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Leafs Get Up Off The Mat

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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About 25 years ago, I went to see Hulk Hogan.

I have no idea who he was matched up against. I didn’t like wrestling, but one thing stuck.

After what seemed like an endless pummeling, Hulk’s opponent went to administer the killing blow. Thwack. Up came a big right hand, then arduously, the great man gained his feet, waged his finger and put the bad guy away for the night.

Those moments aren’t just the stage managed kind. In sports, there is little that is more inspiring than seeing a man, seemingly beaten, get up off the mat.

Which brings us to your Leafs, who bounced back from a 4-1 deficit to best the Nashville Predators 5-4 and if you wonder where the cliff was, take a look behind the heels of the guys in blue.

Losers of eight in a row, the Leafs unveiled a suddenly potent power play, got two goals from the AWOL Kristopher Versteeg and well-timed heroics from both Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson. Mike Brown delivered two superb plays to kill off a late Nashville power play. It was that kind of a night.

The Leafs are 6-8-3, three points out of eighth and one night removed from the abyss thanks to four second-period goals from what had been a slack power-play unit.

Impediments, of course, remain.  The status of Giguere is a head-scratcher. The number one line isn’t producing five on five and the Leafs gave up a bushelful of goals.

But computer screens won’t be replete with one opinion or the other on the coach’s future. Every move that brought us here need not be dissected.

Everyone can just go back to what they were doing. The Leafs have played well for two straight games.  The canvas is back where it belongs, under foot.
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