An interview with Leafs VP of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin

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David Peake/Toronto Sun

MLHS’ Alec Brownscombe chatted with Vice President of Hockey Operations and GM of the Toronto Marlies Dave Poulin earlier this afternoon. The conversation starts with a discussion of Poulin’s role in the organization and touches on the promotion of Chris Dennis to assistant coach, before leading into a discussion of the team’s possession play, team identity, and the off-season moves. The interview wraps up with a few questions about next season’s schedule. Enjoy.

Alec Brownscombe: How’s the summer going?

Dave Poulin: It’s pretty continuous right now in the summer, because you go from the season, into the draft, into free agency, and I’m very involved with the Marlies as well and those meetings. You just continue restocking your teams, and you’re talking to agents; it really hasn’t broken. It has a little now, but now I’m jumping back into the amateur side and I’m headed over to the Ivan Hlinka tournament over in Bratislava on Sunday.

AB:  Take us through what the VP of Hockey Ops does on a day-to-day basis in terms of your responsibilities and who you oversee.

DP: It’s a little bit of every part. The ultimate goal is building the Toronto Maple Leafs. But within that capacity, and that’s day one and job one, is everything to do with the Maple Leafs and hockey operations, so it’s the logistical things like the budgets, the personnel, dealing with the various staffs: training staff, medical staff, equipment staff and the scouting staff, pro and amateur. So it all kind of funnels through here, the entire operations of running a hockey team from a logistical standpoint, not just who goes on the ice… the logistical, business side of things.

AB: Any difference between working under Dave Nonis compared to how things worked under Brian Burke?

DP: I don’t think a lot has changed. We’ve all known each other a long time, and we all go back a long ways with each other in various capacities. Is it different? The dynamics are different certainly, from Burkie’s personality being here. I don’t think that Claude or I’s jobs have significantly changed. We’re just doing exactly what we did, we’re supporting our boss who is now Dave Nonis rather than Brian Burke.

AB: The team recently promoted Chris Dennis to assistant coach. What was the thinking behind his promotion? In addition to video, does he take care of analytics, as in track player performance via statistical metrics?

DP: He does. He’s very involved in that. His role has grown considerably under Randy’s staff. He will begin now to go on the ice more. Quite frankly, it’s because his role has grown so significantly under Randy [that he was promoted]. So he does his statistical analysis every game; they have a program or system they have set up between he and the assistant coaches, and they do statistical tracking of every game. He’s very responsible for large portions of that.

AB:  When management sat down and made their assessments following last season, was their much focus on the team’s possession play? How do you think the team fared in that department? They were certainly outshot, did you feel they were outchanced?

DP: I think scoring chances and shots are two very different things; very different things. A scoring chance is not a shot on net and a shot on net is not a scoring chance. From a standpoint of that, I would be more interested in our goals against than our shots against. In that, we fared pretty well and we were a better defensive team. Time of possession is something that’s interesting as well. The bottom line is wins and losses. That is the bottom line. We were a better team in wins and losses. You can pick apart any statistical reference that you would chose to in terms of “you didn’t do this very well, or you didn’t do that very well.” If you might say that your shots against are too high, there’s a variety of different factors that lead to that. But from a standpoint of possession, you always want to possess the puck more and I feel two of the players we’ve added in in David Bolland and David Clarkson are both down-low puck possession guys.  But if we are a good first strike team, and we score goals on the rush, then our  time of possession in the offensive zone might not be very high. So which would you rather have? A rush goal, or a time of possession goal? Does a time of possession goal look better because you control the puck more, or is a first-strike goal every bit just as much a goal as a time of possession goal? I think you always want to possess the puck more if it’s possessed in a positive manner; you don’t want to play rope a dope outside and have no scoring chances.

AB: What’s one main area you would like to see the team improve on over 82 games next season?

DP: Our penalty killing was certainly better but our special teams ratio can always be better, so you would look at the powerplay. I’d say continued improvement; I wouldn’t say it’s one area. I think we got better in some areas last year. Naturally everyone is going to focus on an area like puck possession, and certainly we would like to be better there. We would like to give up less shots, but you don’t want to give up less shots at the risk at giving up more scoring chances.

AB: And you feel the team was effective at suppressing shot quality in favour of shot quantity?

DP: Absolutely. We looked at scoring chances and we looked at grade A scoring chances.

AB: What was it about the team’s defensive play that you think produced that result?

DP: There was probably under Randy a recommitment to defense. Obviously we had slightly different personnel in the lineup that matched better. Maybe there was a better commitment to defense on everyone’s part, but we certainly played better in our own end of the rink.

AB: The Leafs had an interesting identity last season. They fought a lot, and finished their checks, but weren’t a team that really grinded team’s down on the cycle, relying more on their speed and rush game and transitional offense. The Leafs had to be among the quickest skating teams in the league and had a lot of skill up front as well.

DP: Yes, that’s a product of the type of personnel we had as well.

AB: Do you see the team’s identity as changed at all going into next season?

DP: I don’t think so. I think we may be a little more difficult to play against because of the additions we’ve made particularly in Bolland and Clarkson. Those are two challenging players to play against on an every night basis. I think both like the down low game, the grinding game, and it fits in well and complements what we have.

AB:  When management moves a piece like Frattin as well as a 2nd plus Ben Scrivens to bring in a goalie like Bernier, who wants a shot at being the guy, would fans be wrong to suggest management has assessed Reimer’s play as still less than convincing?

DP: I think they’d be very wrong to say that. We’ve never said that, and we just felt that it was an opportunity to get deeper at the goalie position. It was getting a like-age goalie to Reims and we felt they could grow together and challenge each other for the position, but at no point did anyone in the front office ever say that we weren’t happy with Reims at all.

AB:  How much were the managerial decisions of the past off-season based on Randy Carlyle in terms of his player roles, player preference, style of play, and his general hockey philosophy?

DP: I think it’s very much in line with management’s hockey philosophy. I think there’s a lot of communication that goes on between the coach and the management team on an everyday basis. It’s interesting because there’s nothing to say that we may not have wanted to acquire a David Clarkson or a Dave Bolland three years ago, problem was they weren’t necessarily available. You can’t always say that it’s a timely thing in terms of, “why did you do this at this point?”, or  “Why did you add a goalie like Bernier at this point?” It’s very possible that had a goalie like Bernier been available two years ago we might have added him. I think something that is very misconstrued is the timing of moves. It isn’t just what you want to do, it’s someone else being available and wanting to do business with you. It’s not just, “go add a top-four defenceman.” Well, that’s fine to say and everybody in the league may be trying to do that, but go find a top-four defenceman that is available, that fits your team, that fits your price range, that someone is willing to deal. The whole essence of my job, of Claude’s job, of David’s job, is the timing of page one; page one being the Toronto Maple Leafs. Can you time the page so that everything lines up at the same time, between your UFAs, your RFAs, your waiver situations, the age group of players that are developing, the contract status of players that are developing? There’s so many different variables, besides the cap going down nine percent, that go into a final product of a hockey team. The timing has to be incredibly efficient on every single front of what I just described. You have to have a like-aged team; it’s no good for us to have a player who fits in good now but isn’t going to be available in three years from now or two years from now. You’re trying to grow a group of players. But, for instance, we could have a player now who is finally very close to making the team but now he could require waivers, forcing him to stay up, whereas in the past you had the luxury of being able to send him to the Marlies.

AB: Would it be fair then to label the Bernier trade as more about asset management, in terms of adding young depth at a key position, than anything about Reimer?

DP: Absolutely. You look down the middle and the toughest positions to acquire are goaltending, top-four defencemen and centermen. The most trade talk goes on with teams desiring those assets.

AB: How do you see the season Grabovski had last year, and the circumstances leading up to his buyout? He took on some tough assignments last season.

DP: He did. He did without question. But we felt as a group that he didn’t fit with what we are doing right now. You look down the middle and you had the continued growth of Nazem Kadri in that position, you had the play of Tyler Bozak, then you had the addition of Dave Bolland and the play of Jay McClement. You’ve essentially got four pieces there that we feel fit what we’re doing and the direction we’re going in, and in that circumstance we didn’t feel Grabo fit.

AB: As the team’s highest paid center at the time who had put up good numbers in the second line role the two seasons previous, why do you think Grabovski never got an extended look beside Kessel?

DP: I think they’ve had looks, but I don’t think the two players fit. It’s interesting because you can look on paper and say, why wouldn’t these two players fit? But the styles wouldn’t necessarily fit.

AB: In terms of  sorting out who is the primary puck carrier?

DP: Puck carrying, where a player likes the puck; not just the puck carrying, but where does he want the puck? Does he want the puck going through the neutral zone? Is he willing to give it up early? There are a variety of different factors as to where a player gets the puck and where a player has the puck. I had the opportunity to skate, during the Canada Cup the one year, with arguably the greatest player of all time in Wayne Gretzky. It was such a mismatch style wise. It wasn’t even close.  And I had been playing a more offensive role at the time and was in the mid-70 point range a few years in a row, so it wasn’t like I was offensively inept, but I couldn’t think like that, I couldn’t play like that, it just totally didn’t match. It totally didn’t match. They are certain situations both as a player and in management where you get two players and say, “gee, I can’t wait to see these two players together,” and 30 seconds in you’re like, “there’s no chance. There’s absolutely no way.” It’s style of play, and it may not be evident because you think two hockey players can play together, but I can tell you there can be oil and water as easy as there can be two ingredients that go together.

AB: What makes Tyler Bozak a better match for Phil? Bozak finished 41st in scoring among centers. What does he bring to the first line center role that isn’t visible in his numbers?

DP: Rather than even focus on the actual numbers of Tyler Bozak, I’d look at the numbers of Phil Kessel while he’s playing with Tyler Bozak. I believe it’s only three or four players who have scored more goals than him in the last five years in the league. You’ll have to dig that one up to see if that is in fact what the stat is.  He’s produced at a high rate, but there’s been so much focus on that [number one center] position. When Tyler, and maybe he continues to grow into a more offensive role, when Tyler came into that position he had a pretty good chemistry with Phil Kessel and whoever has been on the left side has done fairly well themselves. And maybe you don’t look at it so much as your first line centre. If you said, hypothetically, that your first line is going to be JvR – Bozak – Kessel and your second line is going to be Lupul – Kadri – Clarkson, there’s not as much pressure on the first line center spot. I think there’s been an unfair criticism of Tyler Bozak in a role that he’s been put into and has continued to get better at.

AB: Shifting toward the more current issues of the off-season, is management confident it can get all of Fraser, Kadri and Franson under contract with the cap space remaining? Will there have to be a move to open the space?

DP: We’re certainly hopeful we can get it done. We’ll know more after we go through the arbitration process with Mark Fraser and then we’ll deal with what we’ve got from there, but we’re certainly hopeful we can get it all done.

AB: I’ve read that there’s a buyout window that opens after an arbitration ruling. Is that the case?

DP: Yes, that is true. Yeah, there is a buyout window, I believe it’s after the final arbitration date. There is an arbitration window that opens up, but it’s not a compliance window. For instance, if you were to get hit with an arbitration settlement that doesn’t fit into your numbers, you do have the right to exercise a buyout of whomever you would chose to on your team at that point. Not the player that you signed, or that you get the arbitration hearing on, it’s anybody else on the team that can be bought out.

AB: How much of a different animal will it be going into next season with different divisions, 32 games against Western Conference opponents, and obviously a longer 82 game grind?

DP: I don’t think it’s significant, I just don’t. I think you just play each game on a game-to-game basis. You look at last year and the team that made the playoffs and the teams that didn’t make it the year before; at the start of last season, you’re saying, “you have to look out for this team because they were really good last year.” Then, those three teams or four teams didn’t even make the playoffs. I think there’s such a switch right now and there can be such a variance in a team from year to year that it is difficult to say if you’ve got a much tougher division this year or a much tougher Conference. You would probably focus on the fact that you have to travel more and who gets to travel less. But you know, it’s pretty hard to argue with Detroit’s success when they were in the Western Conference, and it didn’t seem to hamper them one little bit while having to deal with Western travel and playing in the Western Conference being the only team in the Eastern timezone. It’s hard to say that it’s that much of a factor when you have a team that’s out there that was successful as they were out there; it was more that they had really good teams.

AB: Are there any concerns within the organization about the effects HBO 24/7 and the cameras might have on the players this season?

DP: I’ve talked to guys that have been involved in them. Obviously I played in Philadelphia, and I have talked to people who have been involved from there and from other teams. Everyone says you get used to it. It’s probably more about the individuals involved than it is a blanket statement of how it’s going to affect a team. Maybe it will show some pretty interesting individuals who would’ve been the same if there was a camera on or not. I think a camera always affects the way a person is, I just do. My personal understanding or belief is that if a camera is in the room, some people are going to act differently than others act, so we’ll have to get used to that.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Only had a few minutes and he’s a little more guarded than Cronin, but hope you enjoy.

    • Black_Hawk

      Thanks for the great interview

    • rustynail

      Alec Brownscombe I think it was awesome and informative

    • Burtonboy

      Alec Brownscombe Great stuff again Alec. Thank god I found this site is all I can say.

  • jimmyg65

    Great interview! You never get to read a real hockey mind going into such depth anywhere in the media but here. I especially like what Poulin had to say about asset management, and how a team may WANT to acquire a certain type of player but that player may be too expensive, too costly to attain or not the right age for the team. It’s such an obvious thing, but when you’re playing armchair GM as we all like to do it’s easy to forget that OF COURSE the Leafs want to get a #1 centre….

  • mORRganRielly

    Wow.  The details are interesting.  This is just as informative as the Cronin interview.  I’m intrigued by Poulin’s admission that Dennis is part of the Leafs’ in-house stats tracker.  Also, the grading of a shot.  Very interesting.

  • Komas Taberle

    Terrific interview Alec, some very nice information in this piece
    .
    Did you get the feeling that they intentionally wanted Fraser to go to arbitration so they could have another buyout?

  • Mind Bomb

    Thanks Alec, well done !

  • SkinnyPPPhish

    Rather than even focus on the actual numbers of Tyler Bozak, I’d look at the numbers of Phil Kessel while he’s playing with Tyler Bozak.
    http://theleafsnation.com/2013/6/20/mythbusters-tyler-bozak-edition
    tl;dr – Playing with Bozak makes Kessel worse compared to when he’s not playing with Bozak.

    • mORRganRielly

      SkinnyPPPhish zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • dnvrtsng

        mORRganRielly SkinnyPPPhish glad you just ignore useful data. nice to have your head in the sand.

    • B_Leaf

      SkinnyPPPhish 
      Would you prefer Brad Richards?

      • SkinnyPPPhish

        B_Leaf SkinnyPPPhish No. On our site we were adamantly against signing Richards last summer. I’d rather they’d have kept Grabovski.

    • rustynail

      SkinnyPPPhish statistically invalid quantity of data

      • SkinnyPPPhish

        rustynail SkinnyPPPhish Kessel has over 1500 minutes playing away from Bozak as a Leaf. That’s more than Kadri has so far in his career.

    • http://twitter.com/jmckelvie RielledUp

      SkinnyPPPhish Maybe Kessel just likes playing with Bozak?… I’m sure if he had the decision on who he wanted to play with he would choose Bozak. I wonder who the left winger was during these times. People always keep looking at the stats for this, but it all comes down to the players… if Kessel and Grabo liked playing together they probably would have suggested it after 3.5 years of being on the same team with two different coaches no?

      • daveybolland

        RielledUp SkinnyPPPhish This kind of sums up the advanced stats crowd. It looks good on paper, it fits nicely into a box, why isn’t it so!?

        • daveybolland

          RielledUp SkinnyPPPhish Followed by hysterical crying

        • BigM27

          Because to quote Yogi Berra “…stats are like a bikini, they show lots but they don’t show everything!” I like stats as much as anyone but chemistry is the ultimate skill elevator of team performance.

        • SkinnyPPPhish

          BigM27 If Bozak and Kessel’s chemistry was so great, then why did Kessel do better away from Bozak?

      • SkinnyPPPhish

        RielledUp SkinnyPPPhish “if Kessel and Grabo liked playing together they probably would have suggested it after 3.5 years of being on the same team with two different coaches no?” How do you know they didn’t? You don’t. None of us outside of that locker room know. What do we know however is that Kessel performed better away from Bozak. This is a fact; it isn’t up for debate.

        • Dink

          SkinnyPPPhish RielledUp I need a chart made for times I bite my tongue

        • xerosawyer

          @Dink SkinnyPPPhish RielledUp Why? SkinnyPPish makes a good point… Kessel isn’t here for defensive play, he’s here to put up goals/points, which he does better without Bozo

        • http://twitter.com/jmckelvie RielledUp

          SkinnyPPPhish “Hey coach I think it would be sick if me and Grabo played together” … “NO”… coach gets fired… “Hey new coach we know there needs to be some changes round here and me and ol’ Mikhail here think we need some playing time together because look at these charts, in fact I play better with him”…. “NO”… team gets to playoffs…. If I was a betting man I’d say that Kessel would rather Bozak on his line…. To  think that the whole team was praying for a Grabo/Kessel pairing this whole time, especially in the darkest day…it would have happened.

        • SkinnyPPPhish

          RielledUp SkinnyPPPhish This is nothing but your own personal conjecture. It’s worthless.

        • http://twitter.com/jmckelvie RielledUp

          SkinnyPPPhish RielledUp I believe 100% of the things I say.

        • http://twitter.com/jmckelvie RielledUp

          SkinnyPPPhish RielledUp I would love to see a chart like this with Kessel’s first 584 minutes with Bozak.. 1495 and 584 minutes is pretty big difference though.

        • darthNihilus

          SkinnyPPPhish RielledUp Did you not read the part in the interview where Poulin said Kessel and Grabbo were not a fit? They were like oil and water and for whatever reason, and it doesn’t matter, the 2 didnt match and Grabbo also did not mesh with anyone else either so he is gone. Get over it. It happens in all sports. Bozak is not great but Kessel likes playing with him and this is what we have got. We do not need any statistical evidence beyond that to prove anything we already know. We have seen in the past that having a team full of superstars, individually anyway, may not mean winning much if the chemistry is not right. Your statistics cannot account for the “human factor” in the game.

  • Biltmore

    Cronin and this interview have been very enlightening, much appreciated to all involved. 
    It would be interesting next CBA if every team had one compliance buyout every year. It would be a decent safety valve considering the strait jacket the cap puts on teams. (Of course, the NHLPA would hate it.)

  • Biltmore

    BTW, loved the honesty where he talks about playing with Gretzky.

    • n1ck13

      Biltmore I loved this part too.  It reminds me of why advanced stats do not show the whole picture some would like them to.  I remember reading moneyball when it first came out and look at how it, as well as Billy Beane, has changed over the years.  Billy used to not give a flaming crap about a manager.  Now he has done great with Bob Melvin and has adjusted his stance.  I think that currently, the moneypuck crowd hasn’t developed the idea that these are humans and coaching and line construction must be done with personalities and styles in mind as well as numbers.

      • lukethenuke

        n1ck13 Biltmore hockey is too dunamic a game

  • B_Leaf

    Thanks Alec and Mr Poulin
    Especially enjoyed the part on all the aspects of timing and fitting the right pieces on the roster…so many variables to consider.

  • Burtonboy

    Kessel and Grabo = oil and water :)

    • wiski

      Burtonboy Which one floats 😉

      • Burtonboy

        wiski Burtonboy. Eddie Shack 2.0 ?

        • rustynail

          Burtonboy wiski royalties? :)

        • Burtonboy

          rustynail Burtonboy wiski sure why not lol

        • wiski

          rustynail Burtonboy wiski I hope he does well were ever he lands, he would have been a riot for the HBO shit.

  • wiski

    Good read Alec great stuff.

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/mORRganRielly
    It’s so great that MLHS is the only NHL blog I can think of that has exclusive access coaches and scouts.

    • wiski

      Burtonboy that word press pass must come in handy.

  • Burtonboy

    And twitter lights up again lol

  • Burtonboy

    Alec will be solely responsible for breaking twitter if he keeps throwing up these interviews lol

    • mORRganRielly

      Burtonboy I think a lot of the vitriol on Twitter is just pettiness and jealousy that Alec gets all the good interviews.

      • rustynail

        mORRganRielly Burtonboy mah its I must be the smartest person in the room complex :)

        • mORRganRielly

          rustynail mORRganRielly Burtonboy Or you know, being a good human being to people, even if they don’t agree with you.  Alec’s professionalism is light-years ahead of everyone else in the Leafs blogosphere.

    • rustynail

      Burtonboy  meh only the usual suspects, wonder when they will get an interview ? ::)

  • lukethenuke

    Shoulda grilled him on his innacurate stats of Kessel producing great w/ Bozie vs. without 😉
    Kidding aside, always great work

    • mORRganRielly

      Yaknowwhat lukethenuke Kadri I think.

      • mORRganRielly

        Yaknowwhat mORRganRielly lukethenuke Not sure. Haven’t looked.  IIRC, the stats were broken down per 60 minutes, which is kind of weird to begin with anyway.

    • lukethenuke

      Yaknowwhat lukethenuke Just posted Steve Dangle’s tweet on it

  • lukethenuke

    https://twitter.com/Steve_Danglehttps://twitter.com/Steve_Dangle/status/361973540213366785
    Hoo boy…: Leafs VP states incorrect fact about Tyler Bozak, Internet will burn http://t.co/CiYEKuZQM4https://twitter.com/Steve_Dangle/status/361973540213366785

    • rustynail

      Yaknowwhat lukethenuke man their stats are such a stretch its annoying, quality and quantity of raw data for instance

      • lukethenuke

        rustynail Yaknowwhat lukethenuke Even if the stats are strecthed… they do back up the theme that Bozie pulls Kessel down, not up and Kessel brings bozak up… common ground for most

      • lukethenuke

        Yaknowwhat lukethenuke rustynail theres the charts in the link…. did i not just post it and you replied to it?

      • Alec Brownscombe

        lukethenuke Yaknowwhat rustynail Well I just posted this and it attributed it to someone else. Here goes again..
        Kessel would benefit from playing with a better center than Bozak, of that I have little doubt. I don’t doubt that Bozak does contribute a few things that help Kessel be successful, but there are certainly better centermen out there for Kessel; not sure who in the right mind would argue otherwise. As a corollary, Kessel may have developed into a better, more all-around offensive threat in terms of his playmaking as a product of having to carry a line.
        We can’t really argue with a statement like, “Look at Kessel’s numbers with Bozak,” in either direction. We don’t have an alternative, as in Phil next to a center not named Bozak, with a statistically significant enough sample size. To me it’s a meaningless statement. I think his point was that – Kessel was 6th in scoring next to Bozak two seasons in a row so he can’t be holding him back too badly.

      • lukethenuke

        Alec Brownscombe lukethenuke Yaknowwhat rustynail thats pretty much where i stand at the matter… i even said im not sure i buy the data, but im not a stats guy, but this scenario is where a stat guy and an observer of the game (which i would call my self) would find common ground on analysing a player lol

      • MikeGartner11

        Alec Brownscombe lukethenuke Yaknowwhat rustynail I think Kessel and Bozak will both have great years. The I miss grabo crew needs to move on. You can resent the move but it’s not Bozak’s fault the leafs picked him.
        All statistical elements of grabo v bozak have been exhausted . I think certain posters here or on other sites are looking for a security blanket scapegoat for any issues with the leafs next year. I hope everyone can move on and be a leafs fan. Cheer for bozak not against him for something that isn’t really on him at all.
        Sorry for the rant.

      • Alec Brownscombe

        @MikeGartner11 Alec Brownscombe lukethenuke Yaknowwhat rustynail I just hope that if shit goes off the rails, we look at some of the actual issues and don’t start talking about Dion Phaneuf’s leadership. Who am I kidding, no matter what I write here I know that would happen.

      • MikeGartner11

        Alec Brownscombe lukethenuke Yaknowwhat rustynail welcome to the internet lol. Just keep the good content and the people who enjoy it will continue to

  • BigM27

    Great insight, between Morrison, Cronin and Poulin we all have a better insight into daily TML. Operations, thanks AB!

  • BigM27

    Because to quote Yogi Berra “…stats are like a bikini, they show lots but they don’t show everything!” I like stats as much as anyone but chemistry is the ultimate skill elevator of team performance.

    • Burtonboy

      BigM27 Jim Corsi himself compared the stat that is named after him to a lamp post . A lamp post is meant to illuminate not to be leaned on.

      • wiski

        Burtonboy BigM27 some get pissed on 😉

  • MikeGartner11

    Great Interview again AB. Keep up the good work.

  • Leafbites

    Excellent, Alec. Premium journalism.

  • mcloki

    Great article Alec.
    Thanks to Dave Poulin for granting the interview.
    Do you believe you could get an interview with Henny or Bowen?

    • MikeGartner11

      mcloki Awesome idea a Joe Bowen interview would be top shelf. Would not be against hearing some stories from Jim Ralph

      • skiingallday

        @MikeGartner11 mcloki First question for Joe: Could you please just yell “HOLY MACKINAW”?

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Great interview, Alec!!  Nice to come home from a long day at work and read stuff like this in the middle of Summer.

  • WendelGilmour

    Thanks, Alec. Great work. Thank you.

  • leafsince93

    grt job Alec..Poulin always a good interview..only on MLHS..thnx Alec

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Is PPP gonna gonna wet their panties again after a fine interview with MLHS??

    • SkinnyPPPhish

      Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Cool casual sexism bro.

      • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

        SkinnyPPPhish Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
        You’re welcome.

      • mORRganRielly

        SkinnyPPPhish Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Huh. Weird. Passive aggressive response to a slur, yet you can’t hold yourself to the same standards on Twitter by calling people stupid when they disagree with you.
        Very interesting.  Good to know that you’re doing a great job representing the attitude of PPP.

        • SkinnyPPPhish

          mORRganRielly SkinnyPPPhish Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Thanks! Glad to see you’re silently condoning sexism on your blog. Keep up the good work!

        • darthNihilus

          SkinnyPPPhish mORRganRielly Bon Scott was a Leaf fan why do you ppp twats always show up here after a great MLHS interview in an attempt to twist everything into a point of contention and strife? We are not convinced that you know more about hockey management than the paid professionals running the leafs, nor will we be convinced. I get that you guys are not leaf fans at ppp – you are fans of yourselves. Nothing is more pathetic than that.

    • Dink

      Bon Scott was a Leaf fan  wtf is ppp

      • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

        @Dink Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
        Pension Plan Puppets (similar Leafs site).  Last week when MLHS (Alec) did an interview with Connin, PPP went ape-shit with negative tweets for hours afterwards.  Personally, I think it’s jealousy on their part (PPP used to be ranked quite highly but it is clear that MLHS is now elite).

        • Dink

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan lol  oh

        • Numbersgame

          PPP sucks, rather shoot myself than go on that site.

        • http://twitter.com/jmckelvie RielledUp

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan I smell jealousy.

        • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

          Shift_Disturber1 Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
          But….I don’t do Twitter.

        • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

          Shift_Disturber1 Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
          Hold the bus!!

        • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

          Shift_Disturber1 Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
          Meh!  I stand by what I said.  I do think it’s strange that PPP does this after a MLHS interview though (and I do think it’s jealousy).
          Too bad they couldn’t give Bon Scott a plug.  They didn’t even quote it properly.

  • SkinnyPPPhish

    Yaknowwhat That doesn’t dispel the stat at all actually. It’s simply asking for clarification.

    • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

      http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-9qiZrJaLRs&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-9qiZrJaLRs

  • Dink

    -Keon- I  kind of wonder if at times Clarkson and Bolland will be on a line to muck it up

    • WendelGilmour

      @Dink -Keon- Good question. I see the Top 6 being very flexible (like against Boston in the playoffs) perhaps RC sees it more as a Top 9 to some extent where being flexible is concerned. All kinds of possibilities depending on the game circumstances.

      • Dink

        WendelGilmour -Keon- Its amazing how lines are juggled these days as compared to the 60’s, 70’s and into the 80’s

      • WendelGilmour

        @Dink WendelGilmour -Keon- It sure seems that way, some of the great lines were together for years.

  • JMAC17

    Yaknowwhat BINGO!
    Bozak has centered one of the most productive lines in hockey over the last 1.5 seasons PERIOD

    • SkinnyPPPhish

      JMAC17 Yaknowwhat Then there’s also the fact that his most common linemates, Kessel/Lupul/JVR, all do better when not playing with Bozak.

  • Favell66

    Great interview, Alec.  Well thought out questions.  Nice job!!

  • JMAC17

    -Keon- yeah that and it really doesnt sounds like Grabo fit in with the team locker room wise…
    Management has been pretty critical of him since he left….maybe more honest and open but you know what I mean.
    They have said more about him than most say about a player leaving.  Makes me think there is more to it.

    • rustynail

      JMAC17 -Keon- maybe that had something to do with what he  said when he left

  • hoogy

    Really great interview!! Lots of interesting answers from DP. A really great insight into what is happening with the Leafs and why management made the moves they did.

  • SkinnyPPPhish

    Yaknowwhat Cam explains all of that in his post which I’m guessing you didn’t read. It’s Even Strength data only from 2009-2013 on just the Leafs.

    Asking things like home v away games, backup vs starting goalies, back to backs, travel days, injuries, etc… is superfluous.

  • WendelGilmour

    -Keon- It should be there. I think they list each team by tournament.

  • Burtonboy

    -Keon- Here’s the schedule 

    http://www.tsn.ca/world_jrs/feature/?id=1805

    • Biltmore

      I saw them scrimmaging last night at the olympic pad at the MCC, Red vs White. 
      A) very fast pace and I must say the large ice still allows a fair amount of hitting. I’d love to see the NHL go to a 200′ x 92′ sheet
      B) for all the fast pace there wasn’t a lot of quality finishing.

  • Dink

    Poulin seemed to know that buyout pretty well…hmmmm

    • rustynail

      @Dink its his job?

      • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

        rustynail 
        I still think Nonis and the boys have something in place to free up some space to get everyone signed.

        • reenergized

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan rustynail yup … after arbitarion with fraser, they are going to buy out likes, then resign franson :)

        • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

          reenergized Bon Scott was a Leaf fan rustynail 
          I highly doubt they use a regular buyout on Liles.

        • rustynail

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan reenergized rustynail anything is possible

        • reenergized

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan reenergized rustynail is what DP mentioned in the interview a regular buy out? it sounded like it was something else …. could be wrong. ..

        • reenergized

          rustynail Bon Scott was a Leaf fan reenergized if that ws the plan they should have used the compliance on liles and bought out Komi … would have cost us less for a much shorter period of time

        • rustynail

          reenergized Bon Scott was a Leaf fan rustynail regular buy out we used all our compliance and they are only available in that early limited time window.

        • rustynail

          reenergized rustynail Bon Scott was a Leaf fan but bigger cap hit next two seasons

        • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

          rustynail Bon Scott was a Leaf fan reenergized 
          Oh, sure it’s possible.  But it would make us look like fools for not using one of the two compliance buyouts on Liles instead of Komi considering the term left on each deal.  Nonis will not look foolish here.  I just don’t believe that’s in the cards.  Something else is in the works (could be something big too).

        • Burtonboy

          rustynail Was that 2nd buyout also in the last CBA or is it something new?

        • reenergized

          rustynail reenergized Bon Scott was a Leaf fan by a couple of hundred K …. but its two years of pain instead of 6

        • rustynail

          Burtonboy rustynail was in old one too

        • rustynail

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan rustynail reenergized lower cap hit next two seasons on Liles buy out than Komi but bigger cap overall

        • Burtonboy

          rustynail Burtonboy Thats what I thought . Thanks

        • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

          rustynail Bon Scott was a Leaf fan reenergized 
          Sure, but Liles’ buyout cap hit would be on the books for a lot longer.

    • MaxwellHowe

      @Dink Yeah, his comments suggested it is an option he has thought much about lately

  • rustynail

    -Keon- selection camp? maybe he has a bye

  • Numbersgame

    Wow this is the best leafs site even the guy from ppp is on this site.

    • Mind Bomb

      Numbersgame  Hhahah dont hold that against us though bro :)

      • Numbersgame

        Lol I won’t, at least hear if you are wrong about a stat you are corrected not called an idiot. Plus I think they take Corsi stats way to seriously. I believe in what works and Kessel and bozak jvr/lupul have been one of the most dangerous lines in the NHL period

        • Komas Taberle

          Numbersgame PPP can go fuck itself!

  • WendelGilmour

    -Keon- He’s on the U-20 camp roster.
    http://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/Team-Canada/Men/Junior/2013-14/Summer-Camp/Roster

    • Mind Bomb

      -Keon- WendelGilmour Very cool we have 4 at the Canada camp :)

    • WendelGilmour

      Mind Bomb -Keon- WendelGilmour Most ever?

    • Mind Bomb

      WendelGilmour Mind Bomb -Keon- Dont know but thats pretty good.

  • wendelsfist

    I don’t get the bozak with and without comparison.  Bozak often lined up with mclemment and Kulemin when not paired with Kessel in a shutdown role.  Of course he won’t score more in that situation.  Kessel lined up with Kadri.  The comparison is just misleading and silly as it doesn’t take account Bozak’s usage in a checking role.

    • wendelsfist

      Also I’m surprised (or may not) that Poulin gets this but the advanced stats folks gloss over this.

  • wendelsway1

    Evening Gents….great interview Alec, Thanks very much.   On another note, went away for a few days to the cottage, come back and somebody stole my avatar…..wtf?  Skinny whatever…get a new avatar…this ones taken.

    • rustynail

      wendelsway1 lmao. think he has had that one for awhile. you feel dirty? :)))

      • wendelsway1

        rustynail wendelsway1 Not at all, Rusty…..has he been posting on this site longer than I have?

    • Mind Bomb

      wendelsway1  Sup WW :)

      • wendelsway1

        Mind Bomb wendelsway1 Hey MB….how’s it going?  :)

        • Mind Bomb

          wendelsway1 Mind Bomb  Awesome, I get to talk Leafs Hockey in July lol,
          Summers going well and I have a bunch of Vaca in Aug, then Sept back in Hockey mode. 
          Its all Beers, Babes, and BBQ’s :)
          And you ?

        • wendelsway1

          Mind Bomb wendelsway1 Came home for a few days…back up to the cottage on Sat   :)

        • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

          wendelsway1 Mind Bomb 
          I envy you.

        • Mind Bomb

          wendelsway1 Mind Bomb Nice Enjoy ,it Will be puck drop before we know it. Then I will be back to my drunken posting, scotch guzzling self.

          Good Times, Good times

        • Mind Bomb

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan wendelsway1 Mind Bomb Haha Time for a Bowl ! :)

    • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

      wendelsway1 
      No shit!!  When I seen Skinnypuppy’s avatar after I posted my PPP dig….I thought it was you giving me grief.  Then I put 2 and 2 together and got 4.
      MLHS should be a PPP-free zone.

      • rustynail

        Bon Scott was a Leaf fan wendelsway1  they can come on here whenever they want geeeeeez

    • Mind Bomb

      -Keon- wendelsway1  Hell ya’s Keon

    • SkinnyPPPhish

      wendelsway1 I actually created that avatar myself 4 years ago in photoshop so feel free to cram it.

      • SkinnyPPPhish

        -Keon- SkinnyPPPhish wendelsway1 Are you 11 years old? I honestly want to know.

      • Mind Bomb

        SkinnyPPPhish wendelsway1  Dude ! WTF ?

      • Uncle Otis

        SkinnyPPPhish
        And judging by your intellect it took about the same time to complete
        Shove off chump

    • Mattmark

      wendelsway1 Oh, no!  He’s wearing my dress…

      • Mind Bomb

        Mattmark wendelsway1 WW wears it Better :) Hers is Leather :)

        • rustynail

          Mind Bomb Mattmark wendelsway1 and mini :)))

        • Mind Bomb

          rustynail Mind Bomb Mattmark wendelsway1 Hahha

        • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

          rustynail Mind Bomb Mattmark wendelsway1 
          on a Harley

        • rustynail

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan rustynail Mind Bomb Mattmark wendelsway1 best of all

        • Mind Bomb

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan rustynail Mind Bomb Mattmark wendelsway1  Hell ya Bon, with a Twin sister !

    • Jordan29

      wendelsway1 what one? and who?

      • Jordan29

        wendelsway1 annnnnd i just read the whole thing

    • Leafbites

      wendelsway1 Don’t you just despise skinny bitches :)

  • MaxwellHowe

    Excellent interview.  Not over the moon optimistic that Poulin is “hopeful” the Leafs will manage to sign Kadri and Franson.  And does Poulin really think he didn’t play with Gretzky during the Canada Cup because their styles didn’t mesh?  Alrighty then…

  • Jordan29

    Pretty sure he said what I have said all summer about Bozak. Hes no expected to be the so called “#1 centre” when we have two equal top 6 lines and not a ton of pressure in the Kessel line.

    • Jay_Berg

      Exactly. There are lots of good team without a true #1 centre (Boston, NYR, st.louis, etc) balance will be our strength.

      • MaxwellHowe

        Jay_Berg I won’t argue your central point, but the Bruins arguably have 2 number 1 centres

    • Mattmark

      Jordan29 What organizational rep is going to publically bad-mouth his own personnel, no matter what he thinks in private?  They’d upgrade on Bozak in a second if they could… read between the lines in the comments on timing and availability.
      The notion that as long as a team’s top winger can pile up some points on his own it doesn’t really matter that his centre lags several highway exits behind is clearly preposterous.

  • DAOLGY

    Great interview AB, excellent insight into the workings of the hockey club. Thank you.

  • Numbersgame

    Wonder if the Bogosian deal will affect the price of Franson it sounded like in the interview that frazer’s contract is what’s holding up locking up Kadri and Franson but not sure if this hurts us

    • rustynail

      Numbersgame it might affect Gardiner’s next contract

      • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

        rustynail Numbersgame 
        If Gards continues on his upward accent, he could be in line for a big raise.  He’s up after next season (RFA but still….).

        • rustynail

          Bon Scott was a Leaf fan rustynail Numbersgame so was Bogosian

        • .JVR.

          Bogosian had aribtration rights, will Gardiner have arbitration rights after this season?

  • wiski

    Just watched Playing with fire Theo Fleury story, not bad if you haven’t seen it yet.

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      wiski Have you seen The Last Gladiators yet? It’s pretty good too.

      • wiski

        ingy56 wiski No not yet but it is on this month as well me thinks.

    • http://twitter.com/jmckelvie RielledUp

      wiski Read the book.. So good.

      • wiski

        RielledUp wiski I think I will now. tnks

        • http://twitter.com/jmckelvie RielledUp

          wiski RielledUp I meant to say “I read the book.. so good” but will still recommend it to you haha…I just finished up reading Bob Probert’s “Tough Guy”, another good one as well. I love reading documentaries.

    • Burtonboy

      -Keon- wiski Did you ever read Derek Sanderson’s book  ” Crossing The Line ” . ?

      • rustynail

        Burtonboy -Keon- wiski a long time ago

      • wiski

        rustynail Burtonboy -Keon- wiski I seen an interview where he told many stories from the book crazy life. lol

      • Burtonboy

        wiski rustynail Burtonboy -Keon- Read the book if you get a chance . Its quite the story

  • .JVR.

    From what I’ve heard the Leafs are going into tomorrow’s arbitration hearing with am $875K offer for Fraser, while Fraser is looking for $2 million.
    I can’t see an aribtrator awarding a 6th defenceman (possibly 7th next year) $2 million and was just wondering if the arbitrator has to choose a side or if he can creat his own number?

    • rustynail

      .JVR. he creates his own in the NHL

      • .JVR.

        So, does the arbitrator usually just split the difference and meet each side half-way or does he actually put some thought into it, haha?
        I’m hopeful he realizes that Fraser is nothing more than a bottom pairing defenceman and gives him $1 million.
        Anything more than that and Nonis will definitely have to make a roster move in order to resign Kadri and Franson.

        • mlclearwater

          .JVR. I like Frasor plenty cause he is a tough guy but if he gets anything over 1.25 per that sucks for us. Mainly cause we are up against the cap

        • Mattmark

          mlclearwater .JVR. 1.25 would be fair, given the role he played for us last season.  I think he’ll get plenty of minutes this year… we need the muscle.

        • .JVR.

          He’ll be in a fight with Ranger (and Liles, if he is retained)for minutes, as I still see one of our young right-handed shots (Blacker, Granberg and Holzer) given a shot on the third pairing.

        • Mattmark

          .JVR. He shouldn’t have a problem beating out any of those guys, especially in Carlyle’s eyes.

        • .JVR.

          Maybe in your eyes, but I believe every one of the players I listed is more skilled than him.

        • Mattmark

          .JVR. Skill, schmill… he’s more immovable in front of the net than any two of the others.

        • whalz

          disagree,,think the lineup looks like this:
          dion-gunner
          franson-gards
          ranger-fraser
          brennan

        • Mattmark

          @whalz One false move by Gardiner–or even two consecutive losses by the team–and Carlyle could have Gardiner and Fraser changing places.
          All this provided we still have both Fraser and Franson, which right now is no cinch.

  • mlclearwater

    Does THE buyout after arbitration count against the cap??

    • .JVR.

      YES

      • mlclearwater

        .JVR. fuck. thanks

        • n1ck13

          mlclearwater .JVR.  I do not know if the Leafs qualify for a buyout outside of the regular period (June)… This is from the CBA… which can be found here http://cdn.agilitycms.com/nhlpacom/PDF/NHL_NHLPA_2013_CBA.pdf  Clause 11.18 page 51… 11.18 Ordinary Course Buy-Outs Outside the Regular Period. Clubs shall have the
          right to
          exercise Ordinary Course Buy-Outs outside the regular period for
          Ordinary Course Buy-Outs in
          accordance with Paragraph 13(c)(ii) of the SPC.
          Each Club shall be limited to no more than
          three (3) such Buy-Outs outside
          the regular period over the term of this Agreement pursuant to
          Paragraph 13
          of the SPC. However, in the event that a Club has only one salary
          arbitration
          hearing pursuant to Section 12.3(a) in a given League Year, such
          Club shall not be entitled to
          exercise such an Ordinary Course Buy-Out
          outside the regular period. Moreover, a Club shall
          not be entitled to
          exercise an Ordinary Course Buy-Out outside the regular period for: (i)
          any
          Player who was not on the Club’s Reserve List as of the most recent Trade
          Deadline, or (ii) any
          Player with an Averaged Amount less than $2,750,000.
          The dollar amount of $2,750,000 set
          forth in this Section 11.18 shall be
          increased on an annual basis at the same percentage rate of
          annual increase
          as the Average League Salary, with the first such increase occurring based
          upon
          a comparison of the 2014/15 Average League Salary to the 2013/14 Average
          League Salary. By
          way of example, if the Average League Salary for the
          2014/15 League Year has increased by ten
          (10) percent from the Average League
          Salary for the 2013/14 League Year, then the figure of
          $2,750,000 stated in
          Section 11.18, shall be increased by ten (10) percent to $3,025,000.
          This
          says to me that the next buyout period for the leafs is next year.

        • rustynail

          n1ck13 mlclearwater .JVR. nope there is another section about buy outs 3 days after last arbitration which is open for 48 hours

        • wendelsway1

          rustynail n1ck13 mlclearwater .JVR. Really love to know what Nonis has up his sleeve…..gotta think he does have a plan…..could part of that plan be arbitration for a buy out?

        • rustynail

          -Keon- rustynail n1ck13 mlclearwater .JVR. leafs

        • rustynail

          n1ck13 mlclearwater .JVR. they had more than one even though the rest were setlled before arbitration

        • n1ck13

          rustynail n1ck13 mlclearwater .JVR. Yeah, I read salary arbitration hearing in what I posted above, so I think if they settle before it doesn’t count.  I am trying to find section in CBA now that opens second window.  If I do I will post it.

        • rustynail

          n1ck13 rustynail mlclearwater .JVR. I found it last night so did burtonboy12 and -Keon-

        • rustynail

          -Keon- rustynail n1ck13 mlclearwater .JVR. burtonboy12 thought you said you did last night

        • Xxxxxnew

          Probably confident arbitrator looks at Fraser’s 143 NHL games and picks a low amount.

    • rustynail

      mlclearwater only if there is a buy out

      • .JVR.

        So, if a player isn’t bought out, his salary doesn’t count against the cap? 😉

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Excellent post, its interviews like this that set this web page apart from the rest, good work boys!

    • Mattmark

      Dangle_My_Berries Well… also that WW wears a leather mini while astride a Harley (see below).  😉

      • Dangle_My_Berries

        Mattmark Dangle_My_Berries Shut up! where?!

        • Mattmark

          Dangle_My_Berries Mattmark As of right now, about forty minutes ago.

        • Dangle_My_Berries

          Mattmark Dangle_My_Berries This I gotta see…

        • Mattmark

          Dangle_My_Berries Mattmark I’m afraid you just have to sort of visualize it for yourself.

        • Dangle_My_Berries

          Mattmark Dangle_My_Berries …..god I just spent like 10 min trying to find a photo that doesn’t exist?!?! lol

        • Mattmark

          Dangle_My_Berries Mattmark Sorry!  I wasn’t intentionally trying to mislead…

        • Dangle_My_Berries

          Mattmark Dangle_My_Berries haha no worries, found the conversation though….who’s disrespecting WW?!?. That WOMAN IS A SAINT!

        • Mattmark

          Dangle_My_Berries Mattmark So saintly that maybe, one day, she’ll post some visual evidence for you…?   😉

        • Dangle_My_Berries

          Mattmark Dangle_My_Berries ….it would certainly make things more lively around here lol…..In all seriousness though, I’d love to meet a girl that as in to the Leafs as WW….those are things of legend though….like a blue and white unicorn

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/dewyy8https://twitter.com/dewyy8/status/362014380705067008
    Thanks to twitter nerd https://twitter.com/Logancouture I would have never know I got hacked#londonboys#checktwittermoreoften

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/DownGoesBrownhttps://twitter.com/DownGoesBrown/status/362015775600545792
    https://twitter.com/MapleLeafsHS You’re doing a hell of a job on these interviews with the Leafs guys, Great work.

    • Dangle_My_Berries

      rustynail Down Goes Brown, friend of the site…

    • Uncle Otis

      rustynail 
      From my second fav Leaf site..DGB is comedy legend