Monday, February 26, 2007

The Vibesman Is Coming

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

Before we get into it this morning - a new writer will be joining the page. He is goes by the name The Vibesman and is part of the Yahoo group. He'll be here to talk sports from a New England point of view - he will bring a lot to the page.

The NHL's oldest (and best) rivalry heats up again tonight as the good guys in blue and white face off against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal tonight. If the Leafs are going to stick around in the playoff hunt, they have to be looking at picking up a minimum of five points this week; dropping two points tonight, to a Habs team that has been struggling, would pretty much force them to win their next three if they are going to mount any kind of run at the playoffs. It would be cliche to say that this is a must win game, but with the Leafs looking at facing Buffalo twice at the ACC this week (Tuesday and Saturday) and a Friday night game in the swamp against New Jersey - they have to win tonight. The saying goes "Cliches become cliches because they are true".

Toronto will be looking to build off their win on Saturday against the Flyers, a game which saw the top line of Sundin, Antropov and Ponikarovsky held pretty much in check. Initial reports say that David Aebischer will get the start for Montreal - Andrew Raycroft will, once again, take his place between the pipes for Toronto. The key to tonight's game could very well be how well the line of John Pohl, Bates Battaglia, and Chad Kilger match up against Montreal's number one line of Saku Koivu, Michael Ryder and Chris Higgins. After an off night against Philadelphia, you have to figure that Sundin's line will be a force and pick up some points against a rather passive Montreal defence that won't be able to handle their size and strength; however, Koivu's line has been playing better of late and are pretty much the only scoring threat Montreal has five on five, so shutting those three down would go a long way towards the victory. Koivu can be taken off his game if he gets roughed up a bit - but unfortunately, with the exception of Carlo Coliacovo, Toronto doesn't have many physical defenceman; so it will be up to Pohl's line to lay the body on them early and often. Koivu has been known to retaliate (stick first of course) when he is being pounded on and frustrated.

The Leafs will also be looking at Jeff O'Neill, who has had a history of very good games against Montreal, to show some of the magic from past games against the Habs. O'Neill, dating back to his days in Hartford, has had a history of scoring back breaking goals against Montreal - given the extra jump he has shown in the last 15-20 games, it wouldn't surprise me to see him score a big one tonight.

The other obvious key to the game will be special teams -

Montreal's power play has gone south lately, but they are still one of the top units in the league; Toronto will have to take Souray away on the power play and force him to dish the biscuit...something that isn't his strong suit. Montreal, if without Alex Kovalev, don't really have a puck controlling quarterback on the power play - so they will turn to "waiver man" Sergei Samsonov to try and gain the zone. The problem with that is that Samsonov doesn't really like to dish off, preferring instead to do his imitation of Yvan Cournoyer and skate around in circles with the puck - taking Souray away as an option would force Samsonov to create the offence, something he hasn't really done this season.

Toronto's power play has been better of late, thanks to Nik Antropov, who seems to be the only Maple Leafs player willing to stand in front of the net to screen the goalie. With Pavel Kubina out, Bryan "Can Opener" McCabe reassumes first line power play duties - meaning that everything will flow through Kaberle as McCabe isn't as good as Kubina at distributing the puck. The key to Toronto's power play will be how well and how often Kaberle can thread the cross ice pass to Sundin standing outside the faceoff circle - as Montreal will be sure to take McCabe's point shot away.

Both teams come into the game missing a number of regulars - Toronto has handled their injury woes much better than Montreal. The Leafs have been playing short-handed for weeks, benefitting from solid performances from a number of call ups; Montreal hasn't fared as well. The difference has been goaltending - Raycroft has played some of his best hockey with a depleted Leafs team in front of him, while Montreal's goalies have been sub-par. Leafs win tonight...Hazel Karma at the Bell Centre.

Oh yeah, in other games, the Bruins visit the Atlanta Thrashers. Tonight Leaf Nation join with Bruins fans in hoping for a win - we'd like to keep Atlanta close to the playoff pack - we don't think Boston is going to make it.

Tampa Bay Lightning C Brad Richards (also a member of Hazel's Maeple Leafs) had a goal and three assists in a 5-1 pounding of Sydney Crosby and the Penguins.

Anaheim Ducks C Andy McDonald had two goals and an assist in a 5-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche - good way to wrap up the three play.

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has two goals yesterday in a 2-1 Carling Cup final win over Arsene Wenger's Arsenal Gunners (I just like saying Arsene...because he is one). The trophy isn't very highly regarded in England - but the championship will give my man Jose Mourinho a chance to drive the British press nuts with talk about how he is a champion...again! He reportedly waived five fingers at Chelsea's owner Roman Abramovich to remind the Russian that he has won five trophies in two and a half seasons at Chelsea. Forca Jose!


We finished the week $100 in the black - but our total for the year is still a disappointing - $1,230. We'll make some of that back tonight - count on it.

Calgary over Phoenix - Flames are heating up for the playoffs, Coyotes are being the Coyotes. Lay $100 on the Flames - $300.

Toronto over Montreal - the Leafs have been great on the road lately...and you know we think Montreal is done. Lay $50 on the Maple Leafs + $110.

That's about it for today gang - we'll be watching the Leafs and Habs have a great night!

Tucker signs with Toronto - and he wasn't overpaid!

Leafs say they're ready for tonight

Kovalev says he might be back tonight at 70% - meh

Article on Jays P Shaun Marcum

Rod Barajas is no fan of J.P. Riccardi - neither are we!

Big things expected from Toronto's OF

The best Blue Jays OF ever? - Meh...nobody is going to be George Bell

Avoid any turmoil at home so you can put all your efforts into what you can do to get ahead in the world. You can make the right decision about your personal situation and determine whether or not you can fix what's wrong. 2 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - wake up song

Hey Ya - Outkast

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


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