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@CanuckUKinToronto"There is something seriously [wrong] here.."
The evidence is pretty plain. We can't pass; can't stickhandle. Can't dispossess other teams of the puck or prevent other teams from dispossessing us of it... though the latter isn't quite as apparent a difficulty since usually we can't even touch the puck.
1 day, 23 hours ago on GDT: Sharks at Maple Leafs (7 p.m., Sportsnet)
@Bruffins @Mattmark @vinoa @TheCanucksnaphook Since you bring it up, the record of Crosby, Malkin, Ovetchkin, Nash, etc., against Leafs suggests that other team's 'elite players' aren't getting shut down by Phaneuf very often.
2 days, 9 hours ago on Game Preview: Sharks at Leafs
@wendelsway1 @Mattmark @MaxwellHowe @TheCanucksnaphook Worth a try.
@vinoa @Mattmark @TheCanucksnaphook I've been watching games attentively since 1959, thanks. Chara skates rings around Dion and, though bigger, is far less ponderous in his movements.
I have no objection to retaining Dion... I haven't suggested he doesn't have a role to play on the team. The point is that it's not one worth anything like $7 million. Dion has far too many limitations to warrant making that kind of investment in him. If he isn't willing to play for less, we're better off using the money to upgrade in other areas and making sure we still have Rielly in five years.
@MaxwellHowe @Mattmark @TheCanucksnaphook It would be interesting to see what would happen if Carlyle gave some of those big minutes to Rielly and Gardiner. The team might spend more time up-ice, and that doesn't exactly hurt you defensively.
@vinoa @Mattmark @TheCanucksnaphook We can't be watching the same games. That Dion is 'an adventure' in his own zone was well known before he got here. Mobility doesn't equal winning, but it's an essential prerequisite. 'Defense' doesn't consist of smacking someone against the boards behind your net and collapsing in a heap. You have to be able to skate the puck out of your own end, and Dion ranks well behind Gardiner, Rielly and arguably even Franson and Gunnar in his ability to do that.
@TheCanucksnaphook @Mattmark You can't rate him ahead of Gardiner, Rielly or Franson for mobility. Who does that leave? Gunnar, Fraser and Ranger? Talk about damning with faint praise... ;-)
@TheCanucksnaphook @Mattmark He looks great swooping through centre ice, but he's regularly beat to the outside in our zone and has no hope of withstanding a determined forecheck... can't make that first move around the forechecker. He's regularly tied up in scrums along the boards that a more nimble defender would have evaded.
The supposition for the past two years has been that the young players Leafs have would grow into the roles required of them and begin playing a more complete game. Their performance in the playoffs last spring suggested they were making progress in this direction, but they certainly look a bit lost on the ice right now. The jury remains very much out on whether this is a temporary regression or whether the team really does need a drastic upgrade in personnel.
It makes sense to hang onto youngsters who have shown well in flashes--Rielly, obviously, but Gardiner, Franson and Kadri as well--and to competent, reliable players like McClelland and Bolland; but whether it's equally wise to hang onto Orr, McLaren, Fraser, Gunnarson and even Phaneuf is debatable. The latter two must be among the slowest 'first' pairings in the league. One of the reasons the top six are struggling is that the defense behind them isn't doing anything resembling organizing the attack, just struggling mightily (and seemingly interminably) to chip the puck out of the defensive zone.
I don't think they aren't trying hard. They simply aren't any better than that... and the notion of lavishing $7 million a year on one of them is preposterous.
@DeclanK (???) Are you a moderator or a censor?
5 days, 22 hours ago on GDT: Maple Leafs at Sabres (7:30 p.m., Leafs TV)
@DeclanK But Ashton deftly intercepts uppercuts with his chin.
@Bobsyouruncle @Jmessih I don't know what the other qualifications are, but you're devious enough to be a GM. ;-)
2 weeks ago on Game Preview: Kadri returns as Leafs host Preds
@steele123 @Mattmark @Jmessih Let's hope he fulfils his potential in time to upgrade our pick, not a year later.
@Alec Brownscombe @loomx @Mattmark Carlyle's record suggests he's learned how to win by getting players to do what they can within their limitations. That's fine, but I'd like to think he's doing something to get them beyond those limitations as well. You can only either acquire new personnel or develop the personnel you've got, and the coach bears more responsibility for the latter than management does. Let's hope he has something more ambitious in mind than simply teaching them how to withstand a bombardment of shots.
@Jmessih My 'thought' is that if he gets 11 the laugh's on Calgary, but if he pots 31 the laugh's on us.
@steele123 As a tandem they're obviously terrific, but the argument against could be that neither has played enough games.
@MaxwellHowe @Mattmark My point is that you aren't likely to 'tighten up turnovers,' etc., unless you upgrade the skills essential for doing this. Carlyle should be putting this relatively young team through plenty of routine stickhandling and passing drills in practice, all season long. Other teams are still getting a lot more mileage out of their skating and over-all effort than we do. Too many bobbled, missed and misdirected passes on this team by far, and it undermines the team's chances even when everyone is working hard.
@Bobsyouruncle Carlyle's not perfect, but he's a lot less of a gamble than a rookie NHL coach would have been.
@Armchair GM Given the way Scrivens is playing we should feel relieved Frattin isn't lighting it up. Even if he was, though, can we complain about a deal that brought us Bernier?
Just finished reading yet another article on how Leafs don't measure up stats-wise. As always, the advice is for them to fix these stats, but what does this even mean? Stats are neither problems nor explanations of problems. They're merely indicators, including the stat that shows where you are in the standings. If you want to move past other teams, play better, score more goals and allow fewer.
Stats measure the extent to which you succeed in doing this, but they don't help or hinder the doing. Leafs' puck possession and shot differential stats are of interest only as a measure of something else: collective team skills. If Leafs want to keep the puck more and decrease giveaways, the way forward is clear: upgrade team stickhandling and passing skills and its concept of positional play. Team deficiencies in these areas aren't something anyone needs stats to prove: we see them on display every time the opposition plays keep-away against us. Fix the real problems (which surprisingly few seem willing to acknowledge, much less address) and a much prettier stats picture will emerge of its own accord.