October 30 2013 04:03PM
Tonight is the night, Citizens. It's them. They are in town.
They may have taken Doug Gilmour. They may have given us Jamal Mayers Syndrome. They may come from a market with a suffocatingly delusional fanbase and irritating "local" media. They might have Sloth as a coach and Chunk might be their best player. They might have a nitwit General Manager with the foresight of the entire city of Troy. They are the most overhyped, overrated, grammatically incorrectiest, laughable, loathable, loseable, suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked that never do anything of any consequence but still get more attention than Miley Cyrus no matter where they go. They are the New york Jets of hockey. The Paul Stanley of Puck.
We hate them.
But tonight, they are in our barn. They are the Toronto Maple Leafs, and brother, they are going down.
The Flames Of Calgary
image via SI
Lineups, as always, via our good friends/minions over at Daily Faceoff. Good lads, those...lads.
- Glencross - Franchise - Jones
- Cammalleri - Colborne - Galiardi
- Baertschi - Monahan - Hudler
- Bouma - Backlund - McGrattan
- Butler - Brodie
- Wideman - Russell
- O'Brien - Smith
So....this is what happens when two of your best players are out of the lineup. Mark Giordano and Lee Stempniak are both scheduled to miss lengthy periods of hockey playing time due to broken feet. Yup, both of them. Foots all broken all over the place. Gio, sadly and to the point where I could use a good swig of whiskey right now, is gone for essentially two months, after that day to day injury the captain was suffering from ended up being a day to day to day to day ailment. Meanwhile, Stemper Fi, likely the most consistent forward the team has employed all year is "week to week", which, if you're scoring at home, is probably at least a week.
As a result, somehow, Mikael Backlund gets punished. The Flames best two-way forward is checking in for about 5 minutes tonight, centering the hopelessly employed Brian McGrattan, who obviously is in the lineup because hello Colton Orr. Should be all kinds of deterrence and Star Protection out there on the ice hockey rink tonight.
The blueline is a garbage fire.
Derek Smith checks in for a second game as Chris Breen continues to be plagued by tall but terrible hockey player syndrome (also, abdominal ouchie or something). #ChristButler is sure to log about 25 minutes of ice time tonight as the hockey gods are cruel and mean spirited jags. TJ Brodie save us all.
Karri Ramo is awesome. There, I said it.
Darcy Tucker and Colby Armstrong are still on the Leafs payroll, so I'm just going to go ahead and assume they factor pretty heavily into the lineup tonight.
- Tucker - Orr - Armstrong
- Bozak - Brozak - Blowzak
- McLaren - Carlton The Bear - Wendel's mustache
- Grabovski haha just kidding
- The Mike Komisarek Sextuplets
- All The Goalies In The NHL ever
Phil Kessel will not be in the lineup tonight, as he is home sick from eating all the Halloween Candy that his mom left out for the rest of the kids tomorrow. His fat padded face hides the shame and bewilderment of a youth who once had hope. Similarly, Joffrey Lupul is likely to miss at least the first period tonight as he gets caught up in texting pictures of his dinger to unsuspecting girls here in his home province.
Darcy Tucker is still being paid by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013.
Colby Armstrong is still being paid by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013.
Colton Orr: Still a meathead.
Even though it's due to injury I imagine Tyler Bozak has more or less lost his number one center job to Nazem Kadri, which, surely, is emabarrassing. Man is his face black.
Quick tip, if you're going to the game tonight, boo Dion Phaneuf. Not only is it fun, not only can you take him off his game, but if you happen to run into him after the game, he'll probably spit on you and charm you with his winning personality. Oh, the stories that guy can't tell.
Playoff Race Implications
None. Come on guys, it's early.
Odds and Ends
The Leafs are coming off a win against Edmonton, a feat so easily accomplished even the Leafs can do it. This likely brings them into Cowtown with an inflated sense of confidence in their abilities, especially seeing as they've had a really strong start to the year.
This is hilarious, because the team is in reality not that good, as the numbers dictate they're going to be coming down to earth and back into Leafs fan pandemonium soon enough, leaving their play on the ice resembling the rotting, distended, but somehow probably cash-insulated corpse of Harold Ballard. They are a team that scores just a little bit less than they get scored on, possess the puck quite a bit less than defend, and well, they get outshot. If not for some hot goaltending from whatever goalie the Leafs hang out to dry on any given night and a bonkers beginning to Phil Kessel's campaign.
The Flames, bless their hearts, could be the team that truly begins the downward spiral towards Hoglundicity. The tide has to turn on this one eventiually, after all. The Curse of the Risebrough has to be lifted soon enough. Might as well be against a team that has two Brian McGrattans on it instead of the customary one.
Bob Hartley's top two centers tonight are Ex-Leafs. One wonders if Bobby H. has tapped into some sort of mystic playing against your old team phenomenon and expects his pivots to come out on fire, even though that's stupid. We'll find out tonight!
Really though, it's not like it should be hard to find the motivation to hate Toronto. It's smoggy, criminal, polluted, dirty, foul, doughy, cracked, Allan Thickelike, broken, snooty, overwrought, shrill, ignorant, brash, Ford-esque and I'm only talking about the fanbase. The team is just as bad and also features Mason Raymond.
Sum it up
Not much else to say. Game time is at 6, because
Toronto is a whiny, entitled market who can't stay in bars past 11:30 because of court ordered curfews of TSN's Wednesday Night Hockey Schedule, so try to leave work early so you can make it out to the Dome or to your house or drinking establishment to see it. Come on, it's not like you work very hard anyway, no one's even going to notice.
What they will notice is the slovenly wave of Blue Depravity, an anamorphic blob of mostly brain dead Leafs faithful who will try to take your seat at the bar once you get up to use the bathroom. It is not very smart or tactful, so it can be easily duped into doing things for you, but it's not very good and is more grating than anything. So show up early before they ruin everything you hold dear.
Finally, I'm going to say bad things about all our friends over at Leafs Nation. Cam Charron favourite Star Wars movie is Episode VII. Justin Fisher once tried to sell me drugs behind the alley at Burger King, but all he had in his inventory was Burger King. Jeffler cries. A lot. Steve Dangle once met Tie Domi on the subway, and was very impressed by his wit and candor. Blake Murphy once met Steve Dangle on the subway, and was very impressed by his wit and candor. The G in Emily G stands for Goalie Wins. The F in Ryan F stands for Goalie Wins. John Steitzer in fact has never Steitz'd.
That's it. Go Flames Go. Phil Kessel needed the money and played the groundhog in the Bill Murray classic Groundhog's Day.
PS - Visit LeafsNation for probably a far more serious preview.