So begins the Peter Horachek era in Toronto, right as the Leafs hit the half-way mark of the 2014-15 season.
Fans expecting a miracle cure of the primary faults of the roster will almost certainly be disappointed, but it will be interesting to see, a) if there’s a visible hop in the Leafs’ step after yesterday’s kick in the butt, and b) how some of these new lines look.
The first move appears to be to split Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel up, with Kadri (if he's fit to play, gametime decision) playing alongside Kessel and Winnik on a line that...
The only real surprise is that he made it all the way to 2015.
The same fundamental flaws haunted this Leaf roster despite a fleeting glimpse of progress in the first 10-15 games of the season, when the Leafs were actually playing some even games in terms of shots and possession share. That quickly took a return to the depressingly familiar:
You have to figure players like Carter Ashton and Greg McKegg (the most recent examples among many others) getting inserted into the lineup only to play nothing minutes was a significant part of this, because not only were the results...
Congrats to Team Canada and the Leafs' Frederik Gauthier on winning the gold on home soil.
Anthony Petrielli: On building around Phil Kessel and more in the Leafs Notebook (MLHS)
Bruce Arthur: Team Canada comes of age in world junior golden moment (The Star)
Neate Sager: Canada outlasts Russia 5-4 for gold, ending five-year drought (Buzzing the Net)
Neate Sager: For Slovakia, first bronze medal in 16 years brings indescribable feelings (Buzzing the Net)
IIHF: William Nylander finishes up tied for 4th in 2015 WJC scoring (IIHF.com)
James Mirtle: The Maple Leafs' core is fatally flawed (The Globe and Mail)
Jeff Blair: Have the Maple Leafs...
The Leafs' long road trip came to an end with a bad loss, as Winnipeg thoroughly outplayed them. The first five minutes were a good start for Toronto, but after that things went south, with Winnipeg out-chancing the Leafs 8-1 at ES over the remainder of the period.
Toronto managed to take the lead after a good start to the second, but four minutes later they were behind. They never managed to get back into it, as in the second half of the game they generated only a single ES chance, and Winnipeg blew the game open.
This was one of...
Another embarrassing game for the Toronto Maple Leafs, which makes this countless games this season where you can say that.
In World Juniors action, Sweden takes on Russia at 4pm, Canada takes on Slovakia at 8pm.
Yet another Leaf jersey hits the ice in Winnipeg (CBC)
Leafs Blown Out By Paul Maurice, Injured Jets 5-1 (PPP)
Maple Leafs’ awful road trip ends in loss to Jets (Sportsnet)
Leafs-Jets Postgame w/ Jim Tatti & Jeff O'Neill (TSN)
The banged-up Maple Leafs will look to salvage something out of a back to back after a tough loss to the Minnesota Wild last night.
"They're pretty strong in back-to-backs, the skate well and they can score goals. They don't have to win games or compete in games; they don't have to grind that thing right out, they have enough speed and skill." Winnipeg Jets Head Coach, Paul Maurice speaking about the Maple Leafs The Leafs played a pretty good game considering the circumstances (down two of their top 3 centers), but couldn't muster any even-strength offense. Randy Carlyle's icetime allocation...
The Leafs had a great start to the first game of 2015, as they had the bulk of the chances until a Wild powerplay late in the first.
The Wild were better in the second, and took the lead at the midway point, but Toronto were still right into the game, and the two sides went into the third even in chances at ES. Franson scored a goal early in the third, and it looked like Toronto would have a good shot of at least earning a point. However, Minnesota went back ahead through Spurgeon, and a powerplay goal widened...
The Leafs play their first game of 2015 at the same time as Canada takes on Denmark. After a big win against the Boston Bruins, things took a turn for the worse with Joffrey Lupul being put on IR, Peter Holland going back to Toronto because of injury, and Nazem Kadri now being listed out too. Tyler Bozak had a death in the family and missed practices, but he is in for tonight.
The good news is that Minnesota has not had a strong start to the season and is actually sitting 11th in the 14 team Western Conference after...
Toronto closed out 2014 against the Bruins, one of the closest chasers for the wild cards spot the Leafs are fighting for.
Toronto had a great start, dominating the first period in chances and getting an early lead. That continued at the start of the second, and at the halfway point of the game the Leafs were in command, up 3-1 and holding Boston to 2 ES chances. That didn't last, as the second half of the game was almost a mirror image of the first half. Toronto managed only one chance on the Boston net in the last twenty-eight...
The Bruins rivalry seems to bring the best out of the Leafs, from Randy Carlyle's coaching and matchup strategies to their amped-up physical play; the Leafs employ their speed game well against the Bruins (giving up another two-goal lead aside). Nice result to wrap up 2014 with a welcomed return to the lineup for Uncle Leo.
Happy New Year's, MLHS.
Jonas Siegel: This could be it for the Leafs' core. And they know it (TSN)
James Mirtle: 2014 -- An unforgettable year the Leafs would like to forget (The Globe and Mail)
Jeff Simmons: Leafs' Lupul leaves Wednesday's game with a lower-body injury (Sportsnet)
Happy New Year's, everybody.
Randy Carlyle's favourite top line is back in business for reasons unknown.
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
(16-18-34) - (13-17-30) - (17-22-39) (46G, 103PTS TOT)
Daniel Winnik - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul
(1-13-14) - (11-13-24) - (9-8-17) (21G, 55PTS TOT)
Leo Komarov - Peter Holland - Mike Santorelli
(4-12-16) - (8-7-15) - (8-16-24) (20G, 55PTS TOT)
David Booth - Trevor Smith - David Clarkson
(1-1-2) - (0-2-2) - (9-4-13) (10G, 17PTS TOT)
Dion Phaneuf - Cody Franson
(2-17-19) - (5-17-22) (7G, 41PTS TOT)
Jake Gardiner - Roman Polak
(2-7-9) - (4-2-6) (6G, 15PTS TOT)
Morgan Rielly - Stephane Robidas
This game might come as a shock to fans who decided to pick up Leaf fandom for the first time during the recent 10-1-1 hot streak; a stretch of five losses in six games might even seem like the type of blip that most teams have to play through at some point in the 82-game grind.
For Leafs fans with a memory, it was as predictable as it was depressing to watch. Over the past three seasons, fans and pundits have often wondered who the real Leafs are -- the group that collapses catastrophically or the one that goes on the tantalizing,...