Friday Mashup: The Swarm & Coaching Duties

Friday Mashup: The Swarm & Coaching Duties

Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

In our interview with Steve Spott yesterday, we found out what the individual assignments of the new assistants on the coaching staff will be — Spott will be running the powerplay, Peter Horachek the penalty kill and defence pairings.

Steve Spott is unlikely to change anything drastic on the powerplay in terms of system (1-3-1) or personnel — Kessel on the half wall, JvR in front, Bozak roving the slot on PP1 — but it will be interesting to see if Cody Franson and Dion Phaneuf remain paired together or if the Leafs accompany each of those shooters with puck rushers and handlers in Rielly and Gardiner, who can provide a strong skating and puck carrying presence to help gain the zone effectively — despite its sixth overall finish in terms of overall conversion efficiency, the late season struggles did not exclude the powerplay, which slowed down and began conceding an alarming number of scoring chances against. There’s also a question of who plays with Kadri and Lupul on unit two, where there are some options, but the coaching staff will probably — understandably – give Clarkson every chance to get his ‘rebound’ season started on the right foot with some PP time as the net presence on that unit.

Horachek has the two most interesting assignments going into the year, running the Leafs’ moribund penalty kill as well as deciding on what will likely be three all new pairings come opening night, with an emphasis on having the Leaf defencemen play their natural side of the ice.  While in Nashville, Horachek ran the defence; you could argue Nashville’s ability to draft and develop defencemen with success was the backbone of their team during his years there. Horacheck would have worked with Dan Hamhuis, Marek Zidlicky,  Ryan Suter, Shea Weber,  Cody Franson, Kevin Klein, more recently Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis in their path to becoming full time NHL professionals.  Seems logical he’d take on that assignment here.

The penalty kill is obviously going to be crucial if the Leafs are to shore up their goal against next season — there’s a whole new set of personnel available between Winnick (led the 13th-ranked Ducks in SHTOI/game with 2:31), Komarov, Robidas and Polak, along with a new coach in charge and what will likely be a systems alteration from what the Leafs were using last season. Other options here will be Tyler Bozak, James Van Riemsdyk, and newcomer Mike Santorelli, who played around 1:28 for the Canucks on the penalty kill last season. Implementing a neutral zone system that helps prevent such easy zone entries and set ups is going to be crucial here.

We also learned the defensive zone swarm is staying, with some modifications. The thing with the swarm is that it is so easily turned into a chicken-with-its-head-cut-off exercise once one thing goes wrong. Hopefully the modifications Spott is speaking of include not reflexively collapsing so low in the defensive zone down by the goalline. If teams are putting pucks behind and testing the Leafs defence — as they made a point of last season — and the Leafs aren’t coming out on the right end of those battles often enough, the opposition works the puck low to high and creates the shooting gallery while the Leafs scramble around the defensive zone. The elimination of so many point shots was something Spott explicitly mentioned in yesterday’s interview. We’ll know pretty quick if the modifications are working for the better, as we became all too familiar with the frustrating sights of what the swarm looks like when battles are being lost and the swarm is not being executed at the right times in the right areas of the dzone — it ain’t pretty.

 

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
1279 comments
Tim Horton
Tim Horton

Welp this game was a lost cause from the start.  Hernandez is a machine.

loomx
loomx

"Genie, I'm...I'm going to miss you."



hometeem
hometeem

first thing that comes to mind when thinkin of robin williams is him doin all parts of a whole mork and mindy show in a min. totaly jacked, first time i saw it i was in awe, every time affter i can hardly breath from laughin


ShiFty_D
ShiFty_D

Shame about Robin Williams. Really loved his work.

ingy56
ingy56

Of all the comedians he had on his show, Johnny Carson picked Robin Williams for one of his final shows. 

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

Its times like this that makes twitter so worthwhile . The tributes to Robin Williams are overwhelming 

newkb
newkb

@Sandunga1000 Did you want me to make one in reverse?  Waaaaaaay more the other view than this one.

sniperstar
sniperstar

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Are you talking about the Ark of the Covenant or the Tabernacle? b/c the Ark was simply the box and could have been carried by a group of people.

mcloki
mcloki

They invented this thing called the wheel. Relatively new.

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan I'd say you're fine to slag organized "faiths" around here.  We have our own organized religion, and the real fights are begun over people like Kessel, Phaneuf and Reimer.

FloorHockeyFlopper
FloorHockeyFlopper

@ShiftyD NO !!  This is so sad.  What a crying shame.


I still to this day well up with tears EVERY time I see the "Oh Captain My Captain"   'standing on the desk'  final scene of Dead Poets Society.  This guy was so gifted.



Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan The article is just discussing a particular subject. If you don't want to discuss that subject, post in the mashup. I can't believe the mere presence of an article newer than this one causes so much grief, but maybe my mind doesn't work the same way.

MLHS_Luke
MLHS_Luke

@ingy56 What a shame.  Hopefully this really pushes mental illness to the forefront.

Luke_R
Luke_R

@Burtonboy i feel really stung by this one.  Such a good man. RIP 

ingy56
ingy56

@Burtonboy Wow...read he went back to rehab, the demons grabbed him this time. Sad news. 

ingy56
ingy56

@mcloki Damn, I thought pizza was Italian. The things you learn here on MLHS. 

mcloki
mcloki

It's made the site less fun to be on.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

This seems like a comment that is so true of many comedians 
Jeffrey Wright ‏@jfreewright  3m

Didn't know Robin Williams, but I think of this: "The funniest man I ever saw & the saddest man I ever knew." - W.C. Fields on Bert Williams

ingy56
ingy56

@Bobsyouruncle @Burtonboy First time I saw him was on the old Peter Gzowski talk show on CBC. Gzowski was a bit of a stuffed shirt and Williams was over the top bizarre, it was hilarious. 

sniperstar
sniperstar

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan @Alec Brownscombe I think for the off-season it's a very good tool to help get conversation going. Having a conversation go way off topic on a thread with a specific purpose discourages posters. I know when I first found MLHS the topics went all over and I didn't bother posting b/c it was too hard to keep up. I also wanted to talk about the topic in the article, which people had already moved on from.

 
When the season comes in though and more people start posting I might agree with you in terms of having two threads going. Might be a little weird but as it stands now it seems to be working quite well.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@ingy56 @Bobsyouruncle @Burtonboy Funny you mention that because it was my first memory of Robin Williams also. One night in particular Gzowski had stodgy old Pierre Burton on to do a cooking demonstration. He was making some sort of ground pork dish and he was showing how to use these new fanged food processors . Anyway he couldn't get the machine to work properly and he took the cover off . He then used his bare hand to stop the spinning blades the stupid fucker. Cut his hand and had to wrap it up in towel. Willliams was looking on and said with that silly grin " you know eating pork makes you stupid " . That stuck in my mind and to this very day I laugh when i think of it .

ingy56
ingy56

@Burtonboy @ingy56 @Bobsyouruncle Yeah, completely unexpected performance for a CBC talk show that's for sure. I have to think that was one of his earliest performances on TV that I'm aware of.