We're nine games into an 82-game season. How much more of this can you take?
Sure. A lot more.
Except if you're Pat Quinn. Whenever the cameras find Quinn during these pinball games, his eyes appear to be spinning, as if he can't quite believe what he's seeing.
Before everyone jumps on to the shootout bandwagon -- not going there, not me -- consider that the Leafs got credit for a win last night despite playing easily their worst game of the season in their own end. The way they've played down there, that is saying something, but those 53 shots allowed are the first clue.
Penalties? From the time the Bruins took a 4-3 third-period lead, Toronto took five, one of them a four-minute minor that spilled over three-plus minutes into the overtime. Over that span of time -- a little over 21 minutes, more than half of them on the penalty kill -- Boston had 19 shots on Belfour. McCabe blocked three more and Kaberle and Berg each went down to deflect two Bruins attempts.
And still the Leafs survived to steal one, as Ken Campbell notes this morning:
"It seemed unfathomable that Belfour could be so brilliant at times and so brutal at others, but luckily for the Leafs, the brilliance of a 49-save effort outshone the brutality of a couple of very weak goals."
Damien Cox looks at this Leafs team and is reminded of "the zany 1989-90 crew under Doug Carpenter that scored more goals (337) than any team in Leaf history."
Me, I'm reminded of covering my eyes, at least when they're defending. It's not just a matter of what you can and can't do in covering your check under the new rules, though -- simple positioning has as much to do with it.
If I'm Quinn, I'm asking for someone -- anyone -- from down on the farm who can move their feet and play some defence. It wasn't all Wade Belak's fault last night either, although his confidence appears to be draining with each night out. His partner Alex Khavanov scored his first Leafs goal, but was way out of position on two Boston goals. They were by no means the only transgressors.
So give Belfour major props, to be sure -- "One minute you're a slug and the next minute you're a hero," concluded the goalie.
So call me cranky. Before you join the two-toned blue and white chorus, though -- this postmodern NHL can be splended entertainment (agreed); the Leafs are going as far as Belfour takes them (obviously) -- ask yourself if, over 82 games, they really have a hope of grabbing W's out of these kind of nights.
No, I don't think so either.
Other Leafs stuff:
With two more points last night, Bryan McCabe is the league's co-leader in scoring.
Latest on Sundin: No surgery expected, say the Leafs.