Well, wasn't that an evening.
Twice the Leafs have a lead and twice they gave it up in the final few minutes against a Senators team that, in Paul Hunter's wonderful phrasing, "was playing so badly it appeared to be in playoff form."
Then we have one of those abominable new-NHL shootouts, and Ottawa escapes with the extra point in the standing.
But it would be churlish of me this morning to dwell on it too much. Hockey's back all over. Let's save the grousing for a while. At least hold off until this afternoon.
Lots to digest out of this one, starting with Hunter's gamer and the big news we'll be watching and sending along to you as quick as we get it in this space -- Mats Sundin's eye injury.
That was a scary moment, early in the game, when a puck that appeared to go off Darcy Tucker's stick struck Sundin in the face and neded his night. After all that preseason talk about the brittleness of the likes of Lindros, Allison and Belfour, it's the rock Sundin who looks to be the first man down. Let's just hope it's a cut, like the initial reports suggest, and the eye itself is not injured.
Ken Campbell has a report on that situation here, with the obligatory brainless hockey-player "I"ll never wear a visor" quote.
Damien Cox takes the big picture on the night.
|RICK MADONIK/TORONTO STAR|
|No need for the instant replay here -- Ed Belfour makes the save on Ottawa's Brian Smolinski during the first period.|
Here's the view from Ottawa, and the news that the Senators plan to make a call to NHL headquarters about that first-period shot from Brian Smolinski that Ed Belfour appeared to snatch out of the net. Coach Murray's take:
"I just can't believe in this day and age that didn't count as a goal."
Chris Zelkovich has a Hockey Night in Canada update, including the news that Ron Tugnutt has joined the team at the CBC's cash cow.
Oh, and in case you were wondering about whether the ticket prices were greener on the other side of the fence: the biggest decrease in prices on something called the Fancast Index is in Hockeytown, Detroit -- 24 per cent. And no, the Leafs aren't in the top 10.
We'll be back a little later this morning with some links from around the league, after a late night last night Spencer has the morning off and it's me, the JABS guy, manning the helm. If you missed our live text commentary, it's here for you
check out poke fun at. Now it's your turn. Let's get the discussion started, and we'll be coming back to your comments through the day.
What would an extended loss of Sundin to injury mean to the Leafs? Who among Lindros and Allison struck you as the best equipped to step into the breach, based on last night? What impressed you? What irritated you? And this shootout stuff -- is it bogus, or what?
Let the gloom begin, I say.
Elsewhere, here's some good reads to help you through the morning:
They raised a banner in Tampa Bay last night. Er, it's St. Petersburg, actually.
As Sidney Crosby looks forward, his mom looks back.
The Great One is not the Great Coach just yet.
ANd this kid Alexander Ovechkin? it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.