Friday, March 26, 2010

Peepin' Foes: Toronto Maple Leafs

The typical, if improbable, late run at the postseason continues on Hockey Night In Canada tomorrow as the Blueshirts face the blue and white of the Maple Leafs in Toronto at 7pm on MSG (also available streaming in Punjabi thanks to CBC - not that I speak a word of the language, I just think it's cool that they do that).

Where We Are: Really grating on my nerves. After losing three straight, the Rangers have rebounded with back-to-back wins over the Isles and Devils. If this team was capable of playing this way all along, then why didn't they? The four points have pulled them back into the playoff picture as Boston continues to fall apart without Savvy.

Where They Are: Winners of three of their last four and six of their last eight, Toronto's kids are coming together to give the Bruins a worse-than-expected draft pick (the one they dealt for Phil Kessel). The Leafs last game was a win over Atlanta in overtime 2-1 on a suh-weet deflection by Belarussian street fighter Mikhail Grabovski on Thursday night.

Who To Watch For: Most everyone on the Leafs is playing for a job next season so they are all dangerous but Tyler Bozak is leading the way, flashing skill and heart unexpected of someone who wasn't drafted. Phil Kessel has been proving well worth the picks Brian Burke surrendered and Dion Phaneuf far outweighs the package that went to Calgary. Luca Caputi came to Toronto at the deadline and became an instant fan favourite up there. Viktor Stalberg has wicked speed and is beginning to harness it in a good way. Former Ranger Jamie Lundmark was scratched against Atlanta so who knows if he will play but Freddie Sjostrom and Colton Orr are roster regulars for the Leafs.

What To Watch For: Sloppy Seconds Phaneuf going after Sean Avery. Tomas Kaberle snapping a slump where he has just one point in his last 14 games. Which goaltender Ron Wilson throws at us - Jonas Gustavsson and J.S. Giguere have been platooning every other game but the Monster has won each of his last six and surely wants to show off his stuff in front Hank. Jiggy has allowed three or more goals in five of his seven games since the break. How Anders Eriksson fares in his first action as a Ranger, as Hobey Gilroy may be scratched (as per a Larry Brooks tweet).

What We'll (Hopefully) See: Avery getting Phaneuf out of action early. Gabby taking advantage of the absence of Mike Komisarek to pot a few pucks. MDZ outplaying Luke Schenn. Ryan Callahan not playing if he really is hurt, or maybe capitalizing on one of his many scoring chances if he does dress - Zip just tweeted that P.A. Parenteau was recalled so perhaps Cally is out. Garnet Exelby not intentionally headhunting, as he is apt to do. Arty continuing to feel safe with the big boys and taking advantage of the extra space. Shelley vs Orr.

Also Check Out: Down Goes Brown (who often combines with Bloge Salming to form the Voltron of hockey humour), Toronto Mike, the Bitter Leaf Fan (aren't they all?) and of course the Pension Plan Puppets. PPP is probably one of the top-five best team-specific blogs out there covering our fair sport so definitely check out their corner of SB Nation.


Anonymous said...

I have a question. I've been to 10 or so Ranger games in my lifetime. I love hockey and the Rangers but I grew up upstate and haven't had tons of opportunities to go to games. My question is with the 'Potvin Sucks' chant. I know the story and all that, my question is, Who starts the whistling or whatever that is that leads tot he chant? is it the same person every time? do people get sick of doing it like 15 times in a game? Do they ever tell that person to shut up and knock it off? Does it make sense to do it more than 1x against anyone other than the islanders? Why not change it for whomever they are playing. A 'Brodeur Sucks' chant would be nice...

Just wondering

Sunny from Calgary said...

So the Bruins won. I guess Calgary did the Rangers and favor I'd rather see them draft better than make the playoffs only to get swept.

Scotty Hockey said...

Anon - random people start the whistle, which is why it is so annoying. Yes, a lot of us are sick of it at the Garden, plenty tell the whistler to shut up. No it doesn't make sense to do it all night against everyone. Some folks will yell Brodeur or Crosby but in general, the sheep all yell the same thing every. single. time. And it is annoying.