Loose-Leafs Okay, let's get started - the Loose-Leafs for the past two weeks (I wanted to do one last week, but we only had three games played at that point so there wasn't really anything to talk about). First of all, something that is being lost with all the "oh looks, the Leafs are playing really not so good defensive hockey, look how lucky they are." comments - this is the best start the franchise has had in twenty years. Let's just stop and think about that one for a moment. Everyone can acknowledge that A: the Leafs have not played 60 minutes of complete hockey yet this season B: the Defensive play of the entire team is a lot to be desired. C: We're missing 4 key parts of our lineup (as of today, we are the youngest team in the NHL). Best start in 20 years. Reaction by everyone, including some Leaf Fans: 1: saying "Oh, it's only October." (well, 2 points in October is 2 points in April) 2: they are playing weak teams. (and the point? those are teams we need to be beating) 3: they only have good goaltending so far OR their offense is helping them out. 4: Oh - they are lucky to have won. that's the one that gets my goat the most. "the Leafs should be lucky, that they won." then if it was another team - it becomes "well you have to be good to be lucky, and lucky to be good." or another favourite cliche "you have to win the games that you should have lost." Taking this back to last year, when we were all divided about who we wanted to play (Montreal or Boston), and those who wanted Boston was like we'd learn so much more. Then Game 7 happened, and even through the summer, I (and some few others) were saying - that's going to be the fire that burns the Leafs butts all year round. And we're seeing it now (kinda). the quiet confidence of - "okay fine, we're down by X amount of goals, whatever, we're going to tie it up, and then we're going to win. The end." We did it against Ottawa (Bernier being a star) and we did it against Edmonton (Bernier not being a star). The only lead we've blown was the game. Reimer said it best (Daisy Paraphase): "I wasn't too worried, because I know the boys would come back, I just feel bad that I put them in that situation." #classyguy We could be a lot of different under .500 variables, but I think the fact that we aren't speaks a lot about the character of the club. So, good on you boys. Stats so Far our G/G is 3.67 (4th) GA/G is 2.50 (10th) 5-5 F/A is 1.08 PP 29.2% (6th) PK 90.9% (2nd) then we get into the Shots per and Shots against 30.8 (for) and 34.2 (Against) that's not very bad at all, I think. the one that is bothering me is the faceoff percentage: 45.7% If you look at our stats so far - they are pretty good for the most part. We've never had a lead in the first period at all this season. (Kind of funny - that's where we did most of our damage last year), this year, we're lowering the boom and doing it all in the third period. The only team that is lower than us in the top 10 is Calgary (at 44 percent). Colorado hasn't hit 50 yet but they're practically there at 49.4. in 6 games Bozak has already taken 156 faceoffs and is at 49.4 percent [leading the League there]. but the next leaf is Bolland at 44%. In the past three games we've not even hit 40 percent in a game. I am actually surprised that Bozak's FO percentage was that high, because it really looked like he (and the entire team were being decimated on the dot). I've been saying lately I wonder if it is Bozak's arm (he had a separated tricep during the playoffs) that's affecting his strength/ability to be as consistent on the draw because I can't really ever remember him being owned time and again by like everyone. (Patrice Bergeron yes, but he owns almost everyone in the faceoff dot). If the Playoffs were Today Per usual, we've played more games than anyone else in our division minus Buffalo. so it's not "quite" accurate, however, it's never too late to play this little game. it would be , , as the guaranteed three seeds (look! just like last year!) and then & as the wildcard. (we have a 4 point cushion on Bruins/Habs/Wings/Tampa as they are all tied at 6 points with respective games in hands etc and nonsense like that). We have Nice Things. Be Happy Isn't it nice when we have nice things? No matter how you slice it - crap game or fantastic game we've got some solid, secure goaltending back there. They are giving us the chance to win. I like it! this guy is looking pretty solid here. At this point I will be more surprised if he gets sent down than if he doesn't. I truly think that the Leafs are going to burn a year off the ELC. he with the green mouth guard. JVR truly looks like he is ready to explode. He had one off game (just standing there waiting for the magic to happen), but then the past few games, it's like he had a switch go on in his mind that went "right, I have to MOVE to make the magic happen." big year for our Big James. so. let's just be happy that we've got all these pieces, and instead of trading everything away let's be all ooooo.. they are OURS! Player of the Week You could argue Bernier (well no you would really have a point there, Bernier has been a star), or Lupul or JVR - but I honestly think that Bolland in his very quiet "don't worry, I've got this." mannerism has quietly stolen the show. The storylines in Toronto has been Gardiner may/may not be traded Carlyle may or may not hate Gardiner Kadri in the doghouse Everyone hates Carlyle Bozak is a bum Ranger is a bum Leafs can't play defense Bernier is very good But even with the whole "Isn't he a little bit like Dougie?" love-in from Cherry, Bolland's first three goals of the club have all been game winners. (well Game tying, and THEN game winner, game winner). He's on the ice in the last few minutes of play in every game, he's on the ice during overtime (mind blown there). and he's just quietly leading the team through this stretch. Just. awesome. Next Week We have three games on the schedule Tuesday against - (sportsnet - find a stream, I don't think it's a national game) Thursday against - (Leafstv - find a stream) Saturday against (road game and obviously on CBC) I think when everyone comes back (Kulemin, Clarkson, Fraser, McLaren) you are going to see a lot more of "our game" finishing checks, more blocked shots, the whole kitenkaboodle. The scary thing - and something I think we all need to acknowledge and recognize: the TEAM knows they aren't doing well - they KNOW they can do so much better and they've got the confidence that they can pull their butts out of the fire until they can get there. So what happens when they DO get there? But seriously - the teams motto this year (I saw it on CBC) is Attack as a Team. Which makes perfect sense because this team is all about live by the sword/die by the sword in so much of their play, defense, offense, whatever. I believe in this team and I think we're going to be seeing many a wonderful thing from them overall. (go figure, we're all about Keep Calm & Corsi's Wrong, but the last three games, we've had better Corsi. Naturally). See ya next week!