Noted fishwrapper/parakeet cage liner the Toronto Star has news today that is guaranteed to fan the already raging nationalistic fire that burns so brightly among many about the state of professional hockey. According to the Star, a report published today by the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation at the University of Toronto argues that the league “should focus on bolstering the game in Canada where demand is greatest”.
Canada’s six teams account for nearly one-third of league revenue. Most of those loonies end up in the United States, which has 24 teams, through revenue sharing.
The report, titled “The New Economics of the NHL,” uses potential gate revenue as a measure of economic success. It looks at 10 Canadian cities and ranks each as a potential host for an NHL team, based on size, wealth, geographic location and other factors.
There are six Canadian markets where a new NHL team would thrive, the report found, citing Greater Toronto as the best one.
In fact, with 9 million people, the larger Golden Horseshoe could successfully support as many as three NHL teams. The study found that another team would be successful in Hamilton, London or Kitchener-Waterloo.
Montreal and Vancouver also have enough demand, as do Winnipeg and Quebec City. Teams in any of those cities would generate higher gate revenues than the average U.S. Sun Belt team.
DISCLAIMER: I haven’t read the report. It follows, then, that in reacting to this news, I am relying heavily upon the Star to have accurately summarized the content of the report in question. I am well aware that there is little compelling evidence to suggest that such reliance is warranted.
Cole mentions that during the intense discussions surrounding today’s NHL trade deadline, many people availed themselves of the opportunity to have a little fun; some folk decided to create Twitter accounts that appeared to emanate from real hockey media personalities. Down Goes Brown decided to spice up a dull morning by using the new media to organize the 21st century (ahem) grownup equivalent of a class clown prank. Following the lead of an old high school classic, the “co-ordinated, math-class-derailing pre-arranged 11:45 coughing fit”, DGB suggested that at 12:50, everyone should send the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul (@JLupul) a tweet that appeared to refer to his “trade” to Long Island (that trade being, of course, an entirely fictitious event which had not occurred). The tweets were sent en masse. Lupul appears to have played along with the gag, tweeting shortly afterwards that he was “Long Island bound. So I hear…”
I didn’t see it, but apparently the “Lupul trade” was, for a time, being reported by some as an actual event. I saw some Tweets indicating that it was briefly posted on the Philadelphia Flyers’ website, and – according to Cole’s article – Gord Miller and TSN briefly fell for it too, relaying the information to unsuspecting viewers watching their Trade Deadline Special.
At first, Cole’s article reads like a more or less good-natured look at these virtual hijinks in the social context within which they occurred. The first two thirds of the article, at times, read a bit like a barely concealed admiration for the inherent hunour in the Lupul prank in particular:
Fake Twitter accounts impersonating hockey reporters moved April Fool’s Day ahead by a month and pranked the National Hockey League’s massively over-hyped trade deadline, briefly duping both those trying so feverishly to be first with the news and those hungering to get it — and, in the process, greatly enlivening a day of sparse activity and mostly minor deals.
Got it? The Twitterers “pranked” the NHL and lampooned the “over-hyped” deadline, “greatly enlivening” the day. Pretty good stuff, huh?
In the end, though, Cole ends up clucking his tongue at those involved like a disapproving schoolmaster:
The actual Bob McKenzie (TSNBobMcKenzie) has 114,000 followers. BMcKenzieTSN and TSN—BobMcKenzie? They have fooled 957 and 549 gullible followers, respectively, by attaching McKenzie’s photo to their Twitter accounts, and yes, there ought to be a law against that.
But there isn’t. So they are free to live in their parents’ basements, plotting to bring the world to its knees with their cleverness, nibbling away at the social network’s credibility — as if it cared — one little white lie at a time.
Really? Is there really a need for either (a) another “blogger in the basement” joke or (b) a law prohibiting the creation of spoof Twitter accounts?
I don’t wish to position myself as a defender of mendacity, but if Mr. Cole and the rest of the world can’t stomach the thought of people lying to one another over the Internet, I sincerely hope he never has occasion to be made aware of Internet dating sites. Also, he would be well advised to avoid taking up fishing for sport, as the ability to spin a tall tale, though far from rare, is very much a quality to be nurtured and developed among anglers. Maybe it would be best to stay out of the “fiction” section of the library, and the cinema too, just to be safe.
Now, I’m not here to tell you that I understand why some people would get their jollies concocting fake trades to whirl around the Internet, and I’m not suggesting that DGB’s little prank is the comic equivalent of Newton’s contribution to calculus; I can tell you, however, that people discussing things amongst each other, having fun, and taking the piss out of one another is probably nothing to be terribly alarmed about. It’s been happening wherever people have gathered socially for thousands of years. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that somewhere, deep in an unexplored cave in northern Europe, there is a cave painting that is now difficult to comprehend, but which – back on the day it was first splattered on the rock – was the functional equivalent of a Star Wars Kid mashup.
My point is not that I think “fake Twitter accounts” are desirable and necessary, but rather that social media platforms represent a meeting place, not just another broadcast medium. Twitter is a conversation; the content may be partly based in the news, but it is wholly about entertainment. Journalists who choose to rely on it and rebroadcast it unfiltered and without any value (such as fact-checking) added – in my opinion – do their readers or viewers a disservice.
Lastly, the final point about “nibbling away at the social network’s credibility” is so astonishing I honestly don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. It’s Twitter; it HAS NO CREDIBILITY in the first place.
The logic is so confused in this article, it’s honestly difficult to follow Cole’s reasoning as to why he feels that the legislative process needs to be invoked. It’s very hard, however, to escape the general feeling that the Cam Cole No Pissing Around on Twitter Law is necessary solely to protect lazy journalists who are in such a breakneck rush to report the news that they’re basically just reading their Twitter feed directly into the camera without doing some basic fact-checking first.
Evidently, the Damien Cox example didn’t take. You remember the Toronto Star (now also Sportsnet) columnist who broke news of former coach Pat Burns’s death in September, two months before it happened, because of an honest mistake? Oh, the copycats who leaped on the story that day and spread it without making sure it was true were duly apologetic at the time, and a little cautious for a while afterward, but that was more than five months ago.
All kinds of highly respected, earnest reporters were duped, if only for a matter of minutes, and a lot of effort was wasted trying to chase down the truth, revealing the mean-spirited side of the pranks, which all had one thing in common: none originated with mainstream media, but rather with those trying to make the MSM chase its own tail.
Do you follow that? Damien Cox made an “honest mistake” when he wrongly reported Pat Burns’ death, but “highly respected” and “earnest reporters” were “duped” when they failed to do the minimal checks necessary to make sure @ForREELZESPN_LeBrun – the account reporting the trade of a puck moving defenceman for a bag of doughnuts – is actually related to the hockey journalist in question. To review: Damien Cox makes an honest mistake, those engaged in that line of work fail to learn from it, and – by breathlessly reporting gossip overheard in a virtual barroom as fact – are victims of “mean-spirited” and socially destructive users of the Internet. Heads I win, tails you lose.
The part I have a very difficult time understanding is how Cole misses the point. He actually points out, in the middle portion of the article, how easy it is in most cases to spot a fake Gord Miller Twitter account merely by reading the contents of the page on which the tweets appear (Gord Miller’s Twitter account has probably been around for more than two hours, likely contains more than eight tweets, and it’s highly likely the real Gord Miller has more than 52 followers). In other words, Cole identifies the ease with which these “frauds” can be discovered, but swerves right past the legitimate target – so-called reporters relying on random stuff posted on the Internet for Christ’s sake as accurate – and instead delivers a confusing, poorly reasoned and somewhat startling conclusion generally indicting humans for just fucking around.
Who the fuck is Tim Brent? It’s a question that has circulated in the Barilkosphere – sometimes semi-seriously, mostly in jest – since some time after he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization as a free agent on July 6, 2009.
Now, there’s “Ilya Kovalchuk free agency”, and then there’s “Tim Brent free agency.” This past summer’s production of Waiting for Kovalchuk, for example, featured (in the pre-circumvention ruling days, anyway) daily updates from multiple media sources about the complete absence of any development relating to Kovalchuk’s status. To give you an idea of the level of media interest in Burke’s signing of Tim Brent, a Google News archive search shows that the Toronto Star has exactly one reference to Brent’s career with the Maple Leafs in 2009; it’s an almost parenthetical reference to the fact that Brent had signed a one-year deal with the Leafs, wedged into the body of an article that is 100% about something else – the signing of Francois Beauchemin.
The Barilkosphere’s own beloved meeting place, Pension Plan Puppets, had (on the front page*) but an offhand reference to the acquisition of Tim Brent: again, an almost throwaway mention of Brent’s contract in a larger piece devoted to the signing of Rickard Wallin, for goodness sake. Keep in mind that PPP is a site frequented almost exclusively by highly motivated Leaf fans; the kind of place that generated weeks of discussion and heated debate over the signing of Brett Lebda this summer. On the day AFTER Lebda signed, PPP Princess Karina was moved to put up a post reassuring PPP users that the apocalypse had not occurred and seeking to heal rifts of geologic size that seemed to be developing among the faithful on this most contentious issue. It generated 310 comments.
There is a reason for the differential level of interest of course; Ilya Kovalchuk had 338 goals in 621 NHL games when his marriage with the Devils was finally given the Blessing of Gary this past September. Tim Brent, by contrast, had exactly one goal in 18 games (over 3 separate seasons) with Anaheim, Pittsburgh and Chicago.
Watched the Leafs’ home opener last night; originally scheduled to be at a prenatal class, my plans changed when Spouse came down with a cold. Because of work thingys, I ended up getting home a little late, which was fine because we could PVR the game. It rocks skipping over commercials, and my timing was pretty awesome because I ended up catching up to real time right in the middle of the second intermission, so I could watch the end of the game with my virtual peeps at PPP.
From scanning the Interwebs earlier today, there seems to be a lot of angst out there about the opening ceremonies before last night’s game. Whatever, I zoomed over most of the malarkey before the game. Was happy to see the 48th Highlanders still a part of opening night tradition, and I stopped fast forwarding (that’s a verb, right?) when I got to the part with the water from all the ponds being collected and used to make the Leafs’ ice.
Say what you will; yes, it’s corny and cheesy, but I liked it. I liked that the whole ice surface got turned into water by the lighting effect. I liked it (among other reasons) because Spouse pointed out that water douses fire, and the Habs do that thing where Brian Gionta a much larger child skates around with the torch before a game, then touches it down at centre ice and sets the ice “aflame”. Water douses fire, as sure as paper beats rock. Eat it, Habs.
Thoughts about the game: Gunnarsson was bad. Schenn looked shaky at times, as did Beauchemin in the early going (though I thought Francois turned it around later in the game, with one notable exception I’ll talk about in a minute). Komisarek was awful. Kaberle was excellent, showing on a couple of smooth solo forays up the ice the apparently effortless way he can dart somehow calmly up ice past all (or at least most) defenders in a flash. Terrific. Phaneuf had a solid first game as Captain, I thought.
At forward, there was less that was remarkable. Nice to see Tim Brent notch a goal to start this season; it would be nice if that were some sort of omen about this mostly under-talented team adopting a lunchpail mentality and chipping in with a concerted effort to score by committee as and where it becomes necessary. Kessel looked very good and sincerely happy to be back playing games that count. Versteeg had some nice moments on the Power Play. Kulemin played a solid two-way game and continues to get better. Nice goal from Clark MacArthur; more worrisome was the somewhat underwhelming performance down the middle from Bozak and Grabovski, though neither made enormous glaring mistakes of any consequence.
More than anything, the story of that game was the steadiness of J.S. Giguere. The Leafs were up to their old tricks, taking a late penalty and then brutally brain-cramping in the closing minute of the game. Our defensive coverage for the final eighty or ninety seconds of that game looked as though it was planned as an homage to everybody’s carnival favourite, the Tilt-a-Whirl, with Leaf players orbiting one another, spinning and lurching around unevenly and generally making one feel nauseous. Francois Beauchemin in particular looked bad during this final sequence, weakly attempting to clear the puck at one point on a backhand to the right point that instead made the shallow carom off the boards and failed to clear the zone, setting the scene for one final frenetic scramble in front of Jiggy and a game-saving stop that mercifully prevented yet another Habs OT game. That stop – it had a reassuring and cathartic quality to it, as Bruce Arthur noted in his column today. Begone, ghost of Vesa Toskala.
One game, and one game only. Two points under the W column, and cue the chorus of clucking MSM journalists who take time out from their shrill blizzard of sage columns pedantically warning Leaf fans (unspecified, figurative, mostly non-existent outside of talk radio) not to obsess, despair and overreact about the future of Nazem Kadri, to write a shrill blizzard of sage columns pedantically warning Leaf fans (unspecified, figurative, mostly non-existent outside of talke radio) not to obsess, celebrate and overreact about a single win in an 82-game season.
For Leafs fans, the upcoming season will be an important one. Though it is (once again) extremely unlikely that the Leafs could win the big silver beer stein on offer at the end of the postseason tournament, fans of the team will be watching very closely for signs that any of the existing questions about the team might be answered. We’ll dig through the statistics like the oracles of old pawed through goat entrails, looking for evidence that augers well for a brighter future ahead. It is pretty safe to assume that Brian Burke and his staff will be engaging in a similar process.
Many of those questions concern individual players: what, for example, can we realistically expect from players like Jonas Gustavsson, Luke Schenn, Tyler Bozak and Nikolai Kulemin, all of whom are approaching their likely peak athletic potential in the next few years. Other questions concern more collective issues: what improvement can we expect from the Leafs’ power-play and penalty killing units?
All of those questions merit discussion, but they all relate to issues about the players; with Ron Wilson entering his third season as Maple Leafs head coach, and keeping in mind that last season in particular represented a disappointing step backwards, it’s safe to say that questions must also remain about the suitability of the current staff for the task ahead.
One of the things I like most about the hockey blogosphere is the very strong tendency to attempt to quantify, measure and make concrete and expressible these sorts of issues. When we speak of “issues” and “questions” about the coaching staff, the reality is that there must be some set of performance metrics against which it is reasonable measure the observed outcome of this season, in an effort to dispassionately judge whether the coaches are making a discernible difference in the team’s play (and whether that difference represents an improvement).
Statistical analysis isn’t my strong suit, and I don’t pretend to have the facility with numbers that many other hockey bloggers have ably demonstrated, but I thought I’d try my hand at attempting to cobble together an answer to this last question. What types of numbers should we look for when attempting to grade Messrs. Wilson, Hunter and Acton at the end of this season. Please accept this analysis for what I hope it is: a starting point for the discussion, and a jumping off point for others with the statistical chops that are absent from my toolkit. Criticisms, comments and refinements are welcome – put ’em in the comments below!
I wish I could figure out a way to embed the tables I compiled directly into this post, but two hours of futzing about with Google, Google docs, WordPress, Excel and Numbers have failed to surrender any such secrets, assuming they exist. Unfortunately, therefore, I have to just insert a link to the table I compiled. All data are sourced from hockey-reference. com.
I thought the most logical place to start in assessing the performance of the coaches would be year over year changes in goals for and goals against. I compiled the goals for and goals against data for all 30 teams in each season since the lockout, calculated the percentage change in each from the previous year. I then tried to normalize the percentage change data by calculating the average change each year and the standard deviation of the data. I then selected out those results that lie between one and two standard deviations away from the mean (classified as “moderately exceptional”), and those results that lie two standard deviations or more away from the mean (classified as “significant”).
Assuming that the year-to-year changes are normally distributed, if I remember my statistics class correctly, the results that are interesting are those that fall more than one or two standard deviations from the mean. Those are the results I mentioned above, with the moderate desirable increments marked in light green, the significant desirable increments marked in dark green, the moderate undesirable increments marked in pink, and the significant undesirable increments marked in red.
If I’m reading all of the data correctly, it would appear that the standard deviation of the Goals Against data is typically between about 9 and 12 per cent. Thus, an increase or decrease of anything less than 9 to 12 per cent, statistically speaking, represents the mushy random middle, results in the 68% of data that cluster around the mean in a normal distribution. If I am applying the theory correctly, it would be unwise to come to any conclusion that the team’s performance had either improved or deteriorated based on data of this nature. To make that sort of judgement, I would suggest that to even make a weak judgment about significant differences in performance, we would need to observe an increment (or reduction) of between 9-12% and 18 to 24% (these would be the results between one and two standard deviations from the mean). Variances of more than 18 to 24% from last year’s data could confidently be said to represent a clear indication of differential performance.
Two thoughts come to my mind: first, it’s important to keep in mind the (perhaps obvious) but important point that increases or decreases in a team’s goals for or goals against are not solely attributable to coaching. In fact, it’s probably a live question whether coaching can be said to have a demonstrable effect upon the results at all. Certainly, the old saw is that “you can’t teach scoring,” though it is generally believed that coaches and their systems can and do have a more pronounced effect upon the defensive side of the game (and, by extension, the goals against ledger). If anyone has any thoughts on how to examine the evidence in that regard, I’d love to hear about it.
Second, the numbers involved are fairly large. I think the data seem to be telling us that wide variances in the numbers may be expected from year to year for purely random (or at least statistically uninformative) reasons.
If that last conclusion is correct, unless there is an enormous change in the Leafs goals against totals this year (more than +/- 20%, which in practice would translate into about a 54 goal change either way), it seems that we ought not to make any judgements about the performance of the coaching staff based upon these numbers.
By now, I should probably have a whole category dedicated to “posts in which I apologize for being a lazy dilettante who wanders off from time to time, transfixed by something shiny”.
I don’t want to say I haven’t posted in a while, but there have been two – two! – Slug is Dougpodcastepisodes released since my last post.
I can explain away a week or two in August – kind of – because my MacBook was in the shop getting a flaw on the display screen fixed. The other computers in our house were in places that were far too hot (no A/C in the house yet, long story, maybe I’ll tell you that one some other time) to even contemplate spending time in.
More than that, though, the summer has been a busy one. Work, yes, and some work-related travel for both Spouse and I, but also some play; a trip to Sudbury, a fishing trip, some writing projects (more on that in a moment), some music projects, a lot of yard-related chores (and yet the place is still a mess), a number of visits from family and friends (including the Second Sort Of Annual Founders’ Day Celebration)- and lots of getting ready for an addition to our family. That last bit, I think, explains a lot about why I’ve found it difficult to write extensively here for some time.
I have talked about it on Twitter a little, but here’s the skinny: Spouse and I are expecting to be joined by Even More Junior Than Junior (EMJTJ), our first child, in about two and a half months’ time. In this space, I’ve tried to strike a certain balance concerning personal matters; I tend to include them in my writing because – for better or for worse – I think that I just write better when I bring the personal context into things. I know, though, that Spouse is a more private person than I am, and I have tried to respect her clearly articulated (and reasonable) wishes not to have the minutiae of her life publicly documented across the Interwebs for time immemorial. Similar concerns would apply for EMJTJ; I have no doubt I’ll be documenting my soon to be sleep-deprived travels through the poop- and vomit-rich land of fatherhood, but I don’t want to make a public spectacle out of my son. That will be something he can do on his own, no doubt in a licensed establishment, on some evening in the distant future.
Obviously, a lot of our energies have been focussed on the pregnancy over the last few months. As we slowly get our home and our lives ready for the changes that are about to come, I think I have also been struggling with what, if anything, I ought to write here about the pregnancy. As you can tell from the dearth of material hereabouts recently, I have obviously decided – I think mostly unconsciously – to edit that part of our lives out of the story that unfolds here. There are reasons for my reluctance that go beyond the obvious privacy concerns. Neither Spouse nor I are what you would consider to be “youthful” first parents, so we’ve been a bit hesitant to allow ourselves to just enjoy the process, I suppose out of a sort of superstitious concern that we might be tempting fate to deal our child a host of medical problems to punish us for our hubris. Writing it out makes explicit how silly that is, but I would be lying if I didn’t own up to using something like that thought process over the last few months.
Anyway, in general terms, all is well. Spouse – and EMJTJ, so far as we know – are both healthy. We have taken to referring to the little fellow as “Furious G”, thinking that it would do him well to get an early start on some street cred. Since he is currently unable to knock over a liquor store, bust either a rhyme or a move and has no posse, we figured a hip hop name would be a good place to start.
Aside from producing a human life, or at least a nascent one, during my digital estrangement from you, I have been doing some writing. Much of this writing has happened at work and for work purposes. It is boring and technical and awful and confidential, so I’ll tell you nothing about it. The only reason I mention it is because that too partly explains why I haven’t been using my leisure time to write more and post it here. In addition to the work writing, though, I also spent some time writing an article for the Maple Street Press 2010-2011 Maple Leafs Annual, which is available now in Chapters Indigo stores across Canada, as well as on many other newsstands in the Greater Toronto Area. You can also order a copy online from Maple Street Press (just click the last link).
My article is an update on the rebuild of the Toronto Maple Leafs, exploring further the ideas I developed in last year’s edition of the Annual. It’s called “Full Speed Ahead” and I am once again genuinely interested in hearing what people have to say about it. Please drop me a note in the Comments below if you’ve read it (or last year’s article, for that matter).
When I finished the article about a month and a half ago, I got in touch with Alec Brownscombe (the editor of the publication) and asked him to send me certain information so that I could help him promote the thing. As busy as he was, he did send along the info I asked for – and it sat in my inbox waiting to be developed into a blog post. While I was distracted, the magazine was made available for pre-order online in August, and I promised myself that I’d have something up the day before it was scheduled to appear on shelves in stores. That day came and went too, lost amid the excitement of the arrival of my newest niece Clara. Now here we are, half way through September and I am re-calibrating my target for “before the opening of NHL training camps.”
I hope to have a little something for you tomorrow on what’s in the Annual. Until then – I missed you. I’ll try to keep in touch.
I’ve transcribed it here because I’m afraid the National Post will do a disservice to the history of humour in this country and consign this most excellent piece of humour writing to the digital dustbin. In the piece, DGB sets out the good, the bad and the prognosis for ten currently unsigned free agents. It features predictions that Darcy Tucker will sign with “Sami Kapanen’s sweat drenched nightmares” and opines that Anti Niemi was the “most over-rated Stanley Cup winning goalie in the entire league last year”. Beneath DGB’s estimable roster of jokes, though, some ingenious wag has written:
“the most over-rated Stanley Cup winning goalie in the entire league last year.”
Now, I pride myself on knowing more than just a little about hockey having spent the last nearly 50 years involved in the sport….but please, educate me….how many other Stanley Cup winning goalies WERE there in the league last year?? I’m not arguing he was over-rated as surely this was just another example of a goalie getting hot at just the right time but please, this statement makes NO sense what-so-ever.
I love this comment as an exercise in humour writing. It strikes the perfect balance of comic indignance, arrogance and full-throated idiocy. Displaying a masterful talent, the author delivers his belly laugh by crafting the comment in such a way that the “commenter” supposedly takes issue with the quality of analysis inherent in only one of DGB’s jokes. In this way, the author reveals indirectly that the commenter has entirely missed the point, greatly enhancing the general comedic effect. The reader is left with the mental image of an arrogant and angry man who is prepared to accept that Mirsolav Satan was an “alternate on the NHL’s milennial all-Miroslav team” and that Jose Theodore tells “made up” stories about winning the Hart Trophy, but who will not let the Niemi analysis pass without an angry outburst. Like I said, DGB’s piece had some great jokes in it, but this…this is something else. It’s a masterpiece. Only a talent of Leacockian proportions could concoct such a tremendous jest and then nestle it modestly and unceremoniously beneath the article, a comic delicacy awaiting your discovery as a hilarious and preposterous surprise.
It is made up, right? No one actually mistook DGB’s piece for a regular sports article, right?
Please, please, please let it be the Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Tampa Lightning or New York Islanders whose ball falls first out of that stupid lottery machine tonight.
I do not want to hear about Phil Kessel for Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin for the rest of my life, despite the fact that I support this trade.
Update: Toronto’s pick will be the 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft. Peter Chiarelli and Tyler Seguin were kind of making googly eyes at one another, I thought. Meanwhile, Taylor Hall’s lips will almost certainly freeze right off within four months of his arrival in Edmonton.
The Leafs lost to the Atlanta Thrashers tonight 3-2. Where have you heard this before: Tuesday night home loss to a mediocre Southeast Division opponent.
No doubt, some folks will be into the gnashing of teeth, given the Thrashers’ two goals in less than a minute in the second period. No doubt, the Leafs fell apart for a bit for a few minutes there, and they paid for it when Atlanta cashed in a couple of markers. Keep in mind, though, that this is the youngest team in the NHL. They are bound to lose focus and composure from time to time this year, and it must be remembered that this will happen from time to time next year too. The key thing for Leaf fans to watch when this happens – not “if”, but “when” – is how the team reacts.
A couple of nights ago, the Leafs got themselves down 2-0 to the Rangers after two periods and managed to come back and get a win in overtime. Tonight, the comeback wasn’t complete, but the team bore down and got a couple of goals to tie it before surrendering the eventual winner on an Antropov tip in front of Gustavsson. There was some inspired play from Bozak again tonight, his pass to Stalberg on Stalberg’s first goal was brilliant. Stalberg himself showed some good determination to get to the net, though it was a bit alarming to see that his shot on that first goal was actually headed wide but bounced rather fortunately off the goaltender’s skate and in to the net. Tonight was probably one of Christian Hanson’s better games as a Leaf. There were also some terrific saves from Gustavsson – especially his save on Afinogenov with about two and a half minutes left in the second period, when Afinogenov was in alone on him just before the first Stalberg goal.
So yeah, another Tuesday night, another loss to a mediocre southeastern opponent, but I’ll say it again: there is reason for hope.