Apr. 13: Playoff Special – Leafs

Dad: I think the family wants to get together for a soccer game, like an under-25 versus over-25 thing.

Me: Well, I’m not playing.

Dad: Well no, it’s like a serious game.

Me: …Oh. Fine then.

cropped-rrmain2.jpg

Before we start, something got screwed up and now the first post on the site is the March 9 one. I don’t know what I did. Can’t do anything to fix it. If you want to go back in time, go for it.

Moving on.

It’s this time of year that stresses me out the most. The school year is ending, my summer job is getting started, and almost every professional sports team in Toronto is playing at the same damn time.

I haven’t posted about the Blue Jays since they started their season, I don’t think. Unfortunately, I’m still going to hold off. They’re playing fairly well and that’s all you need to know for now. Baseball may be my favourite sport but the Jays are at the back of my mind now considering the fact that the Raptors and the Leafs are both starting their playoff runs. The Raps start tomorrow, but the Leafs played last night.

That’s what I’ll be talking about today.

Rookie Reviews:

The Leafs lose game one of round one, and I cry

Okay. Stay calm. Be like Coach Babcock and just breathe.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were in Boston last night to face the Bruins for game one of round one. Before we get into the game, let’s talk about what the Stanley Cup Playoffs look like.

sportingnews
Courtesy Sporting News

On the left we have the Western Conference (Central Division and Pacific Division) and on the right we have the Eastern Conference (Atlantic Division and Metropolitan Division).

The three top teams from each division make the playoffs:

Central: Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild.

Pacific: Vegas Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks.

Atlantic: Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs.

Metropolitan: Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers.

Two teams from each conference (regardless of the division) qualify as Wild Cards, meaning out of all the remaining teams they have the highest points.

Western: Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche

Eastern: Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils

The First Round, the top three teams stay within their division. Take our division (Atlantic) as an example. Tampa Bay was in first, Boston was in second and Toronto was in third. In order to explain the Wild Cards, we have to include the Metropolitan Division because they’re in the same conference. Washington was in first, Pittsburgh was in second and Philadelphia was in third.

Now for the Wild Cards. The lowest seeded (placed) Wild Card (regardless of their division) plays the first place team with the most points. That’s either Tampa Bay or Washington in this case.

The Eastern Wild Card with the lowest seed was New Jersey.

The first place team with the most points was Tampa Bay.

That means New Jersey plays Tampa Bay in round one and Columbus (the other Wildcard) plays Washington, because Washington is the other first place team.

I’m doing my best, I hope you get it.

After that, the second place teams face the third place teams, so that means Boston (second) plays Toronto (third).

If you win, you move on, the rest of the rounds don’t have any confusing “Who you play” rules. You just play who wins.

Every round, up until winning the Stanley Cup, is best of seven. That means you have to win four games in order to advance. The most games you can play in each round is seven. Game five, game six and game seven are all played only if necessarymeaning a team didn’t just win four in a row and sweep their opponents. You continue this way until you win the Cup.

GIPHY, also I know this isn’t Toronto but GIPHY doesn’t have much footage from the Middle Ages

That makes for one loooooooooooong playoff season. It seriously never ends and the NHL wants to add more teams to the league so now more teams may be qualified to make the playoffs which means it’s going to be even longer and we’re literally going to be watching hockey until August and I just can’t do that.

Moving swiftly on.

Home-ice advantage goes to the higher-seeded team. So because Boston came in second and we came in third, Boston gets to play the first game at home, followed by game two, game five and game seven (if five and seven are needed). We get game three, game four and game six (if six is needed).

All of this mumbo jumbo just comes down to, “Hey Leafs, just win.” If the team you like wins, then cheer. That’s all you really have to care about. I didn’t cheer last night. I moped and I went to bed before the game was over.

The Leafs lost 5-1 to the Bruins and it hurt so, so much. First of all, I missed the beginning of the game because I was at school. I put it on the radio for the drive home because there was no way I was going to miss game one but it’s really not healthy to drive and listen to a playoff game.

Joe Bowen, known as “The Voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs,” has been calling Leafs games since the 80’s on both television and radio. He’s on the radio now and boy does he ever get into it. Love the guy, but he’s part of the reason my heart rate was so high when I was stuck in slow traffic. He’s the guy that goes “Holy Mackinaw!” You’ve probably heard him at some point.

I don’t blame him for being so hyped, though, because Boston came out for blood. They were literally ready to kill. My friend texted me at one point (once I was home, chill) and she was like, “Are u also dying at this leafs game” and I was like “Bruins came out ready to decapitate someone.”

And if you didn’t get what I meant about being like Mike Babcock and just breathing, it was because Sportsnet got a shot of him as he spoke to the team and he just looked right at them, breathed in, breathed out and just started chuckling. Because holy hell, this is playoff hockey.

Boston scored first while I was in the car and then Toronto scored when I got home. LOOK. AT. THIS. (Thanks Sportsnet)

As great of a goal as it was, I was still upset because that should’ve been the first goal of the game. Here’s why.

Boston’s first goal came on a power play. One of our guys was out foorrrrr…. something I can’t remember because I was probably too busy suffering from cardiac arrest behind the wheel. So what happened was, one Boston player was skating with the puck toward our zone. Brad Marchand (who we do not like) was skating on his left and HE CROSSED THE BLUE LINE COMPLETELY BEFORE THE PUCK DID.

What does that mean? Offside! Goal doesn’t count! Game’s still tied at zero! But no! The Leafs didn’t challenge it because they were looking at the wrong guy. They didn’t see Marchand just skate right in without a care in the world and eventually score, they were looking at Patrice Bergeron who bumped into Zach Hyman on the blue line.

(Rinkside Spotlight)

IT WASN’T BERGERON THAT WAS OFFSIDE IT WAS MARCHAND! AT THE TOP OF THE SCREEN! DEAR LORD!

Had they challenged it, a closer review most definitely would’ve caught the offside and they would’ve taken the goal back. Who knows? Maybe that would’ve pushed the Leafs to the next level and have them win the game. Or maybe they still would’ve lost but it would’ve been by three goals instead of four.

I think if you challenge something and it doesn’t come back in your favour then you can’t challenge anything else for the rest of the game. I think. Don’t quote me on that. But man, that definitely would’ve been taken back.

I can’t tell you how heated I get when I see Brad Marchand. He’s just a dirty, dirty player. Dirty. My dad says he’s the kind of guy you want on your team. I beg to differ. I never want this guy playing for Toronto.

Gross. Komarov was like whatever with it and the other guys just laughed it off. I just think that’s gross and weird and unnecessary. Is this a hockey thing or something? Like…?

Anyway, we scored to tie it and we kept it tied for almost the whole second period but then it was just bang, bang, bang, bang. Not the best way to start the playoffs but it is only game one, remember that. I’m trying not to get all down about it like I usually do but I saw my OHL team get kicked out of the first round a couple weeks ago and that wound is still fresh. Sue me.

So Boston leads the series 1-0 and game two is tomorrow at 8. Hopefully I can get through the whole thing.

In other sports news, the Toronto Raptors are playing the Washington Wizards tomorrow for their first game of the playoffs. They’re heading in as the first team in the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history. The game’s on at 5:30 so hopefully I’ll be able to watch them and the Leafs. Sports is a commitment.

The Blue Jays begin their three-game series against the Cleveland Indians tonight at 7:10. The other two games are tomorrow at 4:10 and Sunday at 1:10. Baseball is an everyday thing, people.

TFC are playing an MLS game tomorrow against Colorado at 3 and then a Champions League (still) on Tuesday at 8:15 – they’re in the finals so it’s a big deal.

The Toronto Rock are appraching the end of the season with three games left, including tonight’s 7:30 home match against Rochester.

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The end! See you next week!

Erin.

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