Sunday, May 24, 2015
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Maple Leafs Hot Stove

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Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited unofficial team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast). Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, a weekly feature piece, the "Leafs Notebook", along with a Web TV show the "Maple Leaf Hangout".

image by Jack Landau, urbantoronto.ca

Rumour du jour:

Bob McKenzie’s full segment with lots of Leafy bits can be found here.

Thursday Links:

    • Elliotte Friedman: 30 Thoughts: What’s Happening with Evander Kane and lots more (Sportsnet.ca)
      While the McDavid/Eichel watch has everyone fixated on the bottom of the standings, there is another effect. Pittsburgh was unafraid to deal its first-rounder, because the Penguins know they will be in the playoffs. (The Blues, Islanders and Rangers already traded them last year.) But, teams who are uncertain of a post-season position are loathe to give up such a pick, knowing if they don’t make it, they’ve given up a lottery spot. And God help them if it actually wins.

 

    • Evan Dorey: Game 52 Scoring Chances: Predators 4 vs. Leafs 3 (MLHS)
      Kadri’s game gets him up over 50% at ES Close this season, joining Winnik and Komarov as the only Leafs to better that mark at this point. Trading Kadri seems like it would be the biggest mistake the Leafs could make. He’s far from a perfect player, but for the last couple of years has consistently been their best producing forward at ES, and his best years are likely still ahead of him.

 

    • Jeff Simmons: Snoop Dogg Rocks Maple Leafs hat on national TV (Sportsnet.ca)
      Not everyone is bagging on the Toronto Maple Leafs these days. The club hasn’t won a game since Jan. 9, but that didn’t deter Snoop Dogg on Wednesday afternoon. While his son, Cordell Broadus, was announcing his decision to join UCLA’s football team on National Signing Day, Snoop Dogg was wearing a bucket hat with a Maple Leafs logo on national television.

 

 

    • Greg Wyshynski: This Maple Leafs losing ballad will make you cry pain tears (Yahoo!)
      This is Steven Ryan, a heck of a singer actually, giving his all on “Do Something,” which is a Leafs-centric parody of “Say Something,” the overwrought ballad by Great Big World and Christina Aguilera that should have been alternatively titled “Accompaniment For Your Montage.”

 

    • Adam Gretz: Trade Deadline Candidate: Cody Franson (CBS Eye on Hockey)
      Unless the Coyotes do something they shouldn’t do and decide to trade Keith Yandle orOliver Ekman-Larsson, there probably isn’t going to be a better, more productive defenseman available before the trade deadline, and there should be no shortage of teams lining up to try and get him from the Maple Leafs.

 

 

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 14: Daniel Winnik #26 and Mike Santorelli #25 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate a first period goal during NHL game action againstr the Los Angeles Kings December 14, 2014 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

10 straight losses ties a franchise record, but last night’s game worked out nicely for a number of rooting interests, current realities considered. The Leafs played the top team in the League tightly, scored some goals finally, their potential deadline trade chips all played well and produced (Santorelli, Winnik, Franson), and they ultimately lost their tenth straight to keep the tank alive (lottery odds can be tracked via the MLHS sidebar).

Onto the links.

Wednesday Links:

    • Anthony Petrielli:  Goal scoring problems under Horachek, Reimer, Bernier, Notes, 5 things I’d do & more (MLHS)
      The other interesting thing is how the Leafs are playing, and how it now affects their ability to score goals. A 5-5-5 system is predicated on zone time and movements as a unit, the antithesis of taking home run swings trying to get breakaways and 2v1s. How are they going to score goals in this system? Cycling, zone time, point shots, rebounds, goal mouth scrambles, so on and so forth. The Patric Hornqvist goals in Nashville, so to speak. Because of that, I went through last season’s goals to get an idea of how the Leafs were creating their goals 5v5 and how big of a challenge this would be.

 

    • Interview: Nonis discusses Leafs’ core, Kessel and Phaneuf’s future (TSN)
      Maple Leafs Senior VP and GM Dave Nonis joins James Duthie to discuss what kind of conclusions he’s drawn about the core of his team, the future of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf, the offensive struggles Toronto has gone through and more.

 

 

 

 

    • Rob Longley: Leafs tie club record with tenth straight loss in Nashville (Slam! Sports)
      The latest loss will be particularly frustrating after a strong second period that continued into the third and actually saw the Leafs take a 3-2 lead and score three goals for just the third time in 14 games.

 

  • Elliotte Friedman: Rob Blake hasn’t spoken to Leafs about job (Sportsnet)
    Assistant general manager Rob Blake has no interest in leaving the Los Angeles Kings, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday night. Blake’s family is fond of the Los Angeles area and he is pleased with his role in the Kings’ front office.

 

Photo: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Maple Leafs Projected Lineup

James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Daniel Winnik – Nazem Kadri – Joffrey Lupul
Leo Komarov – Peter Holland – David Clarkson
David Booth – Mike Santorelli – Richard Panik

Morgan Rielly – Cody Franson
Korbinian Holzer – Stephane Robidas
Jake Gardiner – Roman Polak

Starter: Jonathan Bernier
James Reimer

Scratched: Josh Leivo, Trevor Smith, Petter Granberg
Injured: Dion Phaneuf (hand)

Nashville Predators Projected Lines

Filip Forsberg – Mike Ribeiro – Craig Smith
Colin Wilson – Mike Fisher – James Neal
Matt Cullen – Calle Jarnkrok – Gabriel Bourque
Eric Nystrom – Paul Gaustad – Taylor Beck

Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Victor Bartley – Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm – Anton Volchenkov

Starter: Carter Hutton
Marek Mazanec

Scratched: Olli Jokinen
Injured: Ryan Ellis (lower body), Pekka Rinne (sprained knee)

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 7: Interm Head Coach Peter Horachek of the Toronto Maple Leafs stands on the bench during action against the Washington Capitals during game action on January 7, 2015 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

And yet:

Monday Links:

 

    • JP Nikota: Mr. Shanahan, tear down this team (Pension Plan Puppets)
      In short, the development has stalled because no elite players have been acquired via trade or free agency, and now the Leafs’ core is getting old. We had a brief window where we were slightly hopeful for the future, but that’s dead now.

 

    • Michael Langlois: Maple Leafs caught in no-man’s land (Vintage Leaf Memories)
      Right now, the Maple Leafs seem to find themselves in that awkward position that teams sometimes do: their confidence is fragile, they can’t buy a goal; their goalies can’t bail them out.  Maybe most importantly, they don’t seem to believe in themselves. And while the coaching staff has tried to implement a new a structure, they have no identity as a team.

 

    • Michael Traikos: The Leafs had a terrible January. Here’s how bad. (National Post)
      Joffrey Lupul believes the problem is confidence. How else to explain why Kessel and Nazem Kadri each have two goals and Tyler Bozak just one during a month in which the Leafs have been outscored 40-16. Is Horachek’s defence-first system to blame? Maybe. But even if the players cannot cheat on offence like they used to under Carlyle, that does not explain why the Leafs have scored just five power-play goals in 40 opportunities.

 

    • Damien Cox: Rebuilding Leafs have to get value in Phaneuf deal (Toronto Star)
      Carlyle was made out to be the village idiot, hopelessly lost in a time warp. That was never true; right now, it simply appears he was a coach who looked at his lineup and figured out the only way he could be marginally successful was to play a certain high-risk style.

 

  • TFP: Leafs, Kings engaged in serious discussions (The Fourth Period)
    The league source, however, told TFP the Kings are also very interested in Leafs defenseman Cody Franson and may also be eyeing winger Joffrey Lupul.

 

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WINNIPEG, CANADA - DECEMBER 3: Head Coach Dallas Eakins of the Edmonton Oilers discusses strategy with players at the bench during a third period timeout against the Winnipeg Jets on December 3, 2014 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Jets defeated the Oilers 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

A great interview with former Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Marlies Head Coach, Dallas Eakins.

Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

Maple Leafs Projected Lines

Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Phil Kessel
(5-13-18) – (13-14-27) – (19-25-44) (37g, 89pts TOT)
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – David Clarkson
(20-21-41) – (14-18-32) – (10-4-14) (44g, 77pts TOT)
Daniel Winnik – Peter Holland – Mike Santorelli
(3-16-19) – (8-8-16) – (9-17-26) (20g, 51pts TOT)
David Booth – Trevor Smith – Richard Panik
(1-1-2) – (1-2-3) – (7-1-8) (9g, 13pts TOT)

Korbinian Holzer – Cody Franson
(0-4-4) – (6-23-29) (6g, 33pts TOT)
Morgan Rielly – Roman Polak
(4-10-14) – (5-3-8) (9g, 22pts TOT)
Jake Gardiner – Petter Granberg
(2-9-11) – (0-0-0) (2g, 11pts TOT)

Starter: James Reimer

Scratched
: Stuart Percy

Injured: Dion Phaneuf (hand), Joffrey Lupul (lower body), Stephane Robidas (upper body)

Philadelphia Flyers Projected Lines

Brayden Schenn – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Petr Straka – Ryan White – Wayne Simmonds
R.J. Umberger – Sean Couturier – Matt Read
Chris VandeVelde – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Vincent Lecavalier

Nick Schultz – Mark Streit
Michael Del Zotto – Luke Schenn
Carlo Colaiacovo – Andrew MacDonald

Steve Mason
Ray Emery

Scratched: None
Suspended: Zac Rinaldo

Injured: Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Braydon Coburn (lower body), Michael Raffl (illness), Scott Laughton (concussion), Nicklas Grossmann (upper body)

WINNIPEG, CANADA - JANUARY 3: Morgan Rielly #44 of the Toronto Maple Leafs bounces the puck on his stick during the pre-game warm up prior to NHL action against the Winnipeg Jets on January 3, 2015 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

A Leaf team that’s proven to have a weak psyche the past few seasons, now mired in one of the worst slumps in recent franchise history, had about the worst thing that could’ve happened happen with the Jonathan Bernier brainfart to start the third, followed by another weak goal against shortly after.

One of the worst teams in the League at chasing the lead not surprisingly faded into the night.

For the best in the long run, but it’s sure tough to watch in the meantime. The offense has been feast or famine the past two seasons, but the Leafs can’t even get timely goaltending anymore.

One nice theme/takeaway from the past few games, from Evan’s scoring chance postMorgan Rielly stepped up his offensive game while the Leafs were behind in the third, as he and Jake Gardiner were the best on the back end at driving chances in that time frame.

Friday Links:

  • James Mirtle: Dion Phaneuf’s injury is a blessing for retooling Leafs (The Globe and Mail)
    Phaneuf has barely missed any time to injury since he joined the Leafs, a credit to his durability, but also a shame in that we haven’t had a prolonged look at how they could benefit from not relying on a flawed “big piece” so heavily.
  • Jonas Siegel: Leafs can’t stop the 18 wheeler, drop eighth straight (TSN.ca)
    “It’s just like these situations where we’re finding ways not to win,” said Peter Horachek after his team’s 16th loss in 19 games, a 3-1 defeat to the equally reeling Coyotes.
  • James Mirtle: Maple Leafs confidence sagging to all-time low (The Globe and Mail)
    If you think “worst months in NHL history” is hyperbole, consider this: They have one win and only three points in the 12 games, a 1-10-1 stretch in which they’ve been outscored 40-16.
  • Chris Johnston: Free falling Maple leafs can’t catch a break (Sportsnet.ca)
    The entire sequence lasted just five seconds. It was the quickest short-handed goal to start a period in the entire 98-year history of the NHL, according to Elias Sports Bureau, and it ended up sinking the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
  • Trade Talk: Leafs aren’t ready to part with Daniel Winnik just yet(TSN.ca)
    According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the Leafs received an offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins – one of the busier clubs ahead of the deadline – for utility forward Daniel Winnik last week.
  • Bob McKenzie: Top 60 Midseason Draft Rankings (TSN.ca)
    It’s not at all surprising McDavid tops TSN’s mid-season ranking – he was No. 1 on TSN’s pre-season list in September, too – but three of the same 10 scouts surveyed in the fall had Boston University centre Jack Eichel at No. 1. In the intervening five months, all three have switched over to McDavid.
  • MLHS: Game in 12 — Coyotes 3 vs. Leafs 1 (Video Highlights)
    In case you “missed” it.

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TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 14: Daniel Winnik #26 and Mike Santorelli #25 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate a first period goal during NHL game action againstr the Los Angeles Kings December 14, 2014 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The reality for both these teams is that the trade deadline and draft positioning have become the only real talking points of relevance down the stretch.

The Devils are trotting out a roster that was best suited to contend just after the 04-05 lockout.

The Leafs have one win in the year 2015 and are now without a top pairing defenceman; the current solution with Phaneuf out is moving Korbinian Holzer over to his weak side and playing him on the top pairing with Cody Franson.

The Leafs do have Leo Komarov, expected to start with Kadri and Kessel, and Peter Holland, expected to play with Winnik and Santorelli, returning to the lineup.

Maple Leafs Projected Lines

Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Phil Kessel
(5-13-18) – (13-14-27) – (19-25-44) (37g, 89pts TOT)
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – David Clarkson
(20-21-41) – (14-18-32) – (10-4-14) (44g, 77pts TOT)
Daniel Winnik – Peter Holland – Mike Santorelli
(3-16-19) – (8-8-16) – (9-17-26) (20g, 51pts TOT)
David Booth – Trevor Smith – Richard Panik
(1-1-2) – (1-2-3) – (7-1-8) (9g, 13pts TOT)

Korbinian Holzer – Cody Franson
(0-4-4) – (6-23-29) (6g, 33pts TOT)
Morgan Rielly – Roman Polak
(4-10-14) – (5-3-8) (9g, 22pts TOT)
Jake Gardiner – Petter Granberg
(2-9-11) – (0-0-0) (2g, 11pts TOT)

Jonathan Bernier
(16-14-3, 2.76GAA, .914SV%)
James Reimer

Scratched: Stuart Percy
Injured: Dion Phaneuf (hand), Joffrey Lupul (lower body), Stephane Robidas (upper body)

New Jersey Devils Projected Lines

Adam Henrique – Scott Gomez – Jaromir Jagr
(10-16-26) – (4-12-16) – (9-16-25) (23g, 67pts TOT)
Martin Havlat – Travis Zajac – Patrik Elias
(5-7-12) – (8-8-16) – (6-14-20) (19g, 48pts TOT)
Dainius Zubrus – Mike Cammalleri – Michael Ryder
(2-4-6) – (15-6-21) – (6-12-18) (23g, 45pts TOT)
Tuomo Ruutu – Jacob Josefson – Jordin Tootoo
(5-3-8) – (2-3-5) – (4-0-4) (11g, 17pts TOT)

Andy Greene – Adam Larsson
(0-11-11) – (1-8-9) (1g, 20pts TOT)
Mark Fraser – Marek Zidlicky
(0-1-1) – (4-16-20) (4g, 21pts TOT)
Eric Gelinas – Jon Merrill
(4-7-11) – (2-8-10) (6g, 21pts TOT)

Cory Schneider
(16-19-4, 2.41GAA, .920SV%)
Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Peter Harrold, Steve Bernier
Injured: Bryce Salvador (lower body), Ryane Clowe (head), Stephen Gionta (hand), Damon Severson (ankle)

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 8: Leo Komarov #47 of the Toronto Maple Leafs battles for the puck against Martin St. Louis #26 of the New York Rangers during NHL action at the Air Canada Centre November 8, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

Tuesday Practice Lines:

Injury Updates:

Wednesday Links:

  • Elliotte Friedman: 30 Thoughts — Leafs & Mike Richards (Sportsnet.ca)
    Calgary and Toronto were reported to be the two teams most involved in a Richards trade. I do believe the Dion Phaneuf-Richards idea was seriously considered, although other pieces were going to be involved. I don’t know which team asked, or how the overall package was going to look, but word is the Kings ultimately said no to any deal because they were unwilling to include either Tanner Pearson or Tyler Toffoli.
  • Jonas Siegel: Franson unsure of Leaf future as trade talks swirl (TSN.ca)
    Already looking tight with next year’s potential cap (projected to be between $71-73 million) and restricted free agents in Jonathan Bernier and Nazem Kadri still to be signed, the Leafs may not have room to ink Franson to the kind of hefty contract he’s in line to demand (and get) in free agency.
  • Michael Traikos: Toronto Maple Leafs’ Cody Franson to lead team during captain Dion Phaneuf’s absence (National Post)
    It was Franson who said the Leafs had to “grow up” and change after Carlyle was fired. It was Franson, who after being on the hook for three goals in an awful loss to the Anaheim Ducks two weeks ago, said he needed to be better.
  • Michael Traikos: Is Phil Kessel’s best good enough? (National Post)
    “When I think about Phil Kessel, I think of a guy who had a strong desire to win,” Hynes said. “He wanted to be the best, he wanted to score goals and be the guy that the team relies on to come up big when they need to produce offence. He’s a really talented player, he has special attributes, but it always came down to: He really does care.”
  • Lance Hornby: Korbinian Holzer moves left on Maple Leafs defence to benefit Cody Franson (Toronto Sun)
    Most often paired with the over-zealous Jake Gardiner, Holzer has been hard-pressed to make a difference on a team that has lost 14 of 17 games. This could be his chance to convince management to make a renewed commitment. But the right-shooting Holzer will have to do it from the unfamiliar left side which Phaneuf vacated.
  • Gord Stellick: Why a rebuild will be difficult for the Maple Leafs (Sportsnet.ca)
    It is said about how difficult it is to play in Toronto but I feel it is actually the opposite. Witness Larry Tannenbaum in an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos explaining that he often visits the Leafs dressing room after games to “thank them because they work so hard”.
  • Michael Langlois: Which Maple Leafs do you want to see step forward in the final weeks of the season? (Vintage Leaf Memories)
    But with the Leafs looking up at a playoff spot, mired in a lengthy slump coming out of the All-Star break, the coaching situation in obvious flux and the captain out of action, Leaf fans are looking for evidence on the current roster that this team has a pulse.
  • Lance Hornby: Leafs pay tribute to retiring goaltender Martin Brodeur (Toronto Sun)
    The news that Brodeur was finally going to hang up his goalie pads has many memories in the Maple Leafs dressing room — and a good line from goalie James Reimer: “Only 650 wins for me to catch him now.”

Photo: USA Today

Monday’s happenings:

  • D Dion Phaneuf is expected to be out “week-to-week” with an upper body injury (hand, from last week’s fights).
  • D Stephane Robidas left the ice before practice started.
  • F Leo Komarov is expected to return Wednesday against the Devils, while F Joffrey Lupul and F Peter Holland remain day-to-day.
  • D Petter Granberg and F Josh Leivo were recalled from the Toronto Marlies
  • Practice Pairs:

    Can you say yikes…

Tuesday Links: