Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Race For The Playoffs

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Another Saturday night in the NHL, and for a lot of teams tonight will mark the beginning of the end of their 2006/07 season. Things in the Western Conference are almost settled in terms of the top eight seeds, last year's Stanley Cup Finalist Edmonton Oilers are within striking distance of the 8th place Minnesota Wild - but they are going to have to string a couple of good weeks together if they have any hope of remaining in contention. The problem for the Oilers is that they haven't been able to do it all year. The Colorado Avalanche are hanging around too in 10th spot - but they just don't have the horses to do it this year, they'll fall off the radar over the next couple of weeks.

Things in the Eastern Conference are a lot more interesting though. The separation between the 4th place SenaTards and the 11th place Rangers is eight points, with everyone playing decent hockey of late - except for the Canadiens who by the time they get out of this tailspin might find themselves on the outside looking in. Teams like the Rangers, Islanders, Hurricanes, Lightning, Canadiens and, yes, the Toronto Maple Leafs could find themselves being sellers in the NHL in less than seven days. Teams like the Capitals and Bruins could be raising the white flag by mid-week. It is definitely an interesting time in the NHL, especially for Toronto Maple Leafs fans.

I'm not pushing the panic button yet, but Leaf Nation has to be a little concerned that after winning 5 of 6 games (four straight on the road) Toronto wasn't able to gain any significant ground on the teams they are chasing. So, I'm going to mention that term that everyone hates - tonight is a statement game for the Maple Leafs as they host wonderkids Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, along with the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the ACC. The Maple Leafs were snarly after Thursday night's game in Nashville, complaining about some of the calls that went against them, but took some good out of the game - they acknowledged that they have to be more disciplined in terms of taking penalties and, more importantly, realized that they can play against the league's best and not be blown out of the building. I've never been one to put much stock in moral victories - so I'm expecting the Leafs to come out like they did against Nashville and take it to the Penguins. Paul Maurice has to see this as a crucial game, his team has to believe they can play with and beat their high flying conference rivals - dropping game tonight could be the beginning of a slide out of the playoff race and into the category of also rans. The Leafs, who have been awful at home this season, have to approach tonight's game like they did last week against the SenaTards - a team that is comparable to the Penguins. The Leafs have to be physical and make Pittsburgh's defence pay every time they touch the puck, they have to sacrifice their bodies to block shots, they have to stay out of the box, and most importantly they need Andrew Raycroft to continue the play he has shown over the last few weeks. The one thing that really worries me is the tendency teams have to drop their first game at home after a long road trip. Leaf Nation is looking for some Hazel Karma tonight.

A very light night in the NHL last night - so there isn't much to discuss this morning.


New York Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist stoned Lecavalier, St. Louis and the rest of the Tampa Bay Lighting last night stopping all 29 shots in a 5-0 win. Good and bad news for the Leafs in this one - the Lightning remain only two points up on Toronto, but the Rangers pulled to within 3 points.

Edmonton Oilers C Shawn Horcoff had a goal and an assist in a 2-1 victory over the suddenly decent Chicago Blackhawks. Unfortunately we didn't suggest a play against Chicago, given they have killed out Three Play this week.

New York Rangers tough guy Coultor Orr had a goal last night. That in itself is newsworthy.

To be posted later today - we'll have a look at tonight's sked this morning and come back with three winners.

That's about it for this morning gang - have a great Saturday peeps.


Unfortunately the news out of Toronto isn't all that great after the loss to Nashville a couple of nights back.

Mats vs The Kid

We are the NHL

Leafs are in a snarly mood these days - maybe a good thing?

Man the Leafs were pissed last night

Peca Jr's back is acting up

That mother-Tucker looks like he might stick around - maybe

Second isn't good enough for the Jays this year

Because Hurricane Hazel throughs a mean spitball


Look for any opportunity to travel or attend an event that will open your mind to a host of new activities, thoughts or possibilities. If you stay active, you can outmaneuver anyone trying to cause you grief. Stand your ground. 3 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - just because

Porcelain - Moby

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


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