Not saying the Cup Finals are over at 2-1 Bruins, but you had to know, after the Leafs let a team come back from 4-1 down with 11 minutes remaining in Game 7, that team would go on to win the Cup, right? Right. Of course. [more…]
We reviewed Clarke MacArthur the other day here at MLHS. The feedback seemed rather divided on the question of whether to keep or not to keep the pending UFA. Meanwhile, there's no doubting that David Clarkson’s name will only continue to remain attached to the Leafs in rumour circles as we approach free agency and the Toronto native remains without a contract past July 5.
With a glut of wing talent already, and Phil Kessel in need a contract extension, there’s no way Dave Nonis should re-sign MacArthur and then also go and sign David Clarkson. It’s not a smart allocation of dollars when depth wingers are the easiest assets to come by in the NHL.
Of course, things could play out in such a way where the Leafs lose out on the Clarkson “sweepstakes” (he re-signs or they are outbid or whatever) and then turn and try to bring back MacArthur. But as of today, with both options on the table, there is certainly merit in the question of MacArthur vs. Clarkson. And it's a tough one. [more…]
Mike Kostka: The undrafted 27-year-old rookie defenceman who went from little-known AHL journeyman to, for a while anyway, first pairing defenceman in the spotlight of the hockey universe, soon becoming a lightning rod of criticism amid Randy Carlyle’s perceived poor roster decisions.
In the interest of fairness and context, let's take this story back to the beginning of the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Coach Carlyle had to be creative in the early going - if not all season - in trying to assemble a steady top four group of defencemen. Recall that Jake Gardiner was not himself at season’s beginning, still recovering from a concussion suffered with the Marlies. Gards did not play in the season opener and came back to play only two games (17 and 20 minutes respectively) before being sent to the Marlies (until March) to rediscover his game shape, timing and confidence. Gardiner was a defenceman who, given the promise of his rookie season and the seeming ease with which he skated the second most minutes per game on the team the year prior, many of us were banking on to shoulder a heavy workload. [more…]
Phil Kessel's detractors are really running low on material.
I shouldn’t take a rancorous tone with this piece and instead focus purely on all the great things Kessel does for this franchise, and we'll arrive there eventually, but I can’t resist... Let’s rhyme off all the recycled BS that has for years surrounded Kessel’s name in hockey debates. [more…]
I was just getting back into the playoff swing of things and looking forward to taking in a Marlies game at the Ricoh, hopefully... Then the Marlies gave up three goals with under ten to go in Game 6 last night and lost out to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Meanwhile, the Bruins are walking over the Rangers in their round 2 matchup. I'm sure how to feel about this. It's kind of bittersweet. Sweet in the sense that it's impressive the Leafs did have these Bruins - who are probably the favourite to emerge out of the East at this point - on the ropes, and bitter in the sense that the Leafs would've had a pretty good chance, I think anyway, of advancing to the Conference Finals if they closed. If you are looking to try betting on your favorite nhl team, check out Topbet.eu.
Bahh, back to hockey hibernation. [more…]
The Marlies are on the ropes against Grand Rapids after a 4-1 loss last night in Michigan. They're down 3-1 in their series headed into tonight. If they can take Game 5, the series would come back to Toronto for Games 6 and 7, so you never know. Also on the upside, Carter Ashton has goals in two consecutive.
I'm finding the playoffs much harder to enjoy now that I've been reminded what it's like with the Leafs in them.
Links after the jump. [more…]
Listening to this interview with assistant GM Claude Loiselle was rather cathartic. It's a good perspective on what happened last night, why it might have happened, how the team will move forward, how this helped management and the coaches evaluate their players, and what the players might have learned from this experience. Well worth the listen. Credit to Bob McCown for a good interview.
Strap yourselves in. The biggest Leaf game in nearly a decade is just a few hours away.
Do the Leafs have the momentum, is Boston frustrated, does Boston feel the pressure more, did their delayed flight help them or hurt them? It's all academic. Come puck drop tonight, this series is reset to a best of one and it comes down to who executes better over the 60 minutes. [more…]
After such a critical shortage of meaningful moments in the last decade for this hockey club, these last few days have been almost too much, too fast. Last night, the Leafs earned their first playoff home win in 9 years and the city went bonkers. Dion Phaneuf redeemed himself for his role in an OT loss last playoff home game - which at the time could have been the last this season - splatting yolk on the faces of certain media members eager to get an early start on their postmortem scapegoating of the most valuable members of the hockey team. Phil Kessel scored his third of the series in what proved to be the game winner, of which he now has two against the Bruins in this series. Now, there is a less than 24-hour turnaround to get ready for Game 7, the next biggest game for this fanbase since 2004.
My oh my. [more…]
We're headed back to Toronto for Game 6. The book isn't yet closed on this team's 2013 story as the Leafs continue to prove to their detractors that this season was no 48-game fluke. After three games in which the Leafs looked every bit Boston's match, early Leaf domination gave way for the James Reimer show as the Leafs finally got the reward for all of their endeavour. [more…]
Do or die. Win or go home. Put up or shut up. [List other cliches here].
The Leafs look to keep things interesting in this series and give us all more Leaf playoff hockey to enjoy by extending the series past five games with a win tonight.
The Leafs have a right to feel a little hard done by with this 1-3 series deficit. Point fingers at certain individuals if it's your thing, but the fact of the matter is that Toronto, despite looking every bit Boston's match over the last 3 games, has made the crucial mistakes that are costing them games. Boston almost always has capitalized opportunistically. [more…]