Another Clunker On the Road
This was a strange one. Almost as strange as it was frustrating, for a bevy of reasons...
A red-hot goalie with no health issues, isn't even dressed. A struggling, rusty 1B guy who hasn't had a start in a month gets the nod, and gets beat 3 times on just 22 shots. Three goals in the second period, two on dodgy calls resulting in Florida powerplays.
Sorry if the grapes seem a tad sour, but the hook on Kulemin was extremely weak.
And the incidental contact between Phaneuf and Booth which was a simple function of the Florida player attempting to avoid a hit was in no way worthy of a penalty. Kneeing is a form of intent to injure. Incidental contact due to the puck carrier's failure to protect himself is not an infraction.
David Booth returned to action shortly after his 'mishap', and Florida scored, taking away any residual wind that may have been lingering in the Leafs sails in the process.
Coach Wilson pulls Giguere on a powerplay to create a 6-on-4 late in the third with 5 minutes left only to have it backfire and end up in the Leafs net.
When the Leafs couldn't sustain any kind of offensive zone pressure all night whatsoever, you have to wonder if that was anything other than an act of desperation by a coach who was out of options.
I won't belabour the point. The Leafs stunk. Giguere stunk, and the team in front of him stunk. Blame the coach for his decision to sit the team's most reliable asset in Reimer, blame Giguere, blame your ex-wife if it helps you sleep, but the bottom line is they were bad.
Keith Aulie's rather decisive scrap was the only thing all night that didn't suck.
Recently I made the admonishment that getting our hopes up could end in tears.
Whether Wilson was right or wrong, the team didn't come ready to play professional hockey. They managed just 22 pucks at Clemmenson, who notched his first career shutout vs. Toronto.
And so it goes with our beloved Leafs. They tempt and titillate us into believing one night by dispensing with a superior opponent only to drop a weak decision vs. a very beatable foe the next.
Until the Leafs can acquire a mature, skilled veteran forward to lead the charge night in and night out, this is what we can expect—a rousing, spirited showing followed by a clunker. One can only hope that a strong showing featuring a well-rested James Reimer vs. Boston this Saturday follows this forgettable non-effort.
If I was a hockey fan in Florida, I'd want my $4.50 (or whatever they charge) back, despite the win for the home side.
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