Two games in, and the headline in the Toronto Sun dubbed the Maple Leafs “Juggernauts.”
Of course, that was likely tongue-in-cheek.
Another paper suggested, “Phaneuf era off to a fab start.”
We’ll forgive the Hogtown scribes for being a little over the top these days since they don’t have much experience covering a winner.
Fact is, while many are aware the Leafs were winless in their first eight games last year — and lost 12 of their first 13 — what was worse was that it took until Dec. 1 — or Game 26 — before the Buds beat a Northeast Division opponent.
Now they’re 2-0 against division foes with wins over the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators.
The euphoric state of their fans and followers is comical to watch, especially since we all know how this story will end.
Now more notes, quotes and, well, thanksgiving leftovers from a world of sports wondering why none of us had the foresight to predict the inevitable Leafs/Edmonton Oilers collision course in the Stanley Cup final.
Around the horn
Carey Price’s new mask features a rodeo cowboy on both sides riding a horse. Start the debate on if it’s a tribute to Anahim Lake, B.C.’ native’s western heritage or symbolic of the rough ride the goaltender is going to get from fans as long as he toils in Montreal … Some may point to Oilers Jordan Eberle’s season-opening goal as the enduring image of this young NHL season, but to me it has to be the Los Angeles Kings’ trainer rummaging around in a pool of Anze Kopitar’s blood to pick out three of the star’s teeth following a high stick … Not a fan of Drew Doughty yet? You will be when you hear the third-year Kings stud offered Willie Mitchell his jersey No. 8 when the former Canucks veteran arrived in L.A. this year. Mitchell wisely declined … If anyone knows how excited hockey fans are in Hershey about Sheldon Souray’s arrival, it’s Flames assistant GM Jay Feaster, who not only ran the AHL organization but still calls the Pennsylvania town home. “It’s a big deal for sure — it’ll get big-time press play, and that building will sell out,” Feaster said. “There was a time when Keith Acton agreed to come down and play there (in 1994), and people went crazy.” While the 10,500-seat Giant Center is generally quite full, they’ll be packed to the rafters as long as Oilers castoff Souray is playing there … Lost in the Wade Redden and Souray demotions is the fact both essentially got healthy raises since they no longer need to forfeit the 18% in escrow their NHL brethren are subject to because of the collective bargaining agreement. It’s a silver lining, indeed.
Answer: 5-under. Question: How many players short of a full roster did the New Jersey Devils dress Monday night thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk’s massive contract?… Spoke to Ondrej Pavelec’s agent, Allan Walsh, a day after the Atlanta Thrashers netminder collapsed, as I wondered if the 23-year-old goalie’s family members were watching the game live as paramedics worked on him. Turns out his parents and girlfriend were in his native Czech Republic, found out by phone and were given regular updates by Walsh as information became available … Given his history, is it wrong to suggest for a second perhaps Mike Ribeiro was faking it when he was arrested on the weekend for public intoxication? … Talked to David Frost on the weekend, and he tells me reports of him coaching at the Laguna Hockey Academy in California are false. The former agent who was acquitted of several counts of sexual exploitation of players and banned from several leagues in Ontario claims he’s simply writing protocols to help sell hockey-specific training equipment. He says working under an alias, Jim McCauley, is just a business move. Strangest part is he, his wife and kids still have regular contact with former NHLer Mike Danton, who served 63 months in jail for conspiracy to have Frost, his former agent, murdered.