Sunday, 28 April 2013

Game 48: Canadiens 4, Leafs 1

1)  Is the ship righted?  The Canadiens skated, and forechecked and pressured the statuesque Leafs defencemen and made them cough up the puck and look downright AHL-quality.  Surprising, we all thought that Mike Kostka was a prodigious treasure found on the scrap heap, TSN was agog that this guy never had a shot at the NHL.  Hmmm....

2)  So is the ship righted?  Powerplay?  Check.  Penalty kill?  Check.  Discipline?  Check.  Team toughness, but not losing our marbles and trying to fight the enemy on their own terrain?  Check.  Goaltending?  Well....

3)  Kid line!

4)  Is this the final nail in the Coach's Corner?  I mean, what else does this guy have to do to lose his job?  Never mind the onion-on-the-belt stories, and how his analysis has no beginning or end, just a self-referencing mish-mash of a middle, where you have to try to divine what he is trying to say about blocking shots, is he fer it or agin' it?  Or was that a rant against College players?

5)  And the Hot Stove panel needs to be blown up.  Have a pre-game roundtable, fine, but cut it down to one or two people and the host.  The 2nd intermission Satellite Hotstove used to be my favourite, because it brought a different, fresh view to the proceedings, with Al Strachan and John Davidson and other outsiders, from different locales than just Toronto.  We'd get perspective from American teams, external to the HNIC hype machine.  That needs to be re-established.  Besides, how long does PJ Stock have to be on camera before he runs out of things to say?  Is the over-under one minute?  These guys have yammered at us since the start of the game, how eager are we to hear what they have to say once the Hot Stove rolls around.

6)  Really, is the ship righted?  Tomas Plekanec's line didn't do much, and neither did David Desharnais', althought they both are still working hard.  René Bourque just seems snakebitten, he's getting and even generating opportunities, but nothing is going in for him.  Let's hope he goes on a ten or twelve-game Michael Ryder-style scoring streak beginning Tuesday.

7)  As far as the ship being righted, Jarred Tinordi seems to be earning the trust of the team and coaches.  Again, I'm not sure that he's better right now than the defencemen he's replacing, but his skillset complements the others better.  Yannick Weber wasn't doing badly, but he was bringing to the team more of what it already had, Jarred adds to the toolbox.  Let's play it by ear.  If he slows down or has a hiccup or two, we can mix in someone else and see what happens.

8)  And the Michel Therrien magic touch struck again, shuffling up his lines, and seeing his decision to play the backup goalie quickly validated.  I may have to revise my contention that only Patrick Roy was a suitable choice for head coach.

9)  How farcical can Randy Carlyle and his orangutans get?  What a ridiculous showing by Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren.  The refs actually didn't allow them to turn the game into a sideshow, giving them verbal warnings multiple times until Frazer McLaren tried to goon it up with the game out of reach.  They rightly gave him a double minor, and didn't automatically give Ryan White a minor for being assaulted and having to defend himself, which is the usual practice in the NHL.  They also gave Mr. McLaren an immediate game misconduct and removed him from the equation, which should be the standard operating procedure with guys like that.

10)  Leo Komarov, really?  The HNIC crew yukked it up about how he's got the biggest curve of any Maple Leafs, yet could play with a ringuette stick for all he does with the puck.  He's the king of the late hit, the worst of the 'finish your check' squad, getting to the play a second after it's over.  If the League really wants to grow and thrive and showcase its stars and wow its fans and reduce injuries and care for the safety of its players, the low-hanging fruit is the removal of Leo Komarov, and others who fulfill his 'role' for other teams.  How many Martin St. Louis and Pavel Datsyuks never make the NHL because they're weeded out on the way up or displaced by Leo Komarovs?  How is that smart?  I'll say again, does the NFL allow thugs to take out its Tom Bradys?  Does the NBA let opponents hack on LeBron James or Kevin Durant?  Am I the only one who sees the Bettmanperor has no clothes?  How is this so hard to figure out?

11)  And Dion Phaneuf, don't think we didn't see your end-of-game dirty, sleazy crosscheck in the back of Ryan White, while he's already engaged in an assault by Colton Orr.  And we also saw your tremulous backpedal and head on a swivel after the fact.  We know all about facilitated aggression, and how you and Nazem Kadri are great example of china dolls who become tough guys when they're in the bully pack.  You're awesome Dion.  Leaf fans have reason to be proud.  Again.

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