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Count–Up Clock Since The Last Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup Victory.

Oh, the shame of it all, it’s been  since the Leafs last Stanley Cup victory on May 02, 1967.

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Author Topic: Leafs season is done  (Read 3565 times)
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« on: April 16, 2007, 02:45:25 AM »

With the first round of playoffs just underway and our Blue and White Buds no where to be seen thanks to a last day of the season, shootout victory by the New York Islanders, I just felt it time to give my thoughts on the team now well it's fresh rather than later.

Disappointed!  That sums up the entire season in one word.  For me, this season began with a lot of promise.   Paul Maurice was the new coach and unlike some people, I was thrilled that former Calder trophy winner Andrew Raycroft was brought into the organization.  Even at the expense of unsigned talent Tuukka Rask.  Hal Gill was a big stay at home defenseman and Pavel Kubina was a key cog in the Tampa Bay Lightnings 2003/04 Stanley Cup run.  Goal tending was covered and the defensive holes were plugged, and then the PK got a shot in the arm with the signing of Michael Peca.   I was over-joyed with the way John Ferguson went out and got what he felt was needed to make the Leafs playoff participants and Stanley Cup contenders. 

That was then, this is now.  Injury time is always an unforeseen animal in the world of professional sports.  This seasons edition of the Maple Leafs would lead the league in lost man games.  From Mats Sundin to Tomas Kaberle ... many key Leafs saw extended infirmary time.  The only silver-lining of this was that several young players were forced into raising they're games and filling the holes, and they did the job admirably.  Matty Stajan and Alex Steen proved that they can handle PK duties.  Boyd Devereaux proved he can still play in the NHL.   Michael Peca will not be resigned as a result.  Ian White is an NHL defenseman as is Carlo Coliacovo.  With a full season under White's belt and Carlo playing very well at the end of the season I'd expect Kubina and/or Gill to be shopped about for a winger/forward prospect.  Especially with Kronwall, Pilar and Anton Stralman also in the system. 

Under Paul Maurice, I thought the Leafs started well and then seemed out of touch with what their coach was trying to tell them.  Most nights early on they appeared lost.  But from the all-star break to the last game against the Habs the Leafs played their strongest games of the season.   Andrew Raycroft would go on to tie Ed Belfour's team record of 37 wins after starting shakily as well.  Rayzor showed up to training camp pumped, excited and invigorated to be joining the Maple Leafs.  It showed in his first few games.  But as the team in front of him showed no direction in it's game plan, so too suffered his game.  I don't expect Aubin to be back.  As Andy Frost pointed out, in one of Aubin's starts he threw his stick in the air in frustration after a McCabe giveaway led to a goal being scored on him.  You don't do that publicly.  After that, Aubin got only one more start and came on in relief of Raycroft in several others.  I expect Andrew to be a much better goalie next season.  In his head he is the number one man in Toronto and that should be a good confidence boost leading into the 07/08 season.  He will pass the 37 win mark.

For those that are pining for Felix Potvin, Curtis Joseph, and Ed Belfour ... they also let in their share of bad goals.  Potvin's worst goal was in the playoffs off the stick of Pavel Bure and allowed Vancouver to advance.  I always found Joseph went down too early and Ed Belfour played strong when healthy, but was weak when ailing before taking extended time off which seemed to be too frequently.

Mats Sundin is the Leafs leader!  The big Swede showed everyone that he is Mr. Blue n' White.  Teamed up with Poni and Antropov that big line could work the offensive boards against any team.  Antropov has finally, finally reached his potential.  Unfortunately, due to injuries this line saw limited action throughout the season.  Kyle Wellwood emerged as a good centreman when he elevated his game to make up for the loss of Sundin to injury.

Overall, this season was full of promise ... for next year.  I take Summer solace from the fact that the Leafs finished off very strong, very hungry and very successful.  One point remained the difference to a playoff berth, but now one point remains the motivation for next years Leafs to produce a season of start to finish all out effort from game one to game eighty-two and minute one to minute sixty of each game.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 02:57:27 AM by Capncrunch44 » Logged

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