posted Apr 5, 2006 at 03:11AM
So is there a double standard? Of course. If that was Tucker who was out for two weeks, he, Quinn, the Leafs and the entire Toronto centric media would be squealing like stuck pigs for the Sabres player to be frog marched to the nearest gallows.
If the standings remain the same at the end of the season as they are tonight, I think it will work out in our favour. We would meet Tampa Bay in the first round, and they simply don't have the goaltending to pull off any surprises. We would most likely meet Philadelphia in the second round. I know we have not done well in regular season play but they have not met us at our best, and they know that. It would then be Carolina or the Rangers in the conference finals.
However to more immediate things comes tonight's game with the Sabres, who suddenly have become very beatable. Two things I would like to see. First is Arnason, not just being able to play, but actually starting to pot a few goals. His play has been fine, but now is the time to start expecting some actual production. He has been coming close. It would be nice to see him close the deal.
In the end he is slated to be our number 2 center, and that means the honeymoon period is coming to a close.
I also would like to see Vermette going back to playing as a pissed off young man again. It looked for awhile that he was going to break out as an unmistakable scoring and offensive force, but he has been quiet for the last few games - except for the odd flash here and there. You would have thought that with all these recent injuries that this would result in better opportunities, but in fact it has had the opposite effect. It has just made it easier for Murray to keep Vermette from playing with linemates who have comparable skills. If Arnason had not gotten his bell rung, Vermette was well on his way to getting only half the ice time of all the other forwards. That and the fact that Murray refuses to give Vermette even a single shift on the powerplay just reinforces my suspicion that there is a definite "personality" thing going on here. Vermette has got to take the bull by the horns and just make things happen on his own.
One thing that has been going for him is his decision to actually start shooting. He has a wicked shot, but has been even worse than Schaefer in wanting to use it - until lately that is. I would love to see him laser one from outside the hash marks.
Injuries? We are at that time of year where teams are in full disinformation mode. It sounds like Chara's injury is worse than expected. But the Sens site had a picture of him in practice.
He looks to be holding that stick OK to me. Whatever. Although like all fans, I would love to see these players get back, if this allows them to get a few extra days rest, or to make sure there is little chance of re-injury then so be it.
Just one more "radio" game to go.