College of Sports Media Game of the Night:
Toronto GM Brian Burke turned over a couple new Leafs on Sunday morning as he continues to mold this team into an eventual winner. Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White were all thanked for their services and shipped off to Calgary. Both Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake were given the same treatment and then were directed to Anaheim. Donning the Blue White for the first time tonight via Cow-town will be defenceman Dion Phaneuf and Fredrik Sjostrom, while prospect Keith Aulie will be pulling on a Marlies jersey. Coming in from the West coast is goaltender J.S. Giguere, who will get the start tonight as the new-look Leafs play their second game against the New Jersey Devils in the last seven games. Last Friday these two teams battled in the Garden State. The Devils were leading in the third 4-2 in the third when Toronto came back to tie the game and force overtime. With less than a minute to play in the extra frame the Devils scored and won the game 5-4. The Leafs followed that loss with another a Saturday night when they blew and 3-0 lead and eventually loss 5-3 to the Vancouver Canucks – cue Burke’s busy Sunday. Toronto has been horrible as of late. They’re 2-6-2 in their last ten and are now tied for last place in the Eastern Conference. Consistent goaltending and defensive play have plagued the team all year. They’ve given up the most goals in the league (197) and over their last three games are giving up an average of five goals per game. The addition of Giguere and Phaneuf should help in this department. Giguere is an upgrade from Toskala and will be a good positive influence on Jonas Gustavsson. The big question is – who’s going to score? The quartet of Stajan, Hagman, Blake and White combined for 54 of the team’s 148 goals. You have to believe that Burke isn’t done dealing and before the March 3 trade deadline more changes will be made. The Devils followed up their win over Toronto with a loss 3-2 loss to the LA Kings. Surprisingly the Devils have not been that much better then the Leafs as of late. Over the last ten they’re only one game better then Toronto. New Jersey still maintains their lead in the Atlantic division, but it’s dwindled to a one point edge over the surging Pittsburgh Penguins.
On the hard court the Toronto Raptors are in Indiana looking to run their winning streak to six tonight as they battle the Pacers. The Raptors are four games above .500 for the first time this season and trail the Atlantic leading Boston Celtics by only five games. The Raps slowed down the Pacers on Sunday afternoon at the ACC beating Indiana 117-102. Offence has been the key for Toronto. They’ve hit the century mark in 11 consecutive games and are averaging 107 in that stretch. Chris Bosh continues to be the team’s catalyst. On Sunday Bosh scored 25 points and pulled down 15 boards for his 35th double-double (second behind Dwight Howard – 36). If Toronto can keep up the pace they may give the Celtics some stiff competition for the division crown and home court advantage in the playoffs.