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I agree that the leafs have some players whose raw skills are tremendous, but'll always have trouble putting it all together.
Baseball comparison -- I recall reading that the Jays development philosophy in the Ricciardi era (and which has sort of held over) was all about finding superior 'talents' -- guys who had the raw talent in one of the traditional baseball five tools -- throwing, at bat, running, fielding etc -- and then shaping baseball players out of them -- they drafted a bunch of guys with one great tool or another, but none either really put the package together and became a great major leaguer.
Really see some of that with the way the leafs tried to acquire talent by trade -- just by example, I think of guys like Kessel, JVR, Gardiner -- great talents, but you can't always take a great talent and make it a stellar hockey player. Kessel is obviously the closest, but that's more by virtue of his out-of-this-world talent rather than much else, as far as I can see.
And that's not even talking about the importance of intangibles such as a competitive streak, leadership, or maturity.
1 week ago on Thursday Mashup: Sky yet to fall, Leafs vs. Lightning tonight
Thoughts and prayers to Bryan Murray with the terrible news of his terminal cancer and best wishes to he and his family during this hard time.
Probably been said on here already, but bears repeating.
1 week, 6 days ago on Friday Mashup: Back to Back On Tap
@docmma @Jmessih @TheLoovTrain Simmons is of course terrible, but I actually generally like Cox, think he's reasonable
3 weeks, 5 days ago on GDT: Game #11, Chicago Blackhawks at Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m., CBC)
Leafs playing quite well. They'd probably be ahead by one if Bernier was in net. Chi's goals were definitely screens, but both were playable and Reimer doesn't quite look 100%.
While the team clearly needs a ton of work in all areas and simply isn't that good, a very mediocre start is not the worst thing in the world. Last year the team was 6-2 at this point but deluded into thinking they could continue winning despite the piss-poor shots against and other statistical anomalies.
Anecdotally so far this season (am too lazy to look at the stats), I suspect their shots against are down marginally and both their PP and PK I suspect are slightly improved from this point last year. They're the same degree of maddeningly inconsistent. So perhaps this is a team that has fully regressed to the mean.
1 month ago on Monday Mashup: Picking up where they left off
@DWCMLHS @king leary No need to be a dickhead, bud.
He's right where I've projected him at too -- a poor man's Mike Ribeiro.
1 month ago on Game Day: Game #8, Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m., CBC)
@Sexyhairyman @king leary Been a number of turnovers in the neutral and offensive zone, making the exact same kinds of plays he has in the first 8 games of the season
@Savo43 @king leary I'd rather him excel here, but I'd wish him the best wherever, too. But his attitude, given his output, stinks. He has talent and he knows it. But the world is filled with talented people who were outperformed by people who actually lived on planet earth and worked their keister off.
One day Kadri will be 36, playing in the Swiss league, still talking about his development and potential.
@Jay_Berg As a hammer.
@TheLoovTrain @T K O But I thought he was John Tavares?
@deedrag @king leary I think they'd like to bench the whole team after this stinker!
Marlies! You're in!
Remember when everyone was complaining about how unfair it was to sit Gardiner? hahaha
It's time to move on from Kadri.
@Cloud09 @Komas Taberle @Cameron19 Clutterbuck takes a run at Lupul then turtles. Coward!
I'd probably turtle with Polak too
1 month, 1 week ago on GDT: Game #7, Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Islanders (7 p.m., TSN4)
@T K O @king leary Not to be a pessimist -- but that was early in the third, leafs were getting swarmed, that goal would have made it 5-3 just a few minutes in, leafs were terrible for the first 15 minutes of the third. Could have swung the other way quickly. It was an important save.
That bernier save with the paddle down in the crease was, believe it or not, the razor's edge of a difference between winning and losing.
I would like to see a Kadri-Tavares match-up so Kadri can put up or shut up. Kid doesn't want for confidence, that's for sure. Be nice to either see him succeed head-to-head, or have Tavares burn him up. Either one would help his development.
1 month, 1 week ago on Monday Mashup: Taking on the toughs
@wiski I'd rather Kadri be better at goal-scoring, but that's just me.
My thought of the day as we all barnstorm thousands of trade opportunities in the months ahead... Think Gardiner would still have lots of value won the market -- but I think Kadri is losing his lustre to other teams, particularly as a 'centrepiece' of any deal, and if he continues at about the rate he's going, that will probably continue as well.
Things to take away from that game:
Red Wings are crazy cheap in on the hands.
You can see why Gardiner was benched and will probably sit again sometime soon.
I'm getting tired of Nazem Kadri.
Don't think it will be long before we see a personnel change on the first line to shake things up.
1 month, 1 week ago on Game Day: Game #6, Maple Leafs at Red Wings (7 p.m., CBC)
Realize I've slagged a few journalists on here. So here's my props to Stephen Brunt and Cathal Kelly, the best in the biz.
If Cathal keeps writing leaf-porn like this one, he'll only be more well liked.
1 month, 1 week ago on Thursday Mashup: Leafs Analytics Tools On Display, Lupul hurt
@Cameron19 @djamon I was surprised to find the same thing tonight. Live in Toronto, have Rogers, closer to the basic end of packages. Try to flip to that game to discuover I don't have it.
@Zep2 @king leary As is often the case with Spec, he misses the point...
Spec is a huge Western homer and in my opinion just a poor columnist who's a bandwagon jumper and generally out to lunch. Which is part of what makes the agonized wailing on the demise of Edmonton's season (only four games into it, *cough*) all the more delicious.
Also, the Leafs, if they're interested, have all the leverage in the Staal situation. Staal has a no trade and the control there; if he doesn't want to go elsewhere, he doesn't. Leafs are under no pressure to deal at all, whereas Carolina may start getting an itchy trigger finger as the year progresses.
1 month, 1 week ago on Wednesday Mashup: Back to .500
@MaxwellHowe @king leary Fair enough, think that's true. That'd sure motivate me if I was stuck on the leafs fourth line, to play with a huge chip on my shoulder. 'Why the hell does John Scott get more ice time than me?'
I'd be angry too if I thought the fourth line really dominated its 5 minutes of ice like a first line, but didn't get any more time than that. But i don't see that, myself
1 month, 1 week ago on Game Review: Game #4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3 vs. Colorado Avalanche 2 (OT)
@MaxwellHowe This is a great example of that maxim that, to stand out when others are prejudiced against you, "you've gotta be twice as good as the other guy to get the same attention."
I don't disagree that it's next to impossible on 5 minutes a night. But if you can't do it, you don't get the chance in the NHL. If you make a big mistake on your first shift of the game as a fourth liner, you'll be stapled to the bench. And if you can't get your head around that to be 'clutch' in that limited situation, you'll never get the chance to be a clutch player in any other situation either.
Holland, as one example, needs to hit the ground running in his first shift and make it impossible for the coach not to give him another. It sucks that they don't get more opportunity. But they got to take it.
Aside from the other Staal points, I really feel this year will be an entirely 'wait and see' year for Shanny to assess. Not the least bit in a hurry. Given that, really hard to believe the Leafs will do a major move of any kind during the year -- whether that's Staal, firing Carlyle, you name it. Biggest move I'm expecting is trading some expiring contracts at the deadline for futures, or movement of duds on the fourth line/black aces.
@Mattmark @MaxwellHowe @Xxxxxnew Staal isn't 23, but he's a better hockey player than Kadri will be.
@MaxwellHowe @Xxxxxnew Possible, but geez that's still expensive eh?
even those, i might be tempted to walk away from. But then again, I don't love Staal
The best part of whatever happens with Staal will be watching Edmonton try hard to get him to waive his no trade, and Staal telling them to beat it.
If there was ever a star player who might go to edm, it could be Staal - northern Thunder Bay boy, just likes going out for a rip, king of a small pond with some talented wingers. But even that won't be enough.
The only way I see E. Stall happening is for Franson+Kadri+bag of pucks.
Most of the other player combinations aren't much of a net benefit for Toronto in either the skills or price tag area. (Without looking at capgeek, I'm not even sure this is cap-compliant.) Not even sure these two guys don't open up a bigger hole than Stall fills.
I think the Leafs still think highly of Gardiner. Even if they don't, I don't think they trade him for just 2 years of a declining Stall.
And all Carolina gets out of this proposed deal long-term is Kadri and a better chance at McDavid.
In short, don't see a fit.
Fourth line didn't play because, at this particular moment, fourth line can't play.
1 month, 1 week ago on GDT: Game 4, Colorado Avalanche at Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m., TSN4)
Hey, Nick Kypreos should be better at evaluating second-tier NHL players better than anybody....
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Leafs Notebook – October 14
@MaxwellHowe Well, he did get a good kick in the pants this off-season, at least
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Maple Leafs claim Richard Panik off the waiver wire
Side comment: In this new age of exceptionally targeted digital advertising based on consumer preferences and history, I would perhaps be concerned with the ad that continually pops up as I look at the Sun's sports pages with the headline, "So, your wife cheated."
If I were actually married, this would be very concerning.
If there's such a thing as a 'print media' troll, Feschuk's mostly certainly it:
I guess it's supported by the same wonky rationale that was offered as to why Sportnet brought so many of the lesser lights of the CBC with them -- "It's good to have people that people don't like."
Neither player was spectacular last night, but both Robidas and Polak made me smile with their clearly superior strength in muscling guys to the ice and banging along the boards.They'll do that role very nicely indeed.
@ProfessorRance @king leary Well that'd be pretty awesome if true. It'd be too bad if Gardiner can't ever truly put it together fully because he doesn't have the mental ability, but if Percy were to ever become even what Gardiner is now would make him a successful draft pick
What I find exceptionally interesting about Percy is that he's clearly got brains and a hockey IQ. You hear so much about guys having great skills or toolboxes -- great skating, great shot, playmaking, even character -- but a high hockey IQ is some ways so much more intangible, and yet clearly it is the mark of some great players (e.g., Lidstrom).
For example, looking at the development of Percy/Gardiner simultaneously over the next couple years will be fascinating. With respect to Gardiner, he's got gobs of talent but clearly not much going on in the brain. Percy's got slightly above average skills, but great IQ and a calm demeanour.
Reilly, most wonderfully, has it all.
@docmma Couple different perspectives there... If Percy's our #1 by season's end, he's either an incredible defenceman (yay) or the rest of our defence is atrocious (not so yay). But it sure was great to see him have a good game and look so smooth. It is only one game, and hopefully we see him continue.
Would be an excellent development to have him be a regular on the bottom pairing providing safe minutes and well-rounded play.
I never do game predictions but I'm pretty happy about today, so why not:
Leaf goals in order: Santa, Kessel, Clarkson, EN gimme
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Season Opener Mashup: The Day Is Here
I think that Komarov-Santorelli-Clarkson line will be a nasty piece of business, and surprisingly fast. Like it!
@Yan28 Hey, I might take that bet -- put $40 bucks on there, chance to win $100. I think if leafs do anything other than flat-out stink, he'll last longer than someone else.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Tuesday Mashup: Season Opener Eve
My last slogan choice:
My slogan choices:
"Win or we'll all be fired."
"What the hell were you thinking out there?"
"Defence -- noun. The action of defending from or resisting attack."
@DJBrianBurke @king leary
"When things get tough, son, just remember what I told ya. It's the most valuable advice I've ever received in my life. It will lead men to glory. It's so important they should write it on the wall."
"... uh, 'blue noise?"
"Unite a city" isn't bad.
"Blue noise" is utterly ridiculous and doesn't make the least bit of sense.
After months of media-talk to the effect of, "Are the leafs stupid enough to carry two enforcers?" the IMMEDIATE transition to "Are the leafs too weak with no enforcers?" made me want to scream.
Nothing new here, of course. Just --- gah.