; it's expected. Please God make 1/3 of the country happy. I thank you for your attention.
Drew's letter to God reminded me of a letter I wrote to the Big Guy Upstairs in March 2003. You can read my letter here.
Go Leafs Go!
All three Maple Leaf victories in this series have been 2-0 Eddie Belfour shut outs despite the fact the Senators have actually out shot us 155-100 in the series.
Daniel Alfredsson has guaranteed his team will force and win a game seven in this series. Stop writing cheques your butt can't cash Alfie! I'm sticking with my prediction of Leafs in six.
Toronto leads series 3-2
It's a simple law of physics. What goes up, must come down. Tonight, Eddie Belfour and his Maple Leafs crashed back to earth when the Senators gave it to us good.
Two big question marks causing concern for the future are last game's scorers Joe Nieuwendyk and Mats Sundin. Nieuwendyk was a surprise scratch from tonight's game and Sundin limped off the ice after falling awkwardly feet first into the boards.
Nobody said this would be easy.
Series tied 2-2
Awesome. Eddie Belfour is playing awesome. The Maple Leafs shut out the Senators for the second straight game thanks to a goal by Joe Nieuwendyk and a stunning insurance marker by Mats Sundin.
This has to be getting in the heads of the Senator players. They simply can't beat Belfour right now. He's seeing everything. He's firmly entrenched in the zone. This is playoff hockey at it's best. I can't wait for Wednesday night.
Maple Leafs lead series 2-1
The Maple Leafs had to show up tonight with more intensity than they displayed on Thursday night and that they did. Eddie Belfour was absolutely brilliant and Gary Roberts showed why he's Mr. Playoffs by potting a pair on feeds from Mats Sundin.
I don't want to lose this series. I've grown to dislike the Senators very much and it would take weeks to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth losing a series to them would cause. Thanks to tonight's effort, I suspect I won't have to worry about it.
Series tied 1-1
When the going got tough, the Maple Leafs were no where to be found. Tonight's effort was weak. A few more outings like this and we'll be golfing in no time.
Where was the effort? Where was Sundin? What's with all the weird penalties being called? Why did Belfour gamble like that on Hossa's breakaway?
Ottawa Leads Series 1-0
Tonight, at 19:05 EST, the puck will drop on the Maple Leafs 2003/2004 Stanley Cup playoff run. Our first round opponent is none other than the Ottawa Senators.
One of the cool things about having a site like this is I can make a prediction and see if I was right or wrong. I am predicting a Maple Leaf victory in six games. Take it to the bank.
Fans of The Simpsons are well aware by now that production of the new season has been held up over contract demands by the actors who play major voice roles in the comedy series. As many a headline has stated, they want more dough to say "doh!".
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there is a strong possibility the NHL could shut down for all of next season. The owners and players association are that far apart. The playoff hockey kicking off tomorrow night might be all we see for quite some time.
Two television essentials for me during a long, cold Canadian winter are Maple Leafs hockey and The Simpsons. They have both been a big part of my life for the past 14 years. It seems labour strife could cause me to lose both next fall.
Welcome to the winter of my discontent.
This afternoon, I rooted for the New Jersey Devils. I don't believe I've ever done that before. A win by the Devils over the Boston Bruins would have given us the division title and a first round match up against the Montreal Canadiens. Who wasn't looking forward to that?
The Devils came out flat and were defeated by the Bruins 3-1. That means the Maple Leafs are now officially the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and we face the Ottawa Senators in the first round. Been there, done that.
Ottawa is a good team, no doubt about it, but I'm cautiously optimistic about this match up. Not because we're 3-0 in playoff series against the Sens but because Eddie Belfour is playing great and the team in front of him are in the zone. We finished up strong with a veteran-laden line up ready to do what it takes to succeed. I wish we could kick this series off tonight because I too am in the zone. Go Leafs Go!
This game felt like a playoff game. Too bad it wasn't because we whipped 'em good.
By blanking the Sens tonight, the Maple Leafs have assured themselves home ice advantage through the first round. Furthermore, if Boston loses tomorrow against New Jersey, we're winning the whole damn division. That makes us the second seed in the entire conference. Awesome, totally awesome.
We're unbeaten in five and hitting our stride just in time for the playoffs. As the second seed, we'll face our historic rivals from Montreal. As the fourth seed, it's Ottawa again. Either way, we're ready. Bring them on.
|Current Record||Last Three Games||Season Leaders|
1st in Division
|6-0 Win vs. Ottawa
2-0 Win vs. Buffalo
4-2 Win vs. Atlanta
|M. Sundin - 75
B. McCabe - 51
O. Nolan - 47
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