Decimated Baby Leafs Line-up gets Crunched

By Kevin Kelly

The St. John’s Maple Leafs playoff hopes are almost
like an old Roxette song, “Fading Like A Flower” as
the Leafs defensive woes caused two weekend losses 5-2
and 7-4 to a Syracuse Crunch team that had less wins
than the Leafs.

Jamie Hodson was pulled from his second game in a row
after allowing four goals against on 14 shots in a 7-4
loss while Mikael Tellqvist wasn’t doing much better
(13 saves on 17 shots)as the Leafs effort defensively
was atrocious. The Leafs weren’t helped in their first
games in the post-Boyes era as both Alexei
Ponikarovsky and Aaron Gavey had been recalled. Add an
injury to Dwayne Hay during the first period of
Saturday’s tilt and you know the Leafs had player
troubles. Former Belleville Bull Mark Chaplin suited
up for the Blue and White and played a regular shift
for the decimated Leafs lineup.

Saturday’s game saw a two goal performance by Matt
Davidson, while singles came from Mathieu Darche,
Jeremy Reich, Derrick Walser, Andrej Nedorost and Matt
Dzieduszycki (say that five times fast). Former Leaf
Don McLean had three points on the weekend against his
old club.

The only highlights for the Leafs were a four point
effort by Josh Holden,(a goal and three assists) back
after four games on the injured list. The other Leafs
markers were scored by Ryan Bonni (his 1st), Doug
Doull and Craig Mills.

The game only featured 4,388 fans, a low figure for a
Saturday tilt and it’s ironic that the team has
announced a March Madness promotion that you can get 4
tickets for 40 bucks to the next four Leaf games, as
the Leafs playoff hopes head out the door. (The only
March Madness these days could be the fans frustrated
with the team’s poor play as of late) The Leafs face
Manchester Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting the
Hamilton Bulldogs on the weekend.

Friday’s game saw the Leafs give up three goals in
just over three minutes as Syracuse beat the Leafs
5-2. Don MacLean, Mike Pandolfo, Tim Jackman, Darrell
Scoville, and Mathieu Darche tallied for the Crunch.
The Leafs only goals came from Brad Leeb, who snapped
a nine game scoring drought with a pair.(He’s now up
to 28 on the year).

Leafs notes:

As Jamie Hodson was introduced in Saturday’s game, the
music guy at Mile One played Eminem’s Without Me,
probably in part to Hodson’s uncanny resemblance to
the rapper. But with his second straight poor
performance in the Leaf goal, one has to wonder if
“Cleaning Out My Closet” would be more appropriate as
both goaltenders have struggled as of late, especially
Hodson. One has to ask if Sebastien Centomo will be
back sooner than expected. Tellqvist, who has carried
the team much of the year, is looking very average as
the funk that encompasses this team grows ever larger.

Rookie Nathan Barrett, the WHL’s scoring champ last
year, hasn’t scored a goal in his last 20-something
games. Barrett, in his defense, is making nice plays
to set up some nice goals, but he needs to dent the
twine more.

Will the NHL trade deadline see anything for the St.
John’s Maple Leafs? Don’t count on it. They got
nothing for Nolan, nothing for Glen Wesley (hello,
maybe Harold Druken was available?)and I’m sure that
we may lose out instead of gaining as the Leafs ready
their Cup run. Maybe Ponikarovsky?

Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur will drop the puck at
the Bulldogs-Leafs game February 14th. Lafleur is in
town for a Hockey Fights Cancer Promotion. Lafleur,
who is a spokesperson for Viagra, will also be part of
a men’s sexual health forum on Saturday. The Flower
was a idol for me growing up, so I’m excited to see him.