The Toronto Maple Leaf beat writers are putting the finishing touches on their annual post-mortem articles, decrying the soiled state of the hapless Buds. Paul Hunter of the Star calls last night's loss to Ottawa "embarrassing".
"Give the Leafs credit for one thing – they're consistent on home ice. They've stunk at the Air Canada Centre all season. It's doubtful anyone will lament the breakup of this edition of the squad when general manager Cliff Fletcher and his eventual successor continue the dismantling process in the off-season.
Last night was just another pathetic reminder of how bad they really are. They cobbled together an 18-17-6 record on their own ice, ranking them 26th in the 30-team league. Only the Islanders, Atlanta, Phoenix and Los Angeles were worse. "
Damien Cox finds coach Paul Maurice's decision to keep Vesa Toskala in for 8 goals a "firing offense".
"Afterwards, there were no speeches, no Grunwald-like public apologies, no shirt-off-our-backs ceremonies, no appreciative tributes to the ever-patient fans. Vesa Toskala, hung out to dry by head coach Paul Maurice to absorb all 60 embarrassing minutes in what may have been in itself a firing offence for a head coach, couldn't get off the ice fast enough. ...
Their "core" has been exposed as flaccid and wildly overpaid. Their management has been discredited and banished, with the team now left indefinitely in the hands of a man fired by the same team a decade ago."
The Buffalo Sabres have been officially eliminated from the playoffs and it's the fourth time in six seasons that has happened.
Not exactly a shocker. Gone from last years team: Daniel Briere, Chris Drury and Brian Campbell.
If the cheapness of the Sabres doesn't change, they're just basically a farm team for the other franchises. They put the time and money into draft picks and let them go when it's time to pay them for their success.
Next in line to leave? All-Star goalie Ryan Miller.
The best between periods segment on the Ottawa Senators pay-per-view last night was Chris Neil and Brian McGrattan sitting on a couch watching fights by classic enforcers like Bob Probert and Stu Grimson and even commenting on a few of their own taped fights. McGrattan said that Philadelphia's Riley Cote was the best up-and-coming fighter in the league and lo and behold, the current champion Georges Laraque says the same thing in a Dave Molinari penned article.
"He doesn't back down," Laraque said. "He fights open. He's a lefty, and ... he doesn't hold on. He just goes. It's unreal. I respect him a lot."