Editor's Note: This post was purchased by the fine folks at Pension Plan Puppets for a donation to Movember. Feel free to disagree in the comments instead of starting a torch and pitchfork mob.
Well the Bruins managed to win last night but it went to a shootout, meaning the Leafs took 3 of 4 points out of the weekend+. This scares me, as I think that might be the indication that the Leafs are no longer the plucky lovable losers we've come to know and steal draft picks from, but perhaps maybe...a good team? Maybe even...the Real Deal?
Yes, it's true. In the same season that the Habs keep taking our rightful spot in first in the division, the Leafs have emerged as a real live NHL hockey team. Probably even playoff bound. They've certainly got the talent. We keep going on about 3rd liners here. Leafs fans? Complain about the 4th line.
Speaking of the fourth line, we all know that good teams can punch, right? Well former Bruin Colton Orr can punch with the best of them. And who's our favorite punching bag? I can't tell, he falls over too fast, but he sure is wearing an ugly sweater:
Woof, get that guy a stretcher. Or Jack Edwards to yell "GET UP" at him a few times, either works. Going back to the non-punching sort of hockey talent, rookie (is he still a rookie? never can tell) phenom Nazem Kadri is scoring pretty much at will. Here's his hat trick against the Islanders:
Yeah, decent. Granted, it's against the Islanders and who hasn't dropped a hattie on them? The point is, the Leafs used to be that team that you would buy a 5 dollar hat outside the Gahden for because someone was probably going to do some serious work against them. That's just not true anymore. Sorry, 5 dollar hat guy.
Phil "Second Best" Kessel is still scoring a bunch, Lupul, etc etc...the list goes on. They've got scoring up front. Their defense, led by Captain Dion Phaneuf (of angrier-face fame, yes) and, uh, I dunno. Gunnarson? Gardiner? The point is, they were able to put Komisarek on waivers, which means they were able to fill 6+ spots with players better than Mike Komisarek. I'm sure we all know what an upgrade that is.
And lastly, the main reason the Leafs are the real deal sits between the pipes. His name is James Reimer and he's not deep-fried dogshit on a Burkie dog. They've gone from Toskala:
STAT BREAK: Reimer is rocking a .918 save percentage. That's really good, especially for the leafs. Last time the Leafs had goaltending that good, it was Eddie The Eagle Belfour taking them to the playoffs. The Playoffs. The NHL Playoffs, for the Stanley Cup.
So yeah, they've finally got all the pieces together. Talent up front, decent-enough depth, a hard-punching punching guy or two, a perennial all-star defenseman captain, and a fantastic goalie talent. They're the real deal, and they're screaming up the standings. If the playoffs started today, I'd expect them to at least escape the first round.
Because the Leafs are the Real Deal.
Again, this was purchased as part of my Movember campaign. Our team ended up raising over $11,000 this year. Thank you to everyone who donated or spread the word.