@SharkClubDundas Game Day: Game #74, Blues at Maple Leafs

@SharkClubDundas Game Day: Game #74, Blues at Maple Leafs

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Jonathan Bernier will return tonight, hopefully with a healed-enough groin to be able to deliver the level of goaltending he was providing previous to the injury. It would be massive if Bernier jumped right back in and started delivering some wins right now. Remember, though, that he tried to play through the injury against LA and did not look himself.

It’s no secret the Blues are a better team than the Leafs — possession giants with one of the league’s best defence cores, best team shooting percentage in the League, deep at all positions – but the Leafs should, technically, be hungrier and more desperate. Should.

There was an interesting quote from Claude Loiselle on the radio yesterday where he said this team is making things harder on themselves right now by trying to win multiple games in the first period of one game. The goal has to be to win a period, not the next 9 games all at once. The team has been trying to force things and has been getting burned. It cost them against the Devils and it will kill them against Ken Hitchcock’s structured group if it continues.

Let’s hope Bernier is and stays healthy, plays well, and the Leafs come out with an upset here to spur on a good finish that salvages a playoff spot.

Leafs-lineup-vs-habs

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 6

Lineup graphics courtesy Daily Faceoff.

 

2086 comments
Jordan29
Jordan29

If we miss the playoffs, I hope next summer we somehow get a big #1 centre, and another defenceman

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JVR-????-Kessel

Lupul-Bozak-Kadri

Kulemin-Bolland-Clarkson

Bodie-Mcclement-Komarov

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Phaneuf-Gunnarsson

Rielly-

Gardiner-Franson

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Bernier

Macintyre(or better)

hometeem
hometeem

needless to say im bummed out but watchin stloius kicks ya when your already down.  Watchin the level at which they are playin at this time of the year shows ya what contenders are made of.  Top to bottom a 2 way team.  Not real sure how many of our core are ever goin to buy into defending.  many question marks imo

Cameron19
Cameron19

Far more important than bashing our best defender into the ground based on silly anecdotal observations - I am now VERY concerned that we're going to give Bolland a 4-5 year contract. This injury looks like it will potentially be career altering for him. 

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Cameron19 A very telling post, I must say.  Mere observation never yet put a dent in true faith.  ;-)

rockydundas
rockydundas

@Cameron19 I like Bolland, but we cannot afford to give out large contracts for anymore third liners. I'm not being negative about him, just calling a spade a spade. I think that we have enough depth that our bottom six can be filled with some of our youth and flesh it out with cheaper ufa's if we have to. The Raymond contract is a perfect example of what can be found if you look. We already have a very expensive third liner, we can't afford more. That's a shame because I liked Bolland.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @Cameron19  Observation is fine, but people are so narrow-minded on Phaneuf, they are only capable of looking for the negative. You see it games like this, because there are posters here who are literally just waiting for nights like this. They know that 95% of the time their criticisms are baseless and easily proven wrong, but on nights like tonight, they appear justified - so we get a flurry of idiocy. 

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Cameron19 @Mattmark@wiskiAs a true believer you're running true to form here, C.  The more irrational the belief, the more tenacious the defense... and the greater the likelihood that, sooner or later, you will begin disparaging the critic.  You wouldn't react this way if someone were 'bashing' Doughty, Toews, Crosby, Petrangelo, or any other truly outstanding player... you'd just shrug it off.  You're defending Phaneuf to the extent you do because, at some level, you know he needs every defense you can muster, no matter how abstruse.

When you can put a positive spin on a stat that ranks us at the very bottom of a 30-team league, it's time to give up any pretense that your opinion is the impartial outcome of statistical analysis.  The truth is, your interpretation of those stats bullies them into line, subordinating them to a narrative you've already determined is the only one acceptable to you.  To that end, the person doing the 'twisting' is you.  Know thyself.

The reason you're failing to persuade others here is neither their tunnel vision nor their antipathy to stats but Phaneuf's play, which lends itself to a very different narrative, one that accords with the evidence of their eyes.  No matter how you juggle them, no set of stats is going to convince others they didn't see Phaneuf lose yet another footrace, fall on his butt trying to cover someone in front of the net, get out-manoeuvred along the boards, freeze the puck and settle for a faceoff in circumstances where a more nimble defender would easily have skated or passed the puck out, circle back under threat of a single forechecker instead of advancing the puck, etc., etc.

Start keeping those kinds of stats and they will corroborate the obvious... but it's hardly necessary.  Fans recognize the difference between players who have speed and moves and those who don't.  And they can tell to what extent specific plays--a bail-me-out desperation pass, a chip-out (or a failed one), a freeze along the boards, a blown coverage--contribute to, or sabotage, whatever momentum the rest of the team was managing to achieve.  

 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @Cameron19 @wiski  That's it? All that time and the only counter you have to the numbers is to twist my words into making it look like I was bashing Franson, or that my point was basically "Phaneuf is better than Franson, so there....". Wow.

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Obviously that was not my point. Phaneuf's zone time numbers match-up league wide with the best players - not just his own team. I simply mentioned players on his own team because you seem to be under the impression that others on this team are doing a better job moving the puck out or not getting hemmed in. They aren't. You just don't condemn them or choose to ignore it when they do - even though when it happens to them, they are playing weaker competition.

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Your religious comparisons are annoying and unfitting. Again, my commentary is supported by statistically measured data. The existence of God is not. It has nothing to do with me believing. I can prove my points. You have no proof of any comment you've ever made on the subject, except to say "well, I saw this a couple times". Laughable, really.

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Ironically, your religious nonsense is more true of you. You see what you want to see and refuse to acknowledge numbers or facts that show otherwise. Exactly like arguing with a religious fanatic. Your only defense is to twist my words and fall back on what you know to be true. 


Mattmark
Mattmark

@Cameron19 @Mattmark@wiski"...that's just a product of your expectations."

Yes, I know.  One way or another, only the true believer has unclouded insight into the truth.  That's what's so immensely frustrating for him... and, oddly enough, for the puzzled sceptics as well, who remain perversely unwilling to substitute the true believer's judgment for their own, deficient as he knows theirs to be.

He keeps telling them and telling them but they just don't get it...  ;-) 

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Cameron19 @Mattmark@wiskiAll that's evident from this reply is that there's no negative stat on which a true believer can't put a positive spin.  Of course Bernier has to freeze the puck: in the absence of relief from a lead-footed 'top two' defense pairing he has no alternative.  Maybe we should start keeping our own stats (based, ironically but inevitably, on mere observation) to see what they can tell us about how many times a game Rielly or Gardiner reverses field and skates a puck out past a forechecker vs. how often Phaneuf is able to do it (in most weeks, zero).  Phaneuf's middle name is 'Hemmed in,' for heaven's sake... even Gleason is faster.

As for Franson, if being better than him has become your criteria for an adequate top-two defense tandem, what more is there to say?  Talk about damning with faint praise!  You've shown yourself prone to doing this in the past, but what possible defense of Phaneuf can it be to run down Franson, Gunnar, our young defensemen or anyone else?  They aren't the ones making Phaneuf's mistakes for him, and he sure isn't visibly bailing out anyone else. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @Cameron19 @wiski  You say Phaneuf can only pin the puck against the boards, but to me that's just a product of your expectations. You look for it now, and you see it like a new car owner notices their model on the road in every which way they look. It seems pretty unfair to me. I have seen what you're describing, and admit it happens often enough to notice it - but again, you know that I think the forwards bear some of the responsibility for that problem. I also think you fail to give enough credit to the relative degree of competition. You constantly write that off as if the difference between facing Crosby's line and Sutter's line is meaningless extraneous detail.

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Tonight Phaneuf was on the ice with McClement, Kulemin and Bodie against the top line of the best team in the NHL. He was bad. Shocking. 

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Off to bed. Good chatting with you!


Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @Cameron19 @wiski  I can counter that pretty easily. Phaneuf is actually statistically our most likely defender to start in the defensive zone and finish in the offensive zone. Contrary to your observations, Phaneuf is not the most hemmed in defender on the roster. I'm fairly certain (but would have to look), that Franson is, with Gardiner right behind him.  This despite facing more difficult starts, and far more difficult competition. 

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I would further argue this from just a logical perspective, and note that Bernier freezes more pucks than any goalie in the league. A big part of that is simply systematic. Carlyle's ducks were also among league leaders in shots against. The system is designed to allow the shot, freeze it, regroup and reload from the faceoff. But we can't win faceoffs and the cycle starts over again. 

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Cameron19 @Mattmark@wiski Last week you dismissed (without any attempt at counter argument) the revealing stat that Leafs lead the NHL in being obliged to take faceoffs in their own end.  To what would you attribute this but an inability on the part of the defense pair that logs the most ice time to clear the defensive zone?  How many games do you suppose this inability to skate or pass the puck out has cost us?  When the best you can do under pressure is freeze the puck along the boards, what chance does your team have to keep shots-against totals down, or exit the zone in attack mode? 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@wiski @Cameron19 @Mattmark  Only when you're trying to create a narrative any which way you can and will twist literally anything to suit your purpose. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@wiski @Cameron19 @Mattmark  wiski, whatever you said in this particular occasion, I've had the argument with you enough to know your opinion on the matter without having to change the story. I'm sorry that it's not flattering when the irrationality of your argument is exposed like that.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@wiski @Cameron19 @Mattmark  Yea wiski, I have. Because I don't live in a Phaneuf hating bubble and pretend that everything he does is such an outrage that's never happened before. Giroux was kept from the media earlier this year. Mike Richards was kept from the media. St.Louis turned down the media requests. Crosby has turned them down. Toews has turned them down. And none of those guys face the scrutiny Phaneuf does. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @Cameron19  I'm not exempting myself at all. It's just that, stats, data and facts can be used to support my opinions on Phaneuf. They can't be used to support the counter arguments. Now stats aren't everything, but surely if Phaneuf was as bad as you pretend he is, there would be SOMETHING that would turn up statistically to prove that. Don't you think? 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@wiski @Cameron19 @Mattmark  But the point is wiski, that what you saw can't be supported by numbers. So basically, either you're wrong, or the numbers are. 

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You said Phaneuf misses the net too much, which is something you've observed.

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The numbers show Phaneuf misses the net less than almost every other significant defender despite taking comparable shots (even on a team that almost never has zone time), 

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So you countered saying Phaneuf doesn't score on his shots though.

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The numbers show that he actually scores more than almost every other significant defender. Yes he's ranked 40th, but that's just the way the ranking works, as it hurts the minute munchers who take lots of shots. 

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Cameron19 @Mattmark"...people aren't really able to look at him objectively anymore."  I think as long as you're exempting yourself from this generalization while applying it to everyone with whom you're having a difference of opinion, you can expect to counter some scepticism.

Perhaps Phaneuf's greatest value to the team, long-term, is as trade bait, if a GM exists who thinks as highly of him as you do.  In that happy eventuality we might then expect to receive in return a more mobile defenseman plus a couple of picks (plus cap space).

I have a feeling, though, that even if such a GM could be found, cooler heads would seek to overrule him. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @wiski @Cameron19  I find Kessel's flaws FAR more frustrating than Phaneuf's.  Phaneuf's don't cost us games and don't force us to change the style of game we play to accommodate him. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@wiski @Cameron19 @Mattmark  Did you even look at the list wiski? If you did, you would know how utterly ridiculous it is that you're trying to focus on the number. It's a percentage ranking. It favors guys who have taken fewer shots and scored on them. Tyson Barrie is number 1. He has been converted to wing now, but I guess he's a better defensemen than all the guys Phaneuf is ahead of on that list - Doughty, Pietrangelo, Subban, Weber, Markov, Vlasic, etc...

Mattmark
Mattmark

@wiski @Mattmark@Cameron19I know.  The limitations are killers, otherwise fans would be more inclined to overlook them (i.e., nobody really cares that Kessel can't knock defensemen off the puck or dig pucks out of the corners).

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @Cameron19  I'll give you an example. Earlier today, some posters were on their regular rant about how Phaneuf never hits the net and shouldn't be on a PP because, well you know, he can't hit the net.  Bob'syouruncle pulled the numbers though. Comparing shot attempts to shots on net, Phaneuf had a far better ratio than most of the league's significant defenders, and most of the ones trumpeted as being far superior at this particular skill. So you'll forgive me if I often discredit the observational skills of some people on this particular subject.

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The whole debate has taken on such an emotional tone, people aren't really able to look at him objectively anymore. 

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Cameron19 @MattmarkThat happens in arguments far too often, people being driven to extremes.  It's too bad... anyone should be willing to admit that Phaneuf has great gifts and frustrating limitations.  It's not an unheard of combination.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @Cameron19  I'm not even a big Phaneuf fan. That's the crazy thing. People think I am because I defend him, but I'm really just defending the facts and evidence. Everything but the consistently erroneous observation of a select group of posters suggests that Phaneuf is anything but the lumbering oaf they love to try and paint him as.  

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Cameron19 @MattmarkI've always been perfectly willing to hear what you have to say in defense of Phaneuf that doesn't involve belittling the motives and observational abilities of others.  Either I've missed your substantive posts on the subject or they comprise a smaller set than you realize.

I don't think you're any more irrational than any other fan in his liking for a particular player.  If we were completely rational, we'd probably be rooting for some other team.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mattmark @Cameron19  No Matt, it's nothing like that. I attack the posters because I have heard and destroyed all their arguments so many times, it is pointless to continue to restate my point. These people, yourself included, aren't willing to hear what I have to say. They saw the mistakes tonight, and they've seen them in other games, therefore nothing else need to be said. 

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You keep trying to paint me as being irrational and unwilling to change, yet you've never even considered anything I've said on the topic, even when supported by far more than few and far between cases of anecdotal observation. 

Mattmark
Mattmark

@Cameron19 @MattmarkYou sound like a wounded theist making ad hominem attacks on 'arrogant' scientists and atheists.  Attacking those with whom you disagree is a sure sign you've lost confidence in impartial appeals to evidence.  It's a form of evasion... and tonight's performance by Phaneuf is far from the only one to which you'd have to turn a blind eye to hold him free from the criticisms his limitations richly merit.

Wilbur
Wilbur

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan @rockydundas @Cameron19  He had a hard time turning left and he had a hard time crossing his left foot over his right when need to curve to the right. I'd offer him 3 years at 3 million per. If he doesn't like it he can go someplace else. I'm not sure any other team will give hime much more at this point since they won't know the impact of the injury. Playing 10 games to end the season might not be a good indicator either way. Signing him at all kind of scares me (because of the injury).

Cameron19
Cameron19

@wiski @Cameron19  Do you hear yourself right now? Do you hear yourself trying to reframe your point in anyway you possibly can to try and make him look negative even though the point is totally moot. 

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I don't remember the number, but whatever it was, it was better than basically every Team Canada defender's save Keith. And your original point - that he misses the net more than he hits it - was proven so hilariously wrong you wonder how it's even possible to have such a skewed perception of events. Basically every other significant defender has a worse ratio of shots hitting the net to shots missed. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@wiski @Cameron19  Ahead of Doughty, Pietrangelo, Subban, Markov, Bouwmeester, Vlasic, Weber....on both lists. The numbers totally destroyed your argument, in anyway you could possibly frame it - and still you tried to explain it away. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@wiski  You say all sorts of things on this topic wiski - none of it makes sense. Like when you tried to bash his shooting percentage earlier and got smacked with facts and reality. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@wiski @Cameron19  I think your whole issue is that you think the 'C' actually matters. It doesn't. And if you think the 'C' being on a different player would have changed anything tonight, I don't know what to tell you.