Last Minute Change Of Plans

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I was going to write a nice piece on how great Saturday night match ups with original 6 teams is, and how much history and tradition exists in these games.  I’m sure it would have been a wonderful writeup, but I had an event occur tonight that needs to be addressed first.  Fact is the Rangers are a good team and the Leafs are not a good team, so no matter what happened in the game it wasn’t going to change the complexion of the standings on iota.  In the end the team that was at the top of the conference was able to beat the team at the bottom of the conference, while in an odd statistical year the Leafs took ownership of the season series by simply forcing overtime.  Not that it matters.

In deciding to join this blog, there is a basic understanding that you have certain requirements to be able to successfully perform.  The ability to see the games is the first and most basic.  It is quite frankly disgusting when large amounts of money are spent to get access to these games to write about, and they are completely unavailable.  I know I am not the only person in this position, and geographically I know of some Flyers fans in New Jersey that experience the exact same problems, but by true definition I live in no market what so ever.  My current home is in Albany, NY which is 180 miles north of New York City, 290 miles from Buffalo, 200 miles from Nassau (NY), and about 200 miles from Newark.  Yet when ever the Maple Leafs play one of these teams on a Saturday night, my access is completely turned off.  The chain goes as follows:  Center Ice has no service because the game is on NHL network, NHL network can’t carry the game because by definition Albany is in the New York Rangers broadcast territory, and MSG doesn’t carry the game because MSG is also the primary carrier for the Buffalo Sabres who also share the Albany market.  MSG corporation has several channels, so if the desire existed I could have caught the Knicks game, but no Rangers game.

The year is 2012 and local broadcast companies are few and far between.  Comcast and Fox Sports have local affiliates which cover most of the NHL clubs in the US, but MSG covers every team in New York State.  The entire state of New York is not a local market, and the MSG corporation for lack of better terms is likely worth as much if not more than the National Hockey League.  These rules that are in place are antiquated which is problem enough, but to black out everybody north of Ramapo, NJ of a Rangers game is ridiculous.  Needless to say other means became necessary to make a signal available to even see the game, but it shouldn’t take as much work as it did.  The NHL should be doing everything in it’s power to increase access to their product, and making these games unavailable does the exact opposite.  End of rant, I promise.

Game Highlights:

– The Leafs found their legs, they registered more than 20 shots and earned a point against a good team.

– Penalty killing remains strong, no real breakdowns.

– If you want to compliment a player, you also have to be able to criticize them.  Joey Crabb has played well above his level since last season when Dallas Eakins worked with him.  He is a good player, but he is also a role player.  When killing penalties, toe drags in the defensive zone are often converted into turnovers.  Get that out of his game, he has been one of Toronto’s better forwards.

– Monster with some real great saves early in the game, which is apparently in the job description for Toronto goaltenders now.  It has become textbook that they sleepwalk into games, and either get bailed out by the keeper, or they don’t.  Large part of why they are where they are in the standings.  In short, while he struggled in the shootout, Monster was almost in no way responsible for the loss tonight.

– The New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs are an original 6 match, but they might just be the most boring of them all.  Maybe my age and the time the Leafs spent in the Norris with the Wings and Hawks gives me a jaded view, it just doesn’t feel like a historic rivalry.

– David Steckel will be better conditioned for this kind of ice time next year.  Randy Carlyle uses him more than Phil Kessel it seems, and if odds were set for July 1’st targets, Burke and company will take a long hard look at one or both of Travis  Moen and Paul Gaustad.  Both Carlyle and Burke have history with Moen, and Gaustad is the all around utility player the Leafs so badly lack.  People will fuss over the need for these guys, but plumbers are the players that close games out.

– Perfect result tonight for almost all fans.  Leafs showed up and played with emotion while coming up short, still lost and stayed further down the standings toward a lottery pick.

– To all my friends in Sweden that have been following us on the site, I thank you very much.  I have to apologize that I don’t speak a lick of your language, but I appreciate the reads.

Anybody looking to contribute to the site, please get in touch with me at jeffreymullen1@hotmail.com as I am currently running the site on my own, and could use some help.  If you think you have what it takes to follow one of the worst teams in the League consistantly and objectively, let here be the place.