SPORTS

BOO-The Battle of Ontario is Reborn Leafs vs Sens

10/3/2006

The Senators reduced the Leafs to mulch last season eviscerating the boys in blue with blowout after blowout including 8-0, 8-2, and 7-2 ego-slashers. In the season series Ottawa buried the Buds 9-1.



The Senators reduced the Leafs to mulch last season eviscerating the boys in blue with blowout after blowout including 8-0, 8-2, and 7-2 ego-slashers. In the season series Ottawa buried the Buds 9-1.

But the Sens are habitual regular season game dictators. The playoffs is another story. And last year they cemented their reputation as playoff paupers succumbing to the Sabres dull sword in the second round. So in a way the battle of Ontario was a draw as true blue Leaf fans with “Go Leafs Go” ringtones on their cells and Darryl Sittler throwback jerseys on their backs would second. Offseason overhauls have bridged the talent gap between these two bitter rivals which should keep it interesting.

Toronto Maple Leafs Last Stanley Cup Win: 1967

Arrivals:
Hal Gill D, Pavil Kubina D, Paul Maurice Coach, Andrew Raycroft G, Mike Peca C

Depatures:
Jason Allison C, Ed Belfour G, Aki Berg D, Tie Domi RW, Alexander Khavanov D,
Luke Richardson D, Eric Lindros C, Pat Quinn Coach

The Scoop:
Last year’s playoff miss, the first in eight seasons, proved Colonel Quinn’s last stand. Successor Paul Maurice is charged with the unenviable task of whipping this team back into form. Key cogs Kubina and Gill should shore up the Leafs beleaguered blueline but much of the team’s fortunes will hinge on whether goalie Andrew Raycroft can shrug off an abysmal sophomore season and recapture his Calder winning form. Scoring crutch Mats Sundin will once again shoulder the bulk of the offensive workload. If every Torontonian’s favourite Swede starts 06-07 the way he ended 07-08 ( exploding for twenty points in the last ten games of the season) then the Leafs have a fighting chance of avoiding the celebration of the 40th anniversary of their last Cup win.
Crystal Ball Projection- Record 41-35-6

Ottawa Senators Last Stanley Cup Win- 1927

Arrivals: Martin Gerber G, Joe Corvo D, Dean McAmmond LW, Alexei Kaigorodov C, Tom Preissing D
Departures: Zdeno Chara D, Martin Havlat RW, Bryan Smolinski C, Dominik Hasek G, Brian Pothier D

The Scoop: Despite the stinging losses of Havlat and Chara the Senators are still as hot as the air circulating during question period in the House of Commons. Bottomline: when gamebreakers like Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson are smoking on all cylinders Ottawa is a playoff shoo-in. Once they get there all bets are off especially if they play Toronto. Ottawa’s 0-4 postseason record against the Leafs is just a series or two away from curse proportions. And now with Martin Gerber behind the pipes the Sens karma may have taken a turn for the worse. While he posted a stellar 38-14-6 record with a 2.78 GAA last year and went on to win a Stanley Cup ring, Gerber was a sieve in the playoffs allowing back-up Cam Ward to emerge as the Canes #1.

Crystal Ball Projection- Record 47-30-5

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