Friday, May 29, 2015
Authors Posts by Anthony Petrielli

Anthony Petrielli

Anthony Petrielli has been at MLHS since 2011. He is known for his weekly "Leafs Notebook" feature, and also writes specific analysis pieces. You can contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @APetrielli.

Some will argue the Leafs have gotten better over the last few weeks, others will say they’ve gotten worse; the only thing we know for sure is that they’re noticeably different.

Out go Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Leo Komarov, Matt Frattin, Ryan O’Byrne, Mike Kostka, and Ben Scrivens. In come Dave Bolland, David Clarkson, TJ Brennan and Jonathon Bernier (along with a few new Marlies – Colborne? D’Amigo? Blacker? Ashton?) .

So what do we make of all this? The best way to look at it is to break it down piece by piece.

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The Jonathan Bernier to Toronto speculation was ongoing all week, so it wasn’t a complete surprise when the Leafs acquired him yesterday. What was surprising, considering teams that are in much worse shape in net like the Flyers and Islanders were in on the bidding, is that one of those teams didn’t offer big value for a goalie so many are apparently high on.

Ultimately, it seems the Leafs were able to offer a package that matched up well with the Kings’ needs. The Leafs gave Los Angeles a good backup goalie and top nine forward who combine to cost them a million bucks (since the Leafs are retaining salary), along with a second round pick. That’s solid value for a guy who requested a trade on a team that’s tight against the cap.

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Between attempts to acquire Roberto Luongo, Miikka Kiprusoff, and now reportedly Jonathan Bernier, it just doesn’t feel like Leafs management is fully behind James Reimer being “the guy,” does it? Listen in here to Bob McKenzie on the TSN Insider podcast, as McKenzie calls the Leafs interest in Bernier legitimate, and says Leafs brass “like Reimer’s game but don’t love it.”

By now you all probably know Reimer’s numbers. He’s played over 100 games, has a career .915sv%, he played well in the playoffs, and just seems to have that temperament that is tailor fit to the Toronto market. There is one glaring issue with Reimer though, and that’s where the goalie hunt comes into play – he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

The Leafs announced the resigning of Colton Orr and Drew MacIntyre yesterday.

Orr played 44 of 48 regular season games with the Leafs before dressing for all seven playoffs games. For his efforts, he’s getting a 2-year deal worth 1.85M total. His 925K salary is the most you can make while still being able to be buried if waived and sent to the AHL under the new CBA.

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

While there is said to be continuity between the two managers given their close working relationship for several years in the Leaf front office, Brian Burke was always more transparent and vocal than Dave Nonis when it came to how he ran his hockey team. For that reason, I’ve decided to research Nonis’ time with Vancouver in order to see if I can come up with some logical ideas of what to expect from Nonis in the upcoming months.

Last summer, before the draft, we were able to look at Brian Burke’s own quotes and pretty well nail that Lupul-Kessel would be on the top line to start, Grabovski-Kulemin would be on the shutdown line, and Kadri, along with Frattin eventually, would be on the second scoring line. That’s not exactly how the Leafs ended the year, but if I could tell you how the full season would go I’d be playing the lottery and blogging from a beach in Europe.

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Dave Nonis
Chris Young/Canadian Press

I really wanted to write a wrap up notebook, but I wasn’t going to subject myself to watching that game again, nor do I particularly want to write about it. I mean, the only time I watched that Bergeron game winner was live and that’s how it is going to remain, so I wouldn’t be much of a source for insight or analysis.

It really was a great year for the Leafs, though. At the beginning of the season I didn’t think they would make the playoffs, and at the beginning of the first round I wasn’t sure they would make it much of a series. They proved me wrong both times. They proved a lot of people wrong.

In order for the Leafs to get better, though, they’ll need to have a strong offseason and smooth out some of their rough edges.

If the story of game 2 was the Leafs’ excellent line-matching and the great performances from their stars, the story of game 3 was the Leafs shooting themselves in the foot.

The simple fact of the matter is that when you make the mistakes the Leafs did, you are rarely going to win a playoff game.

Alec already went through all of the goals against this morning so I’m not going bother doing that again. Plus, I think we all know what happened. Other than the first goal, which was the result of a lost faceoff and unfortunate bounce, the Leafs gift wrapped Boston three other goals with giveaways and poor defense.

The chances the Leafs have at beating Boston after spotting them three easy goals have to be slim to none.

Well, that was a rude awakening wasn’t it? Here we were all were excited and pumped up about playoff hockey… Only to come crashing back to Earth watching the Leafs play like that.

After the jump, I’ll discuss the main narratives circulating right now and offer my two cents. From there I proceeded to re-watch the game – unfortunately — and have written out some additional notes. I’ll wrap up with the biggest questions going into Game 2.

Photo: Associated Press

Since when do the Leafs do things the easy way, anyways? The truth is the Leafs made their bed on this one. All they had to do was beat Montreal at home on Saturday night to play the Habs and give everyone the series they wanted to see. They laid an egg. Boston blows a two goal lead against Washington and then lets in a late one against Ottawa to lose two games in a row and here we are.

I don’t think the Leafs have a better chance at beating Boston than they did Montreal, but I’ll say this about the series: Nobody is seriously picking the Leafs to win this one and I look forward to seeing Toronto in the underdog role. If nothing else, hopefully they make this a war.

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Photo: Getty Images

In hiring Tim Leiweke, MLSE has brought in a guy who is partly what many fans have always wanted in a President, and partly what they detest.

It is no secret that Leafs fans have always felt slighted within their perception that MLSE cares mainly about making money rather than winning. Leiweke, however, is a guy who most certainly does care about winning.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are officially in the playoffs.

I hope that felt as good to read as it did to write.

It has been a long nine years since Jeremy Roenick broke Leafs Nations’ hearts in 2004. The excitement that year was nuts. The Leafs traded for Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch for a bunch of guys nobody knew existed and Toronto was buzzing with Stanley Cup hopes. I remember Leetch’s first game against the Islanders; Leetch had three points and the TV broadcast had this stupid iso-camera on Leetch every time he touched the ice. (Ironic side note: the only player traded in the deal who became relevant in the NHL was drafted with the expended second round pick, a player by the name of Michael Sauer – you know, the guy who had his career ended by Phaneuf).