Game 21: The Leafs Get Iced On Black Friday
Should we even do this tonight? I'm not sure we should bother.
Seriously, I've been sitting here for more than an hour just staring at a blank screen. What can I type? Nothing. What could you possibly want to read after tonight's 3-1 loss to Buffalo? Nothing. It's all just a big cloud of nothing.
And you know what? The Leafs don't deserve our interest tonight. They don't. Not tonight.
After the first period, with Buffalo up by two and the game all but over, I received an email from, guess who, statistician Andrew Bailey:
From: Andrew Bailey
To: Vinay Menon
Sent: Friday, November 26, 2010 8:26 PM
good 1st period... eh?
sorry could not resist
I could not muster a return punch. I was too frustrated.
That's the only word for this team: Frustrating.
Another night of zero-for-whatever on the power play. A Kris Versteeg penalty so profoundly stupid I was tempted to jump in my minivan, dash across the QEW and beat him senseless with his ever-dangling mouth guard.
And what's with all the transatlantic solo flights these days? Dudes, this is a TEAM sport! Pass the puck! Control the puck! Hundreds of fans crossed the border to cheer for you and you reward them with endless one-on-three rushes?
The worst part is the Leafs didn't completely suck, at least in terms of shots. And the Sabres didn't dominate. But between not completely sucking and not dominating we somehow ended up with 60 minutes of time-lapsed frustration.
During the second period, the cameras caught Henry Winkler sitting in the stands. Not a muscle in his body seemed to be working. One steamboat, two steamboats, three steamboats – no movement, nothing.
It was as if he'd inexplicably contracted a condition known as Leaf Inertia, the inability to do much of anything when in close proximity to ice. My God, I thought, the Leafs are even killing Fonzie.
"I can't feel my legs after watching this Toronto power play. Ayyyyy."
So on this aptly named Black Friday, the Leafs botched a chance to climb back to .500 and pick-up a critical two points against a struggling divisional rival.
It would be easy to credit Ryan Miller with tonight’s victory. Just back from injury – thanks a bunch, hockey gods – he stopped 35 of 36 shots and added another chapter to a future book titled, I Owned Those Punkass Leafs In My Day.
But Miller didn't look invincible tonight. He looked solid but not invincible.
The thing is, you don't need to be invincible when you're playing against a team that's quite capable of beating itself. The Leafs hit a post, they repeatedly missed the net, they chased bouncing pucks like 4-year-olds at a training camp. They had six power plays but decided to spend this time doing the funky chicken.
On and on and on.
Anyway, it's now after midnight and I'm going to bed. I trust you're already asleep and dreaming about something – anything – other than the frustrating spectacle we witnessed tonight.
Fric·tion (frik-shn), n.: 1. The rubbing of one object or surface against another. 2. Conflict, as between persons having dissimilar ideas or interests; clash. 3. Physics: A force that resists the relative motion or tendency to such motion of two bodies or substances in contact.
MAIN PHOTO: NIGEL RODDIS/REUTERS