Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Leaf Nation tries to relive that Cujo magic

I was at last night's Leaf game as much to see Alex Ovechkin than anything else. It was a pretty dull game. In fact the first period was classic snoozer - no goals, no penalties and no hits. But it was essentially a meaningless game for both teams. But things certainly picked up in the last couple minutes of the game.

There was controversial goal, a tantrum, an ejection and a goalie saviour all within the last minute of the game. I have to admit the officials really blew the call. You see far too many goalies being shoved like that. There was a time when you payed a price for wacking at a goalie.

But the Gerber ejection brought the crowd to life. The Air Canada crowd still gets a charge out of seeing Joseph in net. After a terrific initial save off Ovechkin to finish the third period, Joseph made eight straight saves in the overtime period. Well the Air Canada crowd was on their feet chanting "Cujo...Cujo". I hadn't heard a Leaf crowd this loud in about 5 years.

It got even louder in the shootout as Joseph stopped all three Capital shooters - Backstrom, Semin and Ovechkin. Then when Andy Frost announced Joseph as the first star the building was literally shaking. Never mind that the first star should have been Gerber who was superb for 59 minutes. He faced 36 shots and was only beaten by Ovechkin on a terrific play and later by the officials. For the fans it was 1999 all over again and Cujo was the goaltending legend.