Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random Thoughts As The Leafs' Buns Are Still Red Hot

* Justin Pogge got his “pants pulled down”, plain and simple. Considering he was playing his second NHL game, and his teammates were displaying their best Andy Wozniewski impersonations, I’d say he’s deserving of a mulligan. While a couple of the goals were stoppable, it begs the question if ANY goaltender could of garnered a solid performance with the abysmal performances that were displayed in front of the netminder last night.

* I’m just throwing this out there, but does anyone notice Lee Stempniak on the ice? I sometimes forget he’s on the team.

* Stajan has 0PTS in his last 6 games. This is a little concerning considering his production during the first half of the season, but it’s nothing to burn police cruisers over. A quick glance at the Leafs’ roster will prove that every player, in every position, has endured cold streaks. It’s part of the process of rebuilding, as the Leafs’ core consists largely (and will only continue to) of young players.

* After watching the Leafs’ dismal performance last night, I can’t help but wonder if Pogge should stay clear of the Leafs altogether this season. While easing him in with the occasional game sounds like a logical plan, the Leafs’ defense will play no part in this thing we call, “logic.” One could argue that more time in the AHL will only halt his progression, but I can’t help but think the Leafs will only shatter his confidence if he were to assume the goaltending duties for the Blue and White . I mean, as nice as it is to blame the defensive woes on Vesa Toskala’s struggles, yesterday was a clear indication that the Leafs’ defense are not capable of maintaining order in their own end – even Schenn was a walloping -4.

* While Ron Wilson’s comments are considered egocentric by many, even Don Cherry had to respect his comments towards his fallen goaltender last night. “Obviously the first goal was not very good but then we pulled down his pants,” Wilson said. “Our goaltending has not been good this year. This is an opportunity for Justin. He’s going to get more opportunities. He’s going to be a great NHL goalie.” That may not seem like a Hallmark moment, but for Wilson, this is an act of defending his goaltender and placing the blame almost squarely on his defenders, who, deservingly so, need a serious adjustment in their own end. Wilson said it best: “We don’t have enough guys who care about each other. We have a few guys who should look in the mirror and say: ‘I’m not trying hard enough in my own end. I’m cheating in order to get easy points.’”

* “Enjoy Michael Cammalleri the rest of the season, because on July 1, he’ll be a Toronto Maple Leaf, making almost as much money as Jarome Iginla” – Eric Francis, The Calgary Sun. A player like Cammalleri is exactly what this franchise needs. His speed and offensive prowess would be instantly recognized, and considering his age (26), how can you go wrong? 7 million per season seems a little excessive, but if Burke can lock him up anywhere around the 6 million vicinity, the Leafs will have possession of an integral piece to their rebuilding plan.

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