Saturday, April 18, 2009

Maple Leafs In The Playoffs!

Well, not exactly.

I'm having a tough time this year getting behind any one team in the playoffs. I find this year's teams to be lacking a little in compelling characters and story lines, but maybe that'll change as we get into it a bit more. Always fascinating to me however is the possibility that a former Maple Leaf may win the Cup, so rather then follow one team or one series, instead I'm keeping an eye on these ex-Leafs in the post-season. Some I cheer for, some I don't, but all of them are interesting to one degree or another and it'll be exciting to see how close any of them get to having their hands on the Cup.
Obviously we're all cheering against the Habs. Mathieu Schneider is the only ex-Maple Leaf who creeps me out as much as Glenn Anderson. Maybe it's his rat-face, or his rat-like tendencies on the ice, or the fact that in his 3 seasons as a Leaf, they missed the playoffs twice and the one year they did make it, they lost in the first round to St. Louis and Schneider had twice as many penalty minutes(8) as points(4). I'll give him this - he's been in the league for a long, long time. Since 1989-90 he's played for 8 different teams and is back for his second go round with Montreal. He makes me want to puke. I hope they get demolished. In the opener against Boston, Schneider had zero points and was a minus 2.
I kinda liked Freddie Modin when he was here. He was good, but not great, like a Steen or a Stajan, and less annoying then a Stempniak. His numbers dramatically improved when he left Toronto and joined Tampa in 1999, eventually winning a Cup with the Lightning in 2004. Since going to Columbus in 2006, Modin has been in decline and missed quite a few games the last 2 years. It'll be interesting to see what he's got left in the tank and if he can use his experience to help Columbus upset the Wings. Not exactly known as a "playoff performer", Modin did have 19 playoff points in 23 games the year he won his Cup.
I like Mike Peca 'cause I like Mike Peca Hockey. I like the way he plays the game - fast, tenacious, feisty, and a killer instinct for the big goal. He's kinda somewhere in between Darcy Tucker and Dominic Moore, two former Leafs not in the playoffs. It's a shame that his only season as a Leaf was cut so short due to injury, and I never understood why he wasn't re-signed the next season. Now in his second year with the Blue Jackets, this will be Peca's 10th trip to the playoffs in 13 seasons.
Carlo Colaiacovo. What can you say about Mr. Give-Me-Some-Powerplay-Time-'Cause-My-Bones-Don't-Explode-As-Much-Anymore? I'm so happy to see Carlo having some real success, even if it's not with the Leafs. 19 assists on the powerplay in St. Louis for Carlo, yet remarkably Colaiacovo went the season without a powerplay goal. I'm betting he gets one in this series, and it's mostly because of this battered survivor that I'm temporarily putting aside my usual despise for St. Louis and hoping they knock out those lousy Canucks.
Alex Steen doesn't really possess Scott Stevens' or Mark Messier's Eye of the Tiger look. It's more like the Dopey Gaze of the Bank Teller. After a rough start in Toronto this year, Steen found his game in St. Louis. I'm afraid the Blues may be overmatched in the first round against Vancouver - after 2 games the Canucks have won both games, and St. Louis has scored just 1 goal on Luongo. Steen assisted on that goal, scored by another former Leaf prospect and 1st round pick, Brad Boyes.
Here's Kyle Wellwood eating his glove while dreaming about a huge cake the size of a swimming pool. So far in the playoffs he's barley made himself visible with a token shot on goal in each game and no points. Not a big surprise if he doesn't play a significant part in any Vancouver success, but it would be great to see him come through with a huge clutch goal when the Canucks need it most.
I tuned into tonight's Vancouver-St.Louis game specifically because it was suggested that Mats Sundin was so ineffective in Game 1 as to warrant being a possible healthy scratch. Well, in Game 2, it was Sundin with the opening goal, the eventual game-winner, as Luongo picked up the shutout. With a 2-0 series lead, I don't think Vancouver fans have anything to complain about, and I'm sure that Sundin is prepared for a long playoff run and has the experience to know how to contribute when it counts. Sundin now has 8 career game-winning goals in the playoffs, tied for 53rd all-time, and may climb up that list if Vancouver can win more then one round this spring.
Nik Antropov seems to be fitting in nicely with the Rangers and I'm happy for him. After scoring 7 goals for New York in the regular season since the trade deadline, Antro opened the playoffs by scoring a goal and adding an assist on the game-winner in Game 1 against the Capitals. As much as I like Ovechkin, which is less then I dislike Avery, I'm still cheering for Antropov and hope he hits the back of the net a few more times before the Rangers eventual exit from the first round.
Ugh. Paul Maurice has a way of turning playoff expectations into nightmares. Sometimes it works out for him, sometimes it doesn't. After surprising the Toronto media by ever finding work in the NHL again, Maurice had the Hurricanes rolling into the post-season as the hottest team in the NHL, going 13-3-2 down the stretch since March 1st. While Carolina lost the series-opener, they've now stolen home-ice advantage from New Jersey by winning Game 2 in overtime, on a goal by Tim Gleason. As the series heads south, Einstein's team could be poised to unleash disaster and disappointment on the Devils.
Lovingly referred to as the U.S.S. Hal Gill, this behemoth on the blue-line has not been forgotten here. If Pittsburgh is going to go deep in the playoffs again, I believe they're going to need this towering defenceman to eat up a lot of minutes for them and maybe a few opposing forwards as well. It would be interesting if Pittsburgh were to meet Boston in a later round so that we could see Gill and Chara match up head-to-head. Not that these two are likely to encounter each other directly in the game, but it would be awesome to see them go toe-to-toe at centre ice. I know that Chara would probably destroy Hal Gill, but he's the only player that I think even compares to Zdeno's size and strength. Really what I want to see is Chara in a steel-cage ladder match, but it doesn't have to be with Hal Gill, it could be with anybody.


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Mats was huge last night.

And I hate Paul Maurice.

andrew said...

Paul Maurice gives me a huge one.

And I hate Ron Wilson.

general borschevsky said...

@eyebleaf: Seems like the bigger the game, the bigger Mats gets.

@andrew. Welcome to the General Area! What a bizarre comment, but it's appreciated all the same!

I don't hate Maurice, but I really don't like the idea of him succeeding again so quickly after destroying the Leafs.

Anonymous said...

Of all the players to call rat-like you chose one of the few Jews in the NHL. Great.

What's tomorrow's post going to be like?
"Say, is it just me, or does Big George Laraque look like a big gorilla? And didn't Jonathan Cheechoo play like a raging alcoholic tonight?"

General Borshevsky, or General Goering?

Shame on you, you niggerfaggot!

general borschevsky said...

Ouch. @goleavesgo: This is the worst comment I've ever received and it makes me feel horrible.

First of all, I want to be totally clear about this - I had no idea that Mathieu Schneider is Jewish. It never occurred to me, nor does it interest me. A player's religious, cultural or ethnic background means nothing to me beyond whether he's from Stockholm or Kingston and even that means very little. This is just a blog about hockey and the Maple Leafs and it isn't even meant to be taken that seriously.

Second, I'm really not familiar with "Rat-face" being used as a racial slur. I don't use it that way, I try not to use racial slurs at all, and I don't associate with anyone who does. However, I'm now aware that it could be perceived as such, and so, even unintentionally, a mistake has been made that may have caused offence or injury and for that I apologize sincerely without reservation.

Finally, the choice of words used at the end of goleavesgo's comment is just a horrible, awful thing to say, entirely inappropriate in every way. For that reason, I thought perhaps I should delete this comment and edit my post but I've decided I'll leave them both the way they are. I hope people can see the difference between careless insensitivity and calculated hatred. Real bigotry like that is intolerable and I promise it will never revisit this bog again. In the end though, if feelings are hurt, I'm not sure it matters whether it's intentional or not, so again, I apologize to everyone and hope I haven't let anybody down.

Anonymous said...

In retrospect I should've toned down the punchline's language. I meant to get a rise out of you because of how sensitive and hypocritical the comment was, not make you feel bad. So let me explain myself.

It is plainly obvious that you weren't trying to be racist, and only a sensitive moron would suggest you were. More importantly, only a complete moron would chastise someone for saying something racist, and then go ahead and use the term "niggerfaggot." (which, by the way, is from this viral video- . I figured if anyone had seen this video the facetious nature of my comment would be recognized.) This was just supposed to be a way to poke fun at the hyper-sensitive P.C. shock people fake all the time. I wanted you to call me a hypocritical moron, not apologize to Leafs Nation.

I don't hate blacks or gays or anyone in between, but many would argue that saying "niggerfaggot" would suggest otherwise. That's fine, I get to hide in anonymity. Just know that nobody was actually offended by your post.(although you might want to read this just in case scroll down to "Plot and Content")
Sorry for posting the worst comment ever.

general borschevsky said...

I guess the lesson here is that words can have unintended consequences. Language that insults a whole group of people based on their cultural identity is very disruptive and harmful and I want to avoid it completely. Hockey is fun and recreational and that's what this blog is supposed to be about. Bigotry and hate is depressing and real.

Mistakes were made, but let's move on and get back to hockey. I hope the matter is closed forever.