Maybe it's the fact that the dreaded Turk is looming. Or perhaps it's that season away. But the temperature around the Leafs seems to be even higher than normal. Over at the TML message board, they're already advising the posters to cease and desist with the doom and gloom.
Hey, doom and gloomers, you can always come over here. Or here. Maybe it was just a hangover after the Timbits and pop fuelling yesterday's Stumpython, but that game last night didn't do it for me. How do you draw any conclusions when there's nothing but a non-stop march to the penalty box?
The Leafs are not in midseason form -- hell, they're not in any form at all as Damien Cox notes. But that guy working the penalty box door hat the ACC has already got more camera time than Angelina Jolie.
Well, anyway, Ken Campbell has the lowdown on the decisions that lie ahead. Zorro tells you about the game. And hey, the best read might be Paul Hunter on the Marlies opening (LINK) not at the Ricoh, but at "the home of the $2 Pogo." Pogo ... mmmmmm.
Thanks, Chris. Always with the love for the doom and gloomers.
We're all feeling the effects from yesterday's Stumpython. In case you missed it, read it here. The lovefest was still in full swing last night at the ACC -- when Steve Thomas stepped on the ice for his turn during the shootout, the crowd went wild. A Stumpy goal would have sealed the deal (Tie Domi, the 16th shooter, took care of that) -- too bad we can't say anything good about the actual game.
12 minors, 4 power play goals allowed as the younger, faster Sabres diced up the disorganized Leafs. The no-flow theme was front and centre again. Let's just say the Sabres won't have to practice the power play any more this preseason.
"It's frustrating because it is no longer a man's game out there," said Thomas, who drew a hooking minor in the third. "If I can get a 220-pound guy to fall down just by putting my stick on him, it shouldn't happen."
More pressing is the state of the Leaf roster. While other clubs are working with the core they know they want to start the season with (in 7 days), there are still a lot of bodies in Toronto. Pat Quinn:
"Part of our decision here (at training camp) was to get a lot of guys a look. We have what, 16 forwards and 10 defencemen left in camp, we're still not working with a team ... and with the injuries, heck, there's been no work with our lines. It's not an excuse, but we have to get to work."
Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella's take:
"Too many people, to me it's not healthy. You need to look at the kids, but our No. 1 goal here as a coaching staff is to get the team ready to play, especially being gone as long as we have been gone."
I'm actually buying the injuries excuse and not feeling too good at all about Jason Allison and Eric Lindros. Feel free to rant in the comments section below.
On to the links:
Yesterday we agreed to move on on this Jeremy Roenick-Denis Gauthier issue. Blabbermouth Sean Avery had other thoughts yesterday.
"I think it was typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not back anything up. ... I'd think if a guy like Brett Hull was coming up the middle, somebody probably wouldn't have stepped up and hit him, but like I said, a typical move from a guy wearing a visor that certainly doesn't like to get scratched at all."
Of course, JR won't be upstaged.
"I've seen that Canadians are saying that I'm complaining and whining because I got hit hard," he said. "But I have gotten hit hard many, many, many times, probably more so than they have ever been hit. They just love to complain about me because I'm an American who gets more press than their Canadian players."
"They can whine about me all they want. The fact of the matter is the need for respect for everybody, not just me. I'm sure if Joe Sakic got hit the way I got hit and said the same thing I did, Canadians wouldn't be sitting there saying Joe was complaining."
Maybe it sounds like the concussions talking. And JR's had a few. But his point on respect isn't lost here. Good read today in the Province on the whole shots to the head issue.
Nice piece from the Sun's Bill Lankhof on the Snyder family, who lost their son, Atlanta Thrasher Dan, in a car crash two years ago tomorrow.
It was Sidney Crosby's home debut in Pittsburgh last night. Mario stole the show.
Nick Boynton and the Boston Bruins are no closer to an agreement.
We'll end with predictions, and a reminder of the dreaded SI curse (sorry Calgary).