Sports And The City

It was 4-1.

Never in doubt

with 15 comments

I’m a number of light beers into early Sunday morning. Viva White Vegas. So please pardon my lack of prose as I reflect on the Maple Leafs’ 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

  • First, and more foremost: Fuck Vancouver’s Green Men. Bodysuits and props? Every game? Shame on CBC for giving those two clowns camera time. They’re just as bad, if not worse, than baseball’s jackass fake umpires. Has fandom stooped so low?
  • The Grabovski, MacArthur, Kulemin line is Toronto’s best. Hands down. It’s the only line that’s remained together all season. So why weren’t the trio out there during the Leafs’ 5-on-3 power play in the first period? Ron?
  • Phil Kessel looked dangerous in the first 20 minutes. His ability to dangle takes my breath away. Every time. I have to remind myself time and time again that he’s only 23 years old. As his career progresses, it’s vital that Kessel gets the coaching necessary to make sure he’s a factor on the ice, as he was on Saturday, every night. On too many nights he’s not. But he’s only 23.
  • Roberto Luongo’s Oscar-worthy performances on the slightest bit of contact are disrespectful to anybody who’s ever played goal. The man’s 6-3, and weighs over 200 pounds. When will he ever show some self-respect?
  • Colby Armstrong’s grown on me, no doubt. But I still can’t figure out why the $9 million thrown Armstrong’s way wasn’t offered to Manny Malhotra, a centre who can kill penalties, win faceoffs, and put up decent numbers. It’s mistakes like Armstrong over Malhotra, obvious to the most casual observer, that make being a fan of this team so hard right now.
  • Jonas Gustavsson looks downright angry all the time. And with good reason. Thanks to J.S. Giguere’s injuries and poor play, Monster’s had every opportunity to be the man. But he’s only been average. Then again, when I think about it, I’d be pretty pissed off all the time if I was in goal for the Maple Leafs, too.
  • On a four-on-one rush in the first period, Armstrong chose to shoot the puck, coming down the right wing. He missed the net, and it resulted in a two-on-one rush the other way, for the Canucks. It was, in a nutshell, Toronto Maple Leafs hockey.
  • Vancouver had no true enforcer in their lineup Saturday night, so why did Colton Orr have to dress for Toronto? Why not Kadri instead of Orr, with Rosehill providing the sandpaper and, if necessary, the fisticuffs?
  • There’s no need for Kadri to be up in the press box, or for Aulie to be back in the minors. What was to be lost — a high draft pick — has already been lost. Let the goddamn kids play.
  • Fredrik Sjostrom is the hardest working man in hockey.
  • Shooting the puck over the glass is a delay of game penalty. But on the penalty kill, Alex Burrows can bury the puck into the boards, blatantly, for as long as he wants with no repercussions. That’s NHL logic for you.
  • Fuck Alex Burrows.
  • Some props to the Canucks; their passing on goal number two was nothing short of sublime. Kessler’s stick taps were a beauty, loud and long, making sure Jeff Tambellini dropped the puck. That shit works.
  • After two periods of play I thought: There’s no way Toronto wins this game. Absolutely none.
  • Until Mikhail Grabovski cut the Vancouver lead in half, and gave me hope. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: How could anyone not like Grabovski? He fought Jason Blake, man. He’s one of us. To his core.
  • Mike Komisarek returned to the lineup, played 10 and a half uninspiring minutes, comically missed the net on a slapshot, and took two dumb penalties. And he’s the guy who took Tomas Kaberle’s “A.” Drink.
  • With just under 10 minutes to go in the third period, down by one goal, Francois Beauchemin, in his own zone, cleared the puck right up the middle, to no one in particular. How will firing Ron Wilson stop insane decision making such as that?
  • Kaberle getting into it with Burrows after a whistle proved that nobody can stand Alex Burrows. All Kaberle knows is love.
  • Is it wrong that when Tim Brent accidentally shot the puck into the Toronto bench, I wanted it to find Ron Wilson’s face? It is wrong. I know. But I can’t help it.
  • I thought Luke Schenn played one of his worst games of the season Saturday night. I blame Komisarek.
  • With three and a half minutes left in the third period, Jeff Tambellini won a battle down low between himself and Beauchemin. It was another reminder that Beauchemin plays far too much, too often. He logged another 26 minutes Saturday night. Once again: I blame Komisarek. Wilson can’t send #8 out there, so he rides Beauchemin.
  • Komisarek is a disease.
  • Another night of being owned on the draw. Either recall Mike Zigomanis, or hire a fucking faceoffs coach. It’s embarrassing.

Let’s be honest: The Leafs never had a chance Saturday night. Toronto needed to win two out of three on their west coast road trip. They didn’t. Of course they didn’t.

And about those in-game “Leafs Suck!” chants from the Vancouver faithful: Haters gonna hate.

Image by Mathew Scott.

Written by Navin Vaswani

December 19th, 2010 at 2:24 am

15 Responses to 'Never in doubt'

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  1. So many good points, I agree with every one of them.

    I’m so annoyed and frustrated with almost everyone involved in the Leafs it’s hard to know why I remain hitched to this wagon anymore. There’s not one flaw, there’s just so many from the players, the coaching, the management.. It’s really as if there is some giant conspiracy at work to make the team suck..

    Oh.. My.. God.. We’re through the looking glass here people O_o


    19 Dec 10 at 2:49 am

  2. Funny thing is, the Leafs played a lot better than they did in Calgary. But it was still a frustrating game to watch. And you’re right, the amount of flaws, over so many different aspects of the team, make it extremely difficult to even maintain any semblance of positivity.

    Also: Why is it that out west the home team crowd needs to chant “Leafs Suck!” or “Toronto sucks!”? It’s very rare. When the Canucks, Flames or Oilers come to Toronto, there’s no chants about the opposition. To me, it only magnifies the inferiority complex of the west towards Toronto. The fans have to go out of their way to show how bitter they are. And why? Cheer for your own team. Don’t hate on ours.

    Navin Vaswani

    19 Dec 10 at 3:04 am

  3. I don’t know Nav, I’m kind of indifferent about the Green Men. Initially I thought they were pretty entertaining, but now it looks like their 15 minutes are up.

    At least the Green Men’s goal was to distract the opposing players in the penalty box, as opposed to the Fake Umps who were ringing up Blue Jays, as well as opposing hitters.


    19 Dec 10 at 10:48 am

  4. Vancouver fans have a huge inferiority complex about Toronto, I don’t really talk to any of the Vancouver fans at work but I’m sure there was a lot of bitching about the 4pm PST start.

    And I agree, it wasn’t as bad as Calgary and it actually seemed like after Grabbo’s goal they might be able to mount a miracle comeback. For about 5 minutes after they were really buzzing, but then it fell apart after yet another ghastly turnover + goal.

    Somehow it’s even worse to have some last minute hope then get socked in the gut anyway :(


    19 Dec 10 at 12:54 pm

  5. I cosign all of these points. Bravo.

    In the words of my Leafs-fan father, “Who told that Komisarek guy he could play hockey?”


    19 Dec 10 at 12:54 pm

  6. The fact that they chant more about the Leafs than their own team just seals the fact that they are pathetic. They are obsessed with us.

  7. As my name states, I hail from Calgary, and I believe the reason that the west hates you guys is partially due to your city being vastly larger than really anything in Alberta, and the sort of ‘manifest destiny’ aura that sort f emanates from you when you are discussing the leafs. I don’t really share this opinion, and have been in love with the Jays for the better part of my life(in AA we trust) but if you’re looking for an answer, that’s it.

    Of course everything stated above is stated with a gargantuan dosage of generalization, and coming from a teenager, possibly batshit insane.


    20 Dec 10 at 3:29 am

  8. I guess that was a little heavy on the ‘states’, sorry.


    20 Dec 10 at 3:30 am

  9. @ Ian: I can see how The Green Men are less annoying than the fake umpires, but they’re still annoying. Haters gonna hate. I’m a hater.

    @ LFIV: I’d probably bitch about the 4 PM PST start if I was out there, too, but that’s not Toronto’s call. That’s a money play, an advertising play, plain and simple. And the Leafs have almost perfected the last minute hope, then get socked in the gut act.

    @ Caitlin: Your father is a wise, wise man.

    @ PPP: It’s super rare, eh? Crazy west coasters.

    @ Calgarykid: Appreciate your response, and trying to get to the bottom of this. I’ve been out west, to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Saw games in each city. Had a ball. Great people. As for the “manifest destiny” you mention, it’s true. It actually is the Leafs’ destiny to win every Stanley Cup for the rest of time. We’re just waiting for it to get started, this destiny. It’s going to be fun as shit. Also: Glad to hear you’re a Jays fan. Anthopoulos forever.

    Navin Vaswani

    20 Dec 10 at 10:15 am

  10. I’m not for or against firing Wilson but I’m beginning to question whether that could positively help Toronto. I’m also beginning to question whether getting rid of Wilson also means getting rid of Burke in order for a new coach to happen. Is Wilsons job secure no matter what? I’m often asking myself that question.


    20 Dec 10 at 6:50 pm

  11. My response to literally every single one of those points:



    21 Dec 10 at 1:11 am

  12. @ Mattt: That’s the whole issue. How can Wilson show absolutely zero improvement year over year, with a new roster, and not be worried about his job? He really is safe no matter what, then. And that simply shouldn’t be the case.

    @ Archi: Hennigan’s!

    Navin Vaswani

    21 Dec 10 at 10:12 am

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