TORONTO – Bags are unpacked, skates are sharpened and jerseys have been hung. Tonight, the Toronto Marlies open their 7 game 2nd round series against the Chicago Wolves (AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues). Much like the Milwaukee Admirals were in round 1, the Wolves will be another challenge for a very dynamic Marlies squad.
- Powerplay: Spencer Abbott and Peter Holland are back and are both fully healthy. At the team’s practice on Thursday, they joined Carter Ashton to re-form the team’s top line. Abbott finished the season with 69 points in 64 games and was a key component of the Marlies powerplay all season long. Toronto managed without him in round #1 but the powerplay took a hit, going 3/19. While Steve Spott wasn’t necessarily disappointed with the success rate, he’s hoping that having Abbott back on the top unit will improve their odds.
- Goaltending: Drew MacIntyre has been stellar (what else is new right?) and he doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. Toronto and Chicago faced each other twice this year, and Garret Sparks, the native of Illinois, started both games going 1-1. The Marlies defence has been very strong this season but like any team, have their moments of weakness. Toronto should keep in mind that the long lay-off could have created some rust for MacIntyre but I’d be surprised if his strong play stooped.
- Gameplay: On Thursday, Steve Spott stressed the fact that his team can not get into a track-meet type of game. The Marlies do have speed but are a very strategic team. If Toronto want’s to win this series, avoiding a track-meet will be difficult but attainable. The Marlies aren’t the type of team to win the track-meet type battles. Keep to their game plan and they’ll do well.
Players to watch:
- Sam Carrick: Carrick has been on a roll since the final few games of the regular season. After battling a few injuries this season, the versatile forward was dominant in round 1 and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Carrick tallied three goals over three games in Round 1 against the Admirals and leads the team in goals scored. He’s also 2nd on the team in SOG with 11
- Spencer Abbott: Abbott has been itching to get back into the game and doesn’t appear that he’s missed a beat since being cleared for contact earlier this week. It may take him a few shifts to get his stride back but rest assured he’ll be the dominant forward we saw all season long once he gets going.
- Peter Holland: When Holland is on, there’s very few team’s that can slow him down. The NHL caliber forward is also playing his 1st game of the post-season tonight and look for him to use his skill level as a big advantage over the Wolves defensive core.
- Split the season series with the Marlies 1-1.
- Chicago finished first in the Mid-West division and second overall in the Western Conference. Chicago and Rochester went the distance in round 1. The series was decided in Game 5 where the Americans fell 4-2.
- Goaltending has been a large part of their success and that’s thanks to Jake Allen. The AHL All-Star finished first in wins in the AHL with 33 but has been on a bit of a cold streak lately.
- Former Marlie, Keith Aucoin plays for Chicago.
- Another former Marlie, Christian Hanson is a member of the Wolves.
- Dimitri Jaskin leads the league the AHL in points entering Friday’s contest, 7 points in 5 games.
Carlyle said the other day that he was in charge of the PK when he was an assistant in Washington, anyone want to hazard a guess on what the PK was like for those 2 years?
Despite all my objections, I think this team probably will try to sign Steve Ott and probably one other equally useless and over the hill UFA forward.
@Jay_Berg Oh I think PIT will save us and resign Orpik.
So basically we have a bunch of young talented players capable of stepping into a bunch of bottom 6 roles at entry level salaries that will fix our depth and salary cap issues EXCEPT in reality what will happen is this team will load up on overpaid vets because our offseason MO is to get tougher and improve leadership.
@Jay_Berg Gonna lock them into long term deals, too. Need more "Carlyle Players". lol
@dlb yeh @Jay_Berg Why do people think there is such a thing as "Carlyle hockey" and that the current team isn't playing it? Our roster plays Carlyle hockey. This is exactly what the Ducks looked like playing his system, too. At no point will a Carlyle team look anything like the Bruins. This is a total fallacy.
A key conflict for Carlyle is that he personally likes big, strong, slow players - but that his systems generally favor speedy players. He had his most success when Selanne and McDonald were destroying teams off the rush and Niedermayer was roaming all over the place - yet he preached about all the stuff that would make you think he likes gronks more
Similarly, he wanted bigger, stronger D-men, and Murray kept trying to find them, but of course the players who succeeded under him were Fowler and Visnovsky - small speedsters. It's a recurring pattern. I don't think he understands his own values system.
@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan except for the crispy part
@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan sexist? :)
@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan damn I didn't get a chance to see it :(
I say we give Clarkson one more season to play top 6, and if not then goodbye and bringup Leivo or someone younger.
I also hate the idea of Ott, but I think him on the wing is less dangerous, and his hits are what we need
James Van Riemsdyk ($4.250m) / Tyler Bozak ($4.200m) / Phil Kessel ($8.000m)
Joffrey Lupul ($5.250m) / Nazem Kadri ($2.900m) / David Clarkson ($5.250m)
Steve Ott ($3.000m) / Dave Bolland ($4.250m) / Leo Komarov ($1.600m)
Jamie Devane ($0.700m) / Peter Holland ($0.800m) / Jerry D'Amigo ($0.700m)
Troy Bodie ($0.600m) /
Dion Phaneuf ($7.000m) / Matt Niskanen ($5.500m)
Jake Gardiner ($2.250m) / Morgan Rielly ($0.894m)
Carl Gunnarsson ($3.150m) / Cody Franson ($3.000m)
Petter Granberg ($0.800m) /
Jonathan Bernier ($2.900m)
Al Montoya ($1.000m)
Mike Komisarek ($0.000m)
Mikhail Grabovski ($0.000m)
Tim Gleason ($3.075m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(estimations for 2014-15)
SALARY CAP: $71,100,000; CAP PAYROLL: $71,069,167; BONUSES: $950,000
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $30,833
I want Komarov back too, but I doubt he'll sign for that
Methinks he's gonna want atleast $3 million per
You're right that he won't get it from us, but there are lots of other suckers out there.
He's a UFA now and he'll get what he's looking for.
Also, a guy like Steve Ott will get alot more than $3 million as an UFA
@Jordan29 @rustynail @Bon Scott was a Leaf fan In my opinion, Steve Ott's time in the NHL is almost done. He is stupid and takes far too many penalties. He somehow managed to be a minus 12 in just 23 games with St.Louis - a team full of plus players. i don't understand what anyone sees in him. Just hot garbage in my opinion.
He played for Buffalo for the majority of the season, so that -40 means fuck all and who did he play with on the top PP there?
I figure Komarov will want atleast the same as he got in the KHL or he'll just stay there.
@Jordan29 Going after niskanen is dangerous
Anyways, this whole money angle is a silly one in my opinion. He obviously enjoyed the NHL lifestyle a lot more than the KHL. It came out that he wasn't really making 3M there, but probably closer to 2M. And the only reason he left in the first place was ice time.
And because he figured he'd have a better chance at the Finnish Olympic team if he was getting more icetime in the KHL.
@CanuckUKinToronto Carlyle ?
@CanuckUKinToronto how many other teams have moved 5-6 AHL's permanently on to the big club in one season?
@Burtonboy I wasn't a big fan of that either BB but I am prepared to hold the team equally as responsible as the coaching staff. We have new blood coming into the coaching staff (I am expecting an all star staff!) I think we will also see some new blood on the team.
@CanuckUKinToronto I don't think the NHL is where you assess talent when your fighting for a playoff spot ... as much as I hated what happened at the end, that was not the time to "test" the ability of your AHL players. Ultimately we needed a win or two to remain in the playoffs and the management decided to go with the devil they know. It didn't pan out so now we are all saying they should have played their young guys. If they had done that with the same results we would all be going nuts saying how can they play unproven players in such a crucial time of the season ...
@reenergized @CanuckUKinToronto Tamapa Bay, previous Calder winners, this year had; Palat (2nd in scoring) Tyler Johnson, Alexander Killorn, Radko Gudas, JT Brown. Nikita Kucherov, RIchard Panik, Mark Barberio, Andrej Sustr, (so 9) All play significant time and they made the playoffs.
Holy shit that's a lot and they had a few more like Brett Connolly who played 11 games. And Cote who is a 31 year old AHLer played 19
@Cameron19 Palyers as well ... always as well. For example, on our power play, how frustrating is it to watch our D men slowly meandering back to pick up a cleared puck only to have a penalty killer close in, occasionally steal the puck or otherwise disrupt the PP. Do you think RC teaches them to be lazy skating back?
@Cameron19 but the focus was on the last 14 games ....
If you want to complain about the PP, how about the fact that he has Phaneuf - one of the most prolific PP point producers in the modern era of the NHL - playing on the left side, where he can't get a shot off, with his only job being to feed Kessel on the half-boards?
@reenergized @Cameron19 Well, for me the last 14 games was just bound to happen. I watched all this nonsense with Anaheim unfold for years, and their fans come up with the same excuses. Even blaming Getzlaf and saying he was lazy and had no heart. Remember all that stuff when Getzlaf had a bad year? 57 points, and because Carlyle won a Cup, no one wanted to point their finger at him. Must have been the lazy players.
Funny, the lazy players haven't had any problem since.
@Cameron19 so one of the best PP guys in the universe can't shoot from the left side of the ice and can't slide over a bit to create room ??? really??? how good is this player afterall. All good D-men seem to be able to walk the line to create the angle that works for them. Our PP for the most part was the least of our problems all year ... except when they apparently did what every other team does and go back to get the puck "slowly" ... wait how many other teams had two shorties scored against them on the same PP, twice in one month??? I know NONE! :) But I still believe it will get better, we aren't as bad as the last 14 games demonstrated.
@Cameron19 I don't watch enough of the west games to comment Cam, sorry. I will take your word for it as I know that the ducks sucked ass just before RC was released and seemed to improve almost immediately afterwards.
But the ducks have not had a coaching carousel like our team has so at some point you need to say "maybe the players share some blame"
The point has nothing to do with walking the line though. It's really about the idiocy of loading up the left side, which makes it incredibly easily to defend. Everyone knows our only real threats are on the left. It took them a while to figure it out, but by the time they did, every single team was amazing at shutting down our PP - except when we put Phaneuf back on the right point, which changed our fortunes almost immediately on a few different occasions.
What if management looked at this Marlies team and thinks they have 5 forwards and 3 D that will be solid NHLers in two seasons to augment the "core"? They are better off playing significant roles on an AHL winner than being bit players now on a mediocre NHL club.
@Cameron19 I take your point that Dion is more dangerous on the right, but if we were able to get the PK to focus left and feed Franson for an open shot ??? We all believe that Franson has a good shoot as well (strangely enough, from his strong side) ..
@reenergized @Cameron19 Coaching carousel? We've had 3 coaches since 2006. Wilson was here during a tear down. He spent his first year with a top line of Ponikarovsky/Stajan/Antropov. His second year wasn't much better. Ironically though, people loved to blame Wilson. It was all his fault.
"At some point you need to blame the players". First of all, this comment implies that I don't. Myself, Bboy, all the others who never wanted the big fat idiot hired in the first place - we DO blame the players, and want changes. Firing Carlyle is just a matter of not having an incompetent moron behind our bench.
@reenergized @Cameron19 Basically Franson is useless except for sometimes being able to get a strong wrister off in a hurry. But he can't move. He needs Dion and Phil to do everything for him. The only reason people complimented his shot was to further feed into their own narrative about Phaneuf. Fact is, Phaneuf should be in that spot, and Franson shouldn't even be on the PP.
@Cameron19 I would rather see Rielly or Jake on the left side as well ... It's coming ....
If they are targeting the 2015 season as when the prospects will start making a significant contribution, then leaving Carlyle for a year while Spott continues to grow or while you wait to see what happens with other coaches currently employed makes more sense. I expect they are prepared to suffer through a mediocre 2014 with the Leafs while trying to add young pieces for 2015 and beyond.
@Cameron19 sorry the "you have to blame the players" was meant in the grand "you" not the you "Cam" ...
I think there is still an opportunity to put together a good coaching staff (maybe even an all start staff) as $ are nor restricted ... RC might still be nothing more than a place holder for the guy that Shanahan wants who is not available this year ... We don't know those details and if that is the case, then there is no point bringing in somebody you are going to replace in 12 - 18 months.
@rustynail @Cameron19 @reenergized Yea, I just think Franson is too useless at everything else a point man needs to be able to do. He can't be trusted to QB from his spot, and he can't really be trusted to make a quick dish pass without screwing it up. He also isn't fast enough to respond to clearing attempts. But Carlyle loves him, so we'll continue sacrificing our PP for him.
@Burtonboy hope springs eternal, you will learn that when you get a bit older :)
Also, he gets a little more leash, considering that again, he's one of the most prolific scorers in the last decade in that spot.
@Cameron19 that's a big BOO not a yay ...
@rustynail @Cameron19 @reenergized lol, Rusty, you also thought we could still make the playoffs this year. This team is an absolute embarrassment with Carlyle behind the bench. I actually refuse to watch. First year I won't be purchasing any television packages to catch the Leafs. The last two seasons have been a joke. I'm not paying to watch my team collapse in their zone and get shot at all days while kids play 2 minutes a night and Colton Orr gets paid to sit on the bench and watch the roster used incorrectly.
@Cameron19 @reenergized @Tim Horton @CanuckUKinToronto both smith and smithson were marlies no? and if the team identity was to be a "fighting club" to start the year the way we finished off the previous year, then orr and FML had roles to play. I would prefer them than throwing one of our young guys out there to fight goons like parros etc...
It could also be one of the reasons why Lupul's name is the first being rumored. He may not fit into the time frame at his age. The rest of the core will still be 27-28 in 2015. May also be why Nonis was talking about short term free agents. Just place holders for a year or two.
@reenergized @Cameron19 @Tim Horton @CanuckUKinToronto Sure. But we learned pretty quickly that wasn't going to work this year and kept trying it again. Giving them 3 minutes or less of ice time. Smith made the team out of camp but did get sent down at one point. Smithson was signed for the Leafs, but basically had a conditioning weekend in the AHL before joining us. He was put in the roster over Holland.
@dlb yeh We heard the opposite about Bolland in Chicago, oddly enough.
Also, it's a pretty big stretch to assume that because Lupul reportedly negotiated a day off practice that he lacks work ethic. It's his job to read the climate of the room. I'm pretty sure when that happened, it helped.
Lupul is obviously a pretty hard working guy off the ice, so I don't see why he gets this laziness assumed about him. Is it just the jealousy?
@dlb yeh I know dlb, but we're still talking about a snippet of the season. Defending Carlyle based on a 10 day sample size and ignoring the year long gong show that was his roster decision making.
Conversely, Bolland is from a different organization, so by virtue of that he is obviously better than everything we have in the work ethic department - or so the thought process seems to work.
@dlb yeh @Cameron19 Yea, well I don't think there's anything wrong with the core group, except for the fact that it contains too few players who are established and no longer developing. Kessel, Phaneuf, J.V.R. - can you even include Bernier in that category after one season as a starter? You can maybe include Lupul in this group if he plays on the top line instead of J.V.R.. And of course we have 3 guys who could joint his group in Kadri, Gardiner and Rielly - but again, all of them developing.
The problem isn't that we have a Kessel. The problem is we don't have a Toews.
The problem isn't that we have a Phaneuf. The problem is we don't have a Keith (or a Hjalmarsson for that matter).
Debating about how Lupul and Bolland effect the team beyond that is a fart in a hurricane compared to the real problems the team has.