Well even know the intensity is high, we haven't scored in 2 games. It's time for Martin to shuffle the lines as it will help bring confidence up and hopefully bring GOALS up! First I suggest Spezza sits again for Vermette. Most people will bash me but I don't care. Spezza cried and whined to play. He did tonight and he choked. 0 shots, puck couldn't stay on his stick, strayed away from all contact and his defensive coverage was horrible. I couldn't stand watching him hang around our blueline waiting for a breakaway pass. Please....maybe in the OHL playoffs but not here.
I have a great amount of respect for what JM does. He likes to play his forward PK units together at even strength also. His works weel as they can gain chemistry together so there are no blunders on the PK. However with the PK shuffling around a lot, it is hard for JM to do so.
Also in the Game Day Thread, I suggested we put together the Fisher - Smolinski - Hossa line again, but that's if Spezza stays or Vermette plays center. If not, we are short at center. So, here's what I propose:
Bondra - Fisher - Hossa Hossa seems all alone on his scoring chances. With Fisher he's got someone who'll crash the net and has a good wrister and with Bondra he has someone who can keep up with his speed, potentially creating odd man advantages. Also, Hossa has enough power to get the loose puck on Fisher draws as they are usually even even with the other teams center. Only worrisome is Hossa wants to get cute with his idol Bondra but I think he's passed that now. Schaefer - Smolinski - Alfie This line has worked good at times with White in the middle. However, White is not on his game and a Smoke, Alfie pairing also works. Schaefer is playing great and deserves the icetime. Smolinski is currently our best faceoff man as he is putting it back to the defenders with ease. Alfie needs to get his shot going but playing with Bondra and White (two small non checkers) doesn't give him a lot of room. Hopefully Schaefers forechecking and Smolinski's faceoff wins and his passes can get Alfie going.
Varada - Bonk - Havlat Bonk's cold and Havlat's out of luck. The two have clicked before and it can possibly wake them both up. Havlat's confidence usually rises when playing with Bonk. Also all 3 are from the Czech Republic....it may be irrelavent but who knows. Varada may be able to take some pressure off the two by big agitating hits and creating focus on himself instead of Bonk and Havlat. Only problem I see with this line is if Bonk gets "moody", there may be a problem defensively. Vermette - White - Neil Defensive duo with big bodied forward.... This line could be pushed around but not that much with Neil around. With White's heart, Vermette's speed and Neil's intensity, this could be a good energy line.
*BOLD indicates PK forward units. (Fisher can be used twice if needed with either Bondra or Hossa)
Defense I'd leave the same except maybe switch de Vries with Leschyshyn. I'll leave that on up to JM. I think I've helped him out enough
I don't think you need Power-forwards to win the cup. A deep team that can roll 4 lines and provide steady defense should be enough. New Jersey won the cup last year, and I think we are pretty comparable, Maybe a little better, Except in goaltending..
GSG I like a few combination's you have there, but I would like to see one line changed.
Bondra - Fisher - Hossa
Schaefer - Smoke - Alfie
Varada - Bonk - Havlat
Langfeld - Vermette - Neil
Maybe with the addition of Langfeld we have another big forward to crash the net and cause a bit of problems down low.And he could get a shift or too with Hossa, cause those too did have a bit of chemistry earlier on in the year.
I had said that the Bondra deal was a good deal, just not the right deal.
Anyway, as much as leaf fans are all pumped after this game this series is not over. Not by any stretch.
Scoring comes in bunches for the scorers. If Hossa gets one, he'll get another, and same with Bondra or Havlat. If Ottawa wasn't generating chances then we should really be worried. But since they're still getting chances the only thing Ottawa can do at this point is to keep it up. Keep knocking the leafs around the way they have. You can see it - Toronto is getting worn down. Ottawa is out hitting them, outskating them and just overall, outplaying them. The only stretch where Toronto has looked like the better team (outside of a PP) was the 1st period of game 2.
Obviously, where Toronto has looked a lot better is in net. And to all credit to Belfour, he played exceptionally last night. He made some excellent saves, but what made him so strong last night was his positioning and the rest of the Leafs letting him see most of the shots. Even he admitted it, that he did get lucky, but good goalies make their own luck. Hossa hit the cross bar in the first, Hossa had Belfour going the other way on a rebound and Hossa put the puck right back into his glove. Even when he didn't see the puck come through a crowd it would hit him.
Overall, Ottawa deserves a better fate than what they have gotten so far, but then again Belfour deserves it too based on his play.
After 3 games, it's 2-1 for the leafs. Somebody had to be up 2-1 after last night. As expected, their fans are coming in here with bragging about how great they are. Big deal, I say just ignore them. If it was a best of 3 series then the'd be on to the next round. But there's still a lot of hockey left.
time for langfeld. this guy is someone who will take the punishment and will go to the net without even being asked to. he may not be the best at what he does, but he is good, and is exactly what we need right now. sit spezza and vermette. its time to try some radical on the powerplay, they having the passing part down, but they gotta generate some offence. time to throw chara, varada, niel, langfeld, fisher or one of those kind of guys infront of belfour who will stand there and take the beating of a lifetime to get a goal. specially if its chara, it would take probably at least 2 leafs to cover him, the more infront the merrier. and of course, our top offensive stars have to wake up and pot some in.
Anyways, in lieu of changing the lines up, i'm going to switch from wearing my home red to the third black for next game. The home jersey hasn't exactly been bad luck, but it hasn't been good luck either. I will also be changing the location at which i watch the game, maybe sit on my couch instead of going to my buddy's place. Anything for a little luck really.
I like the idea of each line having someone who can go to the front of the net but I think this is really the area that Ottawa needs to focus on. You can't allow Belfour to see all the shots as he just catches fire after making a few big saves. Neil needs to be used in front of Belfour as does Chara on the PP. They aren't there to score but simply to obstruct his view and prevent him from being so square to the puck all the time since he can read the plays so well.
iits great having speed is great and everything
but it's not enough
of course the leafs have a bevy of power forwards
but not enough speed
Who's a power forward on the Leafs? They aren't as tough as they used to be. Roberts, yes definitely. Tucker...he's a rat and nothing more. I think a power forward needs a bit of size. Sundin? He's physical but doesn't go looking for much contact. Nolan is out. They're still pretty tough but I don't see them having a "bevy" of these guys...