Saturday, November 20, 2010

How do I hate thee... let me count the ways

Who needs fists when you can punch with your face?

The Bruins may be bigger rivals, but there's no team that I hate more than the Maple Leafs.

Some of the reasons, in no particular order:
  • Their fans still whine about 1993 like a blown high-stick call was the only thing standing between them and a Stanley Cup parade
  • "Honouring" numbers instead of retiring them. Because there's no better way to celebrate the great Teeder Kennedy's distinguished career and number 9 than by issuing it to Colby Armstrong
  • For misleading their fanbase into believing that the Maple Leafs have won 13 Stanley Cups. The franchise has won 13, but the first two were won by the Toronto Blueshirts and the Toronto St. Patricks. The Maple Leafs have only won 11
  • Darcy Tucker
  • 20-some-odd games as a rental player is apparently good enough to qualify you for the captaincy of the team
  • For years of worrying more about condo sales and padding teacher's pockets instead of putting a better product on the ice
  • "Leaf Nation", "The Passion that Unites Us All", and the "Centre of the Hockey Universe". Can't like a team that blatantly lies. Next thing you know, they'll be trumpeting about having won 13 Stanley Cups. Oh, wait...
  • Insanely high prices for traditionally crap product... and I'm not just talking about the watered-down draught beer at the ACC
  • Pick a uniform design, and stick with it! And by the way, leaves are green, not white or blue
  • The Habs have paraded the Stanley Cup around Toronto ice more times than the Leafs have. Wait, I should save that one for "Why I love the Habs, let me count the ways"
  • Harold Ballard, and every nefarious thing that went on in the back rooms on Carlton Street

I could go on, but my internet service provider has a strict limit on bandwidth and I don't feel like paying a penalty... though that would give me yet another reason to hate the Leafs.

Also, they won the first game of the season, though the Habs were without their best defenseman and their number one sniper from last season's playoffs. This time around we'll again be without Markov, but hopefully Cammalleri will be able to make up for missed time and pop a couple tonight. The Leafs come into tonight's game on a 2-game winning streak, whereas the Habs played their most lackluster game of the season Thursday night in getting shut out by the Nashville Predators.

2010-11 Regular Season, Game 20: Toronto at Montreal

  • CBC, RDS, or surf between the two?
  • Nice.... the late Pat Burns remembered with a video montage set to the Beatles' "In My Life", followed by a moment of silence
  • Both goalies have had to make good saves early
  • Setting up with three guys behind the goal line is generally not the best way to generate scoring chances
  • Leafs with some good pressure; Habs passed up a couple of opportunities to clear the puck while looking for the perfect pass
  • Gomez misses in all alone. Martin crosses his name off of the potential shootout list
  • Give the Habs credit: they're doing what they can to improve The Monster's SV%
  • Hammer off for 'hooking', and the Habs get two 2-on-1's wile shorthanded. Gustavvson's been sharp in the Leaf net
  • AARUGH! Kostitsyn beats Gustavvson cleanly, but rings it square off the post

Lost of jump in an entertaining first period, thought he game remains scoreless. Habs had the edge in goos scoring chances, though their lack of finish and ability to hit the goalie in the chest could come back to haunt them. Aside from the scoreboard, the Habs lead in shots (17 to 10) and faceoffs won (10 to 5).

  • Habs blow a 3-on-2, not getting a shot away. Where have I seen this before?
  • Picking up where the 1st period left off: shots, but square into Gustavvson's chest
  • Yikes! Price has to come up massive on a couple of chances from in close
  • Lapierre off for goalie interference, and Price has to rob an open Kessel in the slot
  • Shorthanded! Halpern, alone in the slot, deflects a Spacek shot from the point. 1-0 Habs!
  • I don't mind the "Leafs Suck" chant, but "Sixty-seven" sounds better on TV
  • Habs are dominating on faceoffs, 22-12
  • Lost of passing and dipsy-doodling in the Leaf zone, but no one going to the front of the net

Another back and forth period, with a few good chances at both ends in a goaltending duel. Halpern with the only goal of the game so far... shorthanded, no less. Habs have yet to have a powerplay, Leafs have had two. Shots were 13 for Toronto (23) and 12 for the Habs (29). The Canadiens have also been great in the faceoff circle, winning 24 and losing only 13.

  • I'd suggest that going up 2-0 would be very beneficial for their chances of coming away with 2 points
  • HOW did they miss an open net with the puck in the crease?!
  • I've never seen the Habs turn so many pucks in the slot onto non-scoring chances
  • Hey... the Habs get a power play!
  • Someone needs to tell Komisarek that his team is wearing white tonight. He fires a "pass" from the half-boards into the slot to find a wide-open Cammalleri for the one-timer. Powerplay goal... 2-0 Habs!
  • Canadiens are finally using their speed to proper advantage to give the Leaf defense fits
  • Leafs are coming close with some late charges. Where's Komisarek when you need him?
  • Gionta off the post with the Leaf net empty, but it turns into an icing call
  • Aaaand Price with the shutout!!!!

The Canadiens played some pretty sound defensive hockey that period to preserve the win and the shutout for Carey Price, his 4th on the season, limiting the Leafs to 7 shots, and maybe only a couple of decent scoring chances. The final numbers: Habs with 38 shots to the Leafs' 30, and the Habs were 35-18 on faceoffs.


Price makes one of his 30 saves against Nikolai Kulemin Photo: Richard Wolowicz

The Maple Leafs played a pretty good game tonight, but the Habs played that much better. Their domination of the faceoff circle coupled with Leaf turnovers allowed the Habs to use their speed advantage to slowly take over the game as time wore on. It prevented the Leafs from pulling their goalie as early as they would have liked, and prevented them from getting clear shots at Carey Price with the man advantage.

Speaking of Carey Price: 12-6-1, GAA 2.00, SV% .932, 4 shutouts, and leading the league in minutes played. Yeah, they should have traded him. The REALLY scary thing about Price is that in his six regulation losses, the Habs have scored a total of five goals. With some timely goal scoring, Price could have been 15-3-1... or better.

Price has been phenomenal, but the work of his defensive corps can't be ignored. They played another great game tonight, especially Hal Gill who used is exceptional reach to single-handely break-up a number of potentially threatening Leaf attacks.

Congrats to Tom Pyatt, who registered his first point of the season (an assist) and is now tied with Carey Price in the Canadiens' scoring race. 

And I can't believe that I'm going to say something nice about a Leaf, but goalie Jonas Gustavsson had an outstanding game; the Habs could have easily potted a couple more of not for his fine work. If the Leafs can keep from screwing him him, they're set in goal. Oh, and Mike Komisarek deserves props, too. His setup and pass to Cammalleri on the second goal was beyond reproach.


Cinnamongrrl said...

Resident Blogger, this is your wife.

I get your Leaf hatred. You know I'm there. But there are some Leaf fans for whom I do feel profoundly sorry, and not in a "hahaha you loser" kind of way.

My Dad came to Toronto from London, UK, in the fifties. He quickly embraced hockey and was fortunate to a) see some great players -- Keon, Armstrong, Mahavolich -- and b) live in Toronto in a time when the average working stiff could still afford to see several games per year without it costing an arm and a leg.

Dad hated Ballard and had no love for the organization itself, but he did love the team...and then, gradually, they began to suck.

He hung on, though, 'til the bitter end. Never jumped off the bandwagon, never said, "it's a rebuilding year"...he just watched and waited and hoped.

That hope, of course, was never fulfilled.

So I feel badly for guys like him. Guys who were true blue, who knew the team when they didn't stink, who loved them despite their many flaws yet saw them clearly for who they were, warts and all.

The rest of the modern day Laff fans -- no sympathy for the sheep.


Am I still allowed to hate them?

Cinnamongrrl said...

Of course. You wouldn't be my Boo-Boo Kitty unless you had a hate-on for the Laffs.


Boo-Boo Kitty?

That sound you just heard was my reputation being castrated.

Cinnamongrrl said...

You're welcome. :)