Leafs_Logo_from_1971_-_Present

Leafs release new third sweater

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What do you do when everyone is releasing third jerseys to increase revenue, but you own a traditional brand that has withstood the test of time. You release a throwback jersey, of course! Toronto released the third sweaters at a press conference on Friday. The new alternate sweaters were the Leafs wore between 1967-1970.

Nothing like rolling out former Leafs captains Wendel Clark and Darryl Sittler to help model the new jerseys. Those two could wear Senators jerseys on Carlton St. in downtown Toronto and still get cheered as they walked down the street.  Still, the former captains joined current Leafs Dion Phaneuf and Colby Armstrong to show off the new look for fans and media.  The Maple Leafs’ official site describes the new threads in painstaking detail (for the link for pictures of the jersey):

“First introduced at the start of the 1967 NHL playoffs, the Maple Leafs captured the Stanley Cup that spring and went on to wear it for the following three campaigns. Some of the attributes of the sweater include; a solid, snow white, wool-felt, 11-point Maple Leaf crest similar to the Maple Leaf on the Canadian Flag as the country celebrated its centennial year in 1967, felt fabric numbers and lettering, one set of thin-wide-thin stripes adorning the waist and both elbows, no shoulder patches, and a six-eyelet lace at the front of the neck. Pants adorned with a new white vertical stripe along the sides will also be worn by the hockey club for games in which the third sweater will be used.”

The Leafs will wear their new/old jersey fourteen times this season beginning with their first game of the season on October 6 against the rival Montreal Canadiens. Interestingly, Toronto will wear the dark alternates five times on the road—meaning fans of home teams wearing their white jersey will get their wish a few times this season. They’ll wear them twice against the Rangers, Senators, Sabres, and Bruins. In fact, they’ll wear their old-time jerseys against each of the other five teams that make up the Original Six at some point this season. Here’s the full schedule of games the Maple Leafs will wear the new jerseys this season:

October 6 vs. Montreal

October 29 vs. Pittsburgh

November 5 vs. Boston

November 12 vs. Ottawa

November 19 vs. Washington

December 3 at Boston

December 5 at New York Rangers

December 17 vs. Vancouver

January 7 vs. Detroit

January 13 at Buffalo

February 4 at Ottawa

February 29 at Chicago

March 24 vs. New York Rangers

March 31 vs. Buffalo

What say you? Do you like the new/old alternates? Do you think the Leafs could have done better? Or could you not care less? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Brian Boyle #11 of the Tampa Bay Lightning reacts after losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final with a score of 5 to 2 during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with his teammates Sidney Crosby #87 after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Jason Behnken/Getty Images)
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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

***

Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.

Video: Phil Kessel displays incredible hand-eye coordination on goal

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This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.

The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.

(Watch that goal in the video above.)

It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.

Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.

Update: Here’s the goal Kessel accidentally “scored” for the Lightning:

Ouch.