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@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'
19 hours, 1 minute 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.
19 hours, 19 minutes ago on Monday Mashup: Leafs Make Cuts, Booth Out 4 Weeks
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.
19 hours, 26 minutes ago on Monday Mashup: Leafs Make Cuts, Booth Out 4 Weeks
@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 days, 20 hours 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.
6 days, 23 hours 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.
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.
1 week, 1 day ago on Should Joffrey Lupul or James van Riemsdyk play on Phil Kessel’s line?
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.
1 week, 4 days 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!
1 week, 5 days 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.
1 month 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.
1 month 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.
1 month, 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.
1 month, 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.
1 month, 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.
1 month, 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.
1 month, 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.
1 month, 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.
2 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.
2 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.
2 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??
2 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.
2 months, 2 weeks ago on Maple Leafs re-sign Peter Holland to 2-year, $1.55 million deal
@Burtonboy @4evrblue Unless the arbitration award is more than $3.5M the team can't walk away from the arbitrators decision. I don't think they can trade the player either for one year. Arbitration contracts are usually just 1-2 year deals anyways..
2 months, 2 weeks ago on Steve Spott, Peter Horachek named Maple Leafs’ Assistant coaches
Panthers coach Peter Horachek's pregame speech prior to their victory over the Maple Leafs on Feb. 4. http://video.us.msn.com/watch/video/panthers-coach-peter-horacheks-pregame-speech/125r7dmd …
Horachek mic'd up at a Predators practice. http://video.predators.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=94746&catid=1503 …
Notice the tall lanky defenceman that he's talking to in that clip. Will he be around in the future?
@Yan28 @TML__fan I hope you're right. As Marlies coach he was asked to implement the same systems as the Leafs (under Carlyle). Just never heard Spott speak anything but praise for Carlyle, or question/alter the tactics incorporated by Carlyle. So, as long as he speaks his mind under Carlyle, I'm happy with that.
Spott is certainly well spoken, and it will be refreshing to hear more from the assistants than in the past. Likely Carlyle will be more open to listening to his assistants given how short a lease is probably around his own neck. Spott certainly spoke well of Randy previously. I just hope he doesn't slide into a "yes-man" role, or fade a bit into the background. Doubt Nonis or Shanny would have promoted him if they thought that was the case.
Well if Horachek and this hopefully improved D group can better results, I'm all for that. Can't see how it could be worse than last year.
Does this sound workable?
JvR - Bozak - Kessel
Lupul - Kadri - Santorellii
Komorov - Kontiola - Clarkson
Ashton - Holland - Bodie/Frattin
Lots of questions with 2RW, 3RW, 3C & 4C
Least we have depth now at C and maybe injuries there will be more manageable.
2 months, 4 weeks ago on Mike Santorelli signed by the Maple Leafs to 1-year, $1.5 million contract
Based on latest signings. what do people think will be the likley line combinations??
@Cameron19 Injuries and suspensions forced unusual line combinations, and that hindered a lot of guys, along with Kulemin. To be honest, I liked him most when he was centered by Holland, and had Clarkson or Raymond on their wing. They got cycling and caused havoc at times for the opposition. I just don't see him being a consistent 2nd line winger. Love him on the 3rd line, but wants to be paid like he's a top-6 forward. Interesting he hasn't signed yet.... or Grabo. Asking too much maybe??
2 months, 4 weeks ago on Free Agent Frenzy: Day 1 Digest
@Cameron19 D'Amigo will likely always be a utility player, so who knows he could be acquired again at some later time. Kulemin was given lots of offensive minutes last year, especially with injuries. Carlyle used him a lot. The only time Kulemin has excelled offensively was when paired with Grabo and Mac (when each had career years). His shooting percentage was totally unreal. Yes, he can get points if he plays with good wingers and on the second line, but can he do it consistently... probably not.
Raymond was a nice player who had his offensive moments, but his lack of consistency and physical play just made him expendable. Kulemin on the other hand has no problem with physical play, and is a quality 2-way player. But for whatever reason (and people can come up with many) he just struggles to contribute offensively. He was given lots of opportunity this past season. I'd still love to see him back to play 3rd line wing, but at a decent price. If another team wants to pay more and elevate him to a top 6, we'll see if he can produce for them.
I did like Frattin as a Leaf, but he hasn't really stepped up his game as yet. I don't think LA plays a fast enough game and thus Frattin may have struggled there. That's not to say he didn't struggle at times when he was in Toronto. I'm curious that the Leafs were open to trading D'Amigo to get Frattin back, so we'll see if it pays off. Frattin has more offensive upside, and although not a defensive specialist, he's not a defensive liability either.
Komorov (aka "Uncle Leo") will be nice to have back. I'm not particularly worried about any drop-off in his play over the term of the contract. He's a durable, hard-hitting, relentless, in-your-face kinda player.. A bit pricey to start, but once the cap rises his contract is very cost-effective. Will he put up a lot of goals, probably not, but he can contribute offensively.
Robidas hopefully will be the veteran D the Leafs need on defence. IF his leg remains strong and he stays healthy, he's great pickup. The contract won't cripple the Leafs if Robidas gets injured again. Despite his age, if he stays healthy, he can provide a lot that the Leafs need.
If the Gunnarsson of old was still playing at the same level, they might have looked at other options to balance their D. But with his lack of physical play and ongoing hip issues, it was time for a move. Not sure on the timing of these discussion on Georges. Were they trying to do that deal and it couldn't come together, so they opted to do a trade with STL?
Sure sounded like they were now hoping to add a D through free agency, and failing that will look for another trade. I think they are trying maybe to get Boyle, and if not will look to trade if they can.
Nice to hear that Shanahan has been working the phones and talking to some of the FA's. He's quietly trying to make this team better, while avoiding the bigger media spotlight.
3 months ago on Draft Day Two Wrap Up: Gunnarsson for Polak, offensive focus to Leafs’ draftees
@wendelsway1 @KingTon @TheCanucksnaphook read his response in the Sun article. http://www.torontosun.com/2014/06/18/maple-leafs-gm-dave-nonis-talks-draft-bolland-and-trades
" We’re hopeful the next 10-days-to-two weeks we’ll be able to reach some kind of conclusion on the assistants."
3 months, 1 week ago on (Thursday Mashup) Silly Season
@Xxxxxnew Well, Leafs have never been the type of team to offer-sheet anyone. Heck BB opted to trade with Bruins rather than offer-sheet a cheaper deal. As far as the Leafs showing a blueprint, well that's never happened either, and many would question whether they've had a blueprint at times.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche’s Club-Elected Arbitration
@Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs By going the club-elected route, the Avalanche force the issue, and there is no way ROR can just walk away.
@Xxxxxnew @Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs If it is "team-elected" arbitration, I don't think they can walk away from the arbitrator's decision, and they are stuck with the player and the contract for one year. They can trade him after that.
@Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Quite likely you're right... but if ROR wins his arbitration, they're stuck paying him a higher salary and no option to trade him or walk away from the deal. Correct?