Toronto Maple Leafs: Future Still Bright and Getting Brighter

January 29, 2010

By Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano… As most of Leafs Nation knows by now, Toronto is not going to make the playoffs unless they go on some sort of miraculous run, which I wouldn’t bet on.

So we have to look ahead and try to figure out who will be the impact players for Toronto in the future.

One that has stepped to the forefront of my mind and continually puts himself in a position to make the roster next year is one Nazem Kadri.

Not only did he have a great showing with the Canadian juniors, he has been tearing it up with London Knights of the OHL too.

Kadri has 24 goals and 32 assists for 56 points in 36 games. He added nine points over the weekend to those totals in two games.

Friday he had one goal and four assists against the Erie Otters, and Sunday he had two goals and two assists against the Peterborough Petes.

A definite bright spot!

Jerry D’Amigo is another young guy who had a great World Junior showing and is sure to make an impact once he is given the chance. He can score under pressure, has great speed, and has the skills overall to get a regular shift in the NHL.

Tyler Bozak, who is getting his shot up with the big club as we speak, has shown some sparks of greatness and the ability to adjust to the NHL, and has a respectable five points in eight games.

Obviously Phil Kessel is going to be here in Toronto for a good time to come unless the Edmonton Oilers want to trade two first-rounders and a second-rounder for him. Considering the Oilers are going to finish last overall in the NHL and should draft either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin, I wouldn’t bet on that trade happening.

Between the pipes it looks like the Leafs are going to be giving the “Monster”, Jonas Gustavsson, the reins for the rest of the season, and he has shown sparks of greatness but will need to be signed. Who the other goalie will be is anybody’s guess.

The young guys from the Marlies, including Victor Stalberg and Christian Hanson, who have both seen time with the club with varied success, may get more time up and additional ice time.

One guy I have talked about before who never seems to get a chance and who would help address one of the glaring problems the Leafs face as a whole, which is goals against, is Daryl Boyce. He is an excellent two-way forward, great forechecker, and tenacious on the penalty kill. He can also skate like the wind.

It is surprising to most, aside from a few who have followed the Marlies over the last couple years, that Andre Deveaux is leading them in points because of the call ups to the big club. Deveaux is a tough guy, as some of Leafs Nation may have seen when he’s had his opportunities up with the Leafs, but he is also great on the boards and in front of the net.

On the back end, Leafs fans may get a look at stay-at-home rugged defenseman Phil Oreskovic and perhaps newcomer tough guy Brennan Evans, who leads the Marlies in penalty minutes with 144 in 45 games.

Leafs Nation is getting a good look at D Carl Gunnarsson, and he sure isn’t disappointing, as he is another bright spot for Toronto in the future.

Another young guy who should get a look in the future is Owen Sound Attack D Jesse Blacker, who has four goals and 21 assists for 25 points in 33 games.

There are a few others like F Ben Winnett, F Mikhail Stefanovich, F Jerome Flaake, and F Jimmy Hayes.

I’d really like Leafs General Manager Brian Burke to give some of the players who haven’t gotten a fair shake up with the big club their chance to shine.

Burke said it would take time to right the ship, and that’s the truth.

The shakeup at the end of this year, with all the free agents and the possibility of moves before the Olympics or before the trade deadline, along with all the offseason signings, will certainly give the team a whole new look when next year begins.

What the Leafs roster will look like is almost impossible to speculate on truly. There are a few faces that will be there, but as a whole the team will have an extremely new look to it, I’d bet, especially after its performance this year.

Leafs Nation, I believe, is more than ready to go young and grow from within, though after missing the playoffs for such a long period of time, immediate success is yearned for as well.

We’ll have to see if Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs management team can bring one or both to the disheartened fans of the blue and white.

Wouldn’t the Toronto Maple Leafs Love To Have Johnny Bower Now!

January 15, 2010

By Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano… The Toronto Maple Leafs are dead last in the goals against department, having given up 164 goals to this point and have had multiple injuries to their starting goalies.

The problems between the pipes for the Leafs may be solved in the future by Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson, who has shown signs of greatness but is still feeling his way around the NHL.

Vesa Toskala is in the last year of his contract and I am pretty sure he won’t be resigned in Toronto.

Where they find the right goal tending tandem for the future is up to GM Brian Burke and staff. They will hopefully appease the hunger of Toronto fans for solid net minders.

If only Leafs Nation could get the great Johnny Bower, the last man to win a Stanley Cup for the Toronto Maple Leafs, back in net!

Johnny Bower was born in 1924 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, but now resides in the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario.

Nicknamed “The China Wall,” Bower played 12 years in Toronto and amassed 250 wins and 37 shutouts and had a regular season goals against average of 2.51.

From 1940-1943, Mr. Bower served Canada in WWII while stationed in England.

He won three consecutive Stanley Cups for Toronto in 1962, ‘63, and ‘64 and added another championship in 1967, which would turn out to be the Leafs’ last title.

He was the second oldest goalie to appear in the playoffs at the age of 42 years, five months, and 13 days.

He still holds the record for most shutouts in the AHL and won two Vezina Trophies for the best goalie in the NHL.

Mr. Bower makes multiple appearances and is considered one of the most fan friendly players ever to have played the game. He is always willing to give an autograph to a fan. A lot of people I have talked to have stories about meeting Mr. Bower, and he has touched many people’s lives with his generosity and kindness.

Now in his 80s, Mr. Bower still has been seen out on a pond near his house cleaning off the ice with local kids and even playing a bit with them.

Every team in the NHL would love to have a scrappy goalie in net for them like Johnny Bower. But alas, it seems they are few and far between, and in the case of Mr. Bower, one-of-a-kind!

I will have the pleasure of having the great Hall of Famer, “The China Wall,” the one and only Mr. Johnny Bower, as a guest on my show Get The Puck Out on www.morencysports.com on Saturday, Jan. 16th between 6-7 PM EST.

Jerry D’Amigo: Maple Leafs Prospect Rips It Up At WJC Helping USA To Gold

January 7, 2010

By Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano… Jerry D’Amigo has been under the radar as a prospect for the Toronto Maple Leafs with all the talk about Tyler Bozak, Christian Hanson, Viktor Stalberg, and Nazem Kadri, but that is all going to change.

D’Amigo scored two goals against Sweden to put the USA into the Gold Medal game against Canada. He had a goal and an assist against Canada helping lead the USA to a Gold Medal win.

In both of those games he showed that under big time pressure he can produce.

He finished the World Junior under 20 Tournament with six goals, six assists for 12 points, and second in scoring for the Gold Medal winning USA.

He was selected by his coaches as one of the top three players on Team USA at the WJC along with Tyler Johnson and Derek Stepan.

After spending three years with the U.S. National Under-18 Team he is now playing for R.P.I (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) in the NCAA.

D’Amigo was drafted in the sixth round, 158th overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He stands 5’11” and weighs in at 196 lbs, but plays the physical game of a bigger bodied player. Still, he can dangle and stick handle with finesse and obviously bulge the twine when given the chance.

With all the speculation as to who is going to be playing with Leafs sniper Phil Kessel in the future, a name that should be in that mix now is that of Jerry D’Amigo.

The stock of the Toronto Maple Leafs is on the rise with young players in the fold like Nazem Kadri, Ben Winnet, Jimmy Hayes, Chris DiDomenico, and Jerry D’Amigo.

The battle to make the playoffs this year will still be a stiff one, but the future of this team finally has some bright spots.

Not too far down the road Leafs Nation will be happy as they will become a perennial playoff team when, hopefully, all these young guns mature into NHL studs.

Don’t miss it, puckheads! every Saturday from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

You can catch Morency and “Get The Puck Out” at www.morencysports.com

Toronto Maple Leafs: Second Half Surge?

January 5, 2010

By Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano… Tonight marks the beginning of the second half of the season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and if they are going to get going, now’s the time!

The Leafs host the pesky Florida Panthers tonight at the ACC; the teams are meeting for the second time this season.

The first battle between these teams was a high-scoring affair in which Toronto fell behind early—no surprise—but came back and won 6-4 during a sweep of both Florida teams.

Both starting goalies will be the same for this game as in the first meeting, with Jonas Gustavsson going for the Leafs and Tomas Vokoun between the pipes for the Panthers.

Both these teams need to win!

But the Leafs should be playing with much more urgency than Florida if they expect to even get a sniff of a playoff spot, as Ottawa and Montreal are both 6-4 in their last ten, and are showing signs of bearing down for a run.

Toronto has tightened up on the back end as of late, and has been keeping the puck out of their net with more consistency. If they hope to make a playoff push, this will have to continue.

The Leafs haven’t given up more than three goals in their last seven games, but only have a record of 2-3-2 to show for their efforts. They scored just nine goals during those seven games.

Toronto must stay focused defensively while continuing to put the puck in the net as they have shown they can.

From where do the Leafs get a spark?

John Mitchell returns to the lineup tonight, after being out six weeks with a knee injury; he will hopefully contribute immediately.

Jonas Gustavsson will have to show he is the goalie of the future now. He needs to try and take this team on his rookie shoulders, at least between the pipes, as Vesa Toskala has been terrible this year aside from a few games.

Jason Blake can’t just lead the team in shots on net in the second half; he’ll have to either score or put the puck on the stick of someone who can.

Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan should start shooting the puck more, as they lead the team in shot percentage with 15.4 and 14.1, respectively.

Phil Kessel’s production has slowed lately, as seemingly the whole team has had a problem bulging the twine.

Teams seem to be keying on Kessel, though, and collapsing on him when he has the puck in the offensive end.

With this being the case, someone else will have to step up their game. Kessel may have to start looking for teammates to pass to, in order to take some pressure off himself.

The loss of Mikhail Grabovski, who sits tied for fifth with Blake in team scoring, definitely hurts.

This loss may give some opportunity to a guy like Viktor Stalberg, who has shown signs of what the Leafs expected of him earlier this season, scoring while in his second stint up with the big club.

Tomas Kaberle and Alexei Ponikarovsky will have to keep doing what they have been doing, though Ponikarovsky could use a little more production.

After a horrid start to the season that all of Leafs Nation has tried to forget—though after browsing the standings, it’s difficult to overlook—the Leafs will really have to get a move on.

All in all, the Leafs need more production out of the guys that are expected to bring scoring, and they need a second-half surprise player or two if they are going to make a true run at the postseason.

Tonight is the beginning of the second half, and the Leafs need to win!

Go Leafs Go!

Toronto Maple Leafs Recall Viktor Stalberg

December 19, 2009

by Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano… All the preseason hype over the young Swede fell off after an eight game stint from October first to the 28th which produced only one assist and a plus minus rating of minus five.

While playing 19 games down on the farm with the Toronto Marlies, Stalberg has amassed eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points.

This guy has all the right parts to be a daily contributor in the NHL for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He’s got a sixth gear when it comes to his wheels, he can handle the puck and he can finish.

At 6’3” and 210 pounds he is big enough to battle in front of the net and in those tough areas and separate himself from the AHL and solidify himself as NHL player.

As for any player entering the NHL it may take a little time to understand the coach’s defensive zone schemes.

In his defence, when he was up with the team earlier this season, the whole team was a mess defensively, which still stands as a knock on this squad.

Which roster spot he will fill or who the odd man out is, has yet to be released by the team, but if I were to speculate it may be due to an injury suffered in last night’s loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Hopefully Stalberg comes in this time with a little more confidence and not the wide eyed deer caught in the head lights persona he had in his first stretch.

Leafs Nation’s expectations for Viktor Stalberg are high and with the recent success the team has seen he may flourish and give them a taste of what Brian Burke and Leafs management saw in him.

After watching this kid down in the AHL this year and last with the Marlies, he is in my mind an NHL calibre player and will in the future suit up on a daily basis for this team and will produce, once given the ice-time.

I will be throwing down our Podcast “Get The Puck Out ” every Saturday from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

We’ll be giving you our opinion and taking your calls on the hottest topics in the hockey world.

The Live Podcast will be broadcast in studio from down town Toronto featuring some betting analysis, fantasy advice, trivia, team/player updates, and more puck talk than you can imagine.

Be sure to call in and let your opinion be known. Don’t miss it, puckheads!
You can catch Morency and “Get The Puck Out” at www.morencysports.com

Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Jimmy Hayes- Developing The Young Guys

December 10, 2009

by Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano… Jimmy Hayes is a 6’5” 210 pound power forward who was drafted late in the second round and 60th overall in the 2008 NHL entry draft.

He is yet another player in the Leafs organization coming out of the US college hockey program, hailing from Boston, MA, currently playing for the Boston College Eagles.

He sits sixth on Toronto’s top prospect depth chart, just under Victor Stalberg and Tyler Bozak, two players that Leafs Nation expects to see suit up for the Blue and White at the ACC in the near future.  Another player could likely be Mr. Hayes.

Toronto seems to lack a big body that can park in front of the net and bang in rebounds, screen the goalies, and be a presence in that tough area.

Hayes could be the answer in the future.

He hasn’t been a prolific goal scorer and has only three goals and seven assists in 13 games this year with the Eagles, but big tall players are usually late developers.

Hayes helped the US capture a silver medal at the 2007 IIHF World U-18 Championship in Finland.

Brian Burke continues to build this Toronto Maple Leafs team who it seems can be red hot one night and have excellent offensive output and in the next moment go ice cold.

The same can’t really be said for the defensive side of the Leafs game which has been on the cold side more consistently. With big bodies like Hayes in the future, winning battles along the boards and better defensive zone coverage will assure that the puck gets out more often than not.

One of the questions that all fans have of whichever team they root for is how should the management develop the young players in their system.

When you talk about guys like John Tavares, Victor Hedman, and Steven Stamkos, they come straight from the draft and step right into the NHL. Other players that aren’t drafted as high like Hayes usually end up back with their junior team if eligible, college team or down on the farm.

Having covered the AHL last year with the Toronto Marlies and if you have followed or watched any AHL games, you know as well as I do that the energy level, speed and roughness of the game isn’t far off from the NHL. In my mind and from what I’ve seen it can be more physical sometimes because these guys want to make an impression on the many scouts that are on hand.

How Toronto develops these guys that don’t go straight into the NHL, which have been few and far between for the Leafs, is a great concern to Leafs Nation. Last year Luke Schenn went straight to the NHL and played big minutes, this year he’s seeing less ice-time and hasn’t been great.

Now fans and media are wondering if Schenn should have been sent down to the minors instead and been given some more time. Nazim Kadri was sent back to the juniors, though some think he could have stepped right in right away and contributed having been the best player in the preseason.

Sometimes the development process doesn’t work as in the case of recently shipped out Jiri Tlusty, who was traded to Carolina for Philippe Paradis a first round 24th overall draft pick still in the minors with Shawinigan of the QMJHL.

Tlusty wasn’t a product of Brian Burke’s drafting but of John Fergusson Junior, and now Paradis can be brought along under the watchful eye of the new regime.

Toronto fans want to see some youth and with the early season woes I don’t blame them, now they are 6-2-2 in their last ten and are rounding into form.

Hopefully the young guys like Bozak, Stalberg, Hayes, and Kadri are handled properly and come out of the system that Toronto’s management believes in with flying colours and eventually become pillars of the Blue and White for years to come.

In case you didn’t know, starting Dec. 5 Gabe Morency (formally of The Score ) will be launching his new website. Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter and I will be throwing down our Podcast “Get The Puck Out ” every Saturday from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

We’ll be giving you our opinion and taking your calls on the hottest topics in the hockey world.

The Live Podcast will be broadcast in studio from down town Toronto featuring some betting analysis, fantasy advice, trivia, team/player updates, and more puck talk than you can imagine.

Be sure to call in and let your opinion be known. The inaugural show is set for Dec. 12. Don’t miss it, puckheads!
You can catch Morency and “Get The Puck Out” at
www.morencysports.com .

Toronto Maple Leafs-Boston Bruins: Phil Kessel Returns to Bean Town

December 5, 2009

by Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano… After a convincing 6-3 win for Toronto in Columbus with third string goalie Joey MacDonald between the pipes, the Leafs are on a roll. They have won four of their last five all on the road and have points in seven of their last eight games. This is certainly what Leafs Nation was expecting more of with the retooling by their GM Brian Burke in the offseason.

Boston lost a surprisingly lop sided affair in Montreal last night 5-1 to the Habs. The loss allowed Buffalo to retain possession of first overall in the north east division.

Tonight Toronto will roll into Boston to take on the Bruins and with Vesa Toskala still on the mend (groin) and Jonas Gustavsson (heart) going under the knife again, Joey MacDonald will get the start in goal.

Boston may have Toronto’s draft picks but the Leafs have their leading goal scorer from last season and Phil Kessel has been making noise since getting on the ice for the Blue and White. In only 15 games Kessel has 10 goals only three behind team leader Nik Hagman who has played in 26 games this year.

The Maple Leafs are ranked second overall in road scoring at 3.5 goals per game which is in part due to their fifth ranked road power play that is firing at 25.5 percent.

The Bruins don’t have the high powered offence that lead them to the best record in the eastern conference last year and have struggled scoring goals and sit 29th overall in that category. But their goal tending and defensive prowess has carried them so far this year.

Toronto’s defensive zone coverage will have to be better than usual as Boston should be steaming after their last game and has won five straight against the Leafs.

Though the Leafs lead the league in shots on goal averaging 34.3 per game they have had problems with hot goalies and Tim Thomas is certainly one of those.

With the recent form of the Toronto Maple Leafs they have an excellent chance of gaining a couple more points tonight if they can match the toughness of this Bruins team tonight in Boston.

In case you didn’t know, starting Dec. 5 Gabe Morency (formally of The Score ) will be launching his new website. Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter and I will be throwing down our Podcast “Get The Puck Out ” every Saturday from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

We’ll be giving you our opinion and taking your calls on the hottest topics in the hockey world.

The live podcast will be broadcast in studio from down town Toronto featuring some betting analysis, fantasy advice, trivia, team/player updates, and more puck talk than you can imagine.

Be sure to call in and let your opinion be known. The inaugural show is set for Dec. 12. Don’t miss it, puckheads!

You can catch Morency and “Get The Puck Out” at www.morencysports.com , the site launches Dec. 5.

Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jonas Gustavsson: The Monster is Under the Knife Again

December 3, 2009

by Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano… Jonas Gustavsson will undergo another surgery to correct a problem with his heart and will miss up to three weeks.

Stand tall, Jonas Leafs Nation is behind you!

Another blow to Toronto’s goaltending situation, which, as Leafs Nation saw early this season, was tough on their team.

With Toskala out with a groin strain and now Gustavsson out with what we all hope will be an easy procedure to fix his elevated heart rate, the majority of the goal tending responsibility will fall on Joey MacDonald.

After the first period against Montreal Tuesday and the Monster leaving the game, MacDonald came in and helped secure the tag-team shut out of the Habs.

All of our wishes are with Jonas Gustavsson, even though they say this is a minor operation, anytime you go in and mess around with a major organ such as the heart, it’s a scary thing.

Apparently this ablation surgery is a common thing in the twenties and sometimes the first operation may not fix it and must be repeated.

We all hope you have a speedy recovery Jonas, and all of Leafs Nation yearns for your return.

To read more about this procedure.

http://www.hrspatients.org/patients/pdf_files/Ablation.pdf

In case you didn’t know, starting Dec. 5 Gabe Morency (formally of The Score ) will be launching his new website. Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter and I will be throwing down our Podcast “Get The Puck Out ” every Saturday from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

The Live Podcast will be broadcast in studio from Toronto featuring some betting analysis, fantasy advice, trivia, team, player updates, and more puck talk than you can imagine.

Be sure to call in and let your opinion be known. The inaugural show is set for Dec. 12. Don’t miss it, puckheads!
You can catch Morency and “Get The Puck Out” at
www.morencysports.com , the site launches Dec. 5.

Toronto Raptors: Back-to-Back Games Not a Raptors’ Cup of Tea

December 1, 2009

by Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano… The Raptors’ loss to Charlotte on Wednesday, Nov. 25th marked the third time in three occasions this season that the Raps have lost in the second game of back-to-back matches.

The next six games see the Raptors playing back-to-back three times, and then another seven times throughout the rest of the season.

If the previous three losses are any indication of how this team will show up, or fail to show up as the case may be, can we just chalk those up as losses?

Hopefully not!

It’s hard on anyone to play one night and travel to another city to play and still bring a high paced energy the next night. But with these losses in the second game of back-to-back games becoming a trend, is this a testament to a lack of conditioning for this team?

With all of the focus on becoming a run and gun team in coach Jay Triano’s system, along with the constant struggle to become a better defensive team, have the Raptors been run a little ragged? Not to mention the horrid scheduling, that has become more documented recently by the media and fans alike.

Hopefully within this next six game stint, which includes the previously mentioned three back-to-back games, the Raptors will break this trend. But it will be tough.

The first of these see the Raps taking on the now healthier Washington Wizards tonight at the ACC. Then they will travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks, who have a record of 7-1 at home. Definitely a tough spot for anyone to be in.

The second back-to-back series has Toronto playing at Washington on Friday, Dec. 4th, and then they travel to play Chicago, who has been on an extended road trip because of the yearly visit by the Circus. The Bulls hold a record of 4-1 on home court.

The final back-to-backer in this stretch has the Raps playing Tuesday, Dec. 8th at Minnesota, a team they should dominate. After that, they travel the next day to Milwaukee to play the Bucks, whose home record is 6-2. Could it be tougher on Toronto? I don’t think so.

The Raptors will need to dig deep during these games to break this trend of having a hard time in back-to-back nights, and these games will be no cakewalk. With four of the six games being on the road, and the fact that the Raps haven’t been good on the road and are 0-3 in back to back games, this is going to be a down-right tough time for Canada’s team!

Hopefully the Raps can pull through and change their stars while proving these ugly trends wrong!

Toronto Maple Leafs Are Looking To Get Their Roll On

November 26, 2009

by Louis “King of Roncesvalles” Pisano… After getting 61 shots on Dwayne Roloson and the Islanders though losing 4-3, the Leafs continued getting pucks to the net against Antero Nittymaki and Lightening. This time 35 was enough to find success in a 4-3 win of their own.

The Leafs got their first win of the year on the road in Anaheim and that began a streak of seven games of at least one point, unfortunately for Leafs Nation mostly one point.

The Leafs now have points in four straight games, including two wins. In 23 total games, they have points in six of 12 on road game while at home they have points in only four of 11.

Four of the next five games are on the road, three of those five are against divisional opponents and should prove to be feisty games.

First Toronto will finish the two-game Florida tour with a matchup against the Panthers Friday before then making a quick stop at home against Buffalo Monday.

Florida has been better on the road this year and is only 3-5-2 at home, though they have points in their last four games at the BankAtlantic Center, only one was a win. They do, however, have points in eight straight games and have seemingly gotten the right motivation from second year head coach Peter DeBoer after a slow start.

Buffalo sits in third and just two points off the Northeast division lead, though were on top for most of the first quarter of the season. They got off to one of the hottest starts in the league which has since cooled as many predicted. They have lost two in a row and are just 4-5-1 in their last ten, but they have games in hand, and have only played 21 thus far.

They then get back on the road for three, starting in Montreal.

I am sure the Leafs will want some revenge for the two losses the Habs have handed them this year. The last of which the Leafs lost in a shootout at the Bell Centre, the very building they will do battle in on Tuesday Dec. 1.

The inconsistent goal scoring and keeping for the Canadians has them sitting right at .500 on the year at 12-12-1 with a 7-5-1 record at home. I expect a physical game played much in Montreal’s zone as most of the past two meetings were, yet this time the results may be different.

With a day of rest and travel the Leafs land in Columbus Ohio to take on the Blue Jackets on Dec 3. Columbus can’t seem to hold a lead as of late and have blown three straight game when having the early lead though still hold a record of 12-8-3.

Recently, their young Russian sniper Nikita Filatov must have missed his mother’s goulash enough to go back to Russia and play in the KHL, on loan for the time being. This could possibly a good spot to catch a team that is reeling from some bad losses if that trend continues for the Blue Jackets.

Finally with another day of rest and travel, the Leafs finish this little five-game stint against the now Northeast division leading Bruins. Boston, who has been surging as of late going 6-1-3 in their last ten has won four in a row as well. This will be in my mind the biggest test of all as the Bruins play a very structured game and beat the Leafs soundly in two of their three meetings in Boston last year.

Given, there is time between now and the end of this five game stretch for many things to happen too all teams involved that may or may not drastically affect the Leafs chances of winning or losing these game.

Thankfully, 2012 is still a few years off, and I haven’t heard of any comets nearing the earth, at least at this point.

Toronto, at times seems to have the right parts and then all of a sudden someone at Ikea put half the pieces of two shelving units into the box just to screw with you, and nothing seems to work.

The Leafs are playing well though, as of late, and if the defensive side of their game with the Monster looking over the lair can find a groove and the offence bulges the twine instead of just leading the league in shots, the Leafs could add some notches to the win column and certainly get their roll on.

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