A lot of Eastern Conference teams have been fighting through injuries but the Leafs have actually surprised many observers with their ability to persevere as they battle past setbacks. Lupul went down, as did Gunnarsson. Now it’s Reimer—and apparently Frattin has also joined the growing list of walking wounded. If they can escape the short-term Reimer absence in particular somewhat unscathed, that would be a huge boost to their playoff aspirations.
I’m not going to delve into new territory today. (Yes, I know Kessel supposedly wants to be a "Leaf for life", according to his agent. But agents always say this stuff when they want to garner a massive contract for their player with their existing team. We'll see...) Instead, I wanted to invite those who enjoy listening to podcasts (not everyone does, I realize) to check out the latest episode of the “Leaf Matters” podcast I am part of with colleague Matteo Codispoti from We Want a Cup. For those not familiar, we launched the program back in early November in the midst of the never-ending lockout. Matteo felt the issue would get resolved and so we rather optimistically (boldly?) started the show despite the gloom and doom at the time.
Well, we have have aired 33 episodes since. And NHL hockey is back, at long last. Much of the time on the program Matteo and I go back and forth on the issues of the day in Leaf world, but we also like to invite guests connected to the blue and white, whether present- or past. So far we have chatted with ex-Leafs like Allan Bester, 2-time Stanley Cup champion Bob Nevin, Jim Dorey, Mark Osborne, Laurie Boschman and Mirko Frycer, as well as long-time Maple Leaf player and coach Pat Quinn. We’ve also chatted with popular bloggers like “Down Goes Brown” (Sean McIndoe), Jon Steitzer from Maple Leaf Hot Stove, Curt Snodden from Blue Chip Prospects and Rob Del Mundo from TMLfans.ca. They have all been top-flight guests and we have very much enjoyed having them on the podcast. (We haven't neglected the mainstream media folks out there, either. Paul Hendrick from Leafs TV was a guest, along with Kevin McGran from the Toronto Star and Adam Proteau from The Hockey News.)
Our most recent chat is with a fellow whose talents I have appreciated for many years—Mike Zeisberger from the Toronto Sun. Mike has always come across as one of the “good guys” in the Toronto media world. He writes well, defends his views without being arrogant, and doesn’t claim to be right all the time. He’s an engaging guy and provided some interesting Leaf-related insight during our conversation. If you’d like to catch Mike’s comments (and he had some particularly noteworthy things to say at one point about young Leaf center Nazem Kadri) you can catch the program on iTunes or on the Podalmighty Network. If you enjoy the shows we have done so far, perhaps you could do us a favour and rate them on iTunes and “like them” on the Podalmighty site.
Every game is a big game this season. It feels like we’re already in the March playoff drive (not that we have known that feeling in these parts for a few years), even though there are 35 games left. Carolina is on tap. It’s not “must win”, but it wouldn't hurt, eh?