2-0-2 in the last four games. Yes Leaf fans in this season, that does indeed count for optimism. After being castigated for the lack of true sniping up front aside from the as good as advertised Phil Kessel
considering they had 61 shots on Dwayne Roloson but couldn’t pick up the win, the team had a much higher shooting percentage in Wednesday's win over Tampa Bay.
The rumour is that when Brian Burke, among the contenders for Father of the Year, has been asked about the availability of players on his roster that Nik Hagman’s name has come up with regularity.
Hagman’s two goals were a welcome factor to the win (he’s now scored in three straight) but youngster Carl Gunnarsson
’s fine play with three assists in only his sixth NHL game is another sign of just how far the Leafs development has come with regards to younger players.
Head coach Ron Wilson was emphatic that Carl was the best defenceman at training camp and deserves to stick with the big club even when Mike Komisarek
returns in two or three weeks.RAPTORS
After watching last night’s Raptors game, the last time I felt that deflated was after having had to sit through Sylvester Stallone and Estelle Getty’s abominable work, Stop or My Mom Will Shoot
. Except the Raptors couldn’t make a shot in this one, connecting on just 34.5 percent of shots from the field.
There’s a host of disconcerting issues from that game, namely the imbalance in points in the paint (74-44 for CHA) and transition points (41-10 CHA, with 22 of those on dunks), 18 Toronto turnovers came from 13 Charlotte steals. Chris Bosh connecting on just 5 of 14 field goals. Hedo Turkoglu failing to grab a rebound in 22:31 of play. Andrea Bargnani grabbing just four boards. And most depressingly, the play of point guards Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon. Jack was just 1 of 9 for two points and one assist while Jose had six turnovers and eight assists.
Sometimes good teams lay an egg and the Raptors certainly are hoping that’s the case but when you lose to a beatable opponent, you then need to overachieve and steal a win against a loaded opponent. Let’s hope that’s the case in Beantown on Friday night.
OTHER STUFF ON MY MIND
- Finally saw Up
yesterday. Another win for Pixar who just crank out excellent entertainment for both parents and children. You know you’re getting dazzling images, thrilling sequences and impeccable voice work (Ed Asner playing the curmudgeon to a C.)
But what’s exceptional about this so called kids flick is the mature and fully
realized love story and the courage in making a crusty septuagenarian, and not in the heroic Clint Eastwood mold from Gran Torino, the hero and focal point of the story. Highly recommended.
- Jay-Z says he makes the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can in Empire State of Mind
. I think Derek Jeter should protest the track as much as I love it.
- Speaking of Jeter, he’s a bum. At least in the new movie The Other Guys
starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Although he only finished third in the MVP voting behind Joe Mauer and teammate Mark Teixeira, Jeter is once again proving there’s no domain he can’t dominate.
- I haven’t watched a CFL game in its entirety this year. But I hope to watch as much of the Grey Cup on Sunday as possible and I’ll be rooting for the Green Riders and their rabid fans. An eight hour drive to Calgary from Saskatchewan is nothing for those prairie dwellers and I’m curious if Anthony Calvillo (1-5 in Grey Cups) can shed the label of being a superior regular season performer than post season.
-Phrase you’ll never hear me say - “Man I can’t get enough of that new track from Nickelback.”