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@Burtonboy @Alec Brownscombe Thanks. Just bothers me that some beat reporter can speculate something (of which there is no factual evidence), and suddenly other media are reporting his "speculative" comment/rumor.
1 week, 1 day ago on The Leafs shouldn’t retain a dollar of Phil Kessel’s contract
@Alec Brownscombe No, I knew you weren't specifically referring to the Florida rumor Alec. Bothers me that some speculation gets blown up and suddenly it has a life of its own. Then other media jump in and try to contradict the rumor, or discuss other potential teams of interest. The MSM love reporting and talking about this stuff, especially given the appetite of LeafsNation.
Just who started this rumor that Florida was interested in Kessel anyways? I really dislike how one small rumnor gets blown up so much that people start to treat it like an actual fact. Whoever starts the rumor is never held accountable.
As far as Phil goes, his talents are known. Get him a quality 1C and he'll be fine. IF, and I mean IF, you trade him, you get better some high draft picks and a prospect.
Nice work by both you and Steve. Seems a lot of the MSM analysts are promoting the "scorched earth" scenario and talking as if Kessel and Phaneuf need to go. Glad to see you guys are more level-headed in your assessments.
1 week, 3 days ago on Anthony Petrielli & Steve Dangle on Global News Talking Leafs Rebuild
@Anthony Petrielli That was probably what finally drove Nonis, Dubas, and Shanny to give him the hook. They knew the team was not going to move forward under Carlyle's direction.
The players have got to be more accountable, but also used appropriately. We'll see how comfortable Horachek is in making changes.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Randy Carlyle Firing: What Changes Moving Forward?
Nice review Anthony.
Should be very interesting to see how the team responds to direction from Horachek. I get the sense he is not expected to bring in many changes to start, but we'll see if that evolves in the coming days/weeks (depending on how players respond). Carlyle seemed to resort too often to old ways. Randy may have listened to the Leafs' analytics team, but my sense is he was reluctant to deviate from his own ideas.
In fairness (or perhaps criticism) to Carlyle, he was forced to (or decided to) make questionable adjustments due to some injuries/illnesses (Polak, Lupul, Komorov, Holland, Kadri). Missing two key centers at the same time didn't help of course. However, bringing guys up from the Marlies, only to play them a few minutes on the 4th line was certainly an indication Carlyle lacked faith and was resorting to old habits.
Until this team can get quality (and consistent) 2-way play out of its top two lines, they will have a tough time improving or becoming a playoff team. We've seen them capable of doing it, but not consistently, and the old habits keep drifting into their play. Kessel will always be a huge offensive threat, but a bit of a liability defensively. BUT, if you can get two linemates with him who are solid 2-way guys, that line can be very effective. Bozak and JvR can only do that in spurts. Same with Bozak and Lupul.
The lack of a true 1C continues, but the effort and focus on that first line fails when they don't have the puck in the OZ.
@wendelsfist Wonder if he'll be allowed the full 14 days, given he was not coming off an injury and has been allowed to practice recently. Either way he doesn't have to go on waivers yet, although not sure Leafs want to keep him up with big club and continually sitting him in the press box. When Komorov returns, someone is going to the press box regardless.
2 months, 1 week ago on Saturday Mashup: Flyers tonight
With Carter Ashton being sent down to Marlies for a "conditioning" stint, I'm wondering how long they can keep him there before they have to put him on waivers. Rosters are frozen over Christmas break, but can he stay with the Marlies during that time? Anyone know what NHL will allow? Suspect at some point (unless there is an injury), he'll have to go on waivers.
@Anthony Petrielli Not a trivial task by any means, but if the team and league want it to happen, it will happen. Simply tracking of puck and helmet sensors would go a long way. Other video methods may be feasible. In the mean-time, fill your boats with well-trained bean-counters.
4 months, 1 week ago on Leafs Notebook – October 20
@dlb Mad The "consistent means" may always be an issue, as well as the reliability of the data, unless you quality control the means by which the data is collected. Teams are certainly starting to do that now. Automation will allow for greater detail in the data and how its processed. It will also help to eliminate or reduce the subjectivity of the data collection.
@Anthony Petrielli Well having been myself a "bean-counter" in my younger days for a basketball team, I know how time-consuming it can be. The only reward then was the analysis and presenting results. Nowadays the teams certainly have the money, and they know how beneficial the data can be to their development and success. Not only do they want the data, they want to have propriety control.
Interesting how the blogging hobbyist can become an important cog in the wheel of a sports team. It is a niche which is rapidly evolving. Bean-counting and analysis will rapidly change as automation evolves.
Great post Anthony. As yet some analytics are not quantified well, have limited detail, or require the user to accept some inferred assumptions. What you're doing is adding the much needed next level of detail.
The more I see this stuff the more I wonder just who is collecting all this additional data and how? It has got to be very time-consuming!
If they can someday automate the data collection, all the energy used to collect the data can be transferred to the more important task of analyzing and presenting results.
@Cameron19 This same thing haunted the team most of last year. They struggle when the opposition forechecks hard and limits their time with the puck. Opposition outworks them along the boards and cuts off their outlet guys so they either turn over the puck or get bottled in their own end. Passing is part of the problem, but they also have to move quicker and to open areas. Too many times they advance the puck along the side boards to a forward who is already covered, or loses the puck battle when checked. Teams will keep flooding the side the puck is on until the Leafs show they can move the puck away to an open area.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Game Day: Game #3, Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Rangers (7 p.m., City TV)
Here's what Chara said after losing to Washington last night. Phaneuf could have said something similar about Leafs loss to Pittsburgh.
Certainly like Gardiner and Rielly's skating and puck-handling capabilities, but they have yet to consistently demonstrate that they can win puck battles in their own end, and move aggressive forwards away from the front of the net. So why pair these guys up??
The forwards (especially the top lines) have to live up to some defensive responsibilities. Too many times we see guys chasing around trying to get the puck back, feebly poke-checking, or trying to catch up after turning over the puck. Its not too late to correct this, but it is unsettling that these types of things are repeating themselves after haunting the team all last year. New coaches, new players, but some of the "core" problems continue.
Get it together boys... Randy's leash is already short enough.
@TorontoMapleLeafs @Cameron19 Size & weight are less an issue, than the size & weight of the line they play on. A small center can be far more effective if they have one or more strong wingers to create some space for them.
4 months, 4 weeks ago on Tuesday Mashup: 3 Days Off
@Alec Brownscombe @TML__fan Sadly the two pre-season games with Buffalo just reinforced RC's old school thinking. Nonis' only saving grace is he can always fire RC if (or should I say "when") things don't improve. Nonis will then replace RC's short leash for one around his own neck. This seems so 'deja vu'
5 months ago on Monday Mashup: Leafs Make Cuts, Booth Out 4 Weeks
@Alec Brownscombe I was really hoping (perhaps foolishly) that Shanahan, Nonis & new assistants would steer this team in a new direction. Either RC is not on board, or he has convinced them the team still needs an "enforcer" on the bench some nights. Pity those who have to play the 4th line when Orr is dressed. Also pity the young player who is put on waivers to keep a spot for Orr.
You listen again here how Carlyle responds to question about Orr and Leafs toughness, and it seems to point again to the thought that Orr will be on the Leafs opening day roster.
@peterbleafs @TML__fan True. With Rielly they didn't have the option of sending him to the AHL. Nylander can start with the Marlies at center and play at a high level. Keep in mind though, if he comes up for more than 10 games, they'll burn a year of his ELC.
5 months ago on Wednesday Mashup: Undefeated Pre-Season Leafs Head To Ottawa
@Savo43 @TML__fan Kane is a tougher player, and has always played in North America. Same was true for Fleury. More solid frames. Bure had sick speed, but he too was about 20lbs heavier than Nylander. Those guys all better goal scorers, than playmakers. Not saying Nylander can't play wing, just saying he is better suited right now for center. Add 20 lbs and some experience/endurance, and he'd be fine for wing too.
I know its just pre-season, but not sure playing Nylander on the wing is the best for him. He doesn't have the size or frame to play wing in the NHL yet, and his talents are better suited for center. Kadri had enough size/grit to handle the wing when he first started, but Nylander does not.
Also, IF Leafs have plans on carrying Nylander into the first 10 games of the season, it may cost them another forward on waivers.
Suspect he could be like Rielly, everyone expecting he probably would go back to juniors, but he keep showing he had the talent to stay up in the NHL. Mind you, Leafs have more depth at forward this year than they have with D last year. Nylander starting with the Marlies is a very likely option though.
I thought Biggs got a bit overly criticized for that missed shot on the PK. If he scored in that top corner, people would be impressed with his improved shot and skating. Either way he's destined for back with the Marlies, but the hate on this kid is probably unfair.
If all the young D go back to the AHL or elsewhere, who do you peg into the 7th D spot, Holtzer or Tallinder? Assume pre-season will help decide.
5 months ago on Game Review: Preseason Game #1, Leafs 3 vs. Flyers 2 (SO)
@Anthony Petrielli As much as Raymond was able to put up some points, IMO he didn't connect all that well with Lupul and Kadri. That 2nd line should be able to put up far more points and spend considerably more time in the offensive zone than what it did this past season. Sure Raymond has speed and some puck handling skills, but he was simply too weak along the boards and not a very effective 2-way player. To be honest, Kulemin was more effective on that 2nd line when used there, but he played 10 fewer games with almost zero PP time.
Lupul and Kadri are capable of putting up substantial points (65+) in a season, on that 2nd line, but they need a solid 2-way RW player. Sadly I initially thought Clarkson could have been that guy, but a suspension and some injuries killed any hope of that. The RW doesn't have to score a lot of points, but they need to make time and space for Kadri and Lupul, and help out with the defensive zone when required. Heck you could even put Holland on that wing and I'm sure he could duplicate what Raymond did.
5 months, 1 week ago on Should Joffrey Lupul or James van Riemsdyk play on Phil Kessel’s line?
Ultimately Lupul's effectiveness depends on him staying healthy. We've seen what both Lupul and JvR can do when paired up with Kessel. I'd be more concerned as to how best to improve the second line. Lupul and Kadri have shown glimpses of being a solid duo, but injuries have hampered that line. Combine that with a revolving door of wingers who have played on the right side, and understandably that line has not been able to establish chemistry. Going into this season there are still doubts as to who will play that right wing (Clarkson?, Frattin?, Santorelli?, other?). I'd leave Lupul with Kadri for now, and concentrate on getting them a RW they can click with.
Not a huge fan of Kypreos, but he does an excellent job of summarizing all the nonsense associated with the Feschuk article. Thanks for posting this.
5 months, 1 week ago on Nick Kypreos with Greg Brady / Andrew Walker
Not sure which bothered me more last season.... the fact the Leafs lacked the necessary depth of talent to play a decent defensive system, or Randy Carlye's inability to accept this, and make changes in their systems or the players he iced. With the changes in the coaching staff, and the addition of more defensively-minded players, things have to get better. If not Randy's days will be numbered. Will he be credited at all if the team improves? Not likely. But he'll take pretty much all the blame if they don't!
5 months, 1 week ago on Will Randy Carlyle Change?
Don't think it is any mystery, but most all of the new additions were brought in primarily for what they can do for this team defensively. The SH% that we want to see lowered is the opposition.
Booth is a cheap investment, and if he can stay healthy, maybe he could fill in where Raymond did last year. He's tougher in the corners, something that Raymond was lacking.
Outside of Kadri, that second line last year was a mish-mash of wingers. If Lupul struggles, or they fail to find somebody who can gel on the other wing with Kadri, then we may see the offense struggle.
6 months ago on How will Maple Leafs forward moves impact team shooting percentage?
@StanSmith Might it be more a case of the opposing teams knowing how little depth the Leafs have with faceoffs? If they can pressure Bozak and get hime tossed, they have a much higher probability of gaining control of the puck off the draw. Not sure if his injury played any part in how he handled faceoffs.
6 months ago on What’s Ailing the Maple Leafs Penalty Kill – Part 2
@peterbleafs @Burtonboy Just maybe they can use Bozak less on the PK and rely on Santorelli and Komorov for taking faceoffs. They both have decent FO%. Just not sure if Kontiola has any skill on the PK?
@loomx @Anthony Petrielli @Burtonboy Anyone really know what Kontiola may be like on the PK?
@Burtonboy Actually at home they were 3rd lowest in PK time, but on the road they were 4th highest. So collectively they were middle of the pack. Their road record was awful as you know. Overall their PK time exceeded their PP time, which is never a good thing.
Interesting enough, a lot of their penatlies came in the 2nd period. If you're ahead after 1st, then you risk giving up that lead, and if you're trailing after 1st taking penalties is not helpiong you get back into the game.
Oh, and let's not forget, Leafs had the 3rd highest goals against while on the PP!
Excellent follow-up to part 1 Anthony.
With the numerous personnel changes this off-season, it is difficult to know just how the PK will perform. It has nowhere to go but up, hopefully! One would think the coaching staff have a good understanding of how they need to improve. Horachek hopefully can provide better guidance, and they've got a bit more depth and tenacity on the PK.
Hopefully the team can reduce the number of PK minutes per game, and employ their 3rd or 4th line guys to eat those minutes.
You hit the nail on the head when you said "The Leafs have never had a good PK forecheck inside of the defensive zone". I haven't poured over the video like you may have, but that is certainly one aspect of their PK that seemed to be seriously lacking last season. At least one, if not both forwards on the PK would drop back too much, and thus allow the point men a bit too much time and space.
@Burtonboy Another definite plus. Not to mention it would be easier to monitor and develop his game while here in the Toronto area.
6 months, 1 week ago on Maple Leafs sign William Nylander to three-year entry level contract
Assuming he's not quite ready to make the jump to the NHL, then who makes the final decision as to whether he plays with MoDo or the Marlies? I'd assume it is a collective decision, but who makes the final say? Wouldn't the Marlies make more sense, as in he'll learn the Leafs' systems and then be available as a possible call-up if someone gets injured on the big club?
@Burtonboy @loomx So true. Only difference now is there's a larger magnifying glass looking down on the entire situation from Shanahan & Nonis. The players and the coaching staff know that complacency and status quo is NOT an option. This team has to improve or more serious changes will follow.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Wednesday Mashup: Wake me up when it’s hockey season
@Yaknowwhat Exactly. Not unlike ES, if a team allows the opposition too much time and space in your DZ, that simply leads to more shots, better scoring opportunities, and the PK unit struggling to get the puck out of the zone. Hopefully some new additions to the roster, along with some focused coaching from Horachek can improve the effectiveness of the PK.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on What’s Ailing the Maple Leafs’ Penalty Kill – Part 1
@Anthony Petrielli @Bobsyouruncle Well with McClement gone, you better hope the Leafs come up with a center who can play the bulk of the PK minutes and win faceoffs. That being said, I still think the PK group is stronger with the additions of Santorelli, Komarow, Winnick, etc.
Just reinforces the importance of winning DZ faceoffs. You need two PK centers who can consistently win 50% or more PK faceoffs. McClement was overworked last year, and Bozak only played 58 games. Hopefully we see some improvement with the additions of Santorelli, and some others. How is Kontiola on faceoffs? Maybe Holland has improved on his faceoffs.
Overall the PK group is stronger (at least on paper), but the faceoffs may continue to be a problem for the Leafs.
With that second line, it is going to come down to chemistry. Clarkson's suspension, then injuries in the lineup, inhibited that second line building consistent linemates and chemistry. Clarkson may be given the chance at that second line again, but RC probably won't stick with it too long if Clarkson doesn't click well with Lupul & Kadri. Can easily see RC moving Santorelli or Booth onto that wing if Clarkson struggles.
As for the PP unit, I'm glad to see you mention Clarkson's name. Somehow they have got to give him more PP time. With Raymond gone maybe he gets more time. In Clarkson's last two seasons with the Devils he was averaging over 3 mins in PP TOI/G. With the Leafs he was averaging less than a third of that. Keep in mind, that while playing with the Devils, over 25% of his goals.& points came on the powerplay. Mind you he was playing with the likes of Kovalchuk and Parise on the powerplay, but he's a guy willing to get in front of the net.
6 months, 3 weeks ago on Friday Mashup: The Swarm & Coaching Duties
Excellent interview Alec! You put together some great questions, and got some very honest answers from Spott.
Will be interesting to see what these "modifications" are with respect to the "swarm".
Hey maybe you can put together a similar interview with Horachek.
6 months, 3 weeks ago on An interview with Maple Leafs assistant coach Steve Spott
I'm pleased you didn't skim over the debate about shot quality, as this is a topic that sometimes gets downplayed when looking at analytics. It's unfortunate that shot quality is not tracked in a better manner and statistics readily available. Although shooting averages may help to justify the importance of shot quality, they fail to fully quantify the influence of an individual player, and certainly when it comes to on-ice influence at both ends of the rink. Even if a player consistently has an above average SH% (and their on-ice shot quality is high), that could be offset if their on-ice shot quality against is even higher.
Similarly we generally measure a goaltender's contribution by their save percentage, with little or no attempt to consider shot quality. Yet we often marginalize the numbers based on the number of shots they face. Can we assume all goaltenders face the same percentage of shot quality regardless of the number of shots?
Certainly hockey analytics are useful, but until they are somehow weighted by shot quality, they are only showing part of the picture.
6 months, 3 weeks ago on Introduction to Advanced Statistics
@Alec Brownscombe @Dangle_My_Berries lol, yeah he's got that Arnold Palmer swing with a John Daly body. Thank goodness his talents are with a hockey stick.
7 months ago on Jake Gardiner Signs for 5 years, $20.25 million
@Gilbey93 For sure the bottom 6 this year will produce more points than the bottom 6 did last year. BUT, more importantly, they should be vastly improved in their 2-way play and help cut down the time in the defensive zone and the shots against.
@Dangle_My_Berries Daly has quite the loud shorts there, plus the flowzak hair.
Anyone have a link to any interviews (audio or video) with Nonis or Gardiner after this signing?
Excellent interview thus far. Looking forward to the next two part!.
The comments we are hearing about Nylander are all very positive, and build enthusiasm about his future potential. It will be interesting to see just where he plays this coming season. If he goes back to Sweden we'll be missing out watching his development.
7 months, 1 week ago on MLHS in conversation with Dave Morrison – Part 1
@Cameron19 @Murph2417 Unless Leafs are prepared to give Clarkson some PP time, he'll likely be unable to get anything more than 15 maybe 20 goals. Can't imagine he could ever repeat how awful he was last year.
7 months, 1 week ago on Weekend Mashup: $2.2 million apart
If Franson arbitration award is over the new threshold limit (previously 3.5M), do Leafs walk away? Would he be valuable at that price in a trade??
7 months, 1 week ago on The Cody Franson Arbitration: What is he Worth?
I'm assuming Santorelli plays wing and Kontiola and Holland are 3C & 4C.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Maple Leafs re-sign Peter Holland to 2-year, $1.55 million deal