With the thrilling 2013 Stanley Cup Finals now in the record books, today we gaze into our crystal ball to see if the four teams that played in the two NHL Conference Championship series can retain that lofty level and get back into the hearts of the Canadian sports betting public during NHL 2013-14 action.
In case you missed the end of year interviews today, Dave Nonis and Randy Carlyle’s EOY addresses are below.
I hope everyone is starting to feel a little better this morning. Plenty of eulogies were written and the last couple of days have been brutal to say the least. I haven’t seen the Game in 6 or any of the player interviews. I barely have any idea what’s going on in the playoffs right now, even as two two-way titans, Toews and Datsyuk, square off in the West.
Two things in my mind were abundantly clear following Monday night. You know that cliche players like to use after a tough loss? “Oh yeah, that was a character building game for our team…” Monday night was a character building game for Leafs Nation. In one game, we were subjected to the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. The conclusion of the series had us scrambling emotionally, grasping for answers and words that just wouldn’t come.
Although we may have experienced heartbreak, they do say that one must know bitter defeat before one can saviour the sweetness of victory, and there’s plenty of historical examples across the world of sport that attest to that adage. For a young team like the Maple Leafs to start their comeback from 3-1 down and yet find a way to ultimately throw the series away, it now has a better idea both of what it takes to succeed in the playoffs while being dealt the harsh lesson that it’s going to take that little bit more.
Reimer, Reimer, gotta be startin’ Reimer.
With the playoffs set to get going tonight, and the Leafs vs. Bruins on tap for Wednesday, I figure that this is a good time to take a quick pause and look back at the regular season that was.
I’m sure that after the playoffs are over we’ll take another look back and evaluate things on a bigger scale, but for now I just want to reflect on some games that I feel produced some key moments for the team, and just as importantly, the fans.
MLHS’er ‘McLoki’ put this great infographic together on the 2013 Leafs season. Like, +1, share and retweet.
Photo: NHLI via Getty Images
With the fast and furious 48-game 2013 regular season in the books, presented below are 82-game points projections for each Leaf player, for whatever they’re worth.
Despite splitting the state of Florida, it’s been a pretty terrific week for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The club finished the road portion of the regular season with a record of 13 – 8 – 3, earning a respectable 29 of their 57 points on the season away from the ACC. James Reimer recorded his fourth shutout and 19th win in only his 33rd start of the season. Phil Kessel scored three goals in the two games to leap into sixth in the league in scoring with 51 points.
Are you ready for the most uplifting (small sample size) Four for Friday yet?
It was a bit of an eventful weekend with the CBA Memo of Understanding signed, Burke getting off his parting shots, Nonis making his big splash with the signing of Mike Mottau, and we finally have a schedule for the season (Full Schedule can be found here.)
Former NFL coach Buddy Ryan once famously said, ‘If you listen to the fans, you’ll be sitting up there with them.’
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, it means that, as a GM or coach of a pro franchise, your job is to do what is best for the team regardless of what the fans believe. Thus, when a person is commenting on the Leafs and says, “Toronto isn’t patient enough to let the Leafs rebuild,” I can’t help but wonder what the hell they are talking about, and why it would even matter.
MapleLeafs.com will be live streaming the Leafs’ practice at 2 p.m. this afternoon.
Five games against Montreal and Ottawa (3 at home vs. Montreal, 3 away vs. Ottawa), four against Boston and Buffalo, and three games against each of the other 10 inner-Conference, non-divisional opponents.
The NHLPA has ratified the new CBA, now the NHL and NHLPA will sign off on the pre-CBA document known as a Memorandum of Understanding. Two hours after the ink is dry on the MOU, player signings and trades can begin in preparation for the new season.
For the Leafs’ part, they are expected to announce the signing of defenceman Cody Franson to a one-year deal for a shade over a $1 million: A cheap one-year re-up to bring the right-hander back from Sweden in time for camp and have him compete for the spot vacated by Luke Schenn. Failing Franson’s ability to crack the lineup, this is still a win as the Leafs retain possession of a tradable asset.
In a Leaf era fraught with frustration and mistrust, nobody brought forth these feelings in fans more than Luke Schenn over the past couple years. After what many would call a promising start, Schenn’s career became known more for blunders than smart defensive plays. Though I have written on how Schenn’s stats seem to indicate underlying problems in his defensive game, I will admit that the goalies in Toronto have made everyone look bad lately. Brian Burke eventually saw what the fans saw in Schenn, trading him for James van Riemsdyk, another young player who had been somewhat soured in management (though that was due to injuries).
Will there be a 2012-13 season? Probably not. Will I do a ‘What to Expect’ for van Riemsdyk anyway? Absolutely. Come with me on a journey down the rabbit hole of advanced statistics.
When Brian Burke took over the GM job in Toronto, there was nothing but talk about building from the net out. A defence first philosophy is a valid one, though recent Stanley Cup winners have shed light on the benefits of fast offence. Ultimately, Burke’s initial plan was sidetracked by players like Mike Komisarek and Colby Armstrong. It should therefore have come as little surprise to see Burke dip back into the defensive forward game, snagging Jay McClement for an AAV of $1.5 million.
McClement comes with more defensive pedigree than Colby Armstrong ever did. Avalanche fans were noticeably upset with his departure. In anticipation of the (hopefully) upcoming Maple Leafs training camp, I’ve decided to delve into the depths of McClement’s stats in order to properly gauge expectations for the (hopeful) 2012/13 season.
Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images
It seems like a fruitless endeavor to make full season predictions with the uncertainty of when the actual season does begin.
Regardless, here we are. Under ideal circumstances, the season would start as per the current schedule and should both parties salvage a full season, we need to be ready.
Every summer we get the McKeen’s Hockey Yearbook together and about this time, I’m usually done with Leafs predictions.
It’s a summer tradition to post Leafs predictions here, and I wanted to continue the custom.