Toronto Marlies Report – February 15&16 Games

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Last week, your Toronto Marlies had two games on the schedule against the Utica Comets (Vancouver) and Texas Stars (Dallas). A disappointing last-minute loss to the Comets and a bounce-back win against the Stars brings the Marlies record to 29-17-2-2 for 62 points. The Marlies remain in first in the North Division and third in the Western Conference. Toronto has a three-point lead and one game in hand on Rochester, the only real threat to take the North Division away from them. Toronto also continues to gain ground on secondplaced Grand Rapids; the Marlies are three points back with two games in hand. These two games were games four and five of a 10-game homestand.

Game Summaries:

Marlies (1) vs Comets (2)
Marlies Goal Scorers: Kozun
Marlies Assists: Abbott, Brennan

Spencer Abbott returned after missing 1 game to injury, while Sam Carrick was scratched again.

The first period saw Marlies squander a 5-on-3 powerplay of some length before the Comets scored on their own PP with less than two minutes left in the period. A lucky-bounce goal for the Comets saw them head to the first intermission up 1-0.

The second period featured another 5-on-3 PP without a goal, but the Marlies converted on the 5 on 4. Some passing between AHL All-Stars Abbott and Brennan led to Kozun getting a tip-in goal in front of the net.  Toronto ended the second frame tied at 1-1.

Unfortunately that was the only goal the Marlies scored, and in a surprising turn of events the Comets scored with about 40 seconds left in the game when all signs were pointing to OT. Sometimes these things just happen over the course of a season, and it was probably karma after the team went 1/9 on the PP, including two separate 5 on 3s.

Marlies (4) vs Stars (1)
Marlies Goal Scorers: Leivo (2), D’amigo (2)
Marlies Assists: Abbott(2), McKegg(2), Percy, Kozun, Biggs

This was the Family Day game at the ACC and a re-match game against Texas, who blew Toronto out 6-0 back on February 1st in Texas. Josh Leivo played in the 2C role in this game and the notable scratches were Kenny Ryan, David Broll and Carrick.

The game started slow-paced, with lots of neutral-zone play and board-work, until a couple good chances for both teams in the latter half of the period. The Marlies held a 11-6 shot advantage in a scoreless first period.

This game wouldn’t see its first goal until about 16 minutes into the second period. A prolonged cycle in the Marlies zone, some fatigue and a chip pass led to a goal from Canadian World Junior Brett Ritchie, who ended the second period at 1-0.

Toronto finally turned it on in the latter portion of the third period. With about 12:40 left in the game, Leivo pulled off a JVR-move on the PP in front of the net and scored to tie the game at 1-1. Shortly after, Brennan saved a goal by seeping a puck right off the goal line just before it crossed over. Toronto rolled that momentum into another goal three shifts later, when Abbott sent D’Amigo on a partial breakaway and he scored a 5-hole goal to put the Marlies up 2-1. With 1:50 left in the period, Texas pulled their goalie. Brandon Kozun fought off a check and chipped the puck to Leivo in the neutral zone for Leivo’s second of the game into the empty net. The Stars tried pulling their goalie again, but empty-net specialist Jerry D’Amigo put them out of their misery for his second of the game. A 4-1 win for the Baby Buds.

 

Notes:

  • Steve Spott has talked recently about line-up changes and it seems like he’s giving some other players chances to play in different spots. Broll and Carrick have been the main scratches recently, but other players scratched have been McLeod, Ryan, Biggs and Devane. The ones benefitting from these line-up decisions have been Ross, Duco, Nagy, Leivo, and Yeo. My take on it is that the guys who have been scratched aren’t playing bad at all; it’s more of a chance to see what other players can do. There’s only 26 games left in the season, and it’s a pretty safe bet the Marlies will be a playoff team. In the AHL, it’s foolish to expect a regular line-up, with injuries, call-ups, trades and inconsistent performances; as an AHL team gets close to playoff time, and losing players becomes more likely, it’s a good time to see what you have in terms of depth. Can you win games with Ross in your top six, can Duco and Nagy be successful in their roles, how does Leivo look at centre; these are all questions that are getting answered right now. I’m sure we’ll see more shuffling as the season continues.

    In saying all this, I think I have an idea of what I’d like the roster to look like once it is playoff time and it’s time to ice your best roster:

    D’Amigo – McKegg – Abbott
    Broll – Carrick – Leivo
    Ross – Ryan – Kozun
    Devane – Biggs – McLeod

The defense will be how it always is with Yeo as the seventh man, unless there is a trade in the works.

  • Drew MacIntyre had some weird bounces go against him in the first game against Utica but he was amazing in the second game against Texas. In that second game he stopped 30 of 31 and made some very crucial saves. In the third period, immediately before the first goal by Leivo, MacIntyre made a spectacular breakaway save when Abbott lost the puck at the offensive-zone blueline. Big Mac made several breakaway saves during the weekend, and I think he’s really cementing himself as one of the best goalies in the AHL. If the Leafs do end up moving James Reimer at some point, MacIntyre should get a shot as an NHL backup.
  • I don’t expect Josh Leivo and Brandon Kozun to play a lot of games together, but they had some nice chemistry going. They’re both smart offensive players, and they worked the give-and-go well together.
  • Two sides of the coin: The Marlies did a great job in the Comets game using their speed and moving their feet to generate so many PPs. Yet, they only went 1 for 9 on the PP and didn’t score on either of the two 5 on 3s.
  • It was nice to see Leivo score in the Texas game on the PP in light of that previous game.  He pulled off the JVR spin move in-front of the net, and it seems like a lot players in the organization are starting to incorporate that into their arsenal.
  • No matter who was on the line over the weekend, the fourth line played really well. They weren’t liabilities; they created energy, hit, forechecked, and cycled well. It seemed like every time they got on the ice they made something happen. Hopefully this continues. Before this stretch, the fourth line’s play has been up and down, and Spott does play his fourth line a fair amount.
  • I like Kory Nagy as 4C rather than Smithson. He’s much better defensively, he’s gritty, and he’s fast. Whoever finds these depth guys every year for the Marlies really deserves some credit; it seems like every year they find different players for different roles from obscure places in hockey and they typically get the job done.
  • One thing that shouldn’t go unnoticed is that the Marlies have only had their captain for seven games this season. When we look at their position in the standings, it’s an impressive reflection on the young players on this team. The vets in the group are doing their part, including Holzer, MacWilliam, Abbott, and Brennan, but some of the youngers guys are emerging as leaders on this team in McKegg, Carrick and D’Amigo. I’m not sure how many teams can go 43 games without their Captain and have this much success.
  • I enjoyed seeing Tyler Biggs out there in the dying parts of the game against Texas protecting the lead. He made a nice chip pass off the boards to D’Amigo on the last goal of the game. Young players need some experience in these kind of situations so they can grow and learn how to handle the pressure. It’ll serve them well when they are in the NHL in the same situations. Great for development.
  • The empty-net specialist strikes again: Jerry D’Amigo continues to make his bid to get back into the show. His breakaway goal was pretty and he’s really flying right now. It’s only a matter of time before he’s back in the NHL.
  • Character is so important for teams and individual players. When you’re tired is when you have to really work hard. You’re already behind, so you have to pay the price to catch up, and it takes a strong mind to up your work rate when you’re exhausted. Texas’ only goal happened when the Marlies were hemmed in for 20-25 seconds of cycle time, and the wingers were too tired to move their feet and get into position to give Percy an outlet. Those kinds of situations are when a team needs that mental toughness. If the wingers made it out, Percy wouldn’t have turned the puck over.
  • Petter Granberg showed he’s human for once, on that same goal, after the turnover. He was guilty of puck-watching and didn’t swivel his head around to notice Ritchie sneak behind him until it was too late.
  • Andrew MacWilliam had three big hits in the Stars game. I talk about it every week because he does it every week… he doesn’t seem to take any games off. He’s such an explosive hitter, who looks like a football player some times. He can do it in all kinds of ways, too: open ice, along the boards, and even the odd hip check at his own blueline.
  • Next up for the Marlies: a 3 p.m. game against San Antonio this afternoon (Saturday) and a 4 p.m. game tomorrow (Sunday) against OKC. The Marlies won 4-3 against San Antonio back on January 31st  and beat them 5-4 on February 5th. They lost 5-3 to OKC back on January 30th.
  • Burtonboy

    Marlies are likely to get some reinforcements as early as this week unless Nonis makes some moves . With Bolland coming back I’m not sure we can even ice a full roster due to cap issues. Are Trevor Smith ,Ashton and Holland candidates to be sent down ? Could be depending on whether the Leafs continue to go with Orr and McLaren

  • vinoa

    Burtonboy  You think Carlyle will waive the 2 facepunchers this summer? He has plenty of options for the 4th line now.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Burtonboy  
    I’d like to see one of Holland or Smith in the lineup until Bolland is closer to 100%. If the Leafs are up a couple or down a couple, limit Bolland’s TOI.

  • Bring the Cup Home

    okay, so……what does nonis do to ice a roster that is under the cap now that we’ll most likely have bolland available and we don’t wanna see gleason go anywhere other than in front of the net blocking shots and punching faces.  

    what will our full health roster look like?  (the one that will fit under the cap)

  • Burtonboy

    Knights2Leafs Burtonboy  Cap room ?

  • loomx

    Well, there ya go. Peter Holland sent down.

  • Xxxxxnew

    Jonathan Quick will leave Sochi empty handed, but not quietly.
    Humiliated after a 5-0 loss to Finland in the Olympic bronze-medal hockey game Saturday, the U.S. goaltender harshly criticized his team’s effort a day after losing to Canada in the semifinals.
    “It shouldn’t be too hard,” he told NBC. “We do that all year long. We’re professionals. We play back-to-backs all year long.
    “There’s no reason we show up and not piss a drop.”
    Quick also took responsibility for his own play.
    “My job is to stop the puck, and I didn’t do that very well,” the Los Angeles Kings goalie said. He gave up all five goals Saturday on 29 shots. “Team effort. We weren’t good.”
    Quick put in a remarkable performance Friday against the Canadians – he stopped 36 of 37 shots – but received no offensive support as the Americans were shut out in their last two games.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Burtonboy
    Would be if McLaren were traded.

  • Cloud09

    loomx  Where did you hear that?

  • Cloud09

    Knights2Leafs Burtonboy  Keep dreaming.

  • Cloud09

    loomx  Never mind here it is
    https://twitter.com/sunhornby https://twitter.com/sunhornby/status/437314132723761152
    Peter holland returned to Marlies.

  • Cloud09

    I hope Holland down to the Marlies is more of a conditioning stint rather than a full blown demotion.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Cloud09 loomx  
    Wonder if he can play for the Marlies today?

  • Burtonboy

    Cloud09 loomx  More then that has to go 

    CAPGEEK.COM ARMCHAIR GM ROSTER
    CapGeek Armchair GM Roster
    FORWARDS
    Joffrey Lupul ($5.250m) / Tyler Bozak ($4.200m) / Phil Kessel ($5.400m) 
    James Van Riemsdyk ($4.250m) / Nazem Kadri ($2.900m) / David Clarkson ($5.250m) 
    Mason Raymond ($1.000m) / Dave Bolland ($3.375m) / Nikolai Kulemin ($2.800m) 
    Troy Bodie ($0.600m) / Jay McClement ($1.500m) / Colton Orr ($0.925m) 
    Frazer McLaren ($0.700m) / Trevor Smith ($0.550m) / 
    DEFENSEMEN
    Dion Phaneuf ($6.500m) / Tim Gleason ($4.000m) 
    Carl Gunnarsson ($3.150m) / Cody Franson ($2.000m) 
    Paul Ranger ($1.000m) / Morgan Rielly ($0.894m) 
    Jake Gardiner ($0.875m) / 
    GOALTENDERS
    Jonathan Bernier ($2.900m) 
    James Reimer ($1.800m) 
    BUYOUTS
    Mike Komisarek ($0.000m) 
    Mikhail Grabovski ($0.000m) 
    Colby Armstrong ($1.000m) 
    Darcy Tucker ($1.000m) 
    RETAINED SALARIES (0.78% of upper limit)
    Ben Scrivens ($0.063m—10.20%) 
    Matt Frattin ($0.438m—50.00%) 
    ——
    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (estimations for 2013-14 crunched using simulation date of 2014-02-22)
    SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; BONUSES: $1,091,667
    CAP SPACE (23-man roster): -$19,167

  • Cloud09

    Knights2Leafs Cloud09 loomx  I would think so if he is cleared to play.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Cloud09
    I forgot about his lace bite.  Has he been practising the last couple of days?

  • Burtonboy

    More moves are needed to allow for Bollands return

  • Burtonboy

    Knights2Leafs Cloud09  Yes he has

  • Xxxxxnew

    @reporterchris: Team Canada is outshooting its opponents 205-105 at the Olympics so far.

  • Cloud09

    Burtonboy Cloud09 loomx  Right now with Bolland and Smith off LTIR and Holland down I got the Leafs needing to clear $860,000. So that means either Orr gets waived/traded, or more likely two of either Ashton, Smith or Bodie goes to the Marlies.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Cloud09  Prob not. Bozak – Kadri – Bolland – McClement are our Cs for the first time since Oct.

  • Ze_theLeafsFan

    I think they should’ve sent Bolland down to the A for a conditional stint

  • Burtonboy

    Cloud09 Burtonboy loomx  Yep .Ashton will be sent down.  Smith or McLaren are going to have to go on waivers . I think they keep Bodie

  • Ze_theLeafsFan

    Smith has to go through waivers if sent down no?

  • Knights2Leafs

    Ze_theLeafsFan  
    Firstly, doesn’t he have to agree and secondly it sounds like he’s skating pretty well.

  • Burtonboy

    Ze_theLeafsFan  Yes , So does Bodie

  • Knights2Leafs

    Ze_theLeafsFan  
    And Bodie now also?

  • Knights2Leafs

    Burtonboy Ze_theLeafsFan  
    thanks

  • Xxxxxnew

    I don’t see how riding on a bus from Toronto to Grand Rapids Michigan to play a few minutes of hockey is going to be good for his leg.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Ze_theLeafsFan  
    now is the perfect time to wean FML from the litter.

  • Xxxxxnew

    Yep. The player has to agree.

  • Cloud09

    Burtonboy Cloud09 loomx  Yea, it isn’t going to matter much who stays or goes if they are only going to average 3-5 minutes a game.

  • Burtonboy

    Knights2Leafs Ze_theLeafsFan  That would allow us to keep Smith

  • Burtonboy

    Cloud09 Burtonboy loomx  Which is just plain stupid IMO

  • Cloud09

    Burtonboy Cloud09 loomx  Yea well that’s Carlyle logic for ya.

  • Knights2Leafs

    No Marlies for me on Rogers.  Need some quasi-Leaf hockey soon.  Thursday can’t come soon enough.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Found it on 369 for London Rogers subscribers.  Just in time for a Smithson goal.

  • Cloud09

    Knights2Leafs  Hell must have froze over.

  • lukethenuke

    Don Cherry on SN talking Connor Brown and how he was snubbed on team Canada… praises him

  • Knights2Leafs

    Whoops – make that our #1 draft pick Tyler Biggs.

  • Cloud09

    Gilbey93  Who does?

  • Knights2Leafs

    Gilbey93  
    A monkey could win games with our top 9 and our goalies.  It’s getting the extra points that count.

  • Cloud09

    Gilbey93  He has a Cup too, does that make him a god??

  • Cloud09

    Gilbey93  Reimer got the Leafs to the playoffs kicking and screaming last year and Bernier is doing the same damn thing this year. If it wasn’t for the killer goaltending Carlyle wouldn’t have a job right now.

  • Xxxxxnew

    Hope he can get up to Kadri size.

  • Leafs rule

    Knights2Leafs Me either ,Rogers is starting to piss me right off along with the interet problims grrrrr

  • Leafs rule

    Knights2Leafs Holy crap ,ive got it now ,thanks to Knight2leafs ,and It 1 zip for Marlies Yeaaaaaaaa

  • loomx

    The fact that Colton Orr still has an NHL job over D’amigo and Holland is embarrassing.

  • loomx

    Ahhh! it’s nice to have the NHL back. I can go back to ragging on the Leafs instead of ragging on Team Canada.

  • loomx

    CanuckUKinToronto loomx  That’s the plan!