Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The White Attitude

It's time to get Ian White back in there. He's waited long enough. Most people have probably forgotten about him by now, or think he's not part of the team's future, or even immediate plans. Well, the Leafs have now lost 5 in a row, and none of those, not a single one, was Ian White's fault. Unless he's doing things in paractice that are so distracting that the PP can't focus on drills (and that may be true; 3 for 27), White is due to get in to the line up now. After all, there's nothing to lose really, other then hockey games.

The blue line is obviously way too crowded for Ian. Even Carlo is having a tough time getting in there, scratched for two of the last three games. Kaberle and Kubina are going to be in every night, and Schenn and Frogren are playing well enough to stay in for now, and Van Ryn with 3 assists looks like he's earned his playing time. That leaves Colaiacovo and Stralman sharing 6th and 7th defenceman duties, and things are going to get much more complicated once 3-million dollar's worth of destructive force known as the mighty Finger enters the line-up picture. Defence isn't where the Leafs need help. I want to see White up front.

White impressed in his debut at forward during the pre-season. What was the point of proving he could do it, if we're not going to let him do it again? Specifically, I want to see him paired up with Stajan and Steen once more, because both those guys really need to get going. Stajan's already had the spotlight treatment after the whole world read my post about his weak performance in game one. Now Steen deserves the same attention. So far he's done nothin', but the pressure will be on him to step up his game and get 'er goin' with White on the wing. Imagine Steen coming to the bench to see this face:
"Please play better, Alex! I really want this job!"

So who should come out? We have two easy choices, take your pick. Blake or Tlusty. No more nice guy from me for these two. Blake is terrible in so many aspects of his game. He does not play Toronto Maple Leafs hockey, he plays NY Islanders hockey or Tampa Bay Lightning hockey, but that's not Leaf hockey.

After floating the puck uselessly at the net over 20 times in 5 games, Wilson limited Blake's ice time Tuesday to just 14:15. Blake finished the night minus 1 with no shots. No shots!? When was the last game Jason Blake registered no shots on goal? Was that his way of sulking? We need quality shots, not no shots. We need players who can take the puck to the net, and players to be going to the net before the shot has been taken.

As for Tlusty, it's Tlittle Tlate. Or not soon enough. After 6 games, it's no goals, no assists, for no points, and a minus 3. I'm not waiting for Tlusty anymore, I don't think he has it. Like Stajan, he plays too soft and doesn't seem to want to stand out one way or another. Worse, he doesn't have Stajan's maturity, or any flexability to his game, and there seems to be zero progression. Time to let someone else - like White - have a turn or two.

There is one other option, and though I don't think I like it, I do love this qoute from Ian White:

"I can't wait to play, forward, defence, whatever. If Vesa (Toskala) or Cujo (Curtis Joseph) get hurt, I'll play between the pipes too. I just want to play."

Beautiful. Reminds me of Todd Gill. Maybe next time Wilson wants to experiment in the shoot-out, instead of Cujo, he can put in Ian White. That sounds fun. Otherwise, he should just leave Toskala alone. Tuesday's game was Vesa's to win or lose, and despite his poor perfomances in shoot-outs past, we shouldn't forget the shut-out performance that got us that far. Toskala didn't let the team down Friday in New York, the team let him down. Specifically, Blake let him down with his weak attempt on the last shot.

Ian White has the right spirit, and since Blake and Tlusty aren't contributing to wins, that spirit should be recognized with playing time. After appearing in 9 pre-season games, more then any other Leaf, White deserves a turn in the regular season as well, if only to showcase his skills for a possible trade. Let White have a chance beside Stajan and Steen again and let's see if the Leafs can lose 5 more in a row. In a year where spirit is everything, having the White attitude should count for something.

*Whoops. Almost forgot to credit Loser Domi for originally posting that great photo of Ian White at PensionPlanPuppets.

**Update - As if to add to my point, Nik Antropov had this to say in this morning's Toronto Star:

"It doesn't matter who you are, you have to earn your ice time," he said. "If you're not playing 100 per cent and there's a guy waiting to play and giving it his all, why not send a message?"

Eat it, Blake.


Loser Domi said...

"tlittle tlate"

Hehehe, it looks like you said tits

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

So, that's it, you're done with Tlusty, who just turned 20 years old in March?

general borschevsky said...

Thanks for dropping by, LD.

1. To stimulate by touching lightly; tickle.
2. To excite (another) pleasurably, superficially or erotically.

In the case of Tlusty, he's Tlaking Tloo Tlong.

eyebleaf: Not "done" with Tlusty. Just not waiting for him anymore. I hate to say it, but I just don't see anything there to get excited about.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

It took Antropov a while didn't it, but he arrived. Tlusty is in his second season in the NHL, and likely his first complete one. He's a first round draft pick who's 20 years old. We have to be patient with him. And he's playing 10-12 minutes a night, so expectations need to be kept in check.

Loser Domi said...

I know what titillate means. That was just the best quip I could think up at the time.

general borschevsky said...

eyebleaf: Okay, okay. I will be more patient with Tlusty. But a night or two off when the going gets tough won't hurt the kid either. It shouldn't be on his shoulders to end a 5 game losing streak. Put that pressure on White's shoulders or the other veterans, and after a few games and a few steps forward, put Jiri back in.

loser domi: I had to look up the correct spelling for titillate and when I saw the definition I got a warm fuzzy feeling and thought I'd share it. Ah well...

We're all doin' our best, even Tlusty.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Thanks for your patience, General. Do we need to hug it out?

general borschevsky said...

Cheers, eyebleaf. If by "hug" you really mean "smoke" and by "it out" you really mean "up together", then yes, we should.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

General, I don't know how you read my mind like that. Kinda freaky. But we really should.