I love the playoff like atmosphere in the Bell MTS Centre whenever the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town. It was an exciting game, ending in an a 4 – 2 defeat for the Winnipeg Jets. Here are a few things I overheard or saw, presented with my comments, on October 24, 2018 at the Bell MTS Centre:
Overhead – “The pairing of Tyler Myers and Dmitri Kulikov is going to give me a heart attack” - No actual fans suffered heart attacks, I think. However, two separate fans expressed concerns for their cardiac health watching this defense pairing in their own end. Overall, I’d say the vibe for that pairing was not super positive in the Bell MTS Centre.
Overheard – “Laine is a floater” – Patrick Laine was the brunt of considerable criticism from the fans sitting around me. The floater comment really stuck out for me for a couple of reasons. First, I have not heard that term since it was yelled at me repeatedly in my youth hockey days by several coaches (it was a different time where coaches were not required to be nice). Second, it’s a term I’m not sure all of our readers would be familiar with it.
Basically, a floater in hockey in my day was a player who skated up and down the ice, looking for an open spot to shoot from, not concerned with defending other players, digging in the corners, checking, or creating opportunities for team mates. It’s a player who is just looking to score, but not in a difficult grinder-type of way. In fairness to my previous coaches, that described me perfectly as a player. I ask you as fans, does that describe Laine at present? Sadly, I think the dude clutching two beers in the Andrew Ladd jersey might be right about the current version of Laine.
Overheard – “It’s great to see Ehlers finally score” – It was great! He also looked great on the top line once they removed that floater from that line.
Overhead – “Looks like bad Buff showed up tonight” – More than one fan made this comment. Dustin Byfuglien is such an interesting player. Fans, players and coaches agree that when he’s engaged and physical he truly is one of the toughest players in the league to play against.
However, he’s also prone to games where he plays tentatively, makes questionable passes, pinches at the wrong time and doesn’t hit anyone. It’s a mystery to me why a player who could impose his will any time he wants, doesn’t. It would be nice to see playoff Buff for most of the regular season.
Seen – Best Jersey of the Night – A vintage Leafs Frank Mahovolich number 27. Well done. Runner up a vintage Leafs Borge Salming number 21.
Seen – Scotiabank/Jets scarves on all the seats – It looked cool walking into the arena with swag on all the seats. Kudos to the Jets for doing this. Hope they continue to do it for big games.