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"You Heard It Here!"
Canada • 82 Years Old • Male
www.twitter.com/TALKwillie
Alright, so with 10 games left in the season and Sundin possibly on the shelf for at least one game, this is how I figure things will come down. I have read the predictions. Everyone thinks the Leafs will miss, all be it slightly, but still miss the playoffs for a franchise first 3rd straight year. I believe the common oppinion is a 9th place finish. CBC is cancelling shows and blaming the leafs, fans are jumping from buildings and the sky is falling... wait wait wait.. I'm here to tell you that all the neigh-sayers are wrong. Yes I've said that before and yes I even wrote the Leafs off in February along with everyone else. As a die-hard fan that was probably the first time I had ever, and I mean EVER, given up on my team, but, everyone has a breaking point/reality check at one time or another. However, with that said, after the chemistry these guys have shown over the past few weeks I believe no matter how late or how many "why couldnt they play this way all year's" I hear, they will in fact make it. After studying all the schedules, heres why...

Lets start with the bottom and work our way up. The Maple Leafs, as of the time I'm writing this blog, sit in a tie for 10th in the east. As a result of the wins column that sits them in 12th. Directly in front of them are the 11th place Florida Panthers also with 74 points. The Panthers have 10 games left also and after having lost 3 straight they have now rolled off a 5 game win streak. There are some pluses to this club such as the great leadership and skill of Olli Jokinen and the youth movement they sport with the likes of Nathan Horton. There are however some negatives such as the rumoured riff between captain Jokinen and his bench boss Martin. Those of us Leaf chasers remember Martin from his Senator days where he also managed to have issues with star players ie. Jason "Spaz" Spezza. Although I think Spezza is possibly one of the cockiest players in the NHL and I absolutely hate him, you cant deny that this kid has got skills. Martin would have chosen to sit him rather then give him that front line center spot he now patrols. So we know there is probably some fruit to the story that his players aren't necessarily fighting to hand deliver the invitation to the Sunday bar-b-q where Martin is concerned. Although in my oppinion he is a big issue on that club and likely will be without a job come summer, he isn't the only problem. Another glaring problem is the teams inconsistancy. This is sure to come when you have young guns that are trying to find their place in the NHL but these guys can get hot one minute and the next they are colder then the blood running through your ex-wife's icey veins. And as goes the team, so does the goalie and he has deffinately seen some more consistent days however I wouldnt hang a noose around his neck considering the shoes he's had to fill. My take... these guys manage a hard fought 5-4-1 record in their final 10 contests.

Next we have the 10th place Washington Capitals. This, in my mind is the 'REAL' team to beat. They have an unbelievable record since making the coaching switch. They went out and picked up good ole boy Sergie Fedorov at the deadline. They are lead by the Big O who can win games on his own, and they have a future calder trophy winner in Nik Backstrom (even if he does pull a McCabe once in a while). Sure they have trouble puting together a solid month and maybe lack a bit of consistency but so do the others at this position in the standings. With their offensive punch and the game breakers throughout their lineup these guys are dangerous. My take... They turn out a satisfying 7-4-0 record in their final 11 games.

In 9th place we have the sob story of the league. The boo-hoo, our stars left us cause we tried to short change them Buffalo Sabres. First off let me begin by saying, how, on Gods green earth does Lindy Ruff STILL have a coaching job on this squad??!! If he wasn't drinking buddies with the man trying to play manager he would surely be making a trip to the grocery store with his food stamps. This team needs to put both Ruff and Regier in the unemployment line. I mean common, Campbell for Bernier?? Yah Bernier is an awesome prospect but Campbell was the heart of this team. 3 words, PAY THE MAN! Oh what they should have learned from Brier and co walking away. This team is bad folks. They underachieve because they have lost faith in their leadership. Miller is inconsistent because he knows wanderer Jocelyn Thibault isnt taking his job anytime soon, Vanek has his check in pocket win or lose. Roy is decent and has played well but with the acception of a handful (maybe) of players this squad needs to be blown up as bad as anyone. If it weren't for the rivals to the north having such hard times you'd hear it a lot more too. Wait till you're down by 3 or 4 goals then turn em loose and hope Lindy you dummy.. that'll win you one here and there but thats why you're going to be golfin next month. My take... The sabres are gonna plummet, they've lost 4 straight and they will go 2-9-0 down the stretch.. not to mention they play the red hot Leafs 3 times in their final 11 along with the Habs and Sens as well. Tickets are cheap in Buffalo for a reason.

Right now the troubled Flyers hold down the 8th spot. They are inconsistent as well. Their coach is at the front of controversy (I always thought he was a problem there) and should be relived of his post although he will likely maintain the job with only 11 contests to go. They are growing. After finishing dead last in 07 and failing to get the right ball in the draft (still think that damn lottery is rigged by our good buddy Gary... whats with the curtain anyway? cant we see you pull the ball?? someone needs to make this man a pair of cement shoes. I could go on about Bettman for hours but thats another blog all together) they will pull it together but its a process folks. The Flyers are a work in progress. My take.. They will make it and I'm betting they slide into 7th too (more later on this) After they go out in the first round they should fire their greacy coach and keep moving forward. stretch run.. 4-5-2.

I'm not going to stop there because I have to include the Bruins. Boston sits 7th currently but they are going to miss the post season people. You heard it here.. They haven't been playing good hockey lately. They are without their best player and have been for most of the year (ironically thanks to the Flyers) they've lost 3 straight as I write this and 7 of their last 8 contests have come up loses. Do the math guys, that's 2 of a possible 16 points! wow. You can't expect to be playing in mid April if you skip the games in March. My take... 3-6-2 down the stretch and thats being liberal.

With all that being said, the leafs are one of, if not THE, hottest team in the NHL right now. They have the ball rolling and show no signs of it stopping. When you watch these guys right now it feels like no mountain is too high, not even a 3-0 defficit with 15 minutes to play. This is not the Leaf team we've been watching for 4+ months. I'm betting the buds go 7-2-1 in their final 10 games and despite the "experts" saying they need to win all 10, if all of these predictions come true that would land the Leafs in the post season. In fact it would land them in a tie for 7th with the Flyers. The season series was tied but the Flyers +/- ratio will undoubtedly be better handing them the 7th spot. And guess what, if fate has its way, and I'm sure it will, this will set up a first round meeting with non other then the Ottawa Senators. We all know how those clashes have gone down in the past... cough* cough* choke! cough* cough*

here's how I figure its going to look come the second week of April...

7th - Phi - 89 pts
8th - Tor - 89 pts
9th - Was - 88pts
10th - Bos - 88 pts
11th - Fla - 85 pts
12th - Buf - 79 pts

This of course isnt taking into account the 3 teams below these clubs but I think they are right-offs at this point. So there you have it folks, 06 leafs miss by 2 points, 07 Leafs miss by 1 point, 08 leafs make it by 1 point and the world sleeps easy. Look out Sens, here we come!

you heard it here!
Wilts.
Filed Under:   caps   Panthers   Bruins   Flyers   Playoffs   Leafs   sabres  
March 14, 2008 11:20 AM ET | Delete
your background is retarded and you cant read the writing ... good one!
March 14, 2008 11:31 AM ET | Delete
I do agree however... leafs are making the playoffs ...
March 14, 2008 11:47 AM ET | Delete
i BELEAF!, but yeah you gotta change your background. i hope they do make the playoffs:(
March 14, 2008 12:18 PM ET | Delete
not to be insulting, but you sound like a homer... have you LOOKED at the schedule the Leafs face? They play Sens twice, Sabres three times, Bruins twice, Habs twice and Islanders once... contrast that with the Panthers and Caps who play the thrashers and each other a whole bunch and that makes it look a great deal more like an uphill battle.
March 14, 2008 12:56 PM ET | Delete
It Seems to me that you are wearing some THICK rose colored glasses, I have made peace that my Buffalo Sabres are most likely not going on in the post season, you should do the same. your team is old and overpaid. the sabres have a good core group so tanking the rest of the season and a possiblity at Steven Stamkos sounds good for the future...... BUt i still think the Sabres are more of a playoff team than your old wilted Leafs.....
March 14, 2008 1:21 PM ET | Delete
Leafs old??? what team are looking at... I think you have this team mixed up with Pat Quinns Leafs.
March 14, 2008 1:41 PM ET | Delete
Hey A-Mar, thanks for your review. In response to the Leaf schedule, did you even take a look at the games against these teams this year? Well don't worry, I wrote the story and I DID in fact do that, so here's a little knowledge to ease your mind. First the Sens haven't held a candle to ANYONE in the league since before christmas. These guys have the second worse record in the NHL in 08 and are living off that early season success. Also the Leafs have handled them easily in the last 2 meetings. The Sabres? these guys are a ship without direction, I was happy to see 3 games against them because then the Leafs hold their own destiny where buffalo is concerned. The Habs are always a tossup with playoff like atmosphere so that should be interesting and the Bruins are notorious for giving the Leafs fits but as you may or may not have read I did include 2 losses and 1 OTL in the Leaf rundown. As for the Islanders, they don't deserve to be mentioned with these other teams right now, I have Dipietro in a keeper league and man they are having problems on the island. Really guys.. the Caps are the team to watch here but I'm biased and I will always try to take the Leaf perspective. GO LEAFS GO! I will look into the background too.. thanks guys.
March 14, 2008 4:34 PM ET | Delete
I am a Leafs fan as much as the next guy and this is a good blog but I question your opinion on Buffalo especially Lindy Ruff. I think what he has done has been spectacular! He has this team within striking distance after losing three of there best players Briere, Drury and Campbell. The GM negotiates the contracts not the coach and I'm sure if Lindy had his way those players would have recieved the money they deserve. The team is struggling right now more because of it's injuries then anything else....Lindy Ruff has no control over that!
March 14, 2008 4:55 PM ET | Delete
Agreed, it is the gm's fault about the players and Lindy has no control over the injuries. I just think he has lost the room. He survived losing skids that no other coach in the league would have. (we all know Maurice is gone at years end no matter how justified that will be) I guess maybe I was a bit harsh on him but really, he needs to go and would be gone if it wasnt his best friend upstairs. They both need to go for their own reasons. However I do have to concede that you are right in pointing out what he has done with the players that they lost as well as the mounting injuries. I just think they need someone in there to get the Afinganovs and Vaneks going. These guys are highly skilled players and are doing nothing.. half the time it looks like this team has no heart, at least until th final 5 minutes or until they are down 3 or 4 to nothing. You've made good points though.
March 14, 2008 6:14 PM ET | Delete
The leafs miss the playoffs by 0 points this year, because the other team has more wins.
March 14, 2008 7:21 PM ET | Delete
yah that could be.. that would be just leafs luck.
March 14, 2008 8:11 PM ET | Delete
I am well aware of how the Leafs season's series stand in relation to these teams... what I am also looking at is history... the Leafs have never historically fared well against the Sabres, especially in Buffalo. Regardless of how well the Sabres are playing at the moment. The Senators have a different coach than last time where they played to a 5-0 loss (aberration) and may just awaken in a traditionally intense game played between real rivals. The Bruins have owned us all season, with the exception of the 8-2 blowout last week and the Canadiens are high flying, and the kind of young, fast team that has given Toronto fits all season... so yes, I am aware of each team's situation... I even believe the Leafs will post a winning record... but they won't win all ten, they won't win nine of ten... and they won't make the playoffs... to give the impression of a cakewalk, as you do, is misleading and inaccurate.
March 14, 2008 9:18 PM ET | Delete
I wasnt giving the impression of a cakewalk by any means and if that's how you took it I'm sorry, its deffinately an uphill climb, its deffinately a long shot.. but its fun to speculate. And I called 7 wins of 10 not 9 or 10 :) again not checkin your facts A-Mar... who's the Homer here?? haha.. And you know what else.. 4 weeks ago we were gettin set for Jays and accepting the fact we'll have to once again wait for next year as Leaf fans. Enojy the push man... sheesh.. We have waited through 5 and 1/2 grueling months to see this kind of hockey out of this bunch.. just enjoy! The other thing is, as I stated in the blog, this isnt the same Leafs team that we've been watching for 4 months. You reffered to the leafs as "us" "they owned 'us' all year" you said... therefore I assume you are a Leafs fan whether you like it or not.. I welcome the opinions and rebuttals, its nice to bantar about the if's and how's.. but really man... just put your heart behind them and lets see what happens... I mean really.. in the end all any of this is is opinion. props.You heard it here!Wilts.
March 15, 2008 12:04 AM ET | Delete
bad bad news...Washington, Florida and Buffalo all won tonight. If we drop one against Buffalo, we're done
March 15, 2008 2:18 AM ET | Delete
oh they deffinately have to beat buffalo and boston when they play them.. no question there.
March 15, 2008 10:29 AM ET | Delete
Florida is on a 6 game winning streak... and not checking my facts as per what you said is more that I don't buy that seven wins will be enough and that the analyst calls of nine or ten is more than likely what will be needed... I don't put my heart behind this team because its been behind the team so often before just to hit 9th place and in the unenviable position of drafting non-impact players and not making the playoffs... I'm just tired of Maple Leaf incompetence... besides, even were they to make the 8th spot, New Jersey is not a desirable match up...
March 15, 2008 11:26 AM ET | Delete
This is horrible, absolutely horrible.You assume that every other team will do horribly, but the Leafs will dominate?And I will be laughing my jolly lil' butt off when the Sens beat you guys, NOT in the playoffs though.How have we choked lately?Past two years, we have lost to 2 teams who have been better than us, and we would have put the whole "Sens cant beat the leafs" thing to rest YEARS ago if you guys could actually, oh, I dunno, give us a chance to even PLAY you in the Playoffs?If you really think you could stack up to the Sens in the playoffs, under Murray who has already turned them around, then you, my friends, are blind with undue pride.
March 15, 2008 11:31 AM ET | Delete
By the way, If Buffalo beats the Leafs tonight, They are tied for 8th and are 5 points ahead of the leafs.
March 15, 2008 2:21 PM ET | Delete
NEWS FLASH **** if Buffalo beats the Leafs tonight they are likely done... and NEWS FLASH!!! 1 or 2 wins under murray doesnt constitute turning a team around... your squad is a one line wonder with spaghetti strainers for goalies.. granted it must be nice to be in a playoff spot after running the second worse record in the league for half the year.. actually, since the first 17 games your team has stunk. And just so ya know, the Leaf fans would like nothing more then to play your Sens in the first round IF they should make it to the post season. Lord knows it would be better then playing the Devils as they would be a better team then Ottawa even if Marty were the only one to take the ice. The 5 games it would take to dismantle the Sens Nation would make for a good warm up before Mats and crew move on to the second round leaving best bud Alfie wondering how he can get into a Blue and White uniform.by the way maybe you should relay to your team how they are going to beat the leafs when they get their chance next week.. they seem to have had some trouble seeing as how in the last 3 meetings they have been thrashed to a tune of 12-2 and 2 shutouts by a BAD Leaf team... hahaha... Sens fans make me laugh more then Leaf fans themselves.SENS SUCK!
March 15, 2008 2:54 PM ET | Delete
they're not going to make it
March 15, 2008 4:59 PM ET | Delete
Why can't leaf fans get in their heads? THEY WILL NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!!!!
March 15, 2008 5:51 PM ET | Delete
You're actually expecting the Leafs to climb from 12th to 8th place in 10 games in a race so tight that everyone is trying to do the same?You are quite the optimist.puck drops at 7pm...the team you say needs to be blown up had a little explosion of their own last night.
March 15, 2008 6:46 PM ET | Delete
I think most of us can agree that Sens fans need not comment, their team is looking to be pretty rough and until they can get the leadership on the team firing and the goaltending situation resolved (no, naming one guys isn't resolving it) the team is still going to be a question mark. Steigen, good luck... if the Sabres make the playoffs ahead of the Leafs, Panthers, Caps and anyone else it could be rough with New Jersey in first...
March 16, 2008 10:50 AM ET | Delete
LEAFS ??????? WHERE DID YA GO ?????
March 16, 2008 1:29 PM ET | Delete
wherever Sundin was... thats where we went...
March 16, 2008 2:02 PM ET | Delete
with Niki in tow...... Another Blog to come once I get done licking my wounds.. A full evaluation of Antropovs injury wont be made until monday. Mats will be back Friday at the latest... too little too late? maybe.
March 17, 2008 12:20 AM ET | Delete
Eklund?
March 17, 2008 3:38 PM ET | Delete
Wow...just, wow.
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