So we blew a lead, blew a game that should have been ours, Cujo was mediocre and the Curse of Kerry Fraser lives on. I don't particularly blame Cujo, Kerry, or most of the Leafs, but I would like same answers from our coach.
1. Why did Cujo start the third?
The 'Canes' first goal was a fluke, they knew it, we knew it, and we responded strongly with two more. The second was a five on three, Cujo made some initial saves that were great, except poor technique kicked the rebound straight onto Whitney's stick. Fine. We lost the scrums in front of the net for the third, but that fourth goal by Ruutu should never happen. That's an AHL-class goal, and Cujo watches the puck all the way above his shoulder.
Despite the fact that he wasn't the only reason we were down in that game, he needed to go. You can't let in a softie like that after the team has already given up the lead with marginal goals. The goalie needs to calm down the guys in front of him, Joseph had been flying around his crease all game and sending out rebounds. By the time the fifth goal went in it was obvious the boys had lost their confidence in the Cat, and they needed Toskala in to get them focused on their game. Would we have won with Toskala in for the last 20? I'm not so sure, I don't pin this loss solely on goaltending, but it would have been the right move for the rest of the players.
2. Why put the Stajan line on after the five-on-three was over in the second period?
Stajan had been killing penalties with the rest of the PK corps, Antro and Poni had been sitting cold. I know that the kind of offensive zone control that line provides is what the Leafs needed, but Antro isn't the strongest skater on the team and Stajan was pretty obviously gassed. Plus, didn't Stajan take a tired-looking tripping call to start off the penalty parade of the second?
Why not the Grabovski line, the strongest skating line on the team and the one that had spent almost no time killing penalties? The one that offensively dominated earlier in the period? The guys that weren't on the ice for a goal against all game?
3. Why break up the Man-Grabs-Lemon line in the third?
4. Why Carlo?
I know he's been pushing for ice time, and I also know that a back-to-back is a decent time to rotate in two players who are fresh to add some life to our team. But with Pitkanen and Kaberle out, the only person on that 'Canes team with a point shot is Joe Corvo. Meaning a lot of their offense comes from the front and down low. Meaning Frogren would have been a much better choice.
I think we all know where we'll be seeing Carlo in the near future. And it won't be on the ice in blue and white. It's a shame, because like all suffering Leafs fans I like Carlo, I honestly believed that if he had been healthy the past two years we would have made the playoffs, as opposed to suffering through the Woz era. Then he showed us all exactly why we didn't make the playoffs with him in the roster.
Shitty penalty (and believe me, after seeing enough replays I know exactly why that call was made, as ticky as it looked it was probably the most legitimate call on us that period), argues it, then sits out the third after taking a puck to the leg, shortening our bench that already had an injured Finger on it. Isn't this the kind of stuff that we thought was gone in the new era of the Leafs? Isn't the fact that this crap was missing the reason that these games were fun to watch, win or lose?
White filled in for Hollweg and did great, as I think we knew he would. But please, I know we had injuries, no more White on defense. He completely disappeared when put there and we could have used his checking down low.
Mayers has been brutal, too many penalties, not enough good. Wishing we had that third rounder back.
Poor Schenn. Rough birthday for the kid.
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