The Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a great start, but their wins haven’t all been pretty. In fact they lead the league in giveaways and had 21 last night alone.
Still, they earned a 6-5 overtime victory against the Edmonton Oilers in a back-and-forth contest.
“My teeth are going to be ground down by the 20-game mark, the way we were exchanging chances and mistakes,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “But hey, that’s hockey early in the season.”
If this trend continues, it might come back to haunt Toronto, but there are certainly plenty of positives to take away from their hot start. The team, even with David Clarkson just halfway through his 10-game suspension, has enjoyed a balanced attack. Five different players are averaging a point-per-game and 16 Leafs have already recorded a point.
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier was obviously beaten regularly on Saturday, but he’s been great too for the most part. As a result, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the surprising leaders of the Atlantic Division with a 5-1-0 record.
They’ll look to continue that on Tuesday against Minnesota and, for Carlyle’s sake, hopefully play a less dramatic game.
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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