The roller coaster ride continues. After a week that saw the Leafs lose a lackluster showdown with the Florida Panthers, then rebound with an overtime victory over the Atlanta Thrashers, the roller coaster ride that is the Toronto media continues to be a thrill a minute.
Heading into the match-up with the Panthers, it was billed as ‘the biggest game of the year’ for the team pulling up the rear in the eastern conference; a chance to move within striking distance of moving up in the standings and out of the upcoming draft lottery.
Then it happened. The youngsters who had been hailed in the Toronto media as world-beaters for their late season run laid an egg on home ice. And the media bore their teeth – as is customary in this city after a loss – and we were back to wondering whether this late season surge was just another mirage of a team turning it on with no pressure when the games no longer mean anything.
What happened Thursday? Another OT win, and another reaction of the youthful optimism that should be shared amongst Leafs fans; Luca Caputi was a good prospect again, Tyler Bozak is a first line centre potential of the future, and the Phil Kessel trade makes sense all over again. (29 goals after missing training camp and the first month of the season? Not too shabby in my humble opinion – this kid will score 50 one year)
Such is life in the big smoke. Open up a daily paper one day and the boys in blue and white are heroes; open it the next and they are goats.
I’ll agree with the fact this surge on it’s face is another late season run the organization has gone on each of the last 3 or 4 seasons; winning when it doesn’t matter, doing nothing other than worsening its June draft position. This year is different though – a new core of young players, ‘out with the old’ (except Kaberle) and a working audition for next year and a chance to try and prove the team is on the right track by winning these games when it matters most – in October and November.
For me, that will truly be the test of where this team is, and where it is going.
The Leafs welcome the NY Rangers to town tonight for a HNIC ‘Original 6’ showdown. Fresh off a workman-like 2-1 OT victory, let’s see which group shows up to the ACC tonight.
7:00PM – CBC
I hope to get some comments up tomorrow about tonight’s game.
The suits at PSB have asked that we share some personal info about ourselves with our readers, to give you an idea where we’re coming from, why we cover the teams we do, and what sort of credentials we have so you should take our opinions seriously.
With long moonlit walks on the beach, picnics and puppy dogs as givens of my favorite things to do, here’s a little bit about where I’m coming from and why I love the Leafs:
- I am a born and bred Torontonian, having grown up in a family of loyal Leaf supporters.
- I typed out a similar blog at lunch yesterday and lost it because I didn’t save it as I wrote.
- I just hit save for the 15th time while writing this.
- I played minor hockey in the world’s greatest kid’s hockey league – the MTHL. (I’m not buying into the latest acronym with a G…it will always be the MTHL in my books)
- In order, team bios:
- Leaside Kings AA – minor novice and novice.
- Toronto Marlies AAA – atom
- Mississauga Reps AAA – minor pee wee
- Toronto Young Nationals AAA – pee wee to bantam
- Thornhill Islanders Tier II Jr. A – (midget year)
- London Knights – OHL
- Guelph Storm – OHL
- Guelph Gryphons – CIS
- I have a number of past team mates in the NHL currently and hope to sit down this summer with a couple of them to chat hockey and see if they’ll give us a little insight on what it’s like playing in the NHL.
- I was the 1st pick in the 4th round of the 1996 OHL entry draft.
- I was married this past September. a
- I love the Chicago Bears but don’t know enough about the NFL to write about them.
- I am up 7-3 in my fantasy hockey semi-final after an almost wire-to-wire first place finish (and $300) and first round bye. This is making me (and my wife) happy…alll the time at the computer will pay off my 2009/10 fantasy fees…fingers crossed.
- As I’m typing this, I am watching this past Tuesday’s episode of LOST on ROD for the second time…I am hooked, and I don’t mind.
Anyways, I love talking hockey, love the player development and management side of the industry, and plan on focusing and covering the Buds as they claw their way back to respectability, and to witness my dream of the Leafs knocking off both the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens in the same playoff year.
Enjoy the game tonight.
About the Author
Written by Mike De Petrillo
Leafs fan; former OHL LW; Live in Toronto