Toronto Maple Leafs 2010-11: Week 12
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Maple Leafs Record: 12-16-4 (28 points)
Leading Scorer: Clarke MacArthur 32gp, 9g, 16a, 25pts
After a disappointing road trip where they dropped 2 of 3 to the Western Canadian teams, the Leafs returned home to face a hot Atlanta Thrashers club. And as has happened too many times this season, the Leafs got in a hole early and were unable to climb out. Before the game was 3 minutes old, Fred Modin and Tobias Enstrom had the Thrash out in front by 2. The Leafs pressed, outshot Atlanta in each period, but really could not get anything going. John Mitchell got his first of the season in the second. Mitchell has bounced between lines, when he is in the lineup. But while Wilson keeps inserting him into the roster, Mitchell has not contributed much, neither offensively nor defensively. The goal really didn’t spark much for the Leafs though, and in the final minute of the second period Modin added another. By the 5 minute mark of the 3rd, Stewart and Enstrom added 2 more, and Atlanta lead 5-1. Gustavsson was chased from the net and James Reimer got his first career NHL action. Grabovski and Kulemin were able to score a couple on the powerplay, but an empty ne goal by Andrew Ladd sealed a 6-3 victory over Toronto.
With the team off until Boxing Day, the on-ice took a back seat to other news. A second waffle-throwing incident at the Atlanta game resulted in charges being laid, and a lifetime ban from the ACC, being levied against a dissatisfied Leaf fan. On Thursday, The Toronto Star website published an interview with Brian Burke explaining that he’s as frustrated with the team’s performance as the fans are, and that while firing his coach is not an option, and he’s not rebuilding in a traditional sense, that his focus is on acquiring some offensive help at forward, and he’s still committed to his plan.
Leaf fans will be asking Santa for many things this Christmas. A centre for Phil Kessel to take passes from. A stronger groin for JS Giguere. Better defensive play from… well, pretty much the whole team. An additional 20 pounds of muscle for Nazem Kadri. And maybe the ghosts of Art Ross, Harold Ballard, and Don Cherry’s dog Blue to visit Peter Chiarelli and have him send the Leafs’ first round pick for 2011 back to Brian Burke.
All the best of the Holiday Season to all hockey fans out there. Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading!