Only 60 minutes of hockey separates the Boston Bruins from a much needed break (I guess technically it could be 65 minutes of hockey, but quit nit-picking). Following tonight's game in Toronto, the team will be off for the All-Star break until they return to action on Tuesday, the 27th for a rematch with the Washington Capitals. If the Bruins want to get a win before the break and put an end to their two game skid, they will need to play hard for all 60 minutes (something that they did not do on Monday) when they take on the Maple Leafs tonight in Toronto. The Leafs will also be looking to head into the break on a high note after going 3-6-1 in their last ten games.
Just who are these Maple Leafs that you speak of?
Toronto Maple Leafs 17-22-7; 41 pts (4th in Northeast, 11th in East)
Leading Goal Scorers
|2008 - Alexei Ponikarovsky||14||16||30||1||20|
Nik Antropov, Jason Blake, and Niklas Hagman are all tied for second on the team with 13 goals.
|2008 - Vesa Toskala||40||2288||15||17||6||3||126||3.30||1095||969||.885||1|
|2008 - Curtis Joseph||11||432||1||5||1||1||28||3.89||187||159||.850||0|
Guys Who Like to Drop the Gloves
Andre Deveaux: 9 Fighting Majors
Jamal Mayers 7 Fighting Majors
Brad May: 5 Fighting Majors (1 with TOR)
'08-'09 Season Series
Bruins vs. Leafs this season: 3-1
10/23 vs. TOR 4-2 L
11/6 vs. TOR 5-2 W
11/17 @ TOR 3-2 W
12/18 vs. TOR 8-5 W
Aaron Ward: Questionable ("Charley Horse")
Andrew Ference: Out (Broken Tibia)
Marco Sturm: IR (knee)
Milan Lucic: Questionable (Shoulder)
Patrice Bergeron: Out (Concussion)
Phil Kessel: IR (Mono)
Jeff Finger: IR (Upper Body Injury)
Mike Van Ryn: IR (Post Concussion Symptoms)
Nikolai Kulemin: IR (Ankle)
Jeremy Williams: IR (Shoulder)
- The morning skate is going on as I am writing this, so no word yet on tonight's starting goaltender or if any of the injured players will dress tonight. My guess is that all the injured guys will stay out of the lineup until after the break and Manny Fernandez will get the start tonight.
- Jeff Finger is injured, so it looks like we won't get to hear Jack Edwards say things like "Finger bangs Yelle" or "Finger with the reach around on Wideman".
- Leafs have the third highest GAA in the league (3.48)
- Dispite their high GAA, Toronto is pretty stingy about that number of shots they allow (28.4 per game, 6th in NHL)
This is what Julien from Pension Plan Puppets had to say about the current state of the Leafs:
Damien Cox told us today that the Leafs are actually the Bruins two and a half years ago. All the Leafs have to do to match the Bruins is to lose our captain and face of the franchise for nothing, develop a homegrown offensive superstar (they are definitely working on that one), draft a monster, acquire an underrated creative forward and his defensive equivalent. Notice how Cox says that "some say" that the only way to rebuild is to be awful for a long time. Well, "some say" that Cox is just trying to deflect attention from the fact that that is the argument that he pushes at every opportunity.
Alright, so the buds still have some way to go to matching the Bruins' revival but things are looking up. After months of speculation, Brian Burke is the new Leafs GM and he has five years to right the HMCS Maple Leafs (that's like USS for Canada). He has some assets to trade in Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle, Nik Antropov, Alex Ponikarovsky, and basically anyone wearing the blue and white not named Luke Schenn. Is he likely to get a Jeff Carter plus a first rounder for any of them? Probably not but you never know what a desperate GM (Don Waddell) might do to at the deadline or the draft.
While we may not be at the nadir of things at the very least we have the hope of seeing better days in the near future.
For more on tonight's game from a Leafs fan's perspective (and maybe a cameo piece by your favorite B's blogger), check out Pension Plan Puppets
Public Skate (open thread) starts at 6:00: Watch the game and discuss it with other Stanley Cup of Chowder readers.
Embarassing Funny YouTube Fan Video
Usually, I try to post an embarrassing YouTube video created by the opposing team's fans. This video isn't embarrassing at all. In fact, it's actually really well done. I thought it was too funny to pass up.