Saturday, January 12

Well, The Leafs Won the Second Period, Right?

As a responsible hockey blogger and all around dullard entertaining guy, I'm a big believer in giving the people what they want. And right now what the people want know what happened when I went to see the Leafs play the Kings at the Staples Center on Thursday! I know, I know, me too! It's all so interesting even I want to know what happened, and I was there!

As I mentioned bitterly a few posts ago, HS/HS second liner Moose's asshole of a boss promised he and I a box suite in exchange for joining his team. We did that, in the end handing him a t-shirt with the word "CHAMPIONS" on it. Being the honorable dudes we are, we clearly expected him to stiff us and snicker when we decided to actually ask him for his promised riches, which he did. We really shouldn't have been too surprised really. You know that ancient Confucian proverb: "If wise men lay with dogs...something - something - something - Moose's boss is a jerk."

So I had to scramble like crazy and got probably some of the best seats in the arena. Section 119, Row 14, Seat 15, directly above the Leafs bench. I got there an hour before the game, as did 10,000 other Leafs jerseys. It was so amazing being with people I actually care about. I mean, I usually hang out with Moose, so that tells you something right there. When grown men are giving smiling acknowledgment to each other in the bathroom, you know it's either because you each have a Leafs jersey on, or you're both cruising for anonymous gay sex. This time, it was the former.
I was right beside the Leafs tunnel and took these action shots:

What's amazing are two things. One, that clearly I should be a photographer for the Associated Press, and two, it's amazing how thrilled I was to see them. I haven't seen the Leafs since 2003, so getting the chance again was really incredible.
Here's a note about me: I'm not a star fucker in any way; I could give a shit about celebrity. I've been friends with very famous people, and let me tell you, the majority of them are the meanest, shit-hearted jerks you'll ever meet. But when it comes to this group, that changes. During the warm-up, I had my face pressed up against the glass with the other lunatics and I made eye contact with Mats as he skated up to, and past the glass, and right then and there, I literally got sprung. I'm sorry if this shocks you, but it's true. I got sprung. It's a good thing I was wearing my bathrobe.

By the way, reading this back to myself, I realize that all this may be like being forced to look at someones slides of their trip to Banff National Park, except, you know, awesome, and about the Leafs. And quasi-gay. Ok, totally gay. But, you know, just bear with me.

As for the game itself. Uh, wow. We've all had a few days to digest everything we saw, and everything we didn't see. I REALLY don't want to pile on Andrew Raycroft, but that was one of the softest goaltending performances I've ever seen. It looked like when one of the trainers puts on equipment for the players to shoot at him during an optional skate. The size and frequency of the rebounds Andrew was giving out were really shocking. Frolov floats a week backhander off his chest and it sails four feet away back to the slot, to be slammed in for (another) goal. That's not weak goaltending, that's no goaltending. I don't think Raycroft will ever see another game in a Leafs sweater. His bad performances are now pathological. J.S. Aubin never saw another Leafs game, and he played better than Raycroft has this year. Scott Clemmensen is the Leafs backup goalie.

From what I saw, this is a group of players who are having absolutely no fun playing hockey right now. They all looked so unbelievably miserable on the bench. When Darcy scored, he skated straight to the bench, slammed the door and sat down. A team so far down like this is ripe for speculation. Have they given up on Paul Maurice, and have accepted that his system has failed, as everyone seems to think? Or is it an indication that the other shoe is about to drop, and that something has to change, and that starts on the ice. I guess we'll have an indication of what the answer is starting in San Jose.


Moose said...

Very enjoyable post.

Thankfully you get to see "Moose's Boss" today, give him a big hug, and tell him it's all water under the bridge. Right? Right?!?!?!

Try not to ruin it for us, 'cos I'm trying to parlay his all too apparent guilt into a suite for the Habs game on March 8th.

Ah fuck, what am I saying. You're going to slew foot him during the warm-up aren't you?

Norte said...

Great post Greener. Your springing, although completely nauseating (and quite frankly terrifying)was justified. To me there is something special about being that close to that kind of greatness.
I agree with everything you wrote...up to and including seeing what the future holds for our team based on Saturdays game. I feel hungover...we played hard and still lost right?

Loser Domi said...

"Inches away from Gill: slightly less sprung"

Yeah, that's how I'd feel too. In fact, this whole month or so has to be the least sprung-inducing bit in a while.

Jaredoflondon said...

I don't know if I could sit by the glass/bench at a Leaf game lately, I'd be to tempted to jump the boards and stab Woznewski with my car keys.

Loser Domi said...

I guess if you're going to get sprung, Tucker isn't the worst choice (but there are certainly better) He's got that rough-around-the-edges thing working for him.

I'm just going to show myself out now.

Washingtron said...

nice pictures,, you really should be a photographer for the assoc press ...rather than a writer on this blog.

PPP said...

I recommend slew footing Moose's boss and then telling him it's all water under the bridge by throwing him into water that runs under a bridge. In full equipment.

Nice pictures. I thought about you guys being at that game when I was watching it and shed tears that they would lay the egg that they did.

Greener said...

Thanks PPP, I thought about all of us watching the game, shedding tears, while shedding tears.