I took in what felt like a one-point win last night at the ACC. I of little faith was thinking “blow out” after the bang-bang goals in the first, but there seems to be something different about this team (visible in the Bruins game as well). They didn’t slip silently into the night, and by the end of it you had the feeling Crosby, Malkin and co. snuck away, or limped away, with the extra point.
I’ll ignore the awful first period from the Leafs - and how deeply underwater the first line was in its head to head with Crosby’s line, or how off Reimer was for the first 20 - because in many ways the fight back was just that good. Reimer played one of his poorer periods of the season in period 1, but his overall performance matched the trajectory of the rest of the team - started slow, but without him the Leafs don’t get the point. [more…]
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.
Last night's 5-4 nail-biting win over the Sens further fanned the fires of the current "debate" on the role of fighting in the Leafs' mid-season [more…]
For reasons beyond my comprehension, the two-year contract extension handed out to 25-year-old Korbinian Holzer yesterday generated reactions beyond "oh, alright" on Twitter.
Unless you're [more…]
No games for three days makes for very little in Maple Leafs land development. There’s Komisarek’s laughable trade request, there’s Frattin’s potential return to the lineup this week, and there’s still the question of why isn’t Gardiner on the Maple Leafs, but for the most part all of it is nothing more than a waiting game. Instead, I’m going to look at the most basic of stats (goals and assists) and how the first line forwards are doing in those categories. [more…]
I hope everyone will be taking the opportunity to do something with their families, spouses or significant others on this unfortunately vacant Saturday night.
Just a few thoughts on the Leafs' recent performance before we get into some links. [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?
Tonight, the Leafs look to move to 3-0 against the Canadiens and in the process take down the current Eastern Conference and Northeast Division leader.The Leafs have handed the Habs two of their only four regulation losses this season.
You have to like how the Leafs have matched up with the Habs so far this season, allowing just one goal in their two meetings, and the thoroughness of the Hockey Day in Canada beatdown has to give the Leafs a mental edge. The Leafs have gotten good goaltending against Montreal and have dominated the key areas of the ice with strong physical and defensive play. On the other hand, the Habs have gone 6-1-1 since the big defeat and are definitely going to be out to prove something after getting embarrassed in just about every way possible by the Leafs in their own barn. [more…]
The always tedious Hockey Night in Canada Hot Stove brought us a worthwhile nugget to examine this weekend, and that’s our first look at the proposed four new conferences that the NHL will be rolling out next season. Earlier in the week, both Darren Dreger and the more reliable Bob MacKenzie hinted that we are only a week or two away from this realignment being finalized, so we can assume this is pretty close to being set in stone: [more…]
If I reported back from the future after the Leafs' first 17 games and told you before the season started:
Joffrey Lupul has been out injured since game three, Jake Gardiner has only played two games and is in the minors, Phil Kessel went on a 10-game goalless drought to start the season, Dion Phaneuf recorded only one assist and no goals in his first 11 games, James Reimer has been out injured for several games and we haven't acquired Roberto Luongo or any form of goaltending help, our only player acquisition since the lockout ended is Frazer McLaren, Colton Orr has been playing on the third line the past few games, and John-Michael Liles has been a healthy scratch while Korbinian Holzer, Mike Kostka and Mark Fraser are playing significant minutes on the backend... [more…]
One of the more interesting, borderline meaningless stats associated with the Maple Leafs at the moment is their league-leading hit count despite the subtraction of Luke Schenn’s ~270 “hits” (not that Schenn wasn’t physical, but pity the ACC stat recorder who decided his patented three-step push counted as one). Through 16 games in 2013, the Leafs lead the league, ahead of the Flyers and Rangers, with 454 hits. [more…]
The month’s half over, and after Monday’s game, the season is a third over. The Leafs are sitting three games over .500, holding 6th place in the East, and are currently on pace for 58 points (rounded up from 57.6) in a season where many prognosticators have considered 54 the magic number for making the post season.
So far, the Leafs are sitting pretty despite now being without Reimer, Gunnarsson, Frattin and Lupul. The Leafs have benefited from a friendly schedule. The average 2011-12 point total of their opposition has be 91, which averages out to facing a bubble team every night. This also doesn't account for the dramatic drop off in teams like Washington, Philadelphia, and now Ottawa. Compare that to the average of 95 points in March and the average of 94 in April and it makes sense that the Leafs are coming out of the gates strong. [more…]