Saturday, October 21, 2006

In the Reds

I don't normally do the game notes/blog thing but I got a call around 5PM tonight from a friend asking if I was interested in going to the Leaf game, like he had to ask.

Here are some notes from the ACC:

When Andy Frost announced the game’s scratches, Antropov’s name got a big cheer.

The music selection at the ACC is worse than you might think. I don’t know that Cotton Eyed Joe made an appearance, but the majority of the music played was recorded before the births of Steen, Stajan and Ponikarovsky. I didn’t know that people still listened to Quiet Riot…I bet the guy next to me we’d hear Twisted Sister before the night was over. I lost. But it seemed like a safe bet at the time.

Both teams came out sluggish. The Leafs didn’t get their first shot on goal until the 13th minute mark and that was off a dump in.

Ponikarovsky’s goal was a thing of beauty. Too bad he couldn’t repeat in the shoot-out.

The Leafs looked absolutely dreadful in the second period. They were totally contained for whole shifts at a time, unable to contain the Rangers low-cycle and unable to clear the zone. The Rangers very successfully dumped the puck into the Leafs right corner and then flooded the right wing wall. The Leafs coughed up the puck time after time after time. It was ugly.

Raycroft did not look sharp. Pucks were bouncing off him like superballs dropped from the top of the CN Tower. He was fighting the puck all night and if it weren’t for a few lucky bounces the Rangers could have buried the Leafs in the second, especially as Raycroft struggled to contain the puck and limit second chances.

Stajan can dangle. Made a great move up the middle in the 3rd. Who knew?

Maurice did his best to pair Belak with Kaberle, but the Rangers did a great job of isolating Belak and working the puck into his corner whenever big #3 took to the ice.

Brendan Bell did not look out of place - had a really nice solo rush in the third that he nearly converted.

The Leafs seemed reticent to shoot the puck tonight and were guilty of over-passing on a few occasions. I’m amazed they managed 38 shots on Lundqvist. It’s either a friendly finger keeping count or the Leafs should have had 50.

PruchaTyutin crushed Tucker. Tucker crushed Jagr. Nice stuff.

Whenever Raycroft left the crease to play the puck, a woman in my section would make a noise like she was going into labour (either that or she secretly using the call of the dying giraffe). Thank you miss, whoever you are, for giving voice to the anxiety that I thought was mine alone.

Marcel Hossa really low-bridged Poniarovsky with a very dangerous looking hit in the neutral zone. If Quinn was still coach (or if Lindy Ruff were behind the bench) this would be the lead news item until at least Tuesday.

The Leafs looked better as the game went on, dominating most of the third. With the exception of one shift in OT, the Rangers looked as though they were just waiting for the shoot-out.

The guy sitting behind me very loudly predicted what each player would do as they came in on the shoot-out. He fared a little worse than the leafs going 0 for six on his predictions. My favourite: his call that Shanahan would go “High cheese over the glove” on Raycroft. High cheese indeed.

I’ve never enjoyed the shoot-out on TV and I hate to admit it was a pretty thrilling thing to see live. That said, I still think it’s a lousy way to decide a game.

1 comment:

  1. "High cheese"? I don't know what that means, but it sounds hilarious.

    I agree on Raycroft - he did nothing to steal the game for the Leafs, except for one play (I thought) - previous to the Leafs' 4th goal, he foiled an odd-man Rangers scoring chance, and booted the puck way out to Bell, which led to the quick breakout and O'Neill's goal. Without the huge (intended, gotta be) rebound, that play doesn't happen, and Toronto loses 4-3.