McDavid vs. Matthews, Chapter I: Oilers @ Leafs

mcdavid-vs-matthews-part-one

The Oilers lost on Sunday, so Hank’s taking a personal day and putting my 2-0 record on the line on this historic evening. Tonight, Connor McDavid faces his subordinate for the first of what will likely be two decades worth of hockey sovereignty. It’s also Connor’s first time playing in Toronto, but not his first time facing the Leafs. If you recall (you will definitely recall), last year — about maybe 48 hours after returning from injury — Connor McDavid mutilated the Toronto Maple Leafs, the GTA, and the entire Province of Ontario when he dropped a five spot in front of 16,838 + myself at the old Jungle (RIP). The highlight of those five points came, of course, about three minutes into the game, when McDaddy flew by their entire organization before burying his first of the night.

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God yes. Tonight, he’ll be playing in front of his hometown for the first time as a National Hockey League player. I suspect Claude Giroux will no longer be tied for the league lead in points with Mr. October after this one.

Lineup

Also, Matt Benning draws into the roster for his first appearance of the season. Good St. Albert kid.

Iceman in the pipes for a ridiculous 10th straight start. Can’t stop the man.

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Tonight’s Opponent

The Centre of the Universe

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Why They Stink

Just going to skip the paragraph format and go right into point form for this puppy:

  • They ran James Reimer (career .914 SV%) out of town and gave Frederik Andersen (career .915 SV%) $25 million over five years.
  • Their coach is the highest paid player on their team.
  • Nathan Horton is the next highest paid player on their team.
  • The front office took every possible second they were given to sit at their draft table like a bunch of obnoxious assholes (sorry, Shanny) before getting up to draft Auston Matthews first overall. To put that into perspective, Oilers were already at the podium to draft Connor before Gary fired up the clock.
  • These are the same idiots that blew a 4-0 lead against my arch rivals, Winnipeg, just two weeks ago.
  • 1967.
  • I cheered for them for a grand total of 11 minutes of my life. It happened to be literally seconds before their epic 2013 playoff collapse. I will never do that again.
  • It’s cheaper to go to a Jays (good team) or Raptors (good team) game than it is the Leafs (bad team).
  • This:

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  • It’s 2016 and there’s still a blatant grammatical error in their team name.
  • And lastly, they’re responsible for us believing Dallas Eakins was a good idea.

Why Their Fans Stink

We try to keep these game day blogs as short as possible, so I’m really going to try to limit myself here. Honestly, they’re just a goddamn nuisance. The building is 70-30 Leafs fans wherever they go. And because of that, they believe they’re entitled to everything good about hockey, like. Case and point: Before the Leafs even won last season’s lottery, fans were coming up with packages that sent Auston Matthews and Jake Gardiner to Edmonton for the McDiddler. Brilliant display of brain work. Also, Jeff O’Neill.

Oh, and in a cruel twist of ironic fate, my dude Jon Snow is a Leafs fan:

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That bastard. I get that he knows nothing but this is inexcusable.

Why Their Media Abhorrently Stinks

The worst part about Toronto isn’t their endless barrel of dump that is their hockey team. It isn’t even their painfully unbearable fan base. It’s the Toronto Sports Media. I mean…my god, it’s bad enough that the two major sports networks in Canada both own the Leafs, but remember Kenny Lam? Author of one of the most mindblowingly idiotic sports blogs to ever make it passed the editing stage in the history of the internet? He’s the one that basically said McDavid will inevitably be a Leaf in three years because reasons. That article set THW back generations. And this wasn’t even the worst bit of journalism published in 2015 about the Oilers, McDaddy, and his inevitable tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs (sic). Sportsnet — the company that annexed the league from the much more popular but also annoyingly bias TSN — somehow allowed a baseball insider named Jeff Blair to write this unmitigated piece of god awful nincompoopery. At least Kenneth Lam’s shtick was the equivalent of a publishing shart (shit-fart), posted on a site read by viewers who also religiously read other dotcoms of word vomit like HFBoards and Hockeybuzz. This was written and published by the site that’s run by the company which practically owns the NHL. Did I mention they own the Leafs?

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Almost made me sick that they bought the naming rights to our arena, but it’s sick and we’re 7-2 and the Leafs are three pity points away from only having four. So, whatever.

Which Leaf Stinks

Freddy!

Who has looked all kinds of bad since putting on the new uniform. Sort of reminds me of two other former Leafs’ goalies who came over from California and stunk up the joint. Let’s quickly remember Vesa Toskala, because he was so bad:

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Andersen isn’t that bad yet, but he’s given up the second most goals against in the league so far, only one behind Marc-Andre Fleury…who’s played two more games than Andy. So, life hasn’t been to kind to the Leafs’ netminder. It rarely is in TO. Lucky for Connor, Andersen gets the start in goal tonight.

The Roundup

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Still the best! And if you slide that screen grab up just a tiny little bit:

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Found the Leafs! Nestled comfortably at the bottom of the standings, right beside Cam Ward’s Hurricanes. Their defensive play on all accounts has been so bad that their fan base relished at the idea of benching two horribly awful defensemen in Matt Hunwick and Roman Polak for former Oilers castoff Martin Marincin, and Frank Corrado, who I know played for the Leafs last year but still don’t think is a real person.

I’m not an x’s and o’s kind of guy, but if you’re looking for what needs to happen then here it is: If the Oilers apply even an marginal amount of effort on this minor league back end they’ll cause a million turnovers. And there’s no Gary Sparks tonight, so we can breath easy. Frederik Andersen is so bad that even Jay Woodcroft’s power play could probably score on him.

Prediction

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Nothing like starting off the roady with a quick two points. I actually cannot wait for Connor to tear down the ACC tonight. It’s going to be nasty. Vicious. Savage. Pick any adjective you want and use it. The only other time he played the Leafs he mauled them. The last time the media tried to make up a rivalry for him he stormed into Buffalo, scored two goals including the over time winner, wiped Jack off the continent, and soaked the first row of the house:

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Point is, this guy lives for the big games, and this is one of them. So let’s see: Connor electrifies the house with four points, dropping his career PPG against Toronto to a measly 4.5.  Big Rig gets one..no, two, because Andersen (buy a shirt). Pool Party adds one goal, one assist, and one big smile. Power play actually explodes. And the Iceman picks up his league leading eighth win of the season.

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Oilers win 6-1. Let’s go.

 

Puck Drop @ 5:30.

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