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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.
15 hours, 57 minutes 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 day, 8 hours ago on 10 Questions: Part 1 — 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.
3 weeks, 1 day 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.
3 weeks, 1 day 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?
3 weeks, 2 days ago on What’s Ailing the Maple Leafs Penalty Kill – Part 2
@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 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 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, 1 week 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, 1 week 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, 1 week 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, 2 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.
1 month, 3 weeks 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.
1 month, 3 weeks 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 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 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 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, 1 week 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, 2 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, 2 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.
2 months, 3 weeks 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 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 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?
At what price point would Colorado be unwilling to match? Certainly ROR didn't show any hesitation to sign an offer sheet before. Price is high for compensation, but ROR is just 23 and still improving.
Apparently Marc Crawford has talked to some teams about head coach opportunities. Wonder if he'd consider coming in as an assistant coach, with the possibility of stepping in as head coach if Carlyle stumbles? Not sure Crawford or Carlyle could swallow their pride/egos to work together behind the same bench.
Had Carlyle been fired, there were (are) several experienced and quality coaches for consideration
- Crawford, Blysma, Trotz (now with Washington), DeBoer
Mind you, there are 4 vacant NHL head coaching jobs right now (VAN, FLA, CAR, PIT) , so the demand is still high.
3 months, 1 week ago on Maple Leafs Assistant Coach Candidates: Ted Dent and Mark Morris
@Komas Taberle Read the article. It mentions him....
With that in mind, we asked friend of the site Peter Hassett of the excellent Russian Machine Never Breaks blog to answer a few of our questions on the potential hire.
3 months, 4 weeks ago on Five Questions on Maple Leafs Assistant Coach candidate Adam Oates
Not exactly a glowing endorsement from Peter Hassett on Adam Oates. Oates seems to have just one area of strength, and that is on the PP, and tha's the least of the Leafs' problems at the moment. Their powerplay has been fairly productive, whereas their defensive zone coverage has been abysmal. The powerplay certainly has NOT been the issue for the Leafs. Can't see bringing Oates in just for his name, experience and PP specialty.
On the subject of Gardiner and Rielly.... They are both talented kids, and have great skating and passing skills, BUT in most cases they need time and space, and the puck! The Leafs struggle to get and maintain the puck in their defensive zone. When their opponents implement a strong forecheck and physical work along the boards, the Leafs struggle to get to the puck, and then collectively have difficulty working it out of their own zone. Teams know what Gardiner and Rielly can do with the puck, so they work hard to limit their time and space. As well, they know that these kids lack a physical game, so the opposition gets on them quickly and knows they can out-muscle them in defensive zone battles (especially along the boards and in front of the net). Speed and mobility are great, BUT you've got to have the puck and the time and space to move it out of your zone.
This is an excellent assessment, and I'm surprised the Leafs still haven't addressed their problems with defensive-zone coverage and their transition game. Basically the only time the Leafs have had much success with their systems is when their opposition is not a fast hard-forechecking team, or has their own problems defensively.
I wonder how much blame to attribute to the coaches and how much to the players. Whatever the coaching staff is trying to do, it is not working. Part of the blame obviously rest with the players, and that in turn stems back to management and the GM. Still one has to wonder why Carlyle and his staff continue to preach a system that is obviously not working every night. I just don't see much evidence of the Leafs adjusting their play (or system) based on what their opposition is doing.
I remember clearly during one of the 24/7 HBO shows hearing Babcock say to his players to keep pressuring the Leafs and that the Leafs couldn;t handle them down low.
As you nicely put it.... "Blueliners looked confused and outmuscled. They’re late to pucks, lose races and beat in 50-50 battles." The defence, if they do manage to win a puck chase/battle, predictably slide it up along the boards to the winger. In most cases the opposition is already pressuring that winger and intercepts the pass or forces a turnover.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on The Maple Leafs Transition Game
Excellent Hangout session Michael and Michael. Nice to have a guest such as Peter who is really up to speed on their team and can provide valuable insight. Always wondered how much of the Capitals' success/failures to attribute to Oates, but it is clear Peter feels that much of the blame lie with coaching. Wonder if they'd be worse or better off with Carlyle and his staff? *rhetorical question*
Was it me or did Peter's bulldog have his "game face" on?? Either that or he just got a bit tired of "hanging out", and wandered off.
Big game today for the Caps. Hope the Leafs are up to the challenge.
6 months ago on Maple Leaf Hangout Ep. #24: Leafs vs. Capitals
Great responses Anthony. I'll be interested to see how Holland might be utilized during remainder of this year, but more importantly next. Got to be a way to get this kid into the lineup on a full-time basis. He may not be ready for center on the top two lines, but is at the development stage where he needs some decent NHL minutes.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on AP’s Mailbag: Deadline targets, bottom 6, “impact” prospects, PK and shots against
Well, nice to get a chance to talk about hockey metrics on CBC, but that short piece was like walking a kid by a candy store, but not even going inside to see what they have.
7 months, 1 week ago on Michael Stephens on the CBC