Tonight the Leafs suit up against the Red Wings and I think we're in for an interesting night. Andrew Raycroft gets the start tonight and continues his fight to retain the top spot. So what sort of game can we expect? I don't know. What I hope for is a Leafs team ready to redeem themselves after the 7-2 blow out at the hands of the Sabres.
The pre-season is coming to an end, and it is time to show up and play hard. There is not much time left to work out the kinks, and get in the groove, and as Leafs fans know, every point counts. It is imperative the Leafs come flying out of the gate when the regular season starts. I say this not only because the Leafs missed the play-offs by one point, but because this team needs to be confident to win, and so far the Leafs haven't looked too confident in the pre-season.
I think Sundin needs to be the leader in this regard, after his poor performance during last years late-run for a playoff spot Sundin needs to break out right away and lead his team by example. I've personally never really seen Sundin as a great leader, but I've also never been in the Leafs dressing room, and the players that have all say that yes Sundin is a great leader. I don't know whether to chalk this up to the fact that 99% of the time players keep all of their comments to the media positive, or that Sundin actually is a great leader. But either way, he is the captain, and he needs to lead his team.
I am hoping the Leafs put up a good fight tonight, and we don't see the same dismal performance as we did against the Sabres. Maurice has to get his team fired up tonight, and bring the confidence level back up, he's got to punish the players that are taking stupid penalties, and reward those playing smart hockey. I am not suggesting he doesn't do this, as Maurice is very good at rewarding positive performance, especially with the young guys.
It is disapointing we will not see Wellwood on the ice for an undetermined time, I was really looking forward to watching him setup plays for Jason Blake. The injury bug has bitten early this year, and I hope it is not a foreshadow of what is to come.
I've had a gripe with the Leafs for a long time when it comes to Antropov. I think he is a terrible hockey player, he takes stupid penalties, constantly turns the puck over, his passes are inaccurate, he skates horrible - so much so that whenever I watch him, even in open ice, it looks like he is going to fall over. Of course you always hear those that stick up for "Antro", well he scored this many goals, or he played great the other night against so and so... Well if your on a line with Sundin you are going to rack up some points. And in my opinion this player on a line with Sundin causes Mats to rack up less points. Antropov is not a first line player, I don't think he's even a fourth line player. I am very tired of hearing 'This is Antropov's break out year!". Face the facts people, Antropov is never going to break out, he is going to put up the same performance he has done over and over again, so get over it.
I have high expectations for the Leafs this year, as I do every year, and whether the Leafs are winning or losing, I'll still be cheering them on because I bleed blue.
Go Leafs Go!