Toronto Maple Leafs
That was far more fun than I thought it would be. We limped into the all-star break, with little hope and almost no reason to care, and have gone 15-7-5 since.
I don't know about you, but I sure started to care again. Leafs games became must-see-tv, scoreboard watching became an integral part of the process again, it was a lot of fun.
But alas, it's over. There's always next season, and I've got 5 great reasons to be psyched about the Maple Leafs 2011/12 edition.
1. James "Optimus Reim" Reimer
I'm afraid to even talk about this kid for fear of ruining his career. On that note, on to #2...
2. The Mac-Russian Line
Phil who? Our top offensive line all season has been Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin. All three have impressed me, especially Grabovski. He's our true all-star.
3. Our Lord and Savoir Luke Schenn
He's back, baby! And the young Jedi has more hits than any other defenseman in the league. It's a fact, you can look it up.
4. Phaneuf and Aulie
The emergence of Mohammed Aulie and the recent return to power of Dion Phaneuf has made this my favourite defensive tandem. How ya like that trade with Calgary now?
5. Mike Brown's Mustache
Mike Brown's mustache has been epic all season. Who wouldn't be psyched about another season of this?
It's not the 4 points we're behind Buffalo that'll kill us, it's those 2 games the Sabres have in hand. That combination means this realist isn't getting his hopes up.
But that's okay. As commenter Ryan G. pointed out, we've been playing playoff hockey for the past few weeks.
that game felt playoffy because that WAS our playoffs. in fact the last week or two has been the first round of our playoffs.
sure the league nor anyone else recognizes that officially, but eff'em.
if we do in fact make it to their so called playoffs, it will be OUR stanley cup final.
and, if we make it past their so called first round of playoffs, there's really no more for us to do since that so called first round was our Cup final. so even if they want us to play in their so called second round, we'll just say no thanks, we're done...we've just won our Cup final.
and then when we get all the Leafs in convertibles, on like, a monday afternoon, and drive down yonge street, who cares if they don't really block off traffic for us.
and just wait and see what happens when our Leafs show up unannounced at the white house just like the blackhawks did this week..
Next season, Optimus Reim leads us to the Stanley Cup finals. You read it here first, folks.
The Leafs beat the Sabres last night in a very intense game that felt awfully playoffy, but I'm not going to write a word about it.
There will be no reference to the fact we're only four points back of 8th. I'm not even going to mention the fact we're just two points out of 9th. I'm not going to say a damn word.
In fact, this entry is over.
Click the image below to see it full-sized.
According to this, I should get a Joey Crabb #46.
I loved last night's Leafs game. An overtime win against the Penguins got me out of my seat, screaming like it was a playoff game. Tonight, when Boyce scored late in the third against the Flyers, I did it again. Throw in a James Reimer game saving stop and it was clear I was hooked.
Here's the current standings. Take it in and meet me after, k?
Those pesky Hurricanes are still 4 points up, and those damn Sabres still have the two games in hand, but the Rangers are falling fast. We're only 3 points back with a game in hand.
At the risk of jinxing it all with this entry, I'm going to come out and say what we're all thinking. We can make the playoffs this season. We're getting great goaltending, playing excellent hockey and earning points. We can do this.
On a quiet trade deadline day, the Leafs made one move, sending John Mitchell to the New York Rangers for a seventh-round pick in 2012.
In 159 career NHL games, Michell has 20 goals and 55 points. He's been playing for the Marlies this season, unable to crack our stellar NHL lineup.
It's February in Toronto. That can only mean one thing. It's time for the Leafs to tease us by flirting with a playoff drive, only to come up a little short.
I watched last night's game against the Habs and found myself cheering as if it was a playoff game. I wanted that one, almost as badly as I wanted Kessel to get a hat trick.
The big win over the hateful Habs has us 4 points out of the playoffs with only Buffalo and Carolina in the way. Check out these hopeful standings.
Normally, when we make our February drive to the promised land only to come up short, we screw ourselves. We miss the playoffs and lose out on a lottery pick in the draft. This season, there's absolutely no downside to this tease. We're only screwing the Bruins.
It's win-win. Go Leafs Go!
The Tomas Kaberle era in Toronto is over. We're calling it at 878 regular-season games. He was the only Leaf remaining who actually suited up for the team in the 90s.
My son still has his Tomas Kaberle bobblehead and I'll always have my Tomas Kaberle autograph.
Kaberle is now a member of the Boston Bruins. The Leafs will receive prospect centre Joe Colborne, the Bruins’ first-round pick and a conditional second-round pick in 2012 if Kaberle - an unrestricted free agent this summer – signs a new contract in Boston or if they make the Stanley Cup final.
I just looked it up... "Kaberle" appears in 207 entries on this blog, excluding this one. He was a very likable, solid performer for over a decade and I already miss the SOB. But as I learned from the excellent HBO series Six Feet Under, everything ends.
As you've likely heard by now, Brian Burke has traded Kris Versteeg to the Philadelphia Flyers for first and third round draft picks in 2011. You can put a fork in Versteeg's Maple Leaf tenure at 53 games. He just arrived via trade on July 1.
Back then, Versteeg cost us Viktor Stalberg and prospects Chis DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis. So, really.. when you think about it.. we gave up Viktor Stalberg and prospects Chis DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis for a first and third round draft pick and Bill Sweatt. Would you make that trade? I would.
Even though Versteeg raps...
Our Toronto Maple Leafs have sent defenceman Francois Beauchemin to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Joffrey Lupul, defenceman Jake Gardiner and a conditional Ducks fourth-round pick in 2012.
Lupul, 27, has five goals and eight assists in 26 games with the Ducks this season. The Alberta native was originally Anaheim’s first choice, seventh overall, in the 2002 Entry Draft. He has 117 goals and 121 assists for 238 points in 421 career NHL games with the Ducks, Oilers and the Flyers.
Join me in a trip down memory lane as we remember the day Francois Beauchemin signed with the Maple Leafs, way back in July of 2009.
My favourite line of that entry is the last one: "Clearly, Kaberle has played his last game for the Leafs."
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