As the centre of the universe turns
Earlier in the day, it was suggested to Maurice that there is significance – an implicit insult – in the fact that opposing teams have repeatedly started No. 2 goaltenders against his Leafs. He retorted wryly: "We play our backup every night.'' Chuckle-chuckle.
Some 10 hours later, it wasn't so funny.
I mean, you have to be, in some ways, to last amid all of the silliness here in Toronto, but sometimes it seems he's simply poking the bear (the bear being the media throng), feeding the masses quotes worth reading.
I'm not sure what good it does to brand the only two NHL netminders in your organization this way, and maybe he means nothing by it. Many goaltenders consider the 'backup' label to be an insult, but I suppose its fair given the merry-go-round Maurice has employed in goal so far.
The only sort of "roll" either Vesa Toskala or Andrew Raycroft was allowed to go on was the three games Toskala started in a row (Games 2, 3 and 4), and given No. 4 was a 7-1 blowout loss to Carolina, one can see the method behind the madness of alternating the team's 'tenders.
Let's just say you shouldn't envy them.
Toronto has allowed the most shots on goal per game of any team in the league so far — this after finishing seventh in the category last season. And the one thing that hasn't changed is the team save percentage, which after dipping to a god-awful .888 last year is down to .884. (Los Angeles is the bottom feeder at .862.)
Toronto's been bad at even strength (21 goals against, better than only the Kings), and on the penalty kill (13 goals against, better than only Atlanta). They've been shorthanded a league-high 61 times, and the power play's firing at just 11.1 per cent.
The real wonder, come to think of it, is just how this team has managed to get eight points out of its first nine games. Well, that and the fact Nik Antropov leads the league in plus-minus.
At least they've got Atlanta on Tuesday.
And I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see Ondrej Pavelec in the opposition goal.
Labels: Maple Leafs