It was sometime in the third period last night, the Leafs were down by two and Greg Millen was excitedly pointing out how they have to be aware that every team in the league gets extra pumped up to play them. "They're the Toronto Maple Leafs!" he exclaimed.
Besides wondering how anyone ever survived without Leafs TV and this sort of penetrating analysis before, it got me thinking about excuses.
Let's throw this one out there today. Send in your favourite excuse story -- your own doggy-ate-my-homework howler, or someone else's, or perhaps even one to explain this, a 5-4 loss to a Washington side that outskated the Leafs, outshot them (but of course), outhustled them, outchecked them, outfinished them ...
Let's call the roll of blue and white alibis. Right off the top of my head:
Upset at Nathan Perrott's trade to Dallas.
It was a back to back.
The referees stink.
Backup goalie was in net.
Eric Lindros has cooled off.
Mats isn't back up to speed yet.
Aki Berg is injured (and Wade Belak may go back to defence because of it).
They don't shoot enough.
Quinn's a terrible coach.
Did we tell you Eddie Belfour wasn't playing?.
You can certainly do better than these, every one of them playing catch up with Millen. (All this time, I've been trying to figure out why the Senators put eight goals past the Leafs, why the Leafs have such trouble playing 5-on-5, why they're so careless with the puck, and have such trouble covering opponents -- of course! How could I have missed it?)
We are into the Sargasso Sea of the NHL season. The next two, three months, it'll be like this -- same water, different day.
In his latest epistle, Denial pointed out the other day, "this is what they are. They're a mediocre team who will get outshot and outchanced every game."
That's not good enough for me -- it's too real, for one thing. I want excuses, a good stock of them to trot out during the days of doldrums to come.
While you're mulling that one over, remember this is Hockey Hall of Fame night. Ken Campbell has a good one on inductee Murray Costello.
And have you seen Darcy Tucker lately? "(He's) starting to look like Frankenstein's monster," says Budblog's Mike Robinson. "My face is a road map of my life," says Tucker.