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Leafs Have Two New Cornerstones

by Adnan Virk / Toronto Maple Leafs
MAPLE LEAFS


Two bona fide reasons to trumpet the Leafs overtime loss to the Lightning. Phil Kessel and Jonas Gustavsson. Yin and yang. Kessel’s wheels are unreal as he was a whirling dervish on the ice, bringing flashes of excitement that we haven’t seen from this team all season. Forget about not potting the twine - if he keeps up that acceleration and aggressive shooting, the goals will come.

As for Gustavsson, that was his coming out party, especially those point blank stops on Ryan Malone in the first. The ship hasn’t been righted but these two are the biggest reasons for optimism.

RAPTORS

It’s been a quirky start to the season for the Raptors but the good news is Chris Bosh has been a monster thus far. Those 15 pounds of muscle have translated into a beast in the low post and on the glass, which only bodes well for Toronto as their early schedule could be an absolute monster. But clearly, perimeter defence is an issue. 17 3 pointers from Orlando in a lineup missing three starters in Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter and Mikael Pietrus?

Unacceptable, but Jay Triano and company know that. Defence is a collective effort so easy on the haters who seem to think it all begins and ends with Jose Calderon. Maybe our boy Charles Oakley, one of this corner’s all-time faves, can inspire the troops with his visit on Wednesday night.

OTHER STUFF ON MY MIND:

- A friend of mine once pontificated, “What musical artist could you play and everyone would be a fan of?” Regardless of gender, religion and culture? His vote was Bob Marley. I’ll go with Huey Lewis and the News because yes, it’s hip to be square. Discuss amongst yourselves.

- Luca Toni and Jon Hamm, separated at birth. Look at this picture. Two fantastic strikers joined at the hip!

- Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame, also a massive fan of the st.louis blues. Look up the clip on youtube in which he name checks, Craig Janney!

- Still can’t get over how smart that double steal by Johnny Damon was in Game 4. He used to be one of the self-proclaimed idiots on the Boston Red Sox of 2004 and now makes one of most heads-up plays in baseball memory. Clearly put the pressure on Lidge to only throw fastballs to A-rod, one of the game’s premier fastball hitters, rather than dare risk throwing a slider in the dirt. When the Yankees win the series, Damon’s baserunning will join Enos “Country’ Slaughter’s famous mad dash in the 1946 World Series as one of the more inspired bits of derring-do on the basepaths.
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