I have a question for you in a minute, but first some very brief observations:
- How can you be anything other than extremely impressed with Kadri. For a young player that (and I don’t think I’m wrong about this) the Leafs would have moved in the right deal to acquire a prime-time player a year ago, he has quieted any critics who wondered if he could be a factor at this level. I’ve long said here that I just wanted a chance to see this youngster play with steady linemates for a long string of games with decent ice time, and then we could talk about his game. Well, he has earned the ice time and has shown a ton.
- Even if you set aside the points and obvious offensive productivity, it’s the subtle little plays that are helping set Kadri apart. Virtually every game he does something that makes me do a double take—a sudden shift from his off wing to the middle of the ice while unleashing a quick shot; a no-look pass on the tape; jumping into open space because he is seeing the play that may develop. That's a trait not all players have. Against the Flyers, the pass to Kulemin for the 2-0 goal was sublime. His deft touch was evident on the third Leaf goal as well. How good can Kadri become?
- Scrivens made some huge and very timely momentum-killing stops on the penalty-kill after the Flyers had narrowed the gap to one late in the third period. He battles. Guy has guts.
- Gunnarsson and Kostka were each a plus 3 on the night.
- The Leafs just seem able, more often than not, to outwait their opposition. In a second period with few shots, the Leafs made something out of nothing when Kadri somehow found Kulemin jumping off the bench and suddenly, the Leafs were on the board again. Patience, patience. And skill, too.
- With just over two minutes to go and a tired group on the ice for the Leafs because of an icing call, Kadri outfought Giroux (and took a big hit) to clear the zone in one of those small but crucial plays that win games.
- Kessel was on the ice helping to protect a lead in the dying seconds. It’s a brave new world…
- McClement wanted to puck more (was that Giroux again? Not sure…) and his determination created the empty net goal to clinch the deal.
- Bozak hasn’t been a minus in a game since what, ten games ago?
Mostly tonight, I wanted to hear from you. What did you see in the Flyer game? What impressed you?
And at the 20-game mark, what do you project as this team’s limit?
It’s not a case of putting on blue and white blinders. I’m simply wondering why this team can’t be even more than it seems, since they are playing playoff hockey every night anyway, and they are beating the teams in front of them on the schedule.
I’m not predicting, but I won’t mind if you’d like to….