Home Authors Posts by Anthony Petrielli
One of the best things about writing here at MLHS is far and away you, the readers.
Every week you guys are in full force reading, commenting, thinking about whatever is presented in front of you and throwing in your two cents. It makes for great discussions and it’s really appreciated.
Since I’ve been here doing Leafs Notebook, there have consistently been questions in the comments sections in regards to certain things I’ve wrote or something that the Leafs have done. Then as I was reading a Leafs “Q & A” elsewhere, I thought it would be a neat thing to do here. There have often been times when I get asked the same question by multiple people, or when somebody asks a question and my answer is posted the next day and therefore missed. Beyond that, it’s a lot more organized and easy to articulate in a post rather than the comments section.
Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images
Forty one down, forty one to go; the Leafs have shown a lot so far this season but now is when we really begin to see how far they have come.
There used to be a substantial difference between the top teams in the league and everyone else within the standings. Crunch time in the season would begin with around 20 games left in the season.
There is too much parity, too many points on the line, and one bad week could bring you from contender to pretender status at the snap of your fingers. From here on out, it’s all about results. One bad week takes two good weeks to recoup.
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Happy holidays, everyone!
In light of the holidays, it seemed like a good time to thank everyone for the warm reception I’ve received since I began writing here. Half way through writing the first Leafs Notebook I ever drafted for MLHS, I remember apprehensively wondering how would it be received and if I would get ripped apart, but you guys have been great. I enjoy the conversation and for those of you who don’t comment, I appreciate the time you put in to read it.
Due to being out of country I won’t be writing the Leafs Notebook next week, and with that I won’t be around to wish everyone a Happy New Year, so I’m doing that now. Happy New Years! I look forward to continuing with the notebook tradition in 2012.
This is a short(er) edition this week, but nonetheless there’s hopefully some good tidbits to take out of it.
Enjoy everyone, and I apologize if I’m not able to respond to any comments directed my way seeing as my flight leaves in the afternoon.
Photo: Darryl Dyck/AP Photo
Last season Brian Burke boldly stood in front of the media after trading Tomas Kaberle and made it clear, â€œGetting into the playoffs by the skin of your teeth and getting your ass kicked in the first round is not my idea of building a championship team here.â€
A little under a year later and 32 games into the next season, it’s fair to begin evaluating whether the Leafs are playing hockey that would make them competitive in the playoffs or if they’re doing just enough to make it and subsequently get their “ass kicked in the first round.” At this point in the season, it seems a lot closer to the latter.
Systemically, the Leafs play to outscore the other team, instead of playing to win.
NHL realignment, more Burke & Wilson vs. Cox & Simmons, new owners and, oh yeah, the Leafs played some hockey games, too.
Quite the week and a lot to discuss, so we’ll get right to it.
The most important thing to happen this week, believe it or not, was not the new ownership change, it was NHL realignment.
The Leafs will of course be playing the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning six times a year now, each. They already play four of these teams six times a year, but now they’re adding 12 more division games. So you play 44% of your games within your grouping (I’m calling it that for now) and you only make the playoffs based on your point totals compared to those other teams.
Photo: Toronto Star
If the Toronto Maple Leafs ownership group was one person, it would be pretty safe to say that win or lose, that one person is not losing any sleep over it at night. I’m okay with that. And you should be, too.
Full disclosure is necessary, and that’s to say the John Ferguson Jr. hiring was terrible. There is no hiding behind that, and it is far and away the worst decision MLSE has ever made.
To their credit though, they turned it around and signed one of the premier General Managers in the NHL to follow that up, Brian Burke.
Whether you like Burke or not, from an ownership perspective, they’ve done their job. Beyond hiring Brian – who is not only a big-money acquisition, but one with a worthy resume of managing the Leafs – they’ve also stepped up financially in almost every department of Leafs management.
Photo: JP Dhanoa/Oye! Times
Photo: JP Dhanoa/Oye! Times
With the Leafs only playing two games this week, I headed out to the Ricoh Coliseum and took in a Marlies game. I don’t know how consistently I’ll be going to the games and talking about the Marlies, but it worked out last night and I thought it was worthwhile. Plus, their obviously an important part of the entire organization and are always worth discussing.
If you live in Toronto, I highly recommend you go watch a Marlies game (or two, or three…). It’s a cozy rink that just feels like a hockey arena, whereas the ACC seems more of like a giant building where events happen. Beyond the Ricoh being a great place to take in a hockey game, the atmosphere is fun. There’s a lot of energetic fans, it’s surprisingly loud and everyone gets into the game.
Glove tap to Mislav for the new Notebook graphic.
Something very interesting is unfolding with the Toronto Maple Leafs and it has nothing to do with anything they’ve done on the ice, or any of their players for that matter.
On November 19th, Brian Burke joined his friend and co-worker Ron Wilson by entering the Twitter world. They then proceeded to have a now-notorious exchange with Sun reporter Steve Simmons. The interesting thing here is not the exchange – that was immature, pitiful, funny, take your pick – what’s intriguing is the new dynamic Twitter is creating and the paradigm shift that is beginning to take place.
Now, I should preface this by saying that maybe Brian Burke and Ron Wilson simply got Twitter because they want to interact with the fans and they think it’s fun, maybe they are naive to the potential long term ramifications here and the trend they could be starting. But then again, Ron Wilson is a Providence College graduate and Brian Burke has a degree from Harvard, so they probably put some thought into this.
Photo: Getty Images
Phil Kessel is tired of losing, that much is clear.
In layman’s terms, there are two types of hockey players: Those who love to win and those who hate to lose. It took Kessel some time, but he’s become the second one.
Justin Bourne, who now runs The Score’s blog “Backhand Shelf,” discussed this concept last season over at Puck Daddy (viewÂ here). In it he says, “Here’s the difference: It’s like putting a cupcake between a chubby kid from a mansion on the hill, and some wiry starving kid from the streets. They both want the cupcake. But our portly friend isn’t fighting to the death over the damn thing. He might take a swing or two, but in the end, he knows if he doesn’t get this one another will come along eventually. And that’s when the wiry punk kicks him in the groin and one-bites the entire cupcake.”
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking to get back on track tonight as they take on the Phoenix Coyotes at home. It will be the only meeting with the Coyotes this season and the Leafs will be in tough. Last season, Phoenix handily beat Toronto 5-1 at home, a game which you might remember more for Mike Brown’s controversial hit on Ed Jovanovski.
This is the second game of Phoenix’s five game road trip and they are already 4-1-1 on the road, making this no easy task for the Buds. The Coyotes shutout San Jose on Saturday to kick off this road trip.
For Toronto, Ben Scrivens gets the start after playing a solid game on Saturday night despite taking the loss. This comes amidst rumours that the Leafs have been in contact with Marty Turco, so the pressure will be dialed up tonight on the young Scrivens.
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Everyone collectively take a deep breath, and hold it..
….Hold it a little longer…
.. Now, exhale.
You can relax, there is no need to panic.
The Leafs are 17 games into the season, they are 10-6-1 and they’ve hit a rough patch. Nobody thought this team was going to play great all season, did they? Yes, there are many troubling signs (which I’ll get to), but there are also a ton of positives (which we’ll look at first).
All the Leafs have managed to do at this point – and it isn’t much – is not blow their playoff chances. They’ve built up a slight cushion, but the New Jersey Devils sit in ninth, four points behind the Leafs with two games in hand. If anyone thought the Leafs gave themselves a ton of breathing room with their solid start, consider that your reality check.
So the Leafs have goalie issues, who’d a thunk it?
The truth is, everyone and their grandmother knew Toronto was in goaltending trouble this summer because simply put, they went into the season without one single goalie in their organization who had established himself at the NHL level.
Potential is great, prospects are great, but the NHL is about results.
Don’t let an excellent game fool you, the Leafs are far from being out of the woods when it comes to their goalie dilemmas and unless Scrivens goes on a Reimer-esque run now (yeah, I said it), then the Leafs are going to continue to have problems.
These might not be the same old Leafs, but it is looking like the same old Leaf penalty kill.
At this stage of the season, I maintain a couple of things as I write this: it’s still very, very early, and the Leafs are adjusting to a new penalty killing scheme which is bound to cause mix-ups and missed assignments early in the season. So I don’t think this penalty kill is completely doomed, but I do think there is a lot of work to be done.
First let’s look at penalty killing in it’s most basic form. At the youngest of ages you are taught how to form a box on the penalty kill. You make a box because you can keep the play to the outside and it allows you to have two guys down low to protect the net, and two guys up high to keep the defensemen honest and to take away point shots.
Photo: Brad White/Getty Images
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Quite a four games of hockey for the Leafs. I said last week that I would be interested to see how the Leafs did against some formidable competition and they finished 2-2-0 on the week. That’s not bad at all but there’s certainly room for improvement. There were a lot of positives from this week (that have probably been lost in translation considering the Leafs lost Sunday night) to go along with some glaring negatives too. Let’s take a look at some of the things that have been going on.
Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images North America
I wasn’t really sure how to start my first post here at MLHS as half of me wanted to completely introduce myself, and the other half wanted me to just get right into my first article. I guess I’ll settle somewhere in between.I’ve been doing my own blog for quite some time (called the Leafs Dressing Room) and Alec saw it and approached me about writing here. First and foremost, that’s really humbling. Secondly, I think this site constantly pumps out quality work and has great readership. I enjoy reading the articles here as much as I do the comments because of the informed followers, which is what drew me to writing here.
My first post is something that will become a weekly feature here. I call it ‘Leafs Notebook.’ It was a feature I started on my blog, where each week I go through all the games Toronto participates in and record my observations, counter people’s misconceptions (in my book), analyze what the Leafs are and aren’t doing well, point out interesting stats, and so on. It’s supposed to be a fun read that encourages thought and discussion and it’s something I really enjoy doing each week. I hope you guys like it too and I look forward to interacting with all of you in one way or another.
Enough of that though, it was a busy week in Leaf land. Considering they didn’t play very well for close to three of the four games, the fact that they went 2-1-1 is pretty good. I should note that I covered the Colorado game in last weeks notes, so these only focus on the Jets-Bruins-Habs games:
Prev1...567Page 7 of 7