Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maple Leafs Overtime Heroes: Gary Roberts vs the Senators

Maple Leafs Overtime Heroes is an ongoing series where we'll look back at memorable Leaf playoff overtime goals. Today's goal is Gary Roberts' triple overtime winner against the Senators in game two of their 2002 playoff series.

In the opening game of their 2002 second round series, the Ottawa Senators handed the Maple Leafs their most lopsided playoff loss of the modern era.

Oh sure, there have been games with a bigger margin of victory than that night's 5-0 Sens win. But anyone who saw the game would know that it could have been much worse. The Senators scored all five goals by the midway mark of the second period, and then shut it down. If they'd wanted to, they could have won 10-0 that night. It was that bad.

So heading into game two, the Leafs were already facing a must-win. With a long list of injured players that included captain Mats Sundin, it would have been all but impossible for Toronto to come back from a 2-0 series deficit. After all, they would be playing the next two games in Ottawa in front of 19,000 rabid fans, almost half of whom would have been cheering for the Senators.

No momentum. No captain. No hope. And no choice but to find some way, any way, to win.

Hmm... what would Gary do?

Let's review the tape:

The goal
Not much to talk about here, since the goal takes exactly two seconds. Let's just saw it's awful, and move on to everything that happens after.

Patrick Lalime's reaction
When we looked at the Mike Foligno overtime goal, I credited Tim Cheveldae with one of the great overtime "losing goaltender sprint off the ice" moves of all-time.

If you've ever wondered why goalies do that, here's Patrick Lalime to show you the alternative. As soon as the goal goes in, he does everything short of put a gun in his mouth.

Now I always thought Lalime got a bad rap from Ottawa fans, since we would have need a GAA of -1.00 to outduel Curtis Joseph or Eddie Belfour. But dear lord, Patrick, pull yourself together and get off the ice. The Sens were a young team, and nothing says "we don't really think we can win" like a goaltender who responds to one bad goal like my two-year-old realizing the Dora DVD has ended.

Of course, Lalime would later top himself in game seven of the 2004 series when he reacted to Joe Nieuwendyk's second goal by slumping to his knees, screaming something, then crawling over the zamboni and wrapping his lips around the tailpipe.

Wade Redden
Still not the worst thing a Senator has
ever put up their nose
Wade Redden
The clearcut highlight of the entire video is the shot at 0:30 of Wade Redden sitting on the bench with his finger up his nose, reacting to the goal by saying something that looks vaguely like "that's freaking great". Don't read lips, kids!

By the way, "Wade Redden sitting on the bench with his finger up his nose" was the title of the New York Rangers 2008-09 year in review DVD.

Ken Dryden clapping
I need to get this off my chest: What the hell was the deal with the way Ken Dryden clapped? This always bothered me. It was always the same: angry face, way too much intensity, hands held uncomfortably high, and just slamming his palms together with no coordination at all.

How is it possible to look so uncool when you're clapping? Are we sure this guy was one of the greatest players of his generation? Is it possible he died in 1999 and the Leafs replaced him in the press box with a badly made life-sized puppet?

Rod Bryden
You're with me, pleather.
Rod Bryden's jacket
I don't even have a punchline.

But I do have questions, such as: Where did he get that jacket? Is there some sort of "custom made novelty leather jacket" store that only rich people have access to? Has anyone other than Rod Bryden and Michael Jackson ever appeared in public wearing a bright red leather jacket? And where is that jacket now, is it for sale, and how much do you want for it?

Walter Gretzky?
Wait, is that Walter Gretzky appearing for a brief moment in a crowd shot? This guy is practically hockey royalty. Quick, everyone be on their best behavior! And for god's sake, don't let the mascot try to hump anything!

Carlton the Beat humping the glass
Yes, OK, so Carlton humps the glass at 2:00. Look folks, he's a bear. He has instincts. If you're going to hire a bear to be part of your game day marketing staff, this is just part of the deal. If the Leafs didn't think that was acceptable behavior, they shouldn't have let him walk around wearing a jersey and no pants.

The Most Obscure Guy in the Pile
I'm launching a new feature: "The Most Obscure Guy in the Pile", where we look at famous celebrations and try to pick out the most insignificant player involved.

Our inaugural winner is... Anders Eriksson! He's the guy wearing #44 and giving Roberts an extended head rub. This completely useless defenceman played 38 career games for the Leafs, recorded no goals and two assists, was once traded for Chris Chelios, and recently won the coveted "Most Swedish Name of All-time" award. There's at least a 90% chance that Roberts has no idea who he is.

Congratulations, Anders! Now get off the ice. And, um, you may not want to brush up against the glass on your way out.


  1. Carlton the Bear is the Donald Duck of mascots.

  2. If the Leafs didn't think that was acceptable behavior, they shouldn't have let him walk around wearing a jersey and no pants.

    I am without words; the logic is inescapable.

  3. I bet the next day, while everyone in the city celebrated, some shithead media fuckface was whining that overtime drags too much and something needs to be done to make it more exciting - not for the fans, but for the guys who watch the games for free. Perhaps, after going to four on four, then three on three, the game can be decided by a juggling competition?

    And yeah, I noticed that weirdness of Dryden's clapping as well. He looks like he's really cold and someone convinced him he could start a fire by banging his hands together as hard as he can.

  4. Best part of this great article is something I almost missed:

    "Still not the worst thing a Senator has ever put up their nose".


  5. Since you seem to love Bryden's jacket so much, I thought I'd let you know it can be had for the low price of $600!

  6. I'm a big fan of the guy chewing on his pencil cap at 0:58.

  7. For Most Obscure Guy in the Pile, my vote goes to #33 Bob Wren. How can you top someone with 5 career NHL games played, and one playoff game? Did he have to buy a ticket to that game?

  8. Interesting to see I'm not the only one that thought Lalime got a bum rap.

  9. I dunno...I gotta think Lars Lindgren is a pretty strong contender for the "Most Swedish Name of All Time" award

  10. Great post as per usual DGB. However, I am surprised there is no mention of Quinn's reaction. He looks just plain confused at the result. Joining Anders Eriksson and Bob Wren in the most obscure guy in the pile category are Paul Healey and Donald "American Pie" MacLean. There is no possible way Roberts knew who those guys were.

    Finally, I would like to start the most obscure Leafs goalie category and nominate another 2001-2002 Leafs player: Sebastian Centomo who in his only NHL game posted a 4.50 gaa in 40 minutes of action.

  11. Blindfolded Tank DriverJuly 23, 2009 at 8:56 AM

    Gary Roberts crush the sole out of that team with that soft ice slider of a goal. god bless him. I can only imagine what Carlton would do to Brydon's jacket

  12. @DeanoTPS... Great find. I'm tempted to buy from that site. I just wish they would use a little more caps lock.

    @DeanoTPS/jhillie3... wow, good eyes. I didn't spot any of those guys. Eriksson may not even make the top five. Just goes to show how many guys were hurt on that 2002 team.

    @Mr. Plank... That would be former Ottawa GM Marshall Johnston, who later became the third straight Sens GM to leave the franchise under mysterious circumstances that nobody in the Ottawa media felt like asking about.

  13. Patrick Lalime went on to be one of the best backup goalies with starter expectations after he left Ottawa. I'd put him up there with Jocelyn Thibault. Lalime's epic bed-shitting on two Niewendyk goals makes me giggle every time I think about it.

  14. I noticed that right after Roberts scores, just as he skates out of frame he tries to do his best Mike Foligno impression -- and nearly succeeds. Very cool moment.

  15. Some random thoughts:

    Man I miss Uncle Gary.

    I forgot how fat Quinn was back then.

    Dryden looks like he could be a dancer for a Mariachi band or something.

    “like a goaltender who responds to one bad goal like my two-year-old realizing the Dora DVD has ended.” Perfect analogy.

    Great reaction by Redden. His best all-time reaction though was his post-game interview after they lost to the Devils in game 7 of the conference finals. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sadder-looking pro athlete. If I’m ever feeling dejected, I still sometimes say “I’m like Redden right now” in honour of that interview.

  16. Actually the Rangers 2008-09 video is "Wade Redden stands on ice allowing ______ score with his finger in his nose." Fill in whomever you want.

  17. At 1:50, there's a pretty serious Jersey Foul, although I'm certain that if Stanley were actually still alive, he would most definitely be wearing a Leaf's jersey, so it's ok, I guess.

    Carlton the Bear is not humping the glass, he's burning off his undying rage at not being allowed to enter the ice surface and make a bloody mess out of the entire Sens lineup. Also, his second-greatest wish is a no-rules cage match with that pathetic lion, where he tears him to bloody pieces.

    Lastly, Redden is saying, "F---ing cheap Bolivian coke that Spezza gets- it crystallizes RIGHT at the top of the first nasal passage. Oh, did we lose?"

  18. KK, I noticed the Stanley jersey too. My reaction was "If that's an Allan Stanley tribute, OK. If that read "Stanley 67" or "Stanley 02" he should have been dragged behind Wendel's pickup the entire length of Yonge St.

    I think Redden said "Fing Christ."

    Also obscure - hey, that's Juha Ylonen playing for Ottawa. I'd completely forgot he played there, if I ever knew.

    And hey, Magnus Arvedson. Always good times.

  19. "And hey, Magnus Arvedson. Always good times."


  20. LMAO got all the boys at work laffin it up again DGB how come no one is hirin this guy in the media the score should at least be carryin ur blog...

  21. You totally ignored the footage before the goal.

    Lalime makes a save on Alexander Mogilny's long slapper. I mean, how much does Lalime hate the puck? How scared does he look as Mogilny winds up? in that stance, the first thing I think about his glove hand is that he's trying desperately to conquer his first instinct, which is to use it to shield his eyes from the puck.

    When he makes the save, he freezes and looks for it to make sure he actually stopped it. Have you seen a more awkward looking save? He almost can't believe it didn't go in. He is so shocked, he falls over because he refuses to move, lest he accidentally knock it in himself.

    He may have played reasonably well over his career, but every time a Toronto Maple Leaf wound up to shoot the puck, he looked like he would rather just disappear, leaving behind nothing but a smoke trail. I think the Roadrunner would have been more appropriate on his mask than Marvin the Martian.

  22. Reichel got an assist too. That has got to be like his only point in the playoffs for the Leafs.

  23. DGB, I have to make a subtle but important correction -- it is most definitely CARLTON, not "Carleton," the Bear (though I can see how your Ottawa environs might create the force of habit).

    Carlton wears #60 to evoke the 60 Carlton St. address of the Gardens. Remarkable sense of history for, as you note, a bear.

  24. Thanks Varry, you beat me to that. Shameful to compare the icon status of the bear and the address of MLG, to "Last Chance U".

    Most swedish name: Jorgen Jonsson.

  25. Wow, that's embarassing.

    Error fixed.

  26. Nah, the most Swedish name would be something like Johan Eriksson or Henrik Johnsson and i bet we could see one of those soon in the following years...

  27. Great post as usual. I was at that game. Walter Gretzky spent at least half the game sitting about three rows down and one aisle over from me and my ex-girlfriend [who scored the tickets free from her loaded parents]. She made the dumbass mistake of wearing black and red clothes to the game [not a Sens fan, those were just her favourite colours]... I was thinking she would be mercilessly heckled all game, but she was just so damn cute everyone was nice to her.

    Anyway this game was my first live game and the first hockey game I'd watched in years, so it's safe to say that Roberts' goal turned me into a major die-hard hockey fan. Good work, Gary!