Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Put away those parade maps...

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It seems like my last post had barely begun cooling on the windowsill before something bad happened to ruin everything. Now, that warm glow of success I was feeling from the Leafs’ recent run of dominance feels more like a freshly-laid cowflop instead.

My buddy Roebuck was immediate in his assessment. “I blame Wardo!” he yelled.

Sundin going down to injury so soon after I bragged about his performance is what Roebuck calls, “pulling a Harry Neale.”

Pulling a Neale is when you make the critical mistake of noting a recent trend of success, only to have it end the moment you mention it. Like when he’s doing the colour work during a game, and he says something like, “Belfour hasn’t allowed a goal in almost 128 minutes of play.” And then, seconds later, that’s when Eddie lets in a routine wrister from the point. It’s uncanny how talented Neale is at ruining a good thing, and Roebuck plugs his ears anytime Neale gets rolling with this kind of analysis.

So yeah, I pulled a Neale. Guilty as charged.

It couldn’t be helped, though. I began following the Leafs again this season, fully prepared to expect and accept a rebuilding season, one in which I would take a playoff spot as a bonus rather than a given. But once this Leafs team began to come together, as always, a playoff spot just didn’t seem good enough anymore.

Before Saturday’s win against Buffalo, for instance, there was no doubt in my mind Toronto would beat the Sabres. On the horn with my brother-in-law Vanny, I predicted an overpowering Leaf victory, fuelled by at least four Toronto goals, going with my gut instinct and the fact that Miller had allowed four goals in each of the previous three games. Vanny predicted a Sabres blowout.

After the game, the phone rang, and it was bewildered Vanny on the other end. “Man. Can you buy me a lottery ticket, or what?”

That idea struck me as so sensible, I actually got two of them for tonight’s 6/49 draw. I was feeling lucky, and that 36 million seemed to be as good as in the pocket. Just like the Leafs’ playoff hopes. (I’m not even going to say anything about the Cup part. But of course, I was thinking it. Oh, the humanity.)

And now, Sundin is gone, at least for a month. Knowing how Toronto reports injuries, that’s probably a best-case scenario. A torn ligament ruined Lindros’ season last year – and I don’t want to think about that right now.

There is no replacing Sundin’s presence in the lineup. This season, for the first time in forever, it seemed like the Big Swede had found another gear, and he was putting out like he never had for Toronto. As of today, his points-per-game rate (1.118) was his best rate of production in years, and his 72 shots so far projected to 347 for a full season, which would be by far a career high. Sundin had decided that he wanted to win, and nothing was going to stop him this time around. And then, his elbow exploded.

However, there are a few positives to take from this. But they are kind of like when you're looking at your car that got T-boned and you're thinking, well, at least those Pizza Pops I put in the trunk are still okay.

For one thing, Sundin will be placed on the Injured Reserve list, and if he misses 10 games, which might be conservative, it amounts to more than a few banana-skins the Leafs can use somewhere else. His cap hit is 6.33 million, so 10 games away from the club is almost $800,000 in freed-up salary Toronto can use to sign a guy like, say, Jason Allison to pick up the slack. I'm kidding.

Kyle Wellwood, a natural centre, had been playing out of position on the wing, so he can be re-inserted down the middle.

And surprisingly, Toronto hasn’t had any trouble scoring goals so far this season, and are currently third in the league in that department with 58. It’s keeping them out that’s been the problem, and blueline veteran Pavel Kubina is back Thursday night – so maybe the differential between improved defense and less offense will amount to little in the standings. Or maybe a pig will fly past my office window instead.

For a player like Alex Steen, who has struggled all year, Sundin’s absence could be his Big Chance to redeem himself with some increased minutes and responsibility. Don’t think for a second he isn’t looking in a mirror right now and saying that to himself. “Stor tillfälle!” That means, “big chance” in Swedish. Steen's Viking ancestors probably went around saying stuff like that all the time, but in those days, their big chances had more to do with conquering some defenceless village women. You know, kind of like how the Ottawa Senators look lately. Like a bunch of women. Time for Steen to explore his roots.

And like I mentioned a couple days ago, Stanley Cups aren’t awarded in November. Maybe the layoff will do Sundin good, and he’ll come back full of beans in December, ready to pick up where he left off.

Right now, this is all I’ve got to go with…which is also probably why, tomorrow morning, I’ll check my 6/49 tickets and head off to the ol’ cubicle instead of ordering that new jet I’ve always wanted. That’s right – I’ve gone dozens and dozens of consecutive 6/49 draws without a win.

Here’s hoping “pulling a Neale” can turn around a negative streak, too.

15 Comments:

Blogger Friknguy said...

Sundin will be back in 2 weeks.

I think that some jerks should just shut up. Do you think that Wardo? If you don't think so, then I don't either.

And, if I crapped my pants I wouldn't tell anyone because they might laugh at me. Crapping my pants isn't fun, or at least so I've been told.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Friknguy said...

oh, I almost forgot.

You know when the chicks are trying to get you to buy them drinks at a bar, do you think you should? I mean even if you are ugly, like Domi. Domi is really ugly and I've seen pictures of him with chicks around him and he probably bought them drinks and I think he's a drink buyer and ugly should I buy chicks drinks.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Wardo said...

I can't imagine any woman wanting to date Domi without downing a few shots first.

Friknguy, I like your style. Aggressive, yet spineless. Continue to read the posts for life direction.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Friknguy said...

Oh, okay. Thanks.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Friknguy said...

Did you watch the game last night? I did. I watched it on tv and didn't think the mccabe guy is good. I think he get's paid a lot of money and doesn't play good for it. Do you think he get's paid a lot of money Wardo? I hope so because I do, unless you don't then I don't either. I think the taller defenseman is better and doesn't get much money the prong guy. The prong defenseman is really good, right?

Let me know if I should think this way or think he isn't good or if he get's more money. I kinda think he does and doesn't.

geeze, this is tough. bye.

6:33 AM  
Blogger PPP said...

You didn't even mention Raycroft and he got hurt. I think you need to harness your 'Neale' powers for good. Say some nice things about the sens.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Wardo said...

I don't know if I'm capable of fluffing the Senators, no matter what the effect might be on karma.

I'll justify it as, since I'm not a fan of the team, nothing postive I say can possibly affect the fortunes of the team.

Also - I've willfully rooted against them for years, and my instinct tells me that it was my psychic powers that pushed Pominville past Alfredsson last spring.

8:56 AM  
Blogger reality check said...

Friknguy cracks me up!

Accentuate the positive! Both Sundin and Raycroft are down during a light scheduling period. If the goal during this patch is .500 hockey, no one will recall it come March.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Friknguy said...

I remember in March cause it's really good time to sit down and think about stuff.

Charlie Brown really got his ass kicked alot eh? Poor guy, he's a short little peckerhead.

Ummm, is the Leafs playing tonight? They are really playing good, eh?

I think the Leafs are about as good a team as there is and probably about the best I've seen, except for a few other teams I've seen then they wouldn't be the best I've ever seen but pretty darn good. Eh?

Who are the best teams I've ever seen? Do you guys have any ideas? I know it's not March, but sit down and do some thinking and I will too.

Thanks Wardo for the cool computer area here to talk to all you guys. It makes me want to wake up in the morning and come here and talk about Leafs.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Friknguy said...

Sens really sucked last night! I think that the sens suck cause they are losing a lot. If they were winning like before then I wouldn't say that they suck other than for the reason I don't like them and that would mean they suck because of non-likeness not because of all the games they get beat in.

Right?

6:09 AM  
Blogger Friknguy said...

It sure does take you a long time to update your Blog. What is taking so long? It's not like you have anything to do. Unless you do have something to do and cant' do this blog update the Leafs lost last night so I thought you would update your blog because the lost and looked bad.

What do you do for a job Wardo? Are you a good worker? I'm a good worker and my papers are delivered everynight before supper time and I like it when the paper is delivered when its soaking wet cause the person reading it is really mad and wants a dry one delivered and I say no I can't bring over one of the dry ones because I need it for my cat to piss on. Then the guy gets mad and I say go buy one at the store but he gets madder and I laugh at him so he will get madder. It's really fun and do you do that? I puked in a newspaper once and delivered to a guys house blew snot in it too. Fun eh? The eh part is cause I'm Canadian and say eh a lot or like or both together for affect.

Bye.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Friknguy said...

Michael Jordans numbers are pathetic...when compared to The Great One.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Wardo said...

Easy, Friknguy. When you're a machoman like me, you have a lot of things to handle in a day. I spend at least an hour a day beating away all the women who want my phone number, for instance.

Plus, I'm a lazy, lazy man.

An update will be along soon, though.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Robert L said...

" I spend at least an hour a day beating "...then he writes!

Sorry, Wardo, that was too easy!

3:23 PM  
Blogger Friknguy said...

Why do you beat women? That's really bad. If you are lazy then why would you stay lazy if you know you are lazy then say to yourself dont' be lazy be unlazy cause most people look at lazy people and say wow he's lazy and the explains why they are fat.

If you don't want to be fat you should start getting exercise. Most computer people are fat and soft cause they do Leaf blogs or blogs stuff. If you stopped doing your computer blog and watching hockey and talking on the phone you wouldn't be so fat. Wardo why do you think people are so fat now I don't think before there were as many fat people cause we didn't have computers and Playstations and xBox and tv and stuff.

I hope you don't get unhealthy due to being so overweight.

Bye.

7:01 AM  

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