April 20, 2004

Same old, same old.:
For the 4th time in 5 years, the Toronto Maple Leafs have knocked the Ottawa Senators out of the playoffs. The difference in the final game was the spectacular play of one goalie and the abysmal collapse of the other. Ottawa fans can begin the annual hand-wringing and finger-pointing.

posted by grum@work to hockey at 08:55 PM - 30 comments

I think it might be time...

posted by grum@work at 08:58 PM on April 20

...to bring back...

posted by grum@work at 08:58 PM on April 20

...KRUSTY! Wooooo!

posted by grum@work at 08:59 PM on April 20

go leetch go!

posted by goddam at 09:09 PM on April 20

I second that 'go leetch go'. I am a heartbroken NY Rangers fan. While I am sad to see Leetch wear a sweater other than that of the Rangers, I'd love to see him get another cup.

posted by msacheson at 09:51 PM on April 20

I third all that.

posted by 86 at 10:00 PM on April 20

I am still pissed at ESPN for only showing two of these games. That was by far the most interesting playoff series of the year. Ugh. Go Leafs Go. (Although I was cheering for Ottawa) I've never seen a goalie sieve like that. Amazing.

posted by emoeby at 11:22 PM on April 20

Oh, to be one Patrick Lalime. He will bear the brunt of this and maybe rightly so, but those Sens have no one to look to at gut check time - while the Leafs have about 5 guys in their dressing room that ultimately made the difference. In the final battle of philosphies Experience made Talent & Youth its bitch tonight. I also think that after Belfour and Nieuwendyk the best guy in a Toronto uniform was Tie Domi. This guy is playing out of his mind again.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:24 PM on April 20

The Senators have retired only one uniform number in recognition of an Ottawa player: number 8, worn by forward Frank Finnigan. After the Ottawa franchise folded, Mr. Finnigan ended his career with the Maple Leafs. So what happens now? Does Muckler begin (at least thinking about) re-building now? They have captain Dan signed for the next five years, but do they start with a new core of players or do they continue to tinker with this line-up?

posted by Philfromhavelock at 11:51 PM on April 20

w00t!! omfg leafs = pwned sens. :) Anyway... I think this yet again demonstrates how useless European players can be without being buttressed by hardworking, hard hitting northamerican players. Note the play of the Senators in the last five minutes of the game, which really demonstrated the attitude that lost it for them. They were not playing with any sense of urgency. They should have pulled their goalie even with that deficit, there's just no excuse for it. Just last night Vancouver scored with only five seconds left in the 3rd period. Ottawa, at best, could be described as lackadaisical...they just didn't look like they wanted to win. Their puck movement was slow, they were not aggressively chasing down loose pucks or back checking as hard as they could have. With the level of talent they have (Havlat, Hossa, Bonk, Redden, Alfredsson, etc), it should never even be a question for them advancing out of the first round, yet the Leafs always beat them when they have arguably less talent. This is because they bring grit, energy, and tenacity. The Senators just gave up, and until they change their attitude and play every minute of the game like it could be their last, they will never win a cup. Last tangent: Where is their grind-line? The Wings, the Avs, the Devils, the Leafs, the Sharks and the Flames all have a line of grinders and generally hardworking players who don't put up big numbers in the regular season but end up making a huge impact in the playoffs. Asked what the Maple Leafs do better than the Senators, Belfour said: ``We stuck with it. We have a never-say-die attitude, and home-ice advantage was huge for us.'' Gary Roberts is the man. Go Leafs Go!

posted by insomnyuk at 12:51 AM on April 21

now grum, i support the leafs as much as the other leafs supporters around here - but, if all goes to form, that "annual hand-wringing and finger-pointing" dig will be thrown back in your face in, sigh, 2 to 4 weeks.

posted by gspm at 01:19 AM on April 21

Go Flames Go! *sighs at Canucks getting out in the first round* The Canucks are the home team, and I've always had a thing for the Sens. This just ain't my playoffs year. Much as I'd like to see a Canadian team take the cup, I'm afraid it simply can't be the Leafs. The Av's would be my next choice. Since they used to be Canadian. So, you know, are Canadian. Sorta. I know. Not really.

posted by Salmonberry at 01:37 AM on April 21

now grum, i support the leafs as much as the other leafs supporters around here - but, if all goes to form, that "annual hand-wringing and finger-pointing" dig will be thrown back in your face in, sigh, 2 to 4 weeks. Oh, for sure. Unless they win the Stanley Cup, it's a guarantee that the media will dissect the Leafs. The Toronto media is one of the best (maybe only New York and Boston do it better) at raising up players to hero status and then destroying them even quicker.

posted by grum@work at 07:12 AM on April 21

Eddie who? ;-) [obligatory rivalry recall] Oh Baby. The Mighty Leafs of Toronto prevailed. The high flying style of play that made the regular season fun to watch wasn't effective against the Sens. So Quinn switched it up, stuck with it, and the unbelievable shooting percentage of the Leafs finally prevailed. It was a weird series. The Sens looked like the more dangerous team, Chara especially, but the Sens would back off the Leafs at the strangest times, seeming afraid of the slower moving, but crafty, Leafs. Basically, if the Sens could've dictated game play, they would've beat us. Go Joe Go. Go Ed Go. Go Tie Go. Go Leetch Go....and since he doesn't get nearly enough props. Go Pono Go!

posted by garfield at 07:14 AM on April 21

Oh, and to give you a clue as to how important Maple Leaf playoff hockey is, check out this article: JUDGE STALLS DELIBERATIONS FOR LEAFS

posted by grum@work at 07:27 AM on April 21

I interrupt this Leaf love-fest with my initial reaction after last night's game: *ahem* GODDAMN IT!! FUCK IT ALL!! I HATE THE GODDAMN LEAVES!! EVEN RON FRANCIS CAN ROT IN HELL FOR WEARING THAT SWEATER!! There, I feel better now. Thank you for letting me vent. (stupid hens, can't get past toronto in the playoffs. even my sucky ass hurricanes got past them.)

posted by NoMich at 09:31 AM on April 21

they play a smart game though, eh?

posted by garfield at 09:54 AM on April 21

Gee, this wouldn't be a gloat post would it? I'm just saying. ;-) In the final battle of philosphies Experience made Talent & Youth its bitch tonight. I don't agree with this at all. Belfour singlehandedly won at least two games. This series was mostly about a couple of individual performances...good and bad. While I must give props to the Leafs' penalty killing - the league's best PP was invisible - it's hard to buy the argument that the Leafs played a better team game. They were outshot and outchanced in every single game, including game 7. The Leafs congested well in front of Belfour, but he is still your saviour. Last tangent: Where is their grind-line? Uhhh....Fisher, Neil, and one of: Vermette/Spezza/Van Allen. And they scored a pretty big goal in game 6 if I remember correctly. So here we are again. It doesn't feel any better this year than the other three. However I'm used to it by now, so go ahead Leafers, laugh it up. Hyuk hyuk. It goes without saying that there will be changes, some of them drastic: - You don't need to know anything about hockey to know that Lalime played his final game for Ottawa last night. - Jacques Martin doesn't deserve another year behind the Sens' bench. He made a ton of mistakes in this series. Benching assistant captain and Cup-ring owner Curtis Leschyshyn in favour of the untested Brian Pother and Anton Volchenkov has to rank among the most baffling coaching moves I've ever seen. Not benching Radek Bonk was another. Mike Fisher receiving almost no ice time despite his stellar play...brilliant. And didn't Martin notice that the Leafs PK was primarily focused on taking the point shot away from Alfredsson? You wouldn't want to adjust your game plan, would you JM? Jacques must go, but since they signed him to a contract extension this year, getting rid of him might be harder than expected. - The aforementioned Radek Bonk, get the hell out of Ottawa and don't come back. - Peter Bondra. I like him, I think he's a great player and a great guy...but he didn't do a god-damned thing. Hit the bricks, Bonzai. You can't rebuild this team, nor should you try - they're a contender. But it's time to establish which players constitute the "core", and cut bait on the rest. I say keep Alfie, Chara, Redden, Phillips, Fisher, Hossa, Neil, Schaefer, Varada, and the rookies. I can live with Smolinski and Havlat. Trade for a goalie, any goalie - Prusek ain't the answer.

posted by Succa at 09:58 AM on April 21

Important Safety Bulleting http://www.inebriated.cx/health/ As a Leaf fan, this was a great series; as a hockey fan, the Vancouver/Calgary match-up was the best by far. Philly will be tough, though.

posted by mkn at 10:09 AM on April 21

http://www.inebriated.cx/health/ clicky link, for the lazy

posted by mkn at 10:09 AM on April 21

Props for once again putting the Senators to bed but I still have difficulty thinking too highly of the Leafs for the way they blew Game 6 in the last few minutes. Got to think the extra game and OT will hurt them in the next round unless Belfour, what is the old phrase, stands on his head.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:06 AM on April 21

I don't wanna get ahead of myself, cuz the hockey gods are bastards, but we could potentially see a Leafs/Habs Eastern Final, and a Wings/Avs West Final. Screw the ratings, for a pure hockey fan, how much would that rule?

posted by MeatSaber at 11:15 AM on April 21

...and then a Leafs/Wings final. Oh man, how great would that be?

posted by mkn at 11:23 AM on April 21

oh shush you guys or we'll get san jose v tampa bay.

posted by gspm at 11:25 AM on April 21

Hey, it'd still be an improvement over last year.

posted by mkn at 11:55 AM on April 21

Gee, this wouldn't be a gloat post would it? I'm just saying. ;-) Yes. Yes, it is. And I'd have expected the same from you if it went the other way. ;-) - You don't need to know anything about hockey to know that Lalime played his final game for Ottawa last night. It's funny you say that. I was thinking that if the Leafs had squeaked by in game 7 (say, in OT) then Lalime would have been praised for keeping his team in the series when the offense went south. So it looks like Lalime played himself out of a nice fat contract in that 1st period. Man, that's GOTTA suck for him. - Jacques Martin doesn't deserve another year behind the Sens' bench. Again, that's a shame because he's a good "full-season" coach, but when it comes time to make on-the-fly-in-game decisions, he seems to falter. If he's available next year, I hope the Leafs try to snatch him up as an assistant coach. He was great in that capacity in the Olympics. Final note about the Sens: They should do everything in their power to sign Chara to a LONG-term deal. He's a freaking monster on the ice, and not just because of his height. He's got the skills, the size, the aggression, the ice-awareness and the composure to be a Norris Trophy winner. He was easily the best overall player (non-goalie division) in the series.

posted by grum@work at 12:39 PM on April 21

Agreed. I came in here to gloat like the rest of the Leafs contingent (represent, brothas & sistas!), but Chara might have been the best surprise of the series. I always thought of him as a lumbering oaf, back from when he was an Islander. He stepped up large this series, and you could really see how his skills have emerged. Lock that big fella up, Sens. He could rock your blue line for another decade. And if Lalime goes, who's coming in? Don't tell me anyone thinks Prusek is the answer. (Oh, and if Sundin comes back, the Leafs should have no trouble psyching out Esche, who is due to come back to earth from last week. He's just not that good.)

posted by chicobangs at 04:51 PM on April 21

And if Lalime goes, who's coming in? Don't tell me anyone thinks Prusek is the answer. Therein lies the rub. There are almost no proven goalies out there. Either Ottawa takes a chance on someone and hopes for the next Kiprusoff, or they break bank and go after a big name like Luongo. Ottawa has no easy decisions this off-season. Except the decision to throw lots of money at Chara.

posted by Succa at 09:50 AM on April 22

The thing is, Lalime is better than anyone Ottawa could get, barring something large and unforeseen. He's a world class goalie who had one really bad period. At a very inopportune time, true, but still. You know, Belfour wore the choker's label for a years before he got rid of it too. Just saying.

posted by chicobangs at 01:46 PM on April 22

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