Leafs Postgame: Flames’ B-Team beats Marlies’ B-Team

Think of the Leafs at the start of the season. A roster set up to fail, am I right? Okay, now place Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk on the IR. Oh, and keep Shawn Matthias out of the lineup with a less severe injury as well. Also, give Tyler Bozak an illness. Maybe, just maybe, trade Dion Phaneuf as well. That gives you a pretty barebones Wednesday lineup, but hey, at least the Flames will be exciting!

Wait, they put their worst goalie in net? Oh, and they scratched three key players because they were presumably, uhh, “not feeling great” the morning after watching the Super Bowl? This game has “least entertaining of the season” written all over it.

Did it ever live up to that hype, as both teams stumbled towards the finish line until the Flames skated away victorious, outscoring the Leafs 4-3 after sixty dreadful minutes.

After Matt “only player still on either team from the first Phaneuf trade” Stajan headed to the penalty box midway through the first period, it seemed like the Leafs had the chance to take the lead. Of course, that wasn’t the case. The Flames picked up a shorthanded tally forty seconds into Toronto’s man-advantage, as Markus Granlund temporarily convinced the world that he was as good as his brother by rushing up for a breakaway and chipping the puck past James Reimer.

That’s not to say that the Leafs didn’t convert of the powerplay, though; Peter Holland tied the game back up with an admittedly pretty deflection a few seconds later. Not to be outdone, Mikael Backlund responded with a powerplay deflection of his own with two minutes to go in the period, putting the Flames back up. They carried the momentum into the second, shocking the world by putting Michael Ferland into successful scoring position, only to top that by having a second Dougie Hamilton shot beat Reimer; this time, without a deflection.

If there was a goal that made you genuinely happy to see today, it was probably Josh Leivo’s. It was a gorgeous shot that looked much like the rockets that he’s been firing home with the Toronto Marlies down the stretch, and it also gave Rich Clune a point that, as a childhood Leafs fan, he had waited his entire life to pick up. Jake Gardiner’s goal that followed, however, was a bit more concerning; as nice as it is to see the young defender go for a skate and take a solid shot on net, there’s no denying that the only reason it went in was because of Jonas Hiller’s less-than-stellar goaltending.

To the relief of those watching the standings, those two goals were the closest that the team would get to closing the game back up. Even with increasing pressure, Hiller managed to keep his half-team afloat to send Toronto’s half-team packing.

Blue Warrior

Clune, Leivo, and Holland weren’t the only local boys to step up tonight. Frank Corrado, who started off the season in relative exile, made the most of his 16:21 of ice time taking three shots on goal, throwing two hits, leading the team in shot-attempt percentage (80%, on the ice for 20 attempts for and 5 against), and perhaps most importantly, tripling his full-season production with a pair of assists. He’ll need more games like this to hold onto a roster spot until more trades happen, and if he can earn it through merit rather than elimination, it’ll be a huge step for the 22-year-old.

See You Next Time?

The Leafs have two more games to play in their west-coast tour of similarly dreadful teams. The next of those comes tomorrow night when they take on the Edmonton Oilers. The team features 2022 Unrestricted Free Agent Connor McDavid, so keep your eyes peeled! Puck drop is at 9:00 PM. You know, if you dare to watch again.

  • Gary Empey

    Jeff If I want to be entertained I simply watch the Raptors and get ready for the Jays spring training in the alligator, python infested swamp in Florida with the hidden sprinklers lurking in ball parks. But if I want to watch the big tank rolling across Canada into cow town, while I watch as you pointed out a junior B league team keep the tanking in fine form.

    Just a pleasure not to see Phaneuf out there coughing up the puck. Way to go Sens may you have imbedded in your craniums the site of Phaneuf and his usual bone head pinch fifteen seconds into last Saturday’s game.

    Now on to the pathetic Oilers organization which seems determined to try to give the leafs a run for that number one draft pick. Then on to God’s country and the Canuckleheads who are celebrating some stupid jersey night. I mean what else have they got to be excited about after 46 years of futility.

    But for the sake of tanking and numero uno. Go Oilers Go. Go Canuckleheads Go.

    • Gary Empey

      Re- Tanking

      TANK NATION is a group of people who suffer from the relatively new, sports psychosis, Tankomania. Typically, a fan experiences auditory hallucinations along with deluded thought processes and beliefs. After years and years (for some 49) of watching the Leafs lose, something short-circuited in their otherwise healthy brains. Now instead of cheering the Leafs to win, sadly , they cheer for a loss. Though they still remain die-hard Leaf fans.

      In layman’s terms they have “Lost their figgin-marbles”

      As in most psychosis there is something that sets it off. The trigger in the LEAF NATION case, was Connor McDavid. The Leafs were within whisker of getting McDavid in the lottery. Immediately following the draft they started to obsess on a young 17 year old player from Pheonix.

      This year, bonafide, card carrying members of TANK NATION would crawl a half a mile, over broken glass, just to kiss the last jock strap that Auston Matthews wore.

      Results from earlier studies of OILER NATION have shown actually winning the lottery doesn’t seem to arrest this condition.

      Most Tankomaniacs after hitting rock bottom, will require long term, deep psychoanalytic therapy along with short term Psychotropic Medications. Ideally in an institutional setting.

      For some unfortunately, the prognosis is poor. The damage will be permanent and will develop into full-blown, highly dangerous, Paranoid Tankophrenia, losing their ability to function in daily life.

      I expect to have a hot link soon, where people can help, by donating to their care and well being.

      For anyone interested in learning more about this exciting new condition, I highly recomend, ” One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest ”

      …..Doctor Shmoctor

      • Gary Empey

        Dear Doctor Phil, thank you for your prognosis. As you probably know Gary, I’ve been a leaf fan for 60 years and well quite frankly I was a little upset with your disortation there after all.


        Btw I’m pretty good at doing the Drake dance moves as well. Hot Line Bling, So leaf nation let us create the latest sensation. Where do we want to rank when we finish the tank?? Hot Line Bling, The roulette wheel it struck one. Hot Line Bling for the leafs truly the fun has just begun.

        Not bad for a cool grand father if I do say so myself.

  • Tomas Oppolzer

    I see some of the Canucks anti-Ferland bias has seeped into your Leafs write-up, Jeff. To imply that he isn’t a skilled player, and is unable to score, is untrue. Ferland proved at the junior and AHL levels that he is a very capable, skilled player. He’s also started to show that in the NHL this season (lack of points aside).