Baby Leafs playoff hopes slip away

By Kevin Kelly

Are Boyes and Ponikarovsky on the Trade Block?

The St. John’s Maple Leafs are once again in a funk,
losing three straight road games. A 9-0 shellacing at
the hands of Binghamton, a 6-2 loss at Manchester, and
a 5-0 thrashing by playoff rival Saint John. Needless
to say, the defence has, how can we put it lightly, been non-existent.

The three games jacked up the Leafs goals against
tally to a league leading 220. Mikael Tellqvist, who
looked at many times unstoppable during the season,
has also been subpar. Tellqvist had been pulled in the
5-0 loss against Saint John after allowing five goals
on only 26 shots.

To make the situation even worse, the Leafs, who have
been struggling to get the puck in the net, won’t be
getting Paul Healey, who would be a definite spark to
the offense. Healey, according to media reports, was
told to find an apartment in Toronto. Pat Quinn doesn’t want to risk losing the useful Healey on waivers, which would be necessary if he were to be demoted to St. John’s, even though he hasn’t playing in T.O. in weeks. Also, Karel Pilar, who hasn’t played a game with the Baby Leafs since his assignment, looks to be suffering from post-concussion syndrome, and may be lost for the season. Pilar would bring a much-needed right-handed shot to the backline of the Baby Leafs, which has been a problem for the club this season, especially on the powerplay.

Now the Baby Leafs may lose one of their top prospects
in a trade. There is talk that Brad Boyes, one of the
Leafs MVP’s this season could be dealt to San Jose as
part of a possible Owen Nolan deal. Dean Lombardi, San
Jose’s general manager was present at the
Leafs-Manchester tilt earlier in the week. Lombardi
supposedly wants Boyes or Carlo Colaiacovo as part of a
package for Nolan, but the Leafs are hesitant to give
up the young defenceman. So Boyes may be the likely
candidate to move. There is also talk that Alexei
Ponikarovsky, who has proven he belongs in the NHL,
could also be on the move. If either of these trades
happen, the slim playoff hopes of the Baby Blue and
White would be made even slimmer.

The Leafs and Flames meet again on Friday night in
Saint John.