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Panic button being stowed away - for now - in Toronto

Tuesday, 12.11.2007 / 9:24 AM / Game-Day Skate

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

What a difference a couple of weeks have made for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Some random thoughts before I look for a chiropractor following an accident involving my Nintendo Wii:

If At First You Don’t Succeed … -- What a difference a couple of weeks have made for the Toronto Maple Leafs. People all across Toronto have come off the ledges since that Nov. 24 loss at Phoenix, when the Leafs lost by a 5-1 score, prompting  fans to call for the heads of Paul Maurice and John Ferguson, Jr.
   
Since then, the Leafs are flying. They’ve won five of seven and are playing well in all phases, including the goaltending. Vesa Toskala is finally making fans feel better about the deal that sent two first-round draft picks to San Jose.

On Monday night, Toronto scored four times in a span of 4:32 during the second period in a 6-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Air Canada Centre.

"Sometimes you need an absurd amount of pressure to get things going," Maurice said. "So absurd that you think the entire game of hockey will be called off based on the way the Leafs are playing. It helps put things in perspective."
   
Seriously. I mean, I didn’t leave my bedroom for two weeks following the cancellation of “Small Wonder,” but you learn to get over things.

Ozz Fest -- When it comes to goaltenders in the National Hockey League, one immediately thinks of stars like Roberto Luongo, Martin Brodeur and Dominik Hasek.

Maybe it’s time to throw Hasek’s backup into the conversation.
Chris Osgood has been nothing short of spectacular this season for the Detroit Red Wings. The veteran improved to 14-1-1 on Monday night in a 2-1 win against the Nashville Predators, and has to be considered for a spot on the Western Conference All-Star team next month in Atlanta.

After all, Osgood did enter Monday’s action with the best GAA in the League at 1.97. He’s now only one win off the League lead, which is currently shared by San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov and Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.
   
Osgood deserves to be in Atlanta. I mean, my gosh, Ryan Seacrest has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
   
Welcome To Beantown – What a way to walk on to a new club.

Alex Auld made 44 saves in his second start for the Boston Bruins – including 20 in the second period alone – to lead the Bruins to a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.

Boston was out-shot 33-15 during the final two periods, but Auld bailed his club out to improve to 2-0 since being acquired by the Bruins last Thursday from the Phoenix Coyotes.
   
"It's nice to have a situation where you can depend on who you are going to put in there," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "It was a solid performance on his part. The outcome could have been a lot different, especially if he hadn't bailed us out there in the second period."

Just wondering, but what happens when Tim Thomas recovers from his groin injury? Thomas has been an All-Star this season for the B’s, but how do you tell Auld he has to sit?
I’d hate to be Julien in that situation. Granted, it won’t be as painful as when Jesse Palmer had to choose between those women on “The Bachelor”, but I digress …

Captain Caveman – Nine hundred games into his NHL career, Chris Pronger remains one of, if not the best, defenseman in the sport.

The hulking defenseman scored the game-winner with 1:46 left in overtime, giving the Anaheim Ducks a 4-3 win over against Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Monday night.
   
Tremendous quote from Pronger following the game, regarding the team’s inability to stay out of the penalty box. The Ducks handed Columbus nine power plays:
   
"It may look like we're running around a little bit or like we don't know what we're doing, but there's a method to the madness," he said.
   
The only thing missing from that quote is a laugh from Dr. Evil.
   
Muhahahaha!

Brian Compton can be e-mailed at: bcompton@nhl.com.



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When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions