Toronto Marlies vs Chicago Wolves: Western Conference semi finals preview

Toronto Marlies vs Chicago Wolves: Western Conference semi finals preview

Photo courtesy of Christian at TSGphoto.com

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.

 

TORONTO NOTES:

  • 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 HollandWhen 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.

 

CHICAGO WOLVES:

  • 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.
818 comments
TheHawk
TheHawk

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?

DeclanK
DeclanK moderator

New post up

Cameron19
Cameron19

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
Jay_Berg

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.

Yaaaaaaay

Jordan29
Jordan29

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

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FORWARDS
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) / 
DEFENSEMEN
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) / 
GOALTENDERS
Jonathan Bernier ($2.900m) 
Al Montoya ($1.000m) 
BUYOUTS
Mike Komisarek ($0.000m) 
Mikhail Grabovski ($0.000m) 
BURIED
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

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Jay_Berg  Gonna lock them into long term deals, too. Need more "Carlyle Players". lol

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Jordan29  

I want Komarov back too, but I doubt he'll sign for that 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@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.

Jordan29
Jordan29

@TheCanucksnaphook @Jordan29  For sure if a UFA like Stastny can be signed, or if you use Reimer, Holland, something to trade for another centre. But if not I think you go with that

wwload
wwload

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.

Tim Horton
Tim Horton

@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

reenergized
reenergized

@Burtonboy @CanuckUKinToronto  it's too easy to blame everything on RC ... there are bound to be other things that come into play, contracts, waiver eligibility etc. I know we are all smarting from the last 14 games, but everything can't be RC ... Just my humble opinion

Jay_Berg
Jay_Berg

Sure hope so because he seems like someone we would give a dumbass contract to.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@dlb yeh @Cameron19  You didn't watch the train wreck the Anaheim. But even during his contender years, his team never looked like the Bruins. 

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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

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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. 

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Cameron19

And because he figured he'd have a better chance at the Finnish Olympic team if he was getting more icetime in the KHL.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Mitch_S2 @Cameron19 @.JVR.  They had to make a new rule about wearing NHL gear. So he just wears his Marlies gear now. 

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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. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@.JVR. @Cameron19  Is that why he wears Maple Leaf gear all day long and says he can't wait to return to the NHL? lol

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Cameron19

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.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@.JVR. @Bon Scott was a Leaf fan  Ott was a minus 40 this year, lol. He had top PP time and had 23 points. He looked awful in St.Louis. He'll be incredibly lucky to get 3 million. Komarov signed for 2 million in the KHL, so why he would be worth 3M here is beyond me. Expect 1.5M or less. 

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

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
Jordan29

@.JVR. @rustynail  the rumor was nonis offered 1.4 and he wanted a bit more. I doubt he gets close to 2 mil

Cameron19
Cameron19

@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. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@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. 

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The problem isn't that we have a Kessel. The problem is we don't have a Toews.

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The problem isn't that we have a Phaneuf. The problem is we don't have a Keith (or a Hjalmarsson for that matter). 

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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. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@dlb yeh @Cameron19  I remember it. I just find that odd, because in Chicago, he was criticized repeatedly for being lazy at practices and only showing up to games when he felt like it. So he has 2 good weeks with Carlyle and he's the new standard for us. 

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EDIT: In a contract year no less. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@dlb yeh @Cameron19  Yea, for sure. But if we're looking at the way the organization thinks - they gave Lupul an 'A'. It's only the fans who have this opinion about Lupul. Where does that come from? 

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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. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@dlb yeh  We heard the opposite about Bolland in Chicago, oddly enough. 

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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. 

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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?

wwload
wwload

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.

rustynail
rustynail

@Burtonboy  hope springs eternal, you will learn that when you get a bit older :)

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@wwload  Ok lets see if that actually happens 

rustynail
rustynail

@wwload  damn that actually makes some sense

wwload
wwload

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
Cameron19

@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. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@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. 

reenergized
reenergized

@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... 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@reenergized @Tim Horton @CanuckUKinToronto  Ottawa and Detroit experienced much the same. This year Detroit had Tatar, Nyquist, Sheahan, Glendening, Ferraro and Jurco all in major roles on the roster at one point. Ottawa the year previous with guys like Gryba, Da Costa, Benoit, Smith, etc...

Cameron19
Cameron19

@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
Cameron19

@reenergized @Cameron19  We won't be winning anything under Carlyle. We'll be winning in embarrassing fashion, and just enough to keep us in the 7-12th pick range, I would imagine. No star talents for us. No playoffs for us. Yay. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@rustynail @Cameron19 @reenergized  Dion can make the dish passes and has way better vision. His biggest downfall is that lateral movement to cover the clearing attempt though, for sure. 

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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
Cameron19

@reenergized @Cameron19  Oh, RC is most definitely just a placeholder. Especially now that we know his extension was really just for 1 year. Doesn't make the fact that we're going to have an absolute moron behind the bench any more acceptable though. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@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. 

reenergized
reenergized

@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. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@reenergized @Cameron19  It should have happened way earlier this year. It was embarrassing watching how easily our PP was dissected and how little we did to counter that. 

rustynail
rustynail

@Cameron19 @reenergized  Franson gets a hard shot off quickly and with no slapper 1 timer hardly matters. He and Dion should not be on the ice together though

reenergized
reenergized

@Cameron19 I would rather see Rielly or Jake on the left side as well ... It's coming .... 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@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
Cameron19

@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. 

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"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
reenergized

@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) .. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@reenergized @Cameron19  Do you think they ask Stamkos to set up on the wrong side for his one timer? 

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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. 

reenergized
reenergized

@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"

reenergized
reenergized

@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
Cameron19

@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.

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Funny, the lazy players haven't had any problem since. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@reenergized @Cameron19  That happens on every PP in the league though. It happens because the D are trying to wait for the rest of the group to get in formation. Has nothing to do with laziness.

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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
reenergized

@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
Cameron19

@reenergized @Burtonboy  You're not holding the team equally responsible though. All your commentary suggests otherwise. "I don't like this about Carlyle but...it's the player's fault". 

reenergized
reenergized

@Burtonboy @reenergized  I don't know that we had the depth to do anything like that ... I think with the growth of some of our Marlies, we'll be in much better shape next year 

reenergized
reenergized

@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 ... 



Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@reenergized @Burtonboy  I'm not saying that the players shouldn't be blamed but Carlyle could fix some of that if he held them accountable . Taking away ice time from guys who continually fucked up would be a good start .

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@dlb yeh @Burtonboy  Sorry man we can completely disagree on that one . I have no use for him at all . He's gonna have to change his ways before I buy back in 

reenergized
reenergized

@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.