Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs returned to the United Center for the first time since the Clinton Administration to show us what a top team in the Eastern Conference looks like. And…
Really Eastern Conference?
No wonder Detroit was kicking and screaming to get into that place. Now, the Leafs might not be the greatest example, as they seem to be openly flaunt conventional wisdom about possession stats being important and enforcers being useful, but still, they’re tied for second in the Conference in points, that has to count for something, right?
Still, I never felt like this was an elite team or that the Hawks were really threatened much at all. Toronto’s lone goal came when a bad hop eluded Johnny Oduya on a penalty kill. They had some decent chances here and there but were outshot 40-20. That doesn’t seem sustainable to me.
Brandon Pirri – Pirri skated on the fourth line tonight, but showed Q enough that he also got time in the power play (?). All he did was set up Donald Kostka’s first NHL goal, then tip in a sweet Brandon Saad pass for a power play goal. Pirri’s got 3 points in 3 games and still hasn’t played 10 minutes in any single one of them. Might want to adjust that ice time, Coach.
Power Play – The power play looked very good tonight, the Hawks went 1 for 3, but there was a ton of movement it looks like the word has got out that not EVERY shot has to come from the point.
Nick Leddy – I know some people object, but I love watching Nick Leddy rush the puck up ice into the offensive zone. It’s fucking great and if it gives you the yips then go watch tape of the 1970s and remember how great it was when the left wing skated on the left side and ONLY the left side, BY GOD.
Jonathan Bernier – Bernier basically kept this game from descending into a hilarious blowout. So maybe that wasn’t such a bad trade after all.
The Toronto Roster – Granted David Clarkson is still serving a suspension for leaving the bench during a preseason fight (snort) but the Leafs dressed three guys (Orr/Bodie/Broll) who couldn’t crack 7 minutes of ice time. Do they really have no one else?
Michael Handzus, 2nd Line Center – No disrespect to Zus, but what the hell? As discussed on last week’s Puckcast, there is absolutely no reason for Q not to give Pirri a run at the second center position. We know exactly what Handzus is going to give us there – faceoff wins and him skating into the picture 15 seconds after one of his linemates has put the puck on net. He cannot keep up.
The United Center ice. The puck was bouncing everywhere tonight, I shudder to think what awaits us once basketball season starts up again.
Up Next: The Hawks visit their old pal Dale Tallon in Florida on Tuesday night.
Early bird specials for everyone!*