For this particular blogger, tonight’s game between the Leafs and Hawks will be a tense one. The storylines run deeper than most due to the fact that I live in Leafs’ Nation. A “must win” from a personal level because when you live in Leafs-Land and work for a sports TV station for 5 years, the homerism reigns supreme.
I’ve heard Kadri compared to Toews, Dion Phanuef as a lock to make the Olympics and every year is “the year” the Leafs to turn it around.
However, I will say it is a bit different this year in the hockey Mecca that is Toronto. Put aside the ridiculous notion that “if we would have beat Boston, we would have made the finals” comments from fans, there is something brewing here… and it’s not the delicious Tim Horton’s coffee. The Leafs replaced their annual golf trip with their first playoff appearance since 2004 last year, and would like to keep it that way. This team is finally taking more steps forward than back.
The additions of Bernier and Bolland in the off-season were greatly underrated moves by GM Dave Nonis. The team needs more leadership and it looks like there is more of a collaborated effort to right the ship in that department amongst the players.
Have they taken that next step? No better way than to measure themselves up against the 2012-13 champions.
Those said champions better have woken up from their slumber or it’ll be a long night. There’s a bit of a drought in scoring department and Coach Q is looking for a specific rain dance in his new combinations. Tonight might look like this up front:
Choose your storyline you wish to follow (it’s like a choose your own adventure book):
~ There’s been a lot of chatter about Bolland leading up to this game. He will face off against some of his best friends for the first time as his opponents. He will leave everything on the ice and no better way to show his new fans where his allegiance lies.
~ Will Kostka make an appearance tonight against the team that gave him his break in the NHL? I’d play Brookbank for grit in if the Kostka storyline wasn’t there. If I was Q, I would bet that Kostka will have a stellar game, showing his former owners what they gave up on.
~ Can Bryan Bickell make it rain? He made it rain in the off-season hitting a homerum with a 4 years/16 million contract but is struggling out the gate. He had it made on the top line with Toews and Kane but has since been bumped to the 3rd line.
~ The Blackhawks selected Patrick Kane first overall in the 2007 Entry Draft. There were serious concerns that Kaner was too small and his skills wouldn’t translate well in the NHL. James van Riemsdyk was taken immediately after by the Philadelphia Flyers. His size had the Hawks contemplating him as they craved a power forward at the time. Now in 2013, Kane proves to be the better selection but JVR, now on his 2nd team looks to be coming around with the change of scenery. He is coming back from an injury, but has been white hot with 5 goals in 6 games to start the 2013-14 season.
~ Growing up, I recall the Hawks/Leafs rivalry to be the best thing going. Due to being extremely outnumbered by Leafs fans, it was always great to see a Hawks win vs. the Leafs. The Hawks had their dark time of awful teams, similar to the Leafs struggles in recent years. Now, both teams are about as closely matched as they have been in years. Should be a good one!!
Ty Cam Out!
follow me: @tycam
* picture courtesy of Bridget Samuels
Filed Under: Chicago Blackhawks
About the Author: I am a rare Chicago Blackhawks fan from Canada, one might describe me as a hockey connoisseur and a solid checking line centre to your local rec hockey team. I once lived in a town of 500 people and now work in the hockey mecca that is Toronto. I work for the Score Television Network so I couldn't get away from sports if I tried. These opinions are one of my own and not of Score Media Inc. - don't get it twisted.