I have to confess that I always hated Matt Cooke, especially because he comes from my own Hastings County Ontario. He is generally regarded by yours truly as an embarrassment, and he is. Last night Matt Cooke accidentally cut Senators defensemen Erik Karlson with his skate blade resulting in the loss of one of the top players in the world for the rest of the season. With Ottawa’s two top young defensemen down and Jason Spezza done for the year Leafs Nation is smelling blood…and why shouldn’t we?
It was the morning of that same day when the media leaked that the Ottawa Senators had sent an e-mail to their season ticket holders threatening a revoke of their privileges if they sold their game tickets to A LEAFS FAN?!? Some Stalinist in the Senators organization was so tired of the embarrassing state of their fanbase they actually thought taking measures to bar Leafs fans from their rink out by ‘Diaper Mountain’ Ontario would be a good idea! Maybe he came by it honestly as Ottawa is the home of big brother who isn’t even beyond spying on season ticket holders.
If they thought that they didn’t have enough cheer in their building already then karma just made them pay for their absurd plan, essentially their season likely died that very night at the blades of Matt Cooke. I hope there’ll be even less Senators fans coming to their soon to be futile game, and I hope Leafs fans do everything they can to defy this totalitarian plan against them. Ottawa’s new plan called ‘Take Back the Barn’ makes me so angry I am beyond rational thinking, I am beyond feeling sorry for Erik Karlson. See y’later Senators, serves you right!
When it comes to this coming Saturday night, the Leafs won’t try to ban Senators fans from the ACC. We don’t fear them!
LEAFS AND HURRICANES: If there’s one team I think we’ve been flat against this year it’s been Carolina. Now if we hadn’t lost 15 games to them since 07-08 and hadn’t come into the game winners of four in a row and 5/6 on the road then maybe I would be angry at the Leafs injury decimated team. Despite losing our starting goaltender in James Reimer the other night I don’t think that young Ben Scrivens lost this game for us. He made some great saves to keep them in the game, it was our listless defensive play and lack of forechecking that put us down in the second period.
Toronto has also lost two top defensemen in Carl Gunnarson and Jake Gardiner, their best all around forward in Joffry Lupul and their second best goal getter in Matt Frattin. With all those injuries the Leafs still manage to field a fairly competitive team and can only improve when some of those bodies come back. In past years the Leafs would never have killed off a 5-3 to start the third period, even with their best players healthy. That has to give us hope.
Most distressing was how the Leafs were beaten badly at centre ice by Carolina’s bigger and more talented Staal brothers. Tyler Bozak lost 8/9 faceoffs in the first period, the same Bozak who is a league leader in that category. It was a sample of the entire teams play, seemed like two days off was too much for the Leafs. Bozak is an excellent centre but there are no teams that lay awake at night sweating at the thought of facing him.
Also seems like Carolina is a better team this year than the past few, even second string goalie Dan Ellis has been sharp. With the exception of Boston, Carolina and possibly the Rangers there aren’t many teams in the east the Leafs can’t bring the game to. If there was a season to make the playoffs they could have a chance this time so long as they avoid playing three games in a row like they did tonight. In their own zone they mimicked the Leafs they had been for the last number of years and that will need to be addressed immediately by coach Carlysle. You can’t say they played poorly in Carolina’s zone because they were so rarely there tonight.
All in all, disappointing loss tonight, final score 3-1. I hope the Leafs are mad about it, think about it and fume for the next few days…and take it all out on the Ottawa Senators this Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada.