Raw Grit And Passion...
Tuesday, 03.23.2010 / 11:34 AM ET / Adnan Virk's Blog
By Adnan Virk - Host on Leafs TV
Maybe it’s convenient to say for some that the Maple Leafs are only winning since the heat is off but I don’t buy it. The club has shown to be one of the most proficient at killing penalties ever since the team started buying into coach Ron Wilson’s system in early February (right after perhaps Brian Burke’s finest day as a leaf with those two monstrous, identity-changing trades).
They have shown raw grit and passion in coming through in the clutch in overtime and on shootouts.
Their goaltending, with Jean-Sebastien Giguere tutoring Jonas Gustavsson, has increased by leaps and bounds after the previous incumbent Vesa Toskala clearly didn’t want to listen to the advice of goalie coach Francois Allaire. In fact, the biggest key for the Monster in my opinion has been his rebound control and his poise and he’s even handled the puck a little better (but Rome wasn’t built in a day so let’s hold off before anointing him as the next Ron Hextall).
Dion Phaneuf’s leadership on defence can’t be quantified. He’s an in your face, old school type who’s unafraid to challenge teammates and it’s worked wonders. And lastly the chemistry on the first line has been marvelous with the line of Kessel, Bozak, and Kulemin scoring a goal in each of the last ten games.
Scoff if you must, but even a hardened cynic must give grudging respect for the young Leafs turning a corner.
Have no fear, CB4 is here. With the club teetering after a horrendous 5 game losing streak, it was Bosh who shook off a poor shooting night and calmly drained a 17 footer to beat the Hawks. A shot which he told me the next day at practice he knew he was taking even before he got the ball.
A 20-10 effort in a losing cause followed, but a 36 point gem against a nets team that could not stop him(but only hope to contain him) and another 20-10 against the timberwolves on Monday night just further illustrates Bosh’s value to this franchise (and what a second half for the raptors overall in minny, with 60 points and 60 percent shooting from the field). I’ve heard some rumours that he’s not a max guy in the true essence of the word-that maybe he’ll get max dollars but he’s spoken about in the U.S. as a complementary player to a Wade or a Lebron.
But make no mistake-the Raptors know how critical it is that they sign Chris to a deal once the season is over and are acutely aware of his immense value to this franchise. But so is Bosh’s family. When I spoke to his father in Dallas over the all-star break, he told me he’s advised Chris to stay in Toronto since the fans and the city love him and the team is on the right track.
He followed up by saying he tries not to drill home too much basketball talk with Chris but it’s clear that what’s best for both parties is if Chris ends up playing another 500 games in a raptors uniform after reaching the first 500 north of the border. Make sure you catch See Before…CB4 April 4th, a thoughtful look at the beginnings of the raptors star.
OTHER STUFF ON MY MIND
- This is from my big brother Zeeshan, “Upon hearing of Peter Graves passing, this great line from ‘Airplane!’ came to mind, ‘Joey you ever see a grown man naked?’”
- I re-watched Season 6, parts 1 and 2 of perhaps the finest drama in the history of television and was riveted just as I was 3 years ago by the machinations of the Sopranos. Masterfully written, pitch-perfect in its authenticity, and filled with a colourful cast including a turn that brings to mind Caesar on the edge of ruin from James Gandolfini as the intimidating yet entirely sympathetic mob boss who pulls the strings under great angst. I still can’t get over Paulie cruelly cutting off his ma, or Tony’s remorseless murder of my favourite character, Christopher Moltisanti who finally gets his dream of getting a movie produced with the horrendous looking Cleaver-Saw meets Godfather! And Lauren Bacall’s cameo midway through is pabulum for fans of the golden age of cinema.
- As for the best drama currently on television, look no further than the AMC instant classic, Breaking Bad. Bryan Cranston’s masterful turn as Walt, a fundamentally good man who made a bad choice and has never been able to work his way back to goodness, makes you believe that a high school teacher facing terminal cancer could eventually morph into Scarface and the hottest drug manufacturer in New Mexico. Weird and wonderful, start watching if you haven’t already.
- This week’s movie choice is A Prophet. Nominated for the best foreign film Oscar, it tells the story of a young man sent to a French prison and his transition from scared newbie to crafty tough guy. Forced to make brutal choices(you won’t be able to forget the film’s first murder, 30 minutes in), Tahar Rahim’s character is the ultimate pragmatist and it’s a film that makes you realize how fortunate we all are not to be on the inside.
- Loved the Agassi-Sampras feud. Although Pistol Pete clearly took the high road and could’ve just said, “okay, so I’m cheap. Uhhh…crystal meth anyone?” And if Floyd Mayweather keeps ducking the great Manny Pacquiao we know who the real chicken is between the ropes.
Author: Adnan Virk | Host on Leafs TV