Former Leafs Nik Antropov and Kyle Wellwood came back to haunt their old club with five points between them, as the Winnipeg Jets trounced the Leafs 5 – 2 on Tuesday night. Blake Wheeler scored two goals, while Ondrej Pavelec had a rare good showing with 24 saves for the victory. Phil Kessel scored both goals for Toronto, and now has nine on the season, and five in his last five games.
With the first half of the season in the books, the Toronto Maple Leafs sit firmly entrenched in fifth place in the East with an impressive record of 15 – 10 – 0. So who should we thank for the great successes so far at the midway mark?
In the least interesting reveal of the article, Nazem Kadri wins this first Middy™ by a wide margin. He took the team lead in points in the third game of the season and hasn’t looked back, having tallied 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in 25 games. His arrival to the Leafs may have had few more layovers than anyone hoped, but he’s now showing every night just why Brian Burke was right to draft him seventh overall in 2009.
The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators in the alley and on the ice in the first period and survived a late push on the way to a 5 – 4 win on Wednesday night. The Leafs took a lead early, and chose not to look back, with goals coming from Tyler Bozak, Jay McClement, James van Riemsdyk, Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri. James Reimer made 39 saves, while Kessel recorded two assists for his first three point night of the year. [more…]
After 22 games, the one thing Leafs fans can agree on is that Randy Carlyle’s coaching methodology can be frustrating as hell. Nowhere is this more apparent than the deployment of Mikhail Grabovski.
After signing a five-year, 27.5-million dollar contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs last March, it seemed as though the Leafs had shored up a terrific top-six centreman who could be counted on for 50 points a season. But after 22 games Grabo sits with a modest 10 points (six goals, four assists); good for about 37 points in an 82-game schedule. Yet under Carlyle he’s developed into the team’s top shutdown pivot. So what’s to make of it?
Ben Scrivens couldn’t weather the storm, as the Tampa Bay Lightning stunned the Toronto Maple Leafs 4 – 2 on Tuesday night. The Bolts were bolstered by goals from Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn and Matt Carle, while Mikhail Grabovski and James van Riemsdyk responded for the Buds. [more…]
The Toronto Maple Leafs continued their winning ways on the road, dropping the toothless Florida Panthers 3 – 0 on Monday night. Ben Scrivens made 37 saves in his second consecutive shutout and the Buds were buoyed by goals from Phil Kessel, Nazem Kadri and Clarke MacArthur. The win was the Leafs second in a row, and broke a 5-game losing streak in Sunrise, Florida. [more…]
On Wednesday, Wade Arnott, Phil Kessel’s agent, indicated his client’s apparent desire to spend the rest of career playing hockey for the Toronto Maple Leafs. This, despite being disappointed in the club’s performance last season (I don’t even want to know what adjective he’d use to describe the two previous seasons in Toronto), and with little guarantee yet that this team is primed for long-term playoff success.
We’ll probably never know why the camera-shy Kessel wants to remain in a media-laden Toronto; Arnott seems to suggest it is an admirable inner desire to win in hockey's mecca. Perhaps the better question is, what could it cost to keep him?
The Toronto Maple Leafs bounced back from last night’s drubbing, defeating the Washington Capitals 3 - 2. But did you really expect a team with Tim Hunter coaching and Joey Crabb featuring heavily on the PK to actually win a game?
At the start of this season, noise was made that the current Leafs roster would be ill-equipped to serve under Randy Carlyle’s tough-nosed, nasty, defense-first style of play. That there was not enough team truculence to compete.
Despite the team placing 3rd in the league in fighting majors with seven, the club has been shorthanded a surprisingly low 23 times (3.29 penalties per game), fifth least in the league thus far. It’s quite early still, but the disciplined play is a stark change for a team coached by Carlyle. And that’s all for the better.
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ offense disappeared down the stretch and the defense had no answer for the “22-Million Dollar Line” en route to a 5 – 2 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday night. This was a funny game, because the Leafs never really had any business winning, yet carried a lead for 40+ minutes. That said, when Henrik Lundqvist has an average night, he ought to face more than 17 shots.
Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs put on a classically Toronto Maple Leaf performance, falling 7-4 to the New York Islanders. It got ugly late, as an out of synch, laboured Leaf club seemed to erode in the final 40 minutes. It was an all-too-familiar sight to behold. And it has, perhaps unduly, substantially darkened the opinions of the team.
So what can be made of Leaf’s four game season? Here are a couple quick thoughts on the manic life of a rebuilding club.
The Toronto Maple Leafs lost the services of forward Keith Aucoin on Thursday, when he was picked up by the New York Islanders off of waivers. Jokingly mourned about online, Aucoin’s departure comes less than six months after then-GM Brian Burke signed the veteran to bolster the AHL Marlies. His acquisition by the Islanders marks the Leafs first loss to the roster due to waiver eligibility, but it probably won’t be the last.
Indeed, both the Leafs and the Marlies seem poised to lose some assets, all because timing is everything. And because the Lockout has far reaching effects that we’re still learning about.