On Monday, Leafs' defenseman Bryan McCabe accidentally shot the puck in his own net at the end of overtime versus the Buffalo Sabres. The next day, the outcry from Leafs' fans was overwhelming. People were, and still are, calling for McCabe to be traded, saying he was the most overpaid defenseman in the league and just plain bashing the offensive rearguard. The question I have for Leaf fans is, why? Why boo McCabe when he plays at home? I just don't get it. The word fan is derived from the word fanatic and Leaf fans are fanatic about their team; more importantly fans are presumably fanatic about wanting their team to win. If they want their team to win then what is the purpose in bashing/booing Bryan McCabe? I never understand why fans do this. When you boo a player, it only affects his confidence in a negative way, thereby hurting the player's production which results in less wins for your favorite team. If the Leafs fans were as knowledgeable as they claim to be, they would support McCabe and give the rearguard some confidence; this most likely result in better production from the gritty defenseman and therefore more wins for the organization.
On to the morning papers:
- Craig Custance of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the details of Bob Hartley's firing. While, Jeff Schultz of the AJC thinks that Don Waddell should have been the one fired. Here is a list of possible coaching replacements provided by the paper.
- Petteri Wirtanen scored the winning goal as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Wednesday night.
- The Predators played a lot better last night than they had their three games before, nonetheless, it wasn't enough to beat the Ducks; John Glennon of the Tennessean has the details. David Legwand has been creating scoring chances with his linemates but has been having trouble making those chances count.
- As Kevin Paul Dupont writes in this morning's Boston Globe, the Bruins finally get the opportunity to impress their fans at tonight's home opener. Since leaving the Boston Garden, the Bruins haven't been that successful at defending home-ice and coach Claude Julien says that has to change. In other Bruins' news, coach Julien wants the Boston media to get off Manny Fernandez's back.
- Coach Denis Savard has set 28 wins as his goal for home-ice wins this season, unfortunately for Savard last night's 3-1 loss to St. Louis won't help contribute to lessening that number. Star forward Martin Havlat has decided to undergo rehabilitation instead of surgery and is expected to be out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks. Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune opines that the Blackhawks missed out on an opportunity to gain some fans by blacking out last night's home-game with little, if any, competition on television.
- Both Avalanche goaltenders are happy to have full-time goalie coach Jeff Hackett around to correct their mistakes.
- The Blue Jackets couldn't close the deal last night at home versus Dallas writes Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. Fredrik Norrena knew was shootout move Jussi Jokinen was going to use, yet Jokinen somehow still scored on the netminder. Meanwhile, Michael Arace of the Dispatch believes that with the youth of the Blue Jackets, coach Ken Hitchock can't rely on his old methods.
- If not for the their goaltender Mike Smith, the Stars would never have made it to the shootout in the first place writes Mike Heika in the Dallas Morning News.
- Chris Osgood will be starting tonight for the Red Wings versus the Sharks and no, Dominik Hasek is not injured.
- The Oilers will be without off-season acquisition Sheldon Souray for up to a month with a shoulder injury. With Souray lost to injury, this is starting to look a lot like last March writes Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun.
- Panthers' rookie Cory Murphy can't wait to play an NHL game in his hometown of Ottawa for the first tieme this Saturday. Olli Jokinen is the Panthers' ironman with 300 consecutive games played writes Steve Gorten of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
- As Lisa Dillman of the L.A. Times explains, Marc Crawford is still behind Rob Blake even though he has struggled to begin the season.
- While the Wild had a successful road trip, Michael Russo of the Star Tribune says they need to get more disciplined if they hope to continue their success.
- Habs' Coach Guy Carbonneau obviously has some confidence in goaltender Carey Price as he is starting the rookie against the defending Eastern Conference champion Senators tonight. Carbonneau was also busy yesterday diffusing a number of team controversies writes Pat Hickey in this morning's Montreal Gazette. Meanwhile, youngster Maxim Lapierre doesn't intend on sulking in the AHL after being sent down last week.
- The Devils defeated the Penguins last night by outscoring instead of out-defending them writes Mark Everson of the NY Post. Petr Sykora is wondering why his former linemate Patrik Elias didn't even tell him he got married.
- The Penguins received another lackluster effort from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury writes Dave Molinari of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- The Rangers play in Atlanta today and are wary of a team that is looking for their first win and has a new coach behind the bench. Marek Malik may be a healthy scratch for the Rangers tonight writes John Dellapina of the NY Daily News.
- Islanders' coach Ted Nolan is not big fan of changing up his lines but will do it when necessary.
- Martin Gerber has been "the club's best player" says captain Daniel Alfredsson and will be in between the pipes tonight with Ray Emery backing him up versus the Habs. Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen is wondering if it is Gerber's job to lose.
- The Devils are still the Devils, and thus, the Flyers won't be taking any game against them lightly writes Ed Moran of the Philadelpihia Inquirer. Martin Biron has been a calm and steady influence on the Flyers so far this season writes Moran's colleague Tim Panaccio.
- Coyotes' coach Wayne Gretzky is not as hard on his team's youngsters as Glen Sather was on him in Edmonton.
- The Sharks aren't focusing on last season's playoff loss to the Red Wings going into tonight's game against Mike Babcock and friends.
- Andy Murray's powerplay line switch helped the Blues win 3-1 over Chicago on Wednesday night.
- The aforementioned Bryan McCabe puts his gaffe into perspective for the Leafs' media. McCabe knows booing is part of the game and think he is lucky to compared to a defenseman of Larry Murphy's stature.
- Kevin Bieksa looks to be hurt, but he is a tough cookie and sure won't admit it.
For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.