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Post-Thrashers talk

  Some thoughts after the Leaf game in Atlanta last night:

• Kaberle is not an elite defender, but he is still an elite talent when it comes to his passing ability. The deft flip pass to Ponikarovsky for the game’s opening goal was extraordinary.

 • Both of  Ponikarovsky’s (click on his name for my earlier post "Ponikarovsky off the edge") goals came after going hard to the net. Good things often happen when you do.

 • Kulemin’s shot off the crossbar while killing a penalty in the second period was one of those game-changing moments. If it goes in, the Leafs lead 3-1. It didn't and the Thrashers had life, which they ultimately took advantage of.

• I wrote yesterday that we’ll see if Hagman has a bit of a run once he managed a goal the night before against Nashville. Ho got another last night. We’ll see.

•To a certain extent, the Leafs mirror what is happening in Edmonton with the Oilers. It took years and a lot of mismanagement (in Toronto’s case, starting with John Ferguson Jr. not having a team ready for the “new” NHL after the lockout year) to get to this point and it will likely take years to turn around both franchises. Both teams have some young talent, a solid work ethic most nights, but not enough high-end skill to win regularly.

• Leaf fans are well aware of the team’s propensity for falling behind early this season and having to battle back. That said, the last two nights they jumped out to an early lead. But confidence is a fragile thing when you lose a lot, and playing effectively with a lead is another ‘skill’ the team will have to develop.

• There was a lot of talk after the game about the Leafs not winning battles along the boards. Well, as I’ve written previously, you don’t need truculence, but you do need to have guys that will consistently fight for space and loose pucks. It’s not always about size. Johnny McKenzie, a gritty Bruin in the ‘60s and ‘70s was not big, but he worked the boards effectively.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting site Michael. We share a fondness for the 1950-70 Toronto Maple Leafs. Incidentally, in the summers of 1956 and '57 I played baseball with Mac Reaume (Maple Leafs)and Paul Langois (any relation to you?), both LaSalle products I believe. I too have a web site (Wrights Lane) and recently did a reflective piece on Red Kelly. I would gladly forward that item to you, if interested. My email address is:; and access to my blog site can be gained: Hope to hear from you. --Dick Wright