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I earlier posted that I think the Leafs are a sinking ship with many problem areas, and likely wont make the playoffs. I stand by that, but , at the same time, its not all doom and gloom. There is a really fine nucleus of players on the roster, and the team can be built from those guys, and several prospects on the Marlies, college , overseas, and junior . The key going forward will be the wisdom exercised by management in which players to build on, and which guys to say good bye to . I agree with many folks who feel that employing two enforcers is foolish. Keeping even one on the roster is questionable . I mean, guys who can play can stay . Guys who cant play need to find another pasture. So do guys who have trouble finding the COMPETE button on a regular basis . These guys are easy to pick out, and there are too many of 'em wearing blue and white, at the moment. Theres some fixin' to do, yes ...but, as I said, there are still quality guys on the Leafs , and you can build around them . The season is looking like a mess...the future absolutely doesn't have to. Lets hope Dave Nonis and company make the right choices.
1 hour, 26 minutes ago on Dion Phaneuf facing possible suspension for Miller hit
Geez, its bad in Leafville at the moment, and yes, it will probably get worse in the very near future ....tough schedule . Its mind boggling as to what has happended here. The team are like pussy cats to play against, most of the game (every game). Guys like Gunnar and Franson , who played well in the past, are struggling. I will excuse Fraser, because he is now slower than before, as he had an injury that is a factor (I doubt he ever plays as well as he did last year). We have too many forwards who don't like to get their noses dirty, so it makes the defences job even more difficult . Yes , Clarkson is struggling, but he is going nowhere. Kessel is soft, but he is here for the long run (that's fine with me). Anyway, its not like Nonis is going to move out 6 or 8 guys (because that is what it might take) . Whether you like Carlyle , or you don't , he may be gonzo if this keeps up. That is exactly what I see happening. Can the Leafs win 2 of the next 3, given the opposition .... I doubt it .
6 hours, 48 minutes ago on Dion Phaneuf facing possible suspension for Miller hit
Soemthing is wrong with this team. No news here ...everyone can see it. But, how to fix it ? The magic that existed last mini season, is gone, a thing of the past. This team , except for the goalies, and a precious few skaters, are lost. The changes that are necessary do not stop at bringing in a true #1C, or a stud on defence to help Phaneuf. Its serious , folks, and we wont finish between 25th and 30th , but we should begin thinking of draft position . Playoffs ? Looking like a longshot, given how we give up 40 shots...on a good night. Frig. Back to square one.
10 hours, 44 minutes ago on Dion Phaneuf facing possible suspension for Miller hit
Carl Gunnarson ...top pairing defenceman. Give me a break. I am so f...ing sick of seeing this dolt screw up ....
20 hours, 58 minutes ago on Preview and GDT: Bruins at Maple Leafs (7 p.m., LeafsTV)
Great read...thanks Alec .
1 day, 6 hours ago on Game in 10: Game #30, Leafs 4 at Sens 3 (SO)
WOW !! just read a column by Steve Simmons on how Carlyle doesn't trust some of his players, and plays others who he does trust, even if they stink the joint out. Mostly , Simmons gets only negative feedback on his columns , but overwhelmingly, the comment section totally supported his analysis . So do I. Before any of you start firing salvos, remember...even a broken clock is right twice a day . Anyway, its a good read, an accurate assessment, and if nothing else , reinforces that our coach is a mighty stubborn man . At the back of my mind is this: Nonis did NOT hire Carlyle . Nonis is here for the foreseeable future . Not so sure about Randy.
2 days, 10 hours ago on JM Liles called up, expected to play Saturday
This could mean most anything. This time, though, Liles will surely log some minutes . He could get traded, or, maybe someone else gets the ticket out of town. I don't think Fraser is tradable at all , given he has a two year deal, and has struggled mightily . Both Franson and Gunnar are very tradable, as they have clear upside, and also have struggled. Ranger ? Maybe. Rielly is untouchable , so its just a question of where he finishes out the year. Most of you feel the world juniors would be a good idea for him, and I agree . A little disappointing to read that Matt Finn is described as having a nice all around game, but little physical oomph to it. I have watched a bit of Guelph on tv this year, and that's what I see, too. My guess is that Stuart Percy is a carbon copy of Finn..ie good prospect, lacks physicality .To me, one of those guys has to go, so you try to move them in a package. We already have enough lovers on the Leaf defence. And Liles is a lover, not a warrior. Andrew MacWilliams, if he has the game he showed glimpses of earlier in the fall, could be the next significant Leaf defence addition. I know zip about the Swedish guys , but I doubt they are close. In terms of overall team toughness to play against, you need to be thinking about what MacWilliams can bring to the table, not Percy, Finn, or even Liles. Yes, I know that the defence is poor at skating the puck out of danger, but we are awfully easy to play against in and around our crease. Just against Reimer and Bernier. I guess I forgot to mention Gardiner. He goes nowhere unless its a blockbuster trade. Guys like Jake don't occur every day, and he will eventually be a solid top four defenceman. Whew...done now .
@whalz @Gilbey93 @dlb eh by "they" , you must mean Phaneuf. Last night, I saw Dion running over into Gunnars corner to challenge a Star, as Gunnar kind of froze. Phaneuf is having a dazzling year ...Gunnar ? a dazing year ...
3 days, 6 hours ago on Leafs and the World Juniors: First Thoughts
Well, its funny, but yesterday someone called Hope Smoke stated a quote from Loiselle saying that at this time, there is no room on the Leaf roster for Liles, even though he is the best defenceman outside the NHL . Then today, they recall him. Who knows what that means ??? Everyone is entitled to a guess. Mark Fraser sure struggles with the pace of the game, every night. For that matter, Cody Franson, with all his potential upside, looks like he is wearing gumshoes out there , and those good hands of his, when he is having a bad game, look as refined as a blacksmiths. Theres a lot of fixin needed on that blueline, and yes, the D men need help from a few more forwards . Meanwhile, I guess everyone is ok with Rielly playing in the worlds ....ok, I'm in . As far as Gauthier making it ...sometimes you need guys who are happy to be 3rd liners , and from what I hear, Gauthier is a future #3 centre in the bigs, if he does what they think he can. Connor Brown ? Seems to me he is a very lucky guy to be lined up with the next NHL phenom. Given Brown's size, he is likely a mid range prospect ...so, the odds aren't with him , in reference to becoming an NHLer . Hope I am wrong. He sure knows how to finish. Finally ... somehow, the Leafs need to stop giving up 40+ shots a game.
It may be my computer, but I have trouble on this site, with following posts, as I need to jump all around, and, my screen wants to roll back to the top of the article at times . Its frustrating because this is my fav hockey (Leaf) site...yet its a pain to follow good commentary/arguments etc. Gonna call it an evening .
4 days, 21 hours ago on The NHL Plans to Grow HRR by $1 Billion in 3 Years
lots of nay sayers to the idea of adding Kulikov. Just threw it out there . We sure need some help on the D , though . Don't know if theres anyone on the Marlies who can help. Brennan is a scoring machine, but , no call up so far.
@Zep2 @HeatherRickAkin BurtonBoy just said it wont be cheap, and I tend to agree. So, is Percy and a 2nd going cheap ? I dunno.
4 days, 22 hours ago on The NHL Plans to Grow HRR by $1 Billion in 3 Years
@Burtonboy @HeatherRickAkin gimme a guess...how about Percy and a 2nd ??
Has anyone heard anything on what it would take to pry Kulikov out of Florida ? Pretty sure they want him gone, pretty sure the Leafs have had previous interest, and given the train wreck state of the defence at the moment, they may want to look into seeing what Florida would want for Kulikov. I think he is 23, a former first round pick (#5 overall ?) , who has upside, both defensively and offensively, and he has size. He is the complete pkg. , but obviously has problems. I don't say that you even consider Gardiner in a one for one trade here , but I am curious about whether any names have been bandied about at all. Kulokov is an RFA in 2014, and there is talk about bolting to the KHL . Even so, for a number of reasons, this may be an interesting option. With Fraser looking lost, Ranger looking like he hasn't arrived yet, Franson being Franson, Gunnar having a lousy year, and Rielly being 19, we in deep sh-t . Phaneuf has been great, but he needs help. And lots of it. So, anyone up for a cup of Kulikov ??? and, at what price.
As usual, Anthony makes a lot of good points and a lot of common sense . So hard right now NOT to point fingers at a bunch of Leafs, and only a few of them are exempt. The goalies get a pass , so does Phaneuf, and Smith. Probably a few others have played well , but they aren't coming to mind. It is kind of scary , to see a defence with a molasses slow Fraser , a mistake prone Ranger, and the quivering mass of insecurity that Gunnar is at the moment. Franson has been underwhelming , and that is a mystery, given how he played so well last season. AP didn't mention Rielly, and at 19, we need to cut the kid some slack. I just think that Dave Bolland was really the glue that held the top nine together, and down the middle, that hasn't been replaced . Yes, Bozie has been ok, but Kadri has been a disappointment (a la Franson) , McClement is out of his element as a top nine guy (AP pointed that out), and Holland has not been here long enough to show what he has got . Just not enough strength down the middle, and again as AP points out, no real breakout help fro a defence corps whose production can only be described as anemic. And again, back to AP's thoughts....it has also occurred to me that Carlyles status could be a bit iffy. Nonis didn't hire him . It all smacks of possible changes, but ...who knows ? Thanks Anthony...another thought provoker for the masses.
1 week ago on Leafs Notebook – December 2
That's not a bad prospects group . No slam dunks, but I would guess that maybe there are 3 or 4 forwards who have a shot at the bigs. Same number of defencemen ...about 3 or 4 . At the end of the day , the Leafs would be pretty happy if , from that group, a total of 3 or 4 eventually made it . If you had to pick one guy from that group, for me, its Gauthier . He already has the size, and in spite of being labelled a future #3 centre, he is putting up some numbers . I saw a glimpse of him, and he is pretty diligent out there , something the Leafs lack much of the time. His skating is fine and he has good puck pursuit. A longshot ? As someone mentioned earlier, Andreas Johnson is doing really well , so, I will go with AJ .
1 week ago on Leafs Prospect Update – December 1
883 comments and counting. We need some good news, and I hope MLHS does their update on Leaf prospects sometime soon . I cant help but wonder if the Marlies Spencer Abbott has NHL potential. I know he is smallish, but occasionally those mini players do a great job in the NHL. I think he is over a point a game with the Marlies...far ahead of any other forward . I doubt Nonis does anything big in a panic move, and I wouldn't either. Lupul has to be missed, but sadly, I think Lupes will spend a lot of his career on the IR . I also feel that Bolland is hugely missed, because of the way he plays, and who he plays against. And for all the Phaneuf fans out there...he was a monster last night vs Montreal, trying to carry the defence on his back. He needs some help, because the other vets on the blueline are really struggling. Looks like unless Rielly and Gardiner take over at #2 and #3 , the D will continue to struggle, as Gunnar, Fraser and Ranger are bit players , and no more.
1 week, 1 day ago on Game in 10: Game #27, Habs 4 vs. Leafs 2
@Cameron19 @HeatherRickAkin I guess not...pass the kool aid, please, Cam .
1 week, 2 days ago on Game in 10: Game #29, Sabres 3 vs. Leafs 2 (OT)
@Cameron19 @HeatherRickAkin I'm not, and he's not . Doesn't mean I don't like him ...just not as much of a fan of the guy as you (and many) are.
Sure is frustrating watching the boys find ways to lose, as well as seeing some really mediocre reffing , especially after a terrific start to the season. I question some of Carlyles player management, but he hasn't had a full compliment of players for even one game so far, I bet. Even at that, though , there are some serious flaws on the team, and I am not sure they are fixable, given the cap restraints . No one can argue we need a true number one centre .If we had that, I think our #2, #3 and then McClement would fall into place. If we had another D man who was as good as Phaneuf, it would stabilize the defence. Not saying that Dion is elite...never saw him that way. But, he is pretty good, and a lot better than whoever our second best is (your guess is as good as mine). I doubt that Nonis can acquire the high end players needed , but you never know . There seems to be help on the farm, but not immediate help . Gonna be touch and go for a playoff spot , methinks. On the other hand, if we beat the Habs tonight, it will give us 4 of 6 pts on the road trip , and the sun will rise again in makebe Leaf land .