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@dlb Mad @Yaknowwhat I get the feeling the other teams have just learned how to defend the Leafs top line. Bozak plays in a pretty one-dimensional way on that top line. When it works, it works well. But when it doesn't he doesn't have a second dimension to go to.

2 days, 19 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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I think our Dis alright and will get better. But we have too many forwards who want to attack on the fly but don't want to come back and help the D out when the tide turns. With the D corps that we have, their weaknesses are exposed too often as a result of this. When the 3rd line is playing, our D plays better too. I think that that has a lot to do with playing more often in the O-zone. But when the 3rd line loses control of the puck, the opposition are hampered enough to slow the play down. It gives the D a chance to react in a structured way. When other lines lose the puck, it seems like the opposition comes flying out of their zone. It makes it much harder to defend in a structured way. 

2 days, 19 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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@T K O @MaxwellHowe @Doorman If they're already tired, I can only imagine how they'd play if we ever made it to the second round of the playoffs. 

2 days, 19 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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@Jay31 @TorontoMapleLeafs And when a GM is in a selling mode, other GMs start circling like sharks. It is not like we'd be getting true value for our players if their is a fire sale.

2 days, 21 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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@Cameron19 @TorontoMapleLeafs It all looks good on paper. But you're making moves that other GMs have to agree to. It gets messy pretty quickly when other GMs start asking for different players in return.

2 days, 21 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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@peterbleafs @B_Leaf @Cameron19 But what are the changes? Rielly and Phaneuf on the top pairing? Play an unproven 4th line more minutes? Switch Lupul and JVR? 


I just don't see those moves being enough to really make a difference. 

2 days, 21 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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@Cameron19 @Leafs2 Isles1 @Knights2Leafs I hear you. I agree that Carlyle is stubborn about Phaneuf playing his side. He's got a good reason but it hasn't panned out.

2 days, 21 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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@deedrag @Leafs2 Isles1 @WendelGilmour @T K O I agree with you to an extent. I think that the NHL has turned into a flawed league because of the way it is set up. A bunch of money losing US teams can out vote the money making Canadian teams on most decisions. Pressure for US sponsorship affects how the league is run as well.

2 days, 22 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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@Burtonboy @T K O True. But that's what a coach does. He puts his unproven players in those situation to see what they can do. It is hard to put in an unproven line in a 0-0 game. If the 4th line had some jam on Friday, they'd have played more on Saturday.

2 days, 22 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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@WendelGilmour @T K O Veteran teams know how to be subtle with their dirty play. I don't know why the Habs get away with it. Maybe because small players are given more leeway. 

2 days, 22 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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@Knights2Leafs @Leafs2 Isles1 Or, the Red Wings are a less talented team that is put together better, listens to their coach (even when it leads to boring hockey) and has a history of mentoring younger players.


The Leafs are shallow at Center. Their top Cs don't defend well and aren't good at faceoffs. That is a management problem, not the coach's.


The Leafs made Dion captain when he should have been a number 2 D being mentored by a veteran. That's just a problem with the Leafs' history. But what are they supposed to do about it? They don't have a better D on the team. Carlyle tried playing Robidas with Phaneuf and it didn't work out so well. Gardiner hasn't been playing well. He's tried Franson and that has had some scary moments. 


If any other coach in the league were coaching the Leafs, the results would be similar. Coaching isn't magic. Any of the changes that people are suggesting would lead to similar results and everyone would be pointing their fingers at the guy making the changes and complaining that they can't coach. 


Players learn as much from watching their team leaders as from their coach. Kronwal got to learn from Lidstrom and Chelios. 


Possibly the only thing that Carlyle could do is to sit Kessel for a game. But that would probably cause him to lose the room completely.

2 days, 22 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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I hate to be the guy who is the Carlyle apologist, but I don't think he is to blame. People are nitpicking his "mistakes" because the Leafs are losing. But his "mistakes" are decisions that a coach makes when the coach is trying to win.


His first line isn't clicking. What do you do when this happens at the beginning of the year? I think that most coaches play them a lot to get them going. They have a history of scoring goals even when they seem disinterested for long stretches of the game. So, in a 0 - 0 tie, you keep throwing them out there. You even try throwing them out there against the other teams 4th line in the hopes of taking some advantage of the difference in skill. It is not Randy's fault that his first line can't manage to take advantage of the situations that they are put in. 


His top scorer isn't scoring. What do you do when this happens? Most coaches play him until he gets his touch back. They try to do some line matching. They double shift him to get him playing against inferior competition. It isn't Randy's fault that Kessel can't take advantage of the situations he's put into. 


The Wings are a well coached team. Everyone knows that. Their coach tells them to play Kessel hard and a little dirty. They respond by not giving him much space and by taking some "just the right kind of dirty" whacks at his hand. Kessel wilts. How is that Randy's fault. Where was the push back from the Leafs? Randy can't go on the ice and cross-check Kronwall himself.


How does a coach throw out an unproven 4th line in a 0-0 tie? He sends Holland out to win face-offs for Kadri, and Holland loses the draws. He sends his 3rd line out to get some momentum and the 1st either loses the momentum or the Leafs lose a face-off. How does Randy take the face-offs for the team? 


The truth is that Carter isn't an improvement on Panik, Leivo isn't going to win games in replace of Frattin and Kontiola and Carrick aren't better than Holland. And none of that group is trustworthy in a close game.


I could go on about the D. But the truth is, the Leafs have scored 1 goal in two games against a team that doesn't have a great D and is missing thier top Center.

2 days, 23 hours ago on Game Review: Game #6, Red Wings 1 vs. Maple Leafs 0 (OT)

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@gjdevlin Watch him when he's against the boards with another guy. He just stands there. Sometimes he pulls his arms in tight against his body and just does nothing. 

3 days, 9 hours ago on Game Day: Game #6, Maple Leafs at Red Wings (7 p.m., CBC)

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@vinoa @Leafs2 Isles1 @Burtonboy And if his cardio and strength training is better than mine, than he can say that. He an say that he keeps his workouts to 4 days a week because he's so exhausted he's ready to barf at the end of a session. Or he can say nothing. 

3 days, 20 hours ago on Game 5 Scoring Chances: DET 4 vs. TOR 1

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@vinoa @Leafs2 Isles1 @Burtonboy Because he everyone can see that he could try harder. The whole team can see that he could try harder. That's what his leadership does.

3 days, 20 hours ago on Game 5 Scoring Chances: DET 4 vs. TOR 1

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@vinoa @Leafs2 Isles1 @Burtonboy Not saying he's out of shape. I'm saying that he's a leader because of his ability. He needs to either lead by example, talk like a leader or just stay quiet. Saying that he doesn't skate much over the summer, tries to be a normal guy and works out 4 days a week is basically saying that he's got the workout routine of a 40 year old guy with two kids a job.


The fact is, he's not a normal guy and he's not being paid to be a normal guy. He's being paid to be one of the best hockey players on the planet. 

3 days, 20 hours ago on Game 5 Scoring Chances: DET 4 vs. TOR 1

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@Burtonboy Showing up out of shape is subjective. Does it mean Olympic level speedskater shape or average NHL veteran shape. What bothered me most was Kessel's l'aissez faire attitude towards it. He's a leader on the team whether he cares to be or not. His leadership can be positive or negative. If he doesn't want to skate hard in the off season, I can live with that. He's an all-star. But I don't like it when he talks about that in public for other Leafs to hear. The younger guys can't help but be affected by what he says. There are better ways of responding.

3 days, 20 hours ago on Game 5 Scoring Chances: DET 4 vs. TOR 1

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@Great Dane @Leafs2 Isles1 @Burtonboy The Bruins seemed almost glad to get rid of Kessel. Over the years, they've played him harder than anyone else in the league. There is some obvious resentment. It makes me wonder whether Kessel can follow anyone's leadership.


He doesn't want to be a leader. He isn't a good follower. He seems to just want to be Kessel. That might be fine if he's searching for inner happiness. But he's a professional hockey player. His inner happiness should come from winning.

3 days, 22 hours ago on Game 5 Scoring Chances: DET 4 vs. TOR 1

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@Burtonboy @Leafs2 Isles1 I agree that, to me, Kessel raises more concerns. Not just for not buying into the system, but because he is a leader whether he wants to be or not.

3 days, 22 hours ago on Game 5 Scoring Chances: DET 4 vs. TOR 1

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@Burtonboy I'm a firm believer that their are many systems that can work for any team. The question is whether the players buy into it or not. If everyone buys in, than the chance for success skyrockets.


I look at guys like Kessel and Gardiner and I ask myself why we got them in trades. Why was Boston willing to give up on Kessel and Anaheim on Gardiner? Certainly both players' talent has always been evident.


I can't help but feel that they are difficult to manage - the kind of players who don't want to buy into a system unless it is the system that they want. Scoring goals is great fun. But I want players who hate to lose.

3 days, 22 hours ago on Game 5 Scoring Chances: DET 4 vs. TOR 1

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@BrandonCheema @T K O A system needs players to buy into it to work. There is more than one way of doing anything. They'll all work if everyone is on board. I find it frustrating the highly paid professional players are allowed to simply not try because they don't like the system. 

4 days, 11 hours ago on Game Day: Game #5, Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m., SNO)

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Pretty much every club in the NHL is using analytics now. In my opinion, the best way of improving is taking advantage of this. Most clubs are using similar algorithms. The way to improve is to find players with good analytics (on paper) and trade them for players whose on-ice contributions are better, but not observed through computer models.


The club who can do this can pick the pockets of other clubs.

4 days, 20 hours ago on Thursday Mashup: Leafs Analytics Tools On Display, Lupul hurt

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@Loric76 @Burtonboy that's Matt Kassian, not Zach Kassian. Matt Kassian and Barch are the goons.

3 weeks, 3 days ago on Game Review: Preseason Game #5, Maple Leafs 6 vs. Sabres 4

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@BoneChompski @NotSince67 @Yan28 Additionally, you can play Booth until the trade deadline. Then get rid of him for a low draft pick. It's not much, but he was picked up for nothing but his contract.

3 weeks, 3 days ago on Game Review: Preseason Game #5, Maple Leafs 6 vs. Sabres 4

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@Bring the Cup Home @Sexyhairyman The question then becomes, how does how he is playing affect his career. If he's playing well, do the Leafs say that he's finally playing as expected and keep him, or do they say that he'll never play better so trade him while his value is hight? If he's playing poorly, do they keep him on the 3rd pairing with PP time, do they trade him for whatever, or do they make him their 7th D.

3 weeks, 6 days ago on Wednesday Mashup: Undefeated Pre-Season Leafs Head To Ottawa

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@Hmmm @The_Polish_Cannon I think that Corsi for D should take into account goals scored against. A tough D-man blocks shots from the point because they block shots but also because they limit the number of opportunities for the opposition to get in closer to the net. Furthermore, shots from the point mean less when their is no one screening the goalie. Shots that miss the net often miss the net due to pressure from the D. There are dozens of reasons why an intimidating D-man increases the number of low quality shots. To me, shots towards the net is as misleading as plus minus.


Combining shots towards the net while playing defence with goals against would shed some light into which stay-at-home D get the job done and which don't.

1 month ago on Will Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak help reduce shots against?

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@Cameron19 @Leafs2 Isles1 The season hasn't even started, so how can you bring up this "don't watch other teams..." line. He has not played a single regular season game for St. Louis so there's been nothing to watch. 


Your point is based on a GMs PR talking point after trading a guy that was liked by the players and fans. It might be true. It might be just PR. 


You say that he's going to be carrying Shattenkirk. That's odd, because he doesn't have a history of carrying anyone, unless you think he was carrying Phaneuf. 


I liked Gunnarsson, don't get me wrong. A great draft pick. Wish we could get more like him. But he is soft to play against. That line that Toronto was the easiest team in the league to play against rings true to me. 


Toronto traded a soft D for a tough D. They already have Rielley and Gardiner, so having Gunnarsson play soft isn't good. When Phaneuf is expected to play tough, he tends to get to emotional and starts playing stupid. Having a guy play tough allows him to play his game better. That's my opinion.


I don't think Polak is a top line guy. But I also don't think Gunnarsson is. With Gunnarsson playing with Phaneuf, Toronto was a team that was constantly outshot, that couldn't hold a lead and that allowed their goalie to be banged up too much.

1 month ago on Will Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak help reduce shots against?

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@Cameron19 @Leafs2 Isles1 Funny. I just checked three different sites and all of them had Gunnarsson listed as ST. Louis's #6 defenseman. Somethimes GMs say things to the media for PR purposes.


Also, according to the last chart in the article, Gunnarsson has a better CA60ReITM than Phaneuf. I thought it was Phaneuf who played against the best players in the league. If their numbers are different, than that can only mean that Gunnarsson doesn't always play with Phaneuf. If that is true, than Gunnarsson is playing less often against the best players than you seem to think.

1 month ago on Will Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak help reduce shots against?

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@loomx @HeatherRickAkin I'm not sure anyone in the Leafs really believes that. They traded Gleason for Lyles because Lyles wasn't playing and wasn't going to be playing. They figured that Gleason would at least play. With Ranger, they were hoping that he'd regain some of his past flair. It might have been misplaced hope, but the Leafs are not a great defensive team and they didn't want to keep trading their prospects, so they had to try something. 

1 month ago on Will Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak help reduce shots against?

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@Cameron19 The point is not whether Polak is a top pair defender. It is whether Polak can make the Leafs better compared to Gunnarsson. What is Gunnarsson on St. Louis, their number 6 guy? Here he was playing on the top line. Polak might play some top line minutes. That would be contingent on how well Gardiner develops. And if he does, perhaps his playing style meshes with Phaneuf's better than any of the "not top line" defensemen he's been saddled with over the years.

1 month ago on Will Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak help reduce shots against?

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I'm trying to get my head around some of these stats.


In the last table, Phaneuf has a CA60ReITM of 5.6 while Gunnarsons is -0.1 This would lead one to believe that Gunnarsson's contributions to the Leafs has been better than Phaneuf's.


However, we also know that Phaneuf plays against the toughest competition.


So, don't those numbers just say that when Phaneuf is not playing with Gunnarsson, he's playing with a partner who can't handle the competition? Furthermore, don't they also just say that when Gunnarsson is not playing with Phaneuf, he's playing against inferior competition.


Furthermore, shouldn't goals for and against be figured into these charts. I mean, Polak clears the net well and plays a physical game that keeps opposing forwards honest. These stats might just be showing that when he's on the ice, the other team is shooting from the point but getting no rebounds or being forced to take low % shots instead of powering through to the net.

1 month ago on Will Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak help reduce shots against?

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I've been reading a lot about the Kessel article and have to throw my two cents in. I didn't like his comments. They reminded me of the the story about the 1983 Oilers (maybe the story is just a myth..who knows, but it is a lesson to be learned) who walked past the NY dressing room to see everyone icing their wounds. Sure, Kessel can get by on talent. But what message is he sending to Bozak and Gardiner and Rielly and  Kadri. They can't help but be affected by what Kessel says. That kind of talk sets the table for another group of the Muskoka 5. You can win the President's Cup on talent. You need to be willing to push yourself through a heck of a lot of hurt and pain to win the Stanley Cup. Kessel might not want to be a leader, but his ability makes him one. If he pushes himself to his limits, others on the team will follow. If he doesn't, others will follow two.

1 month ago on Thursday Mashup: Feschuk drops bomb, camp opens with physicals and media day

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@MaxwellHowe I use to work in the U.S. I had a guy work for me that spent some time in Central America where he got two bot lavae in his leg. He didn't have any insurance so he couldn't afford paying for a doctor to remove them. I friendly doctor told him to cover them with strips of bacon, and when they emerged, to pull them out with tweazers. Oddly enough, it worked. 

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Monday Mashup: 28 Days to Preseason

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Looking for someone with a better memory than me or better access to Leaf's stats.


I seem to remember that the Leafs played more aggressively on the PK two years ago. Last year, if memory serves me correctly, they started taking penalties on the PK which put them two men down. 


If this were true, it would explain why their PK was less effective.


Anyone else remember it that way?

2 months, 1 week ago on What’s Ailing the Maple Leafs’ Penalty Kill – Part 1

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@Optimustic I think that their has been a long term belief that the Leafs should play a "Canadian style" of game. I believe that that style is considered to be an attack focused game that is loose on structure. The premise seems to be that such a game is more entertaining to watch, and when played well, is more difficult to play against. Structures can be broken down. Creativity can't be because the opposition never quite knows what will happen next.


The problem is that such a game requires either a lot of hockey smarts or dependable veterans (both would be better). It worked fairly well in the Pat Quinn years. Over the past number of years, our team just hasn't had enough of those types of players. Where the theory breaks down on such a team is defense. The offence still scores. But the defense looks bad.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Friday Mashup: We’re Gonna Need a Montage

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@Beleafer29 You have some inside information, so maybe you can comment on  something that I read last year. Apparently, Anaheim was upset that Jake played his final year in Wisconson when Anaheim wanted him to play a year of Junior in Canada. From the article's point of view, this soured Anaheim to him.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Monday Mashup: Gardiner’s Up Next

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@dlb Mad @Leafs2 Isles1 I've read that Anaheim was upset that he went back to College Hockey when they asked him to play a year of Junior in Canada. The feeling was that he thought he knew more than Anaheim's scouts and coaches on what was best for him. That would match some of the speculation that Carlyle thinks Gardiner has too high of an opinion of himself. 

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Monday Mashup: Gardiner’s Up Next

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@dlb Mad @Leafs2 Isles1  The difference with Doughty is that he was making mistakes while being targeted by some of the best teams and players in the NHL. By targeted, I mean that the other teams were studying video to work on his weaknesses. Gardiner gives the puck away against average teams and too often. 


I'm all for throwing him out there and showing confidence in him. That's the reason for the bridge. To see how he responds.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Monday Mashup: Gardiner’s Up Next

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I don't like the idea of giving Gardiner a long term deal. He's got too many defensive flaws. I also question his attitude. People might want to think that the problem is more with Carlyle than with Gardiner. But he was traded by Anaheim for a reason. Some might say that he just has to mature. But he's 24 years old.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Monday Mashup: Gardiner’s Up Next

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I like the hire. It is a little risky, due to his lack of experience, but the Leafs need some fresh thinking.


In conjunction with their other off season moves, I wonder if they're going to change their approach to getting better.


Over the last few years, they've let some pretty good players just walk away from the team when they could have been used to improve the team. They've also given some players a look for a low price who played above what they hoped.


This makes me wonder if they'll start trading some of these assets in the future. I can see them approaching free agents who have been passed over and telling them that if they play well and sign a decent contract, the Leafs will find a way of trading them to a playoff team. The same might go for Europeans.  


Players would go for it because it might be seen as a way to improve their careers.


This year, they're signing a lot of players which means that they have more ways of maneuvering and they have the ability to trade guys away without having to get someone back right away to fill it. 


For the Leafs, they could make a yearly habit of it in the hopes of always getting a few extra pics or prospects at the trade deadline. Picks and prospects can then be used in trades to improve (including moving up in drafts).

3 months ago on Kyle Dubas: 5 Takeaways on the Leafs most recent hire

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@LeafsGuru @MaxwellHowe , he's playing for the Isles now. Guess that's why Bailey is on the trading block.

3 months ago on Cody Franson Signs with Toronto Maple Leafs for 1 year, $3.3m

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@MaxwellHowe The closest I can come is that he's got wide shoulders and long arms to go along with his height. 

3 months ago on Cody Franson Signs with Toronto Maple Leafs for 1 year, $3.3m

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@TheCanucksnaphook @Leafs2 Isles1 We don't. I guess my point of view is that picks always seem great the year that they are drafted. But over time they usually fizzle away. Most picks never turn out to be as good as Bailey (as mediocre as he is). 


As a guffaw...just noted that the Isles might think that he's expendable because they've signed some guy named Kulemin.


3 months ago on Cody Franson Signs with Toronto Maple Leafs for 1 year, $3.3m

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A lot of people not liking Josh Bailey. The guy was the 9th overall pick in 2008. The chance of getting a better pick than that for Franson is highly unlikely. Additionally, he's been developed and is an NHL player. We'd be giving up a powerplay specialist on D (otherwise a 3rd pairing guy) for a defensive forward who can pop in some points over the year. He can also play center and on the wing, which continues to add our flexibility.


I really can't see getting someone better than him with a pick.

3 months ago on Cody Franson Signs with Toronto Maple Leafs for 1 year, $3.3m

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@FRyan I think that one difference is their size. It opens up some possibilities for Ashton that go beyond scoring.

3 months, 1 week ago on Maple Leafs’ Assistant Coach announcement to come next week

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@Bruffins @TheCanucksnaphook , I don't know if they'd dominate. But they would be hungry and play with a lot of zip. Who knows, their effort might even be contagious.

3 months, 1 week ago on Maple Leafs’ Assistant Coach announcement to come next week

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Just read the article on how Gardiner is better than Phaneuf. More than anything, it made me appreciate the human brain in comparison to a computer model. 


The thing about models is that they are based on limited data. It reminds me of the argument between analogue and digital recorded music. Digital music has its advantages, and to the average listener, it is fine. But musicians and those with trained ears will almost always point out that analogue is better. 


The same goes for hockey. In reading the article, I kept wondering if the data used truly reflected reality. When watching a game, their are an immense number of variables that the avid fan notices that are never put into computer models.


I like Gardiner. But he is not as good a D as Phaneuf.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Wednesday Mashup: The Leaf – Episode 9

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@Zep2 , He might improve their Ds advanced stats compared to Eddie Lack playing in goal. Could help when trading them for prospects and picks for their rebuild.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Sunday Mashup: Leafs News and Notes

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@rickpearce76 Part of the problem is the definition of a #1 D. Their are 30 teams in the league. That means that their are 30 #1 D. Phaneuf is better than most. Too many people want to define a #1 D as a Norris Candidate. 

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Sunday Mashup: Leafs News and Notes

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@Mind Bomb @Mitch_S2 @rickpearce76 , they got a used Silverado in Roman Polak.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Sunday Mashup: Leafs News and Notes

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