Sticking Up For The Leafs

Photo: John Ulan/The Canadian Press

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been called plenty of things this season but I can honestly say there is one I have never heard until recently after reading a piece by an Edmonton sports writer, chicken.  The writer said the Leafs played the role of chicken (and turtles) versus the Edmonton Oilers stating Colton Orr spent the “entire evening running away from Steve MacIntyre” and “found an escape hatch” when he beat Oilers tough guy Zack Stortini “in a marathon”.

Where to begin?  First off, Colton Orr runs away from no man, this I think most NHL fight pundits will agree with.  Brand new NHL heavyweight contender (some say champion) Deryk Engelland has been wreaking havoc on the fight scene this season with some impressive knockouts and wins over some big time opponents. 

Engelland dropped Orr with a big right hand early in the season and nobody would have blamed Colton if he was a tad sheepish or tepid in wanting to face him again.  Uhhh yeah, Orr not only sought out Engelland but gave him an extremely tough battle and possibly even squeaked out a closely fought decision.

Colton Orr has already fought Steve MacIntyre and though he lost a close one that night I have never seen Orr back down from a challenge.  Not many guys are eager to face off with the NHL’s baddest man Derek Boogard but again who seeks him out, the fearless #28 Colton Orr who again battled hard and gave as good as he received in a close fight.

What is funnier is how the writer so quickly dismisses the Oilers Stortini who just happens to stand 6’4” and over 220 pounds (bigger than Orr) and to hear his description of the fight you might think it was a good close fight.  Truth is I have never seen a more one sided fight in quite some time as Colton Orr completely dominated the Oilers tough guy with a barrage of huge right hands leaving a brave Stortini weary and bloodied.

“He’s pretty selective,” Renney said of Orr. “He has scrapped with Storts before and he didn’t do too well with Mac in Toronto. Same thing with Phaneuf, he’s selective too.

“Our guys don’t discriminate.”

Spoken like a man who just saw his team play a fairly lousy game but maybe he knows something we don’t so I decided to investigate a little further.  According to Colton Orr now ranks in a tie for second with 9 fighting majors (Deryk Engelland among them) only trailing the two fights who each have 10 fights (George Parros and Brandon Prust) while Zack Stortini has only 5 fights on the year.

One can’t forget why Colton Orr “selected” Zack Stortini in the first place after the latter was running around like a chicken with his head cut off and also laid a cheap knee-on-knee hit on Mikael Grabovski.  Stortini stared directly at the Leafs bench after the questionable hit that earned him a penalty and basically challenged somebody to stop him – Orr certainly obliged him.

As a team the Toronto Maple Leafs rank 6th on the season with 24 total fighting majors while Edmonton ranks 12th with 21 scraps.  I realize I am being a bit sensitive and fighting doesn’t necessarily translate into winning but for anybody to actually describe Toronto as “chicken” or “selective” obviously haven’t been paying much attention.