The Leafs dropped their first December contest to extend the losing streak to five games, and six of the last seven. San Jose hurled 41 shots on the net and James Reimer was pretty good yet again, but it was another game where a poor first period meant that the Leafs were playing catchup all night.
What really stood out on Tuesday night was the pace and puck control an elite team like San Jose sustains throughout the majority of the 60 minutes. The Leafs have shown the capability of dominating stretches of play, but are a ways off of the consistency of the elite teams in the league like the Sharks; or the Kings, Blues and Blackhawks, each of whom the Leafs play in the next week and a half.
It was also another game with more injury fallout. Tyler Bozak left the game for a stretch in the second period and returned briefly, only to leave the game for good and miss the third period. Early indications suggest it’s an upper body injury this time, unrelated a to the hamstring issue that had him on IR in November. Just as Nazem Kadri returns, the Leafs are down another center.
The Leafs center situation is so bad that people are actually looking at Kadri-Smith-Holland-McClement and thinking “that’s not that bad.”
— Anthony Petrielli (@APetrielli) December 4, 2013
Don’t panic yet, but Phil Kessel also left practice early with what is rumoured to be an ailing wrist injury, although that is unconfirmed at this stage. Randy Carlyle didn’t seem to think it would impact his ability to play tonight. Jerred Smithson was waived by the Leafs yesterday and will report to the Toronto Marlies today if he is not claimed by noon, which he almost certainly will not be.
Next up is the Dallas Stars tonight as the tough December marches on.
Some Leafs links on this Wednesday morning:
- The NHL Plans to Grow HRR by $1 Billion in 3 Years (MLHS)
- If you missed Mirtle’s article from Monday about the Leafs’ luck I recommend checking it out (G&M)
- Siegel at TSN points out that the offence is still struggling (TSN)
- Seguin skates Wednesday, Stars will wait until Thursday to make a decision on whether he returns to play (Dallas News)
- Toronto Maple Leafs could still loan Morgan Rielly to Canadian world junior team, GM says (NP)
- Leafs’ fighter fixation hurts them again (G&M)
- Where do the Leafs turn now? (VLM)
- Possessed (Hope in the Big Smoke)
- Face it, the Maple Leafs need to trade a goalie. But Reimer or Bernier? Your idiotic post for the day goes to Metro News.
- Need to know: Can Maple Leafs’ defenseman Dion Phanuef slow Dallas Stars forward Antoine Roussel’s roll? (Dallas News)
SportsnetSpec: So scoring is down despite pads reduction. PPs also in decline. Is it time to start talking "illegal defence?" Eliminate icing on PK?
D'Amigo will inject some determination into our team and will be with us for the rest of the season if he can get in 5 games to prove his worth. He is a lights camera action performer, and will be a rare player who preforms better at the NHL level than AHL level. Reimer was our December present a couple seasons ago, D'Amigo is this years, mark my words.
so rumours about Kulikov going to Avs or Caps..??? guess Nonis is staying away for now and looking at possible centres?
markhmasters: After 3+ seasons w Marlies, Jerry D'Amigo may make Leaf debut: "Hopefully I'm not too nervous & fall down a few times here," he joked
This might have appeared before, but:markhmasters: Rielly, -3 on Tues, on being called over by Carlyle for chat: "I was a little frightened, but I think that was a pretty natural response
"It's like when you get called in after class to talk to your teacher ... but he was great. Kept it positive."
.""He told me to play the game hard (even) if I'm chipping pucks off the glass chip it hard"
@Burtonboy Someone tell him it's 2 for 1 night in the Platinum Lounge
@Burtonboy hope Dion takes him out 1st shift.....
Carlyle had a three-season stretch in Pittsburgh where he was over a point-per-game pace while at the same time recording 370 penalty minutes. No, Mario wasn't there yet. Play like Randy.
@wiski If Gretzky comes he'd be the #1 center. I mean right now.
@wiski He might be right
@wiski love the go pro on Randy's head!
@InNonisWeTrust Roussel vs. Clarkson.
If we were further along in solidifying ourselves on forward, especially C, he'd be a guy to use for a couple years. But he's 35 now. Leaf fans hate anyone over 30.
@Axle_Goalie Guaranteed injury.
@Black_Hawk Won't need to ask that next year. Har har.
@Jmessih He will get away with murder tonight. Go hog wild Antoine!
@The Toronto Maple Leaf niemi imo
@The Toronto Maple Leaf See, I used to play in a head-to-head weekly pool. You could play both and you were guaranteed to pick up a win, and you just hoped for a low scoring game, haha.
They gave me the boot when I finished the reg season first overall even with Sidney Crosby set on the shelf for the second half with a concussion (in that absolutely torrid year where he was almost at 2 PPG)
@Pent_House Sometime, IDK why, but with jersey #42, I see him on off days baked off his face playing CoD and stealing Kessel's cookies out of the jar.
@Pent_House Carlyle might have been hinting at something like that . He praised Kessel for his preparation and ability to play through injury and said there were others on the team who he wished were the same
@Pent_House More cookies might help
@Pent_House i say it is more bad luck then anything. He was never injured much before this season
@Pent_House How do you know that his training is terrible?
Could be. Years ago with the light equipment it wasn't always an option. Today these guys are wearing Iron Man armour so everyone is a blockade out there.
@Jmessih @NotSince67 @dlb eh @Black_Hawk IMO, he's got a winger's skill set. But Karlsson isn't really playing sheltered minutes and until Methot emerged as a guy who could eat minutes they leaned on him pretty heavily. In his 3rd NHL season his defensive shortcomings were far less apparent though, possibly due to goaltending.