John Chidley A blog about reading, writing, pop culture and sports.


Phaneuf gets the headlines, but Giguere wins the games

I was fortunate enough to attend the Maple Leafs game Tuesday night when Freddie Sjostrom, Dion Phaneuf and Jean-Sebastien Giguere debuted in Toronto’s 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils.

The buzz before the game centred around Phaneuf, but Giguere is going to be the difference maker on this team.

It was apparent after just one period of play. Giguere looked confident in the net, always sure of his decision making.

“Giguere was solid," said head coach Ron Wilson in a press conference after the game. "He’s very professional, incredible focus and concentration out there, that’s what I noticed about him,”

Unlike his predecessor Vesa Toskala or his back-up Jonas Gustavsson, when Giguere makes a save he doesn’t look uncomfortable with the puck. There’s no sense of panic when he has to make a play.

“When we’ve gotten that kind of goaltending we usually play pretty well,” said Wilson. “Everybody settles down, you’re not bobbling pucks as much.”

That staid approach has already affected his teammates. Toronto’s defence has rarely looked this disciplined. Their awareness of the play developing around them was visibly heightened.

The few times that Giguere gave up rebounds the Maple Leafs quickly recovered and cleared the puck out. Most notably, Christian Hanson snapped the puck out of the crease and past the blue-line in the second period after Giguere had made a stop.

“Our defence did a great job in front of him, clearing people and handling rebounds. It was nice that all these guys arrive and they immediately help you out,” said Wilson.

Giguere even helps Toronto on offence, with his superior puck-handling skills creating scoring chances. An outlet pass off the boards from the Quebecois goaltender almost made it 4-0 for the Leafs in the dying minutes of the game.

On the power play, Giguere helped the defence get the puck back into the offensive zone quickly. He made the team more effective in every aspect of the game.

Obviously, Phaneuf made a difference as well.

“Dion got a couple of good hits in early,” said Wilson. “Every time he steps on the ice the other team is looking before they even attempt anything.”

Phaneuf certainly delighted Toronto’s fans by fighting Colin White, but it was Giguere who stole the show, and will continue to be the difference maker for the club.

 A 3-0 win is a welcome sight on any team’s record, but this game in particular bodes well for Toronto’s future. Looking at Giguere's sterling stats Tuesday night is all the evidence needed to see that he is the one that will win the Maple Leafs games.

Comments (1) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I have no doubt that Phaneuf will return to the form which endeared him to those of us supporting Calgary. So, while it depresses me to my core to see him in blue and white now, all I can say is I think Toronto just pulled off the biggest coup of a trade I can think of. And with that, if you’ll excused me, I’m going to go, stare sadly at the Phaneuf Calgary hanging in my closet and weep quietly.

Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.