breaking news

Maple Leafs Needed Roy Halladay Tonight

October 7th, 2009 | by torontosportsmedia

One game by itself doesn’t say a whole hell of a lot does it? So I am not going to hit the alarm or panic button as many of the Toronto media suggest we nutty Leaf fans do. However, watching tonight’s game was like going in back in time to when the Maple Leafs were coached by Paul Maurice. They looked totally disinterested in the game, unprepared and unwilling to do whatever it took to win. From my seats at the ACC, it was a sad effort by the blue and white to say the least.

A couple of weeks ago, a Boston Red Sox pitcher plunked Adam Lind with a pitch. The next night Roy Halladay plunked David Ortiz. Payback, the code or whatever else you want to call it. You hit one of ours, we hit one of yours.

Brian Burke said his teams would have: “Proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence” there wasn’t evidence of that tonight.

Viktor Stalberg get laid out by Anton Volchekno and who payed him back???????? I mean every kid who ever played hockey knows that when one of your guys gets hit, someone goes after that guy or another skill guy on the other side. It’s just the way it works. Doesn’t mean you have to kill someone, or injury them. Rosehill, Exleby, Orr, Komisarek were all in the lineup tonight- none delivered. The guys who Burke identified as the plumbers clearly left their plungers at home tonight.

From the stands, and it is one game, 2 things were very evident. First, their is a leadership void so far. The Leafs still lack an identity. They still don’t have the one guy who can pick them up and put them on their backs. They don’t have the guy who can throw the big hit and get them going. Second, for whatever reason, Luke Schenn is wound up sooooooooooooo tight. No idea why but it looks like he is feeling the stress big time. He is clearly fighting the puck, and a result he is turning it over repeatedly.

My overall take away. Despite a lengthy training camp, the new guys aren’t yet comfortable and the team doesn’t yet have leaders. Until those two issues are addressed, it’s going to be difficult to win games like tonight. With Stalberg out, we really had no offensive spark. Gustavsson played well enough to win. The Leafs did look very comfortable in front of him, way more so than in front of Toskala.

A trend? A pattern? Time to panic? No… Something to keep an eye on? ABSOLUTELY. As I said when they acquired Kessel, the pressure on Ron Wilson just got amped up a notch or three. A few more efforts (or lack there of) like tonight and, well you know…..

By the way, little TSM had the time of his life. He soaked it all in and can’t wait to go back. He, of course wants to see the Penguings play the Leafs next time. Anyone interested in a road trip to Pittsburgh???

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

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4 Comments

  1. BOB S says:

    ‘Viktor Stalberg get laid out by Anton Volchekno and who payed him back???????? I mean every kid who ever played hockey knows that when one of your guys gets hit, someone goes after that guy or another skill guy on the other side. It’s just the way it works’

    IT’S NOT THE WAY IT WORKS. WHY DOES EVERY HIT NEED PAYBACK?????? THAT HIT WAS CLEAN, STALBERG HAD HIS HEAD DOWN AND SKATED RIGHT THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE ZONE, RIGHT ACROSS THE TRAIN TRACKS. AND WHO THAT FUCK IS STALBERG, A SKILL GUY??? THE GUY HAS BARELY PLAYED IN NHL, AS A ROOKIE HE SHOULD GO OUT AND SHOW THAT HE DESERVES RESPECT IN THE LEAGUE. HITTING IS PART OF HOCKEY. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE SKATING WITH HIS HEAD DOWN GOT LAID OUT DOESNT MEAN YOU HAVE TO GO AFTER THE OTHER GUY. THATS BULLSHIT HOCKEY. THE LEAFS PROBABLY KNEW THAT STALBERG HAD HIS HEAD DOWN AND JUST PAID THE PRICE FOR IT. THATS PROBABLY WHY THERE WAS NO GOON BULLSHIT OR RETRIBUTION FOR A CLEAN HIT.
    FUCK GARY ROBERTS TOO, SOLID NHL PLAYER BUT WHAT DID THAT PRICK DO IN A LEAFS JERSEY TO DESERVE A CELEBRATION. THIS ISNT CALGARY.

  2. Tsm says:

    I respectfully disagree. You don’t have to goon it up, or pick a fight but you send a message to both other teams and to your own team that if you hit skill players expect the same back.

    As for Roberts, who cares? It took 2 mins. They didn’t raise his number to the rafters. They paid tribute to a guy who played 20+ years in the league, some of which came here and paid tribute to a great career. No harm no foul.

    Could have used a guy like him tonight!

  3. lt67 says:

    @Bob S Wow…I agree that a clean hit should not be replied to with a fight or dirty play. However, I always want to be on the + side of the physical play over my opponent. Volchekno needs to know when he hits our guy hard he’s going to be a target (not of a dirty hit but a hard clean hit). Make him think twice about playing us tough. The idea is that WE are the tougher team…we want to put teams on their heals and make them think twice about going into corners or taking shots at our guys…”‘To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”….that’s what its all about. According to the stats, we were out hit 35 to 27…with one guy out with a concussion. This is exactly what Burke is trying to change. I don’t know the stats by player but; Kulemin may have had more hits than anyone else on the team…KULEMIN!! Maybe Poni and a few others need some time in the minors to figure out what’s required…Kulemin certainly took his few days at the Richo to heart.

    Regarding Roberts….a shot at Roberts or the Leafs for paying tribute to a good player who had a great influence while playing here? Geez….you must have better things to worry about/critize. The fans loved Roberts – the tribute was not over the top (no jersey to the rafters). Burke is trying to change the culture around here – it will take time. Bringing forward guys like Robersts as a model for Leafs teams is a very small part of the process. Remind the players what a “Leaf” is supposed to be….Sounds corney I know but….creating a culture is about the big and little things you do and it takes time. Kudos to the Leafs for honouring Roberts.

    LT

  4. ChuChu says:

    It was a painful game to watch – very little flow at all. Lots of broken plays and bad passes through the neutral zone.

    Few positives to take out of it:

    – I thought the monster played well. For the first goal he was pushed into his own net by White. The second goal he was facing one of the top skill guys in the league so you can’t really fault him in either case. He was aggressive and came out to challenge a number of times and for his first start I thought he did great.

    – Kaberle has been playing amazing so far. Man am I ever glad this guy didn’t get traded away. Calm puck control under pressure, amazing passes like that goal setup, and he was really doing his best to push the pace at the end. I wish he could have put in that buzzer beater.

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