So the Leafs started out really good. They were 9-3-1 before the last two games. And then those two games happened. A 5-1 loss at home Tuesday to Florida followed a 7-0 loss at home to Boston. All that success led to a closed-door meeting before practice Wednesday. If the Blues were 9-5-1, Payne might still be employed. Instead, there are rumors that the Leafs might be trading for Evegeni Nabokov. What year is it again? Even though Halak has struggled for the Blues, the Leafs have all sorts of goalie problems.
Jonas Gustavson was pulled after allowing three goals to Florida, the second two just 19 seconds apart. He's sporting a 3.78 goals-against average and a crappy 87.8 save percentage. Yikes. What's funny is, his career save percentage in his third season isn't much better at 89.6 percent. The guy nicknamed the Monster (similar to Halakness Monster) has been rather meek. James Reimer is undefeated in regulation with four wins along with two losses after 60 minutes. He's out with an upper body injury that looked like a concussion. He might or might not be the answer long term for Toronto.
When the Blues had the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, one of the early contenders that year for the top spot was Phil Kessel, also known as the Unaballer. And when you see Kessel in street clothes, he doesn't look like an elite scorer. At 6 feet tall and more than 200 pounds, he has a body shape like Brett Hull. Hell, post-retirement Brett Hull at the beginning of training camp. But the just turned 24-year-old has 11 goals in 15 games, leading all players in the NHL. Could he score 50 this year? Will fans ever forgive the Leafs for trading high draft picks for Kessel helping the Bruins win the Stanley Cup? I'm sure none of the fans up there in Ontario thought about that during the 7-0 shellacking Saturday.
Joffrey Lupul hasn't been traded for Chris Pronger lately. That's odd. The former Duck, Oiler, Flyer and Duck again is having a nice year with eight goals and nine assists. I'm sure he'll be traded again before too long. He just turned 28. He's got a lot of trades left in him.
I read a report from practice on Thursday that said the Leafs were changing one line. According to the team's official Website, Joey Crabb was playing with Philippe Dupuis and Mike Brown while David Steckel was lined up with Matthew Lombardi and Matt Frattin. Call me a Western Conference fan with blinders for most of the East, but I've only heard of one of those guys before. That can't be a good sign for the Leafs. Seriously, that's half the forwards that will play tonight. And I've got a good memory. I'm no Joe Paterno.
Odds are Jaroslav Halak will be back in net tonight. Reward the performers is what I say.
This is your game day thread. Comment like it's good for your health.