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Leafs' latest loss leaves a bad taste

by Brian Compton /
A few thoughts while Chris Mason struts all the way to the airport:

There's still time, Brian -- Reports across Canada on Tuesday afternoon said Brian Burke will become the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs by this weekend.

Any chance he changed his mind after watching the debacle that transpired at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night?

If there is, one could hardly blame him.

Playing in front of their rabid fans, the Leafs showed no heart, no desire and no will to win. The end result? A fourth consecutive loss, courtesy of the Atlanta Thrashers -- who entered with a three-game skid of their own.

Twenty-one games into the 2008-09 season, the Maple Leafs have allowed 78 goals -- the most in the National Hockey League. Curtis Joseph struggled Tuesday night, allowing three goals on 10 shots in the second period. He stopped 24 of 30 overall.

''It's your effort and compete level, and it wasn't there,'' Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. ''It was a flat bench and just dead. That's what disappoints me more than anything.''

So does Burke still want to come and Toronto and try to fix this mess?

"It's certainly headed in the right direction," Burke told TSN in response to a published report that he was going to be named. "But it's not done yet. I anticipate it will get done, but it's not done."

Which means Burke still has time to run further away from Toronto than Forrest Gump did from Alabama.

Feel-good moment -- Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz probably wasn't too happy his team left a point on the table Tuesday night in a 1-0 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center.

However, he's happy to see his former player, goaltender Chris Mason, playing at the level he did Tuesday. Mason stopped all 47 shots he faced through overtime, then denied Rich Peverley and Ville Koistinen in the first two rounds of the shootout to win in his return to Nashville.

''There is no doubt that Chris was the first star of the game,'' Trotz said. ''Anytime you get moved from a team and come back to play them there is extra motivation. He loved it here. He didn't want to move. He was a big part of our success.''

It was the first time the Predators had been shut out at home since Jan. 13, 2004, a span of 148 games. The last time it happened, the Predators skated off with a 0-0 tie against the Los Angeles Kings -- with Mason in goal. Tuesday also marked the most shots the Predators have recorded in a game without scoring.

All because of their former goaltender.

''It was a good night,'' said Mason, who spent parts of seven seasons with the Predators. ''This is definitely one of the top games in my career, so far. I was with Nashville for so long. It was just crazy.''

Doing their part -- So much for Jarome Iginla being the only goal scorer for the Calgary Flames.

The line of Rene Bourque, Craig Conroy and Curtis Glencross was sensational Tuesday night, as the trio combined for 8 points in Calgary's 6-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Bourque scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season, Glencross had a goal and 2 assists and Conroy had 3 assists. Glencross now has 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists) over his last 6 games.



''Maybe these guys weren't always on the first line wherever they've played before, but they've been able to score, put points up and contribute and take the pressure off of Jarome,'' Conroy said. ''Jarome's playing against the best 'D,' usually the checking forwards, so it's hard for him. If we can chip in and help relieve him, that's the key for us.''

Twenty-one games into the season, Glencross is just 12 points shy of matching his output from all of last season, which was split between Columbus and Edmonton. Over the last two weeks, Glencross has shown the adjustment process is nearing completion.

''I'm starting to feel more comfortable now,'' Glencross said. ''It takes a while to settle in and get to know all the guys. We've been together for a few months now. I'm finding that chemistry with Connie and whoever is on the other side -- (Dustin) Boyd, (David) Moss, or Rene tonight."

Contact Brian Compton at:

Material from wire services was used in this report.


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