Couple of things about tonight's game:
It's the return of Jeff O'Neill to Carolina, and Ken Campbell takes a look, noting the role of Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford in trading O'Neill to "really the only place for Jeff based on the circumstances." A real good read, this one. O'Neill's been mostly invisible for the past half dozen game nights. This might light his fuse.
For Toronto observers, emerging star Eric Staal is also in the picture. This guy's smoother than a tall glass of sweet tea. We've seen how the Leafs measure up against the best young speed team in the league -- Ottawa, of course, and off the evidence thus far, the latest coming last night in Buffalo, I have a feeling there will be a few more 8-0's, maybe even a 12-0, in the Sens' future -- and now this Staal kid, tied with Spezza for the league scoring lead.
The southern fans are already ga-ga over him -- check out our regular From the Blogs feature over at The Game page for a sampling. Yesterday in the Globe, Tim Wharnsby featured Staal. On HNIC Saturday, Don Cherry noted the similarities between Staal and the likes of stud youngsters Joe Thornton and Rick Nash. After dropping in on a Canes broadcast last week, Staal looks to me like he's got a lot of Beliveau elegance in him. And that's not bad.
Oh, yeah. Mats Sundin. If you haven't done so yet, check out yesterday's late posting from our visiting Grade 9'ers, out of yesterday's practice. And as hockey jockey Campbell noted in his missive, it appears that Kyle Wellwood is safe with Sundin almost certainly suiting up Saturday against Tampa Bay:
What the Leafs will likely do to create a spot on the roster is place Nik Antropov on the short-term injury list. Once he and Mariusz Czerkawski are healthy and if the Leafs face a roster decision, the most likely candidate for demotion will be right winger Nathan Perrott, who has played in only three games and is minus-5.
As for Pat Quinn, grumpily harrumphing about Wellwood's "tomfoolery", even he might be coming around, as Dave Shoalts notes in what the Globe is calling a "blog" (that's their story, anyway, and they're stickin' to it): "Kyle's done very well. He's much improved in his overall play. It's going to be a hard call."
Hard call? Stop it Coach, you're killin' me.
A quick post so I can eat some words today. Okay, eating just one word. Thanks to this zinger from poster SensOwn in yesterday's comments.
Yah, that was a pretty "stupid" performace by Marty last night. Or is the word Stupendous?
Ummm, yeah. Stupendous is definitely the word. Like Chris says above, there's a few more football scores in the Senators future. Wow.
Hey Senators, you may be scoring goals like crazy, but you still don't have the best clutch player in the league. That would be Eric Lindros, according to USA Today's "clutch rankings". They rank players using a formula based based on a 'when you score the goal and what it means in the context of the game' system. Check the list here and the explanation here. Alexei Yashin is their second-ranked player which says a lot about how flawed the idea is. Nicolai Khabibulin is the lowest-ranked clutch goalie. ... I repeat: the guy who won the last Stanley Cup is the lowest-ranked clutch goalie.
Leafs-Canes tonight. Go Jeff O'Neill. (SW)