Go and boil your bottoms!
[Update: Jeez, I only just read Tom Benjamin's Python taunts from a post a couple of days ago. Great minds think alike?]Just like Thursday night, the match started out with the requisite tone-setting minor penalties. This time, however, the Leafs capitalized. Luckily for the Habs it turned out not to be a special teams game, and Montreal received some beneficial officiating for a change. After a couple of travesties in Toronto earlier this season, they were due for some zebra love. Also, the Leafs' blueline was wafer-thin even before Khavanov left the game with a broken bone in his foot. They were exposed again in the chippiest Habs game of the year.
In quick n' dirty point form:
- A pumped up Kovalev just what the Habs need! With three minutes left, so the story goes, Tucker attempted a cheap shot at Kovy. In response, Kovy took the puck, circled around the Leafs' zone, deliberately went toward Tucker and dropped him with a flying elbow to the yapper (Kudos to Kukla's). It is damn rare you see the puckhandler goon someone - how Kewl is that?
Here's a T.O. writer's perspective on Kovalev-Tucker. Here's Jack Todd's POV.
"Bring back Harold Ballard," cracks my protégé, Red Fisher. "At least he was fun."- All Hell broke loose, predictably, just prior to the 5-minute mark of the 3rd. There was an OK tilt between Dandenault and Allison. Not sure why Allison would risk an injury this way - it isn't easy to putt with swollen knuckles. Downie and Richardson squared off in a lacklustre affair with no real punches thrown. Did anyone else notice that Downie was wearing a wristwatch??? Maybe he uses it to track his icetime - all eight seconds of it per period.
- The aforemantioned fireworks have been attributed to Rivet's actions with Sundin. Mats was inordinately bitchy in these two games. Surely, even Tie Domi can understand that if Sundin is going to get chippy with Rivet, Craig is going to retaliate with vigour. I'm in agreement with Don Cherry in these matters: if a superstar wants to act like Matt Barnaby, he has to be willing to accept the consequences.
- Bonk Bonk! The slothful one completed the 'Radek Bonk' Hat Trick (3 goals on the season) in the first period! Then Bonkie proceeded to *double* his season total just five minutes later with a shot Tellqvist should have stopped.
- Koivu has been stone cold lately. Must have swapped brains with Bonk.
- Again with playing Markov in the 3rd period of a blowout, Gainey?! Let the guy rest his back!
- On the down side, the Leafs finally scored an even strength goal - their first since March 14.
- Jan Bulis, one of my favourites, was a healthy scratch for the last two games. Not sure why - perhaps Gainey is frustrated with the lack of offense? Perhaps he wanted to dress some thugs? Little bit of both?
Now, on to Pittsburgh where our boys will try to avoid a four game sweep of the season series with the Pens. Yes, you read that correctly. If that wasn't embarrassing enough, I think they'll have a tough time. This will be their 5th game in 7 days, and there could be an emotional letdown after an intense pair of games with the Leafs.
Time for a tangent. Everyone lambastes the Leafs for being old and overpaid. Ya know, that's what happens after half a dozen years of mortgaging the future and buying at the trade deadline. The heat the Leafs are getting from the press and fans these days pales in comparison to the heat JFJ and previous GMs would have taken had they not bulked up for playoff runs in those years. Dryden had no choice - with an aging roster, they had to go for broke. It was a gamble, they lost, c'est la vie.
Bob Gainey signed Kyle Chipchura to a three year deal. He will report to Hamilton.