Tuesday, October 22, 2013
There is Energy in the House!
There is Energy in the House!
If you are a frequent reader of this column, you may tire of my suggestion that you must get to the house to capture the experience. By the house, of course, I mean the arena, the ball park, the field, the place where the sports event takes place. That is the only place where you can truly experience the magic of the game, as it unfolds before you.
Last Tuesday, I attended the game between the Leafs and the Minnesota Wild at the Air Canada Centre. With a little time on my hands, I was able to drop the car off at the GO station in Oshawa, and train into Union Station. Less than ten bucks, return. For those of you who battle Hogtown traffic every day, and search for decent “Event” parking for $ 20, the train is a great deal. Plenty of time for a pre-game nap.
The game against the Wild offered the opportunity to watch former Wellington Duke Matt Cooke with his new team. He moved on to the Wild in the off season. I spoke briefly with coach Mike Yeo before the game. “Matt Cooke is a big time character guy. That’s why we brought him here. He’s playing great for us.” Cookie leads the Wild with six points in nine games, with a game winning goal last week. I am certain that he is justifiably proud of his selection as the Edward J. DeBartolo “Community Service Award” for his time and effort on community and charity projects last year, when he was with the Penguins.
Tyler Bozak put the Leafs on the board first, converting a nifty passing play from Cody Franson and Dave Bolland. Shots on goal were hard to come by for the Leafs, as the Wild play a very tight defensive game. Mason Raymond, an addition to the Leafs from the Canucks prior to the season, snuck to the front of the Wild net backwards, wheeled around, and found the mesh. It was the seventh shot by the Leafs, at the 12:23 mark in the second period. At that point, Coach Yeo decided to replace his starting goalie, rookie Darcy Kuemper, with Josh Harding.
James Reimer was beaten once in the game. “I wasn’t that happy with my game. It’s a little tougher to get into a rhythm with ten days off. But it’s important to come to the rink and work hard, to try to battle out there. You have to make those key saves in a game, whether or not you face 3 shots or 30 shots. I didn’t feel as sharp as I could have. But I was mentally focused. So it’s nothing to be alarmed about. And yes, I really felt sorry for Kuemper. He’s a good goalie, he’ll bounce back.”
After the game, Cooke told me he is very comfortable with the Wild. “This is a great young team. We are learning to play sixty minutes.”
Since that game, which the Leafs won 4-1 with an empty net goal, the Wild have picked up nine points in nine games. The Leafs have 12 points in nine games, and will be joined by former Belleville Bull David Clarkson for their next game. Clarkson served a ten game suspension for an illegal hit. Joffrey Lupul leads the Leafs with ten points. Raymond, Phil Kessel, and Nazem Kadri have eight points each.
Only seventy more games until the playoffs!