Hi, guys. Back from a quick family vacation to Williamsburg, Va. and wanted to check in.
There isn't much to be happy about in Bruins Nation these days. The team has been on a steady slide since blowing a couple of leads in Anaheim and Los Angeles two weeks ago, having won just once during that span (in a shootout vs. San Jose). The low point came on Sunday, when the B's got blown out by the Carolina Hurricanes by a 5-1 score, playing a listless, unispired brand of hockey.
If there is a silver lining to this dreadful stretch that has seen the B's power play go ice cold (injuries to Marc Savard and Marco Sturm have a lot to do with that), the team's scoring woes continue, and a general malaise seem to infect the club as we've watched Boston go from 5th place in the East at the time of the win over the Sharks, to 10th, it is the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been just about as bad, going 2-7-1 in their last 10.
After getting shutout by the Florida Panthers last Saturday, the Leafs lost at home to the Los Angeles Kings last night by a 5-3 score, dropping them to a moribund 17-27-10 for the season, with just 28 games remaining. As my friend, Lawrence G. put it- they could go 28-0 and still end up with just 100 points. Even if you charitably give them .500 odds at 14-14, they'd have just 72 points on the year. Barring a major trade (s) that makes the Leafs infinitely better in net, on D and up front, then, it's going to be a tough road ahead for them to climb out of the cellar.
The bad news for Boston fans, is that the Edmonton Oilers continue to be putrid, and have actually replaced the Hurricanes in the NHL's basement. The last time the Oilers even won a game was December 30...against Toronto! The Oil have gone 0-9-2 since then, and have shown little to indicate that they have the talent or heart to get out of their predicament. That said, the Bruins haven't been much better, so there isn't a lot of room to criticize the Oilers.
The 'Canes might catch the Leafs...they're only five points away with three games in hand and playing much better hockey of late, since Eric Staal replaced Rod Brind'Amour as captain. As far as Toronto is concerned, they've continued to blow chances at points in January, and they have a tough seven games remaining on their schedule before the Olympic break (Buffalo, 3x against New Jersey, Vancouver, San Jose and resurgent Ottawa. St. Louis is on the docket- Toronto's best matchup on paper, at least)
So- every point the Leafs don't gain from here on out is going to further solidify that top draft pick for Boston. It isn't the greatest ray of light to hold onto, but it's one of the only things B's fans have right now.
P.S.- In a shameless plug, I now have an official affiliated blog with the New England Hockey Journal. You can check it out here:
Not to worry- it won't affect my content here. This is my side project, and I have complete editorial control, so this site will continue on. I'm a multi-tasker, so I invite you to visit the HockeyJournal.com blog, but to keep coming here as well.