Friday, November 20, 2009

Well, at Least There Was a Nice Hip Check

ian white leafs moustacheJust the second post and I'm beginning to wonder if this season will be too psychologically damaging for me to handle, especially if I need to write about it. Well, I last said I was a classic Leafs fan in the way that I experience the highs and lows and tonight's match-up really tested this means of "enjoying" the Leafs. When Ian White scored to make it 5-4 I let out an emphatic "yes!" Unfortunately, when Erik Cole responded I was in shambles. I thought I was going to cry. After that the finale was a foregone conclusion. I needed a shower to cleanse myself.

I've decided that in order to get through this rough spell, which encompasses the entire post-lockout, I can't dwell on the negatives. Therefore, I'm embarking on the first post in a series called Reasons To Keep Watching. This way I can shield myself from self-inflicting psychological damage and avoid moving to a country that watches soccer.

The first reason to keep watching the Leafs is the continued progression of Ian White.

Ian White, affectionately called Dexter by my father, has developed into the most reliable defenceman for the blue and white. He is offensively gifted and uses a hard, low shot from the point with great success. This is a welcomed addition to the power play and is perfectly paired with the deft passing of Tomas Kaberle. Additionally, amongst a group better known for their brawn (excluding Kaberle), he provides a tremendous first pass out of the zone and can effectively command a drive up ice.

Despite his offensive proclivity he concedes nothing defensively. This is even more impressive considering his size. White is only 5'10 and 185 pounds. His size is not a disadvantage because he plays a formidable defensive game that relies on superior positioning and active stick work. Best of all, he is nasty. Ever since Burke took over this team, White has shown a willingness to drop the gloves and mix it up with the other team. He's fearless. Erik Cole will testify after tonight's encounter with White. White showed no hesitation in smacking the indignant taste out of Cole's mouth after delivering Cole with a beautiful hip check.

Oh, he's been known to grow a sick muzzy.

There is an excellent piece written on White at Maple Leafs Hot Stove comparing him to statistically similar players across the league and gauging the type of money he may command as a RFA once the season ceases.

I've thought White was great since his first year, but his progression this year is impressive. At age 25 I think Ian White is a big piece of the Maple Leafs' future and I hope both White and the Leafs are able to work out a deal that satisfies both parties.

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