As we head into the Marlies opening game of the second round of Calder Cup playoff action against the Abbotsford Heat, I thought it was a good time to play a little game called ‘When’s the Last Time.’
It’s pretty simple, actually. I will rhetorically ask a question starting with ‘when’s the last time…’ and then post the answer. There’s really nothing to it. And since – much like a grade 11 math textbook – the answer is provided for your reading pleasure, it means all of you can ace this test.
When’s the last time the Marlies have made it into the Western Conference Semi-Finals?
It’s hard to believe four years have come and gone since Toronto has last seen second round AHL playoff action. Lead by then-captain Ben Ondrus, the Toronto Marlies headed into the semis after a gruelling seven game series with San Antonio. Bates Battaglia secured the Marlies victory with a goal against Josh Tordjman with less than a minute left in regulation.
Goaltender Scott Clemmensen lead the Marlies onto the ice for game one of the second round as Toronto paired up against Syracuse, for what would be another seven game series. It’s funny though, not a single member of that 2008/09 club remains with team. Each having moved on or moved out.
When’s the last time the Abbotsford Heat have lost?
If we forgive them their one shootout loss to Chicago, the Abbotsford Heat last suffered a regulation loss on March 24th by way of a 6-1 decision to San Antonio (funny how the Rampage have appeared twice in two questions). The Abbotsord team started to heat up at the back end of a short road trip in late March, and continued the success on home ice as they played eight of their final ten games in front of a friendly crowd.
Having played on pretty much a different team every season since 2007/08, goaltender Danny Taylor seems to have found himself a home between the pipes for the Heat. Originally brought in to replace a recalled Leland Irving, Taylor dug in his skates and held his ground in the blue paint and has been the goaltender of choice through five of the team’s final six games of the regular season and all three playoff contests.
I’m not taking a shot at the big guy, hear me out. Colborne last potted a tally (outside of the shootout) on February 17th, and has played in each of the team’s 27 games since. If I were to leave it there, it would seem like a pretty lousy stat, right?
In four games this season against the Abbotsford Heat, Colborne has potted a team leading five points (2 goals, 3 assists). Through three playoff games, the towering pivot has continued to play set-up man with three helpers in as many games. See where I’m going with this? Although admittedly snakebitten in the goal column, this physical series against Abbotsford may prove to be the catalyst needed for Colborne’s post-season production to migrate from being the second last guy to touch the puck, to being the one who puts it in.
When’s the last time Danny Taylor has appeared in a playoff game?
Outside of the opening round played just last week, Taylor has not seen playoff action since May 5th, 2008 while with the ECHL Reading Royals. Drafted originally by the Los Angeles Kings in the 7th round of the 2004 entry draft, Taylor mucked about with three different teams in the coast (East Coast Hockey League) before taking a seat behind current Kings netminder Jonathan Quick.
When’s the last time Mike Zigomanis has been in the playoffs (NHL/AHL)?
I do believe it was somewhere around the middle of June, 2009. Having played 22 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins through the season, Zigomanis stayed with the team as they ousted four different opponents and the now-Marlies alternate captain stepped onto the ice and hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup. If that doesn’t speak to his experience, I don’t know what could.
Perhaps this: did you know that from 2005 to when Zigomanis joined the Marlies full time in 2011, the veteran centre and skilled face-off man only once missed the playoffs? That means six of seven years the Toronto native stilled had hockey to play come the end of April.
When’s the last time you saw the Marlies line combinations?
(alright, I admit… this one’s a bit weak)
D’Amigo – Colborne – Frattin
Hamilton – Zigomanis – Kadri
Mueller – Dupuis – Deschamps
Rosehill – Acton – Scott
Fraser – Holzer
Blacker – Gardiner
Mikus – Gysbers
Injured: Carter Ashton
Now, when’s the last time you’ve been to a playoff game in Toronto?
Tonight sounds like an awfully good night, doesn’t it?