Apologies to my dedicated readers (especially Mowzie) for the lateness of this but a friend of mine was providing conversation and a tab at the bar in the bowels of Rexall and I'm not going to reject free sugar cane based beverages on a non-working night.
I'm so very glad we won tonight. Fall for #1 pick notwithstanding, I couldn't have put up with these moronic Edmonton Leafs fans that some of you shameful season ticket holders let into the building if they'd managed to win. We had the worst of the worst I'd say; the "SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT" "GO Leafs" every 30 seconds, chew-chomping, Oilers-booing (you don't boo home teams in their own barn, it's pathetic), anthem interrupting (Leafs fans are the only ones who interrupt the anthem to yell) losers who got exactly what they deserved tonight as they were beaten by us after playing a pathetic game.
I didn't realize how bad Vesa Toskala has become via television. Having now seen him live, and realized that we could've probably scored 8 or 9 times if he'd had even a little more of an off night despite us not really putting forth a great offensive effort was really amazing. He waved at just about every puck then awkwardly scrambled to get something in front of it. This team with Hemsky, Comrie, a non-injured Horcoff and Khabibulin would've won 12-0 against this sad sack bunch.
I was downright angry that the defence let down Deslauriers and didn't get him his SO. He won this game for us tonight and played spectacular. He had control of the puck and the game until the Leafs were allowed to take 4 successive shots from in close and even then it took a bad bounce to beat him. I was even more pissed that it was Kessel who got the goal because I truly hate that arrogant puke. His style of play is hilarious to me. In the west he wouldn't last half a season before someone broke him in half. If any of our physical defencemen were half-motivated (looking at you Sheldon) it woulda happened tonight.
A great big thank you to Jacques who put that arrogant joker Komisarek in his place and made him bleed. Where this guy gets off thinking he's some tough SOB I really don't know. It's hard to believe that a career could go down the toilet as fast as this guy's has.
The moron behind me kept going on and on and on about Kaberle. I see that he's good, but Visnovsky puts him to shame. He's not in the same class as a guy like Lubomir.
I feel a little bad for Ian White being stuck on this team. I remember watching him in the WJC's years ago and thinking he might amount to something. He seems to have made it there and is doomed to play for this team during his time to shine. The fact that he directed one of our goals in past his useless goaltender just added to that sadness. I also enjoy the way Lee Stempniak plays the game. He's wasting away in TO. I'd like to pick him up next year and let him do some secondary scoring. He could be our Rene Bourque.
This game was probably one of the worst I've seen Shawn Horcoff play in a while. I don't like his style at the best of times but tonight his giveaways were just plain ugly. Like passing the puck to no one ugly. Not impressive to say the least. I'd guess he's disinterested.
But then again, so is Sheldon Souray. I've never seen him flip a puck lazily up the boards as many times as in this game. He wasn't committed to skating with it at all. There was no will to work for anything on his part. I can understand the frustration, but have some pride man...
Our top line was disappointing for me tonight. There can be no doubt that Penner is down at least two notches from where he was not that long ago. Whether he'll elevate his game for a while or just play out the string I don't know. He had at least 2 chances (one he generated beating a man himself and another one-timer off the rush) that he would've scored on recently, but he didn't really come too close.
Nilsson made a couple nice passes including one to Gilbert that Tom whiffed on, and also made an excellent play to the slot in the third where he took a really nice slapper (he needs to write that play down and do it once a game, he'll score 20+), but other than that was pretty invisible. I'm still on the "trade him while he has value" train.
Gagner had his moments including some solid skating and passing on the PP, but again I just don't think he's all there right now.
Did Ethan Moreau even show up other than to take a few useless shots and dump the puck in some? Not that I noticed.
Again, props to Jacques for his contribution. I didn't understand the star selection as from my recollection he did a whole lot of nothing with the puck and didn't really hit that much. Did I miss something?
Cogliano can't seem to do anything right. I remember one quick burst into the T.O. zone and that's round about it.
If we were a good team, say with Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky running out there racking up pluses and a line like T. Hunter-Arnott-Brule riding shotgun, I could really get behind this whole O'Sullivan-Stone-Potulny thing. They are indeed the epitomy of what I would use as a third line in that they are capable of really solid 2-way efforts, have 2 excellent skaters, have someone who can hit, and all of them can score if given the chance. I don't think we'll ever get to see anything like that but a guy can hope.
O'Sullivan got a couple really great breaks but I think you have to give him credit for taking advantage. He could have created additional offence if linemates cashed in on the passes he made so I wouldn't say his offence was limited. We might've scored on his bank shot anyway. He lept into the play nicely on his breakaway after being in a good position to pounce. What I was impressed by was that he FINALLY used something from his substantial repertoire of moves to make a goalie look stupid. Granted it was Toskala but still...why doesn't he play with that confidence, that which he had in the preseason, more often? I don't know.
Much as I like Stone's game, this was one of his weaker ones because he kept passing the puck either to no one or to the opposition. Not a great thing for a guy whose benefit is that he brings a simple game more than anything else. He needs to be better.
Potulny wasn't as noticable as I would've liked. I remember perhaps one good shot directed at the net and he needs to be more effective than that. I don't remember any particular lapses from him though.
I noticed Stortini more than usual tonight. I'm not sure that he actually accomplished alot though I do remember a very solid offensive chance that he didn't wind up coverting. Oh well I suppose. I like his game when I notice him 3-5 times offensively and he pisses someone off. I think he did okay on that tonight. Moreau now that I recollect got in the face of Colton Orr who is wearing a tinted visor for some reason...what's with that?
Isn't it funny how much Jeff Finger sucks? And how much he's getting paid? I swear that one never gets old.
I think we could use Grabovski even though I'm pretty sure he's crazy. He plays like a crazy person. Maybe we could turn him into Andrei Kovalenko...a type this team is sorely missing.
Smid made a couple great defensive plays tonight including one that hurt him in the third...I believe it was on Kessel. He isn't skating with the puck as much I noticed though and that makes me wonder if his motivation is starting to wane.
I did notice though that in the third when the team was trying to get Deslauriers the shutout by strangely collapsing and giving T.O. a bunch of chances they hadn't earned, it seems as though Steve Staios of all people was the one bearing down and preventing some key chances. I was surprised then when he was beaten on the Kessel goal, but I put a decent amount of that on Souray. I watched it again and still have trouble believing that he was bearing down for his goalie who deserved a BLANK tonight.
I didn't see anything particularly dynamic from any of our defence tonight.
Wouldn't it be great to play in the least? Toronto was horrible. How they compete against pretty much anyone I have no idea. We played like unmotivated cattle and still beat them with relative ease and a good goalie effort. How do they ever win with Toskala in the net? Seriously?!?! It's just weird to watch. We'd get shelled 8-0 every game playing like they do. They've just go nothing.
I couldn't take a loss to that team tonight. We were very much due its true, and even if you want #1 overall horribly bad, you're not going to lose every game. You'd be punished by somehow losing the lottery if you did I'm sure of it.
Well, I hope I was a little more into the whole analysis thing tonight. I make no secret of the fact that I'm better at looking at players in wins than losses, but I was actually noticing specific things again tonight which is a positive for me. I was having trouble tracking anything lately due to the utter lack of passion our boys are displaying.
With that said, I'm not exactly thinking this is the start of anything particularly special. It's just beating Toronto, and thank gawd for that!