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Kulemin deserved that winner; Kessel may score 10 against Boston next year

Some post-game thoughts:

• Is there any doubt Kessel will score against Boston next season—a lot, I’m thinking. Early this season he struggled against his old team, clearly trying too hard. But in recent encounters, he’s had several great scoring chances. He’s playing hard, but no finish. It should be a different story next season against the Bruins.

• Similar likelihood with the Leafs and overtime…I can’t imagine any team has a record like Toronto this season in overtime. But next season the Leafs could turn the tables and win a ton of OT games.

• I wrote a week ago that I didn’t like what the Leafs did on deadline day. I still don’t. But I also said I didn’t know Caputi and was willing to modify my view over time. Every Leaf fan is happy to see him get his first goal with the Leafs. Here’s hoping there are many more to come.

• I really like Gustavsson’s athleticism and size. I just hope he can control rebounds better next season.

• At the risk of being repetitive, Kulemin—as I’ve been writing for weeks—continued to show solid play all over the ice. Great to see him score the OT winner, after his nice feed to Grabovski earlier in overtime that should have ended it.

• What a career Recchi has had. He’s been a wonderful player for many years and has made every team he’s been on better. Two stints with Pittsburgh and Philly, some great years in Montreal, Stanley Cups. A likely Hall-of-Famer based on skill, longevity and tenacity

Kaberle is playing as though he would have preferred to be traded. While on the one hand, I’d like to see him finish his distinguished career in a Leaf uniform, I just feel he’s gone this summer. And I wonder if he should have given the Leafs the chance to move him last week. He looks like he could use a jump-start, and being with a new team that is in contention might have given him a boost.

• Sometimes players (and their agents) make decisions they think is best for them, but it doesn’t work out as they hoped. It’s hard to believe that Dominic Moore, a player I really like, was ultimately pleased with his decision to try free agency. He signed in Florida for way less than the Leafs offered him prior to the deadline last year. He was respected for his work in Toronto and offered a great contract. He could have possibly settled in here for several years. But his agent thought he could get more in the open market. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.

• I’m reluctant to get excited about late-season wins when the team is facing zero pressure in terms of a playoff race. That said, recognizing the team’s offensive shortcomings, if the team can a) truly improve next season in terms of penalty-killing and b) play consistently with determination, they should be competitive most nights.

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