Have you ever read DownGoesBrown's How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Loss? If you haven't, now might be a good time. Except - ignore the part that says "I accept that now, it's all about the draft pick." Pretend that part's not there and it's still a wonderful read. Ten months later. Ugh. If you're new around here you might also want to read Apathy Vs. Despair: Believing In Something That Sucks, which I wrote 4 and half months into last season, and sums up where I'm at a month and a half into this season.
Just like you probably are, I really question the whole point of doing the BoOBbB right now. Tradition, I guess. It's not for me, and it's probably not for you, but maybe there's somebody else out there, somebody who cares, or maybe that person is you, reading this now, and you know who you are, and I don't need to tell you how you feel...
20:00 Kessel, Poni, Stajan start up front for the Leafs.
19:20 Toskala makes the first good save early.
17:50 Stempniak's hard shot from the perimeter is stopped.
17:40 A Sens' chance grazes the post.
17:20 Mayers nailed at the Leafs blue line.
17:11 FIGHT! Finger fights Winchester. We'll call that a draw. Good to see Finger stepping up for his mates.
15:50 Grabbo-Hagmna neat rush, can't thread the needle.
14:00 This is by far the best crowd the Leafs have had all year. I wish this crowd was at every Home game.
12:30 Poni with a nice back hand feed sets up Grabbo for a nice chance that just misses.
11:52 Goal. A loose puck in the slot that Fisher fluffed on fools Toskala like a low-velocity knuckle-ball, and once again for the17th time in 19 games, blah blah blah.
10:50 GOAL!!! Wow. Kessel scores. What a goal. Hard shot, quick release in the slot. A harmless looking rush ties the game, 1-1. Kessel is awesome. 5 goals in 7 games, already 3rd on the team in goals.
9:56 FIGHT! Orr with his best scrap of the season scores a decisive victory over Carkner.
8:57 FIGHT! Neil goes after Schenn and hits him with a highstick, then goes after Stempniak and nearly pushes him through the Sens' gate. Schenn comes in, forehead already bleeding, and scraps with Neil. Leafs go on the powerplay for Neil's highstick.
8:00 Big save Toskala with the glove. Terrible giveaway by Kaberle led to the scoring chance and a hooking penalty. Kaberle goes to the box and the powerplay is over.
6:50 Stempniak has an excellent shorthanded chance denied.
5:15 Stajan with a nice feed from behind the goal misses Poni, but Kaberle is there and has a great chance but can't get the puck through a crowd.
3:20 A good chance by Kulemin deep in the slot is stopped.
2:35 Kovalev has a chance for the Sens and freezes, unable to pull the trigger on the open goal.
20:00 Kessel, Poni, Stajan start up front.
19:05 Blake centres to Grabbo, good chance from the slot but the shot is deflected out of play.
18:46 FIGHT! Schenn hit hard by Ruutu. Mitchell then jumps Ruutu. Long fight. I think Ruutu got the best licks in. The hit on Schenn was clean and frankly, could've been a lot worse. Mitchell gets the extra two for instigating, plus a 10-minute misconduct.
17:45 A chance for the Sens on the powerplay. Finger helps Toskala keep the puck from going in the short side off a scramble.
17:05 Great play by Hagman to one-hand the puck towards the net and force Leclaire to make a shorthanded save and freeze the puck.
15:35 Kessel nearly able to jam it in after good work by Poni behind the goal.
14:40 GOAL!!! Hagman retrieves a loose puck in the corner, wheels into the slot and fires through a screen. Leafs lead, 2-1.
13:45 Whoah. Beauchemin lined up Fisher, and just misses a big open-ice hit just inside the Leafs' zone. Players are really trying to ht each other hard and this game is getting dangerous.
11:40 Schenn knocks his man down at the Sens' line.
10:50 Terrible turnover by Hagman in the nuetral zone leads to a breakaway by Foligno. Toskala with a good stop. Hagman gets called for hooking on the backcheck.
10:20 Nice shot block by Mayers.
9:35 The booing of Alfredsson on the Ottawa powerplay is hilarious.
8:50 Goal. Seeing-eye goal. Wrist shot from the point goes through, deflected by Michalek. 2-2.
8:35 Leafs get a good chance, Poni and Kessel on a 2-on-1, but don't score. Kessel tripped up, no call.
5:50 Goal. Oh God. Fisher with a rocket that catches everybody sleeping. Incredible shot. 3-2 Sens.
5:30 Good hit by Finger along the boards.
5:20 Stajan can't redirect Kaberle's pass into the open net.
3:00 Sens dominating the play. Leafs look like they've lost their legs and their confidence.
2:20 Big save by Leclaire on Poni, set up by Kessel.
0:25 Beauchemin runs over Foligno.
20:00 Stajan, Poni, Kessel up front again for Toronto.
19:10 Blake, set up by Grabbo, fires a million miles wide.
18:35 Great defensive play by Ian White to break up a 2-on-1 chance for the Sens.
16:45 Great chance by Stajan. Stopped by Leclaire.
14:55 Deflected point shot, Toskala makes the stop.
14:30 Kessel not on the Leafs bench.
14:05 Kessel's back! Disaster averted.
13:25 Stempniak can't find a loose puck as the Leafs nearly score.
THERE IS NO CLOCK
11:05 Toskala makes a good save off of a hard point shot.
8:45 Stempniak hits the crossbar behind Leclaire and it bounces out, harmlessly into the corner.
7:40 Scramble. Loose puck in front of the Sens' goal. Blake has a great chance but has no idea how to actually score a goal and does a spin-a-rama instead.
6:40 Leafs pressing. White point shot deflected just wide.
5:00 Leafs are looking desperate. Nice shot by Grabbo stopped, Blake just misses the rebound.
2:30 Hagman with a good chance coming out of the corner and bats the puck out of the air. Caught by Leclaire.
2:10 Kessel with a long shot, Leclaire makes a good save.
1:25 Great shot by White from the point but it doesn't find a hole.
Final minute: The Leafs look like they have no idea what to do when they need a goal and are unable to generate a genuine scoring opportunity with Toskala pulled for the extra-attaker. The clock reaches zero without much drama and the Leafs lose, 3-2.
I'm not gonna do the Three Stars for tonight's game - it's kinda pointless. Lecalire was the Sens' best player but they also got solid performances from Ruutu, Foligno, Fisher, and I hate to say it, Neil. For the Leafs, Toskala was okay, nothing eye-popping or spectacular, and still not good enough to get his first win of the season. His SV% tonight is consistent with his season average at .857. Stempniak, as usual, had the most scoring opportunities, but wasn't able to make any of them count. I thought Hagman was the best Leaf forward, but his giveaway that led to the Sens second period powerplay goal, was the turning point of the game.
Overall, I thought the Leafs played a solid game compared to their last 3, They showed a lot of fight and really competed with the Seantors for most of the game. The second Fisher goal to give the Sens a 3-2 lead seemed to really deflate the Leafs and rattle their confidence. In the third period they played with some real desperation but that backfired and degenerated into sloppy, nervous hockey. Despite controlling the play, at no point did they threaten to run the Sens out of the building, and Leclaire only had to make a few tough stops, but no real heart-stoppers.
So, I guess we just shrug our shoulders and move on. My expectations for this season have hit rock bottom. I don't really expect anything to change. I just expect to hear more lies and see more losses. The Leafs have too many players playing hopelessly below expectations that were set unreasonably high, and have almost nothing to show for too many games played well enough to win. Pretty soon my only interest will be, how ugly will it get? Oh well, another loss, another post published, another season of suffering and misery.
The next BoOBbB is 4 weeks away, with 13 games for the Leafs between now and then. I know that eventually, somehow, someway, enthusiasm will find a way to return. I hope you do too. Thanks for stopping by.
Steven Stamkos is staying in Tampa Bay
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