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Leafs n Knights!

April 2, 2010
tags: , , ,

Tonight was the start of  the long weekend for me and what better way to start than to flip between my beloved Leafs (who are not in a playoff run) and my adored Knights (who started their second round of OHL playoffs against the hated Kitchener Rangers). First off, these are the tales of two vastly different teams in two vastly different leagues.

One, the Leafs, battle in the best league in the world – the National Hockey League. Unfortunately, this is not one of the seasons a Leaf fan would like to remember and they are currently battling only to a) see that Brian Burke does not look like a complete fool and award the Boston Bruins a top two pick, b) jobs for next year and possibly c) some modicum of pride.  One would hope all three of these things would bring some wins for their long-suffering fans. So far, after the mass turfing of veterans, the results for the youngsters isn’t so bad. There may be hope for the future after all. And that’s not just the Leaf fan in me talking. Well, not only the Leaf fan in me.

Team number two in my life, the London Knights, who are on the opposite spectrum of the Leafs in their respective league, the Ontario Hockey League.  After several years of losing and I mean right at the bottom of the league, setting those records no one wants to admit to, the Knights are now the epitome of a good organization – one that consistently shows up near the top of the standings. And this year is no different, with the exception that there are no high-end stars on the team. No Rick Nashes, no Pat Kane, no John Tavares, but still near the top of their league and entering the second round of the playoffs. Yeah, it’s good to be a Knights fan.

On the sched tonight –  Leafs vs Sabres:  not so good vs pretty good with an awesome goaltender. You can go a long way with an awesome goaltender and this guy? He’s right up there. The Sabres will go as far as Mr. Miller takes them. He almost broke Canada’s heart during the recent Olympics and was a primary reason for Team USA being in the final – he pretty much willed them there.  And this season? Has owned the Leafs (and pretty much every other team out there – this guy is truly for the Vezina).

So what do the Leafs go out and do? They pepper him with shots (over 30 for the 6th time this season) and finally get the win. A little youth, speed, nothing-to-lose attitude and… some luck. Yeah.   That big, lanky kid – Tyler Myers? He’s a winner too. Expect to see something of him at awards time.  But tonight was for the young Leafs. Bozak, Stalberg, Hanson and Kulemin are looking pretty good right now. There is hope again in Leafland and some of it might not be mis-placed!

On the sched part 2 – Knights vs Rangers:  a rivalry for the years.  Remember when so and so dished that elbow? Knocked our captain out for quite some time. Remember that fight – Perry and Richards? Remember, remember?  Well, for two teams that were not particularly belligerent all year and (in the Knights case) had traded away some of that belligerence for some peskiness with skill – the rivalry brings all the incidentals into the game. Gamesmanship? All kinds of it. Goals? All kinds of them too. Before the series started, many people were saying that goaltending hadn’t been an issue for either team, but neither had it been the Big Factor. Well, it wasn’t tonight either – Knights win 8-5 to start the series and those incidentals? Look for more of those in Game 2, cos all those not-so-subtle slashes and elbows, facewashes after the whistle are remembered.

Good night for my teams, but with one on the waaaaay outside not even bothering to look in and the other doing their workmanlike best to be a solid playoff team, it’s not always gonna be that way. So I’ll savour what I can get.


the Sportsgrl

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