Only 80 Games Remaining; It’s Time to Panic

Disney's Chicken Little... now playing in an NHL arena near you!

Disney's Chicken Little... now playing in an NHL arena near you!

The sky is falling in Toronto and Vancouver, and things are not much better in the rest of Canada for that matter.  The fans in Toronto are clamouring for coach Ron Wilson to make Swedish rookie Jonas Gustavsson the starter after two lackluster performances by Vesa Toskala.  In Vancouver the Stanley Cup parade plans have been shelved after Roberto Luongo and the Canucks have not only opened the season 0-3 but have looked terrible in doing so. Continue reading

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Top Ten Goalie Questions for 2009-10 Season

Anderson knows he needs to get down to business in Colorado if he wants to prove he's a true number one.

Anderson knows he needs to get down to business in Colorado if he wants to prove he's a true number one.

10.  Is Craig Anderson ready for prime time?  He showed he could be the go-to guy when Tomas Vokun was hurt last year in Florida and now he gets the chance to prove it in Colorado.  But Peter Budaj is ready to show he can still be the guy if Anderson falters. Continue reading

Future Price or Mason in ’09 World Juniors?

Two years ago Canada beat Patrick Kane and the USA in the gold medal game of the IIHF World Junior Championship in a dramatic shootout. The game winning save was made by Carey Price.  Three years ago Steve Mason led Canada to the gold. In 1999 Roberto Luogno carried the Canadian team on his back (sign of things to come?) but fell just short of the gold.  In 2002 Henrik Lundqvist carried a weak Swedish team.  Was there a Luongo, Lundqvist, Price or Mason in this year’s tournament?

Dustin Tokarski and Jacob Markstrom, top two goalies of this year's tournament

Dustin Tokarski and Jacob Markstrom, top two goalies of this year's tournament

The two choices to potentially appear on the distinguished alumni list one day appear to be Canadian Dustin Tovarski and Swede Jacob Markstrom.  Tovarski won MVP in the finals and Markstrom won MVG for the tournament.

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Goalie Shot of the Day

Mike Palmateer Interview

Mike Palmateer was the most entertaining goalie (apologies to Johnny Bower) to wear the blue and white.

Mike Palmateer was the most entertaining goalie (apologies to Johnny Bower) to wear the blue and white.

Mike Palmateer was the most acrobatic NHL goalie of the late 70’s and early 80’s, and to this day is still a favorite of Leafs fans. Mike was kind enough to talk to me during a rare day off from his current job of being an amateur scout for the Leafs. I caught up with him after his last fishing trip of the year so he was kind of sad about finally having to put his boat away for the winter. I started our conversation by telling him one my favorite memories, getting to meet him and Rick Vaive after a Leafs practice when I was 12 or 13 years old and then having lunch at the Hot Stove Lounge at the old Maple Leaf Gardens. To this day it’s one of the best days of my life. He actually had a similar memory of getting to go to the Hot Stove Lounge with his dad when he was a kid. When I told him about how he had come out of the locker room to meet me he asked if I was playing in goal back then. I told him I was and that I had first become a goalie at the age of four because I couldn’t skate so I thought I could hang onto the posts. That got a laugh out of him and the best thing overall about the interview is that he laughed a lot. He talked about how he became the Popcorn Kid, the ’78 Leafs, his somewhat-recurring role on a TV sitcom and how he ended up with the famous design on his mask.

TendersLounge: The first question actually comes from my dad: which rink had the best popcorn?”

Mike Palmateer: (laughing) Someone came to interview me in junior and saw me eating popcorn before a game. We used to get to the rink two hours early and would be kind of hungry and the only thing we could get at the concessions was popcorn. They weren’t even open yet but we’d knock on the back door and they’d give us some popcorn. So the reporter asked me if I ate popcorn before every game and I said ‘Not really’. But when the article came out the next day he called me The Popcorn Kid. The best popcorn was the London Gardens, but I didn’t really eat it every game. To be honest though most of the time when I go to games today I end up getting popcorn. But when I’m in Quebec I get a hot dog because they’re good.

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“Always Leave with the One Who Brung ‘Ya”

This was my dad’s advice to me when I went to high school dances.  That is to say, if you take a girl to a dance then you stay with that girl to end of the evening and make sure she gets home happy and safe.  You don’t look for a new date at the end of the evening and leave her jilted and embarrassed.

Coaches have never been shy to pull a goalie if he’s playing poorly or the team needs a wake-up call.  Heck, Mike Keenan probably dreams about it in his sleep.  But they NEVER, EVER pull the goalie right before the start of a shootout.  At least they didn’t, until Leafs new coach Ron Wilson did it to Vesa Toskala last night in a game against the Ducks.  With the game tied 2-2 after OT Wilson removed Toskala, who was quite warm after playing 65 minutes of hockey, and replaced him with Curtis Joseph, who was probably quite cold after sitting on the bench for 65 minutes of hockey.  Cujo didn’t make any saves in the shootout and the Ducks won.  (The Leafs didn’t score any shootout goals either but that’s another story for someone else to cover)

Wilson defended the move afterwards by saying “we had nothing to lose”.  Toskala and Joseph said all the right things afterwards (more here as well) but how do you feel if you’re Toskala and the coach basically says “we’ve got no chance to win the shootout with you in net”.  The Leafs were in for a long season anyway but for Toskala it’s starting to look a bit longer with Keenan, I mean Wilson, looking over his shoulder.

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