The Toronto Maple Leafs have exited the 2013/2014 season in a slow death spiral, as opposed to the surprising, gut wrenching exit of the 2012/2013 season.
Ardent followers of the team will not find this surprising; the team has some glaring holes, particularly up the middle with one of the weakest center groups in the league, and a steep fall off after Dion Phaneuf in terms of two way defenseman able to defend against top competition. This on top of Dion Phaneuf playing the worst hockey of his Maple Leaf career, and possibly of his NHL career.
Dave Nonis is going...
The Boston Bruins lost their first game in regulation since March 1st last night (17 games), and of course it was to a team the Leafs needed to have lose in the Detroit Red Wings. The Leafs only hope at this point is winning all of their remaining five and Columbus taking eight or less points out of their remaining 14 (they will not be able to win any tiebreak scenario given the ROW difference).
The Bruins come to town tonight in a back to back situation for them and an (absolute)must-win game for the Leafs. Columbus is in Philadelphia...
The Toronto Maple Leafs (4-6-0) take on the New Jersey Devils (4-6-0) (7pm; RDS2, LEAFS TV). Preview coming up shortly, and also a piece from Petrielli on Leiweke.
REMINDER: It's a Game and These are People
Game Review: Game #72, Canadiens 4 at Leafs 3
Maple Leafs Hot Stove
Gameday: Maple Leafs at Devils
Maple Leafs penthouse-doghouse: Lupul shines, JVR goofs up
Mirtle: Opportunistic Habs deal Leafs playoff hopes serious blow
Canadiens defencemen P.K. Subban the new Alfie for Leafs fans
Maple Leafs desperately need Bernier back
Dave Bolland getting back up to speed after long injury layoff
Defensive deficiencies cost Leafs again in...
Does it get any better? The Hockey Mecca and the also-ran do battle on Hockey Night in Canada. Toronto could have a full line up for the first time this year if Bernier and Bolland dress.
As far as big games go, this is a biggy. If you can't get up for the Montreal Canadiens, in your barn, on a Saturday Night on Hockey Night In Canada, I think you need to find a different team to play for.
The playoff implications also make this an extremely important game for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs looked like they were...
Marlies Lose 60 Minute Brawl In Cleveland
Leafs hope Nazem Kadri’s line ready to pick up the (scoring) pace
Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs: Saturday NHL game preview
Luke Schenn’s path a cautionary tale for Leafs’ Morgan Rielly
Maple Leafs, Raptors season ticket prices to increase, but so will options
Maple Leafs hope Dion Phaneuf can play Saturday against Flyers
Maple Leafs going with a new look for their ice crew
Gameday: Flyers at Maple Leafs
Work by Leafs' scouts is wasted
Leafs’ Tyler Bozak quieting critics with career year
Craig Berube previews the Leafs/Flyers tilt tonight on HNIC.
Here's your breakdown of last night's results (highlights in the right sidebar):
Montreal - LOST
Tampa Bay - LOST
Washington - LOST
Columbus - LOST
Detroit - LOST in OT
One point out of a possible ten was garnered by the Leafs' closest competitors in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
If we perform the simple, time-saving exercise of calculating the playoff cut-off line via the points pace of the current last-seeded wildcard team, the magic number is 91. 18 games remain, so .500 hockey likely ensures a berth with 92 points.
That's if your sights are set low, of course. With the recent downturn of the Tampa...
21 days off felt as long as it sounds, but the Maple Leafs' 2013-14 regular season will begin rounding its final corner tonight in New York.
From the sounds of it, the Maple Leafs, after all the time off, may end up with the same lineup they left off with, more or less, tonight against the Isles. That could include Nikolai Kulemin at center along with Mason Raymond and Troy Bodie on line three, the usual top line and Lupul - Kadri - Clarkson on L2. Dave Bolland doesn't sound ready to go just yet, but Trevor Smith is available...
Some Leafs news making the rounds last night as it pertains to Dave Bolland's contract situation: Darren Dreger floated a five million dollar asking price on TSN's Insider Trading.
Don’t get too caught up on “rumoured asking prices,” because they're often inexact to put it mildly (Dreger reported $6+ million on David Clarkson a day or two before free agency). More than anything, it has to be a wait and see approach with Bolland. There’s no reason why the Leafs can’t reevaluate this situation come season’s end, after they’ve seen the aftermath of the injury recovery and after they’ve seen...
Canadian-born Leafs fans will have their loyalties conflicted this Friday afternoon when Team USA takes on Team Canada in the Olympic semifinals. On one hand we have Team Canada’s gold medal hopes, on the other we have Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk scoring on Carey Price. Hmmm.
The thrilling nature of the one-off elimination format is that, regardless of how each team got here, it’s going to be decided by one 60-minute game between two amazing rosters. Certainly the USA has looked more convincing; no one has been able to quiet them as the Finns and Latvians managed to...
Just 17 days until the next Leafs game.
A group of Leafs will be featured on tonight's MasterChef Canada episode.
Why NHL coaches are worried about a Sochi hangover
Randy Carlyle doesn’t have fond memories of the aftermath of the 2010 Olympics.
Nazem Kadri didn't wait long to escape Toronto's winter from hell.
Ten reasons why the Maple Leafs just might be contender sin the Eastern Conference…
From Michael Langlois at VLM.
Olympic Men's Hockey Schedule
Here are the game listings in Eastern Standard Time.
The Canadian women take on the Finns this morning
10 a.m. EST on CBC.
Amanda Kessel ready to take women's hockey to the next level
The Maple Leafs are looking for a bounce back performance in Tampa tonight. After all, these good men deserve better:
“Not much fun in Stalingrad, no” RT @LD10: Leafs dads not happy pic.twitter.com/IjWmViFJRG
— Chemmy (@felixpotvin) February 5, 2014
Said Joffrey Lupul: "We've had too many things going in the right direction to let one night impact the way we're doing things. Hopefully we bounce back. I suspect we will. As long as you don't let it turn into a snowball effect, I guess you can accept it once in a while -- not accept it, but deal with it once in...
Good game day, Leafs fans! After a day off to bask in the glory of beating Tampa Bay Tuesday night, the Leafs are back in action this evening as they host the Florida Panthers. Looking at the bottom 3 teams in the East: the Leafs already lost to these Panthers in December, they're 1-1 against the Islanders, and the Sabres took six points out of five meetings with the Leafs. There has been no such thing as an easy out for the Leafs this season and as such there should be no reason to take this Panther team lightly....
Good (victorious) morning, MLHS.
I’m still pretty excited about that second Kadri goal last night (he called it maybe the nicest he's ever scored). His ninth point in his last seven games, it was a culmination of a good 200-foot sequence by the centerman: Kadri won the defensive zone draw before the puck worked its way around to Kulemin on the far wall. Kadri supported puck, dug it out, handed it off to Gunnarsson, and took off up the ice. Gunnarsson laid in a soft chip into a retrievable area down the left side for Lupul, who found Kadri, as...
Tonight, the Leafs will host one of the surprise teams in the League this season in the 31-16-5 Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite the loss of Stamkos after his 14-goals-in-17-games start, their reliance on the emergence of an inexperienced netminder and a supporting cast with quite a bit of rookie content, it's all come up aces for Jon Cooper, who is a serious Jack Adams candidate through 52 games.
Ben Bishop's numbers are jaw dropping, with a 26-6-4 record and a .934 save percentage. The decision to buy out Lecavalier and hand the captaincy to St. Louis, the Bishop for Conacher...
The Maple Leafs have four games against the Panthers and Lightning coming up in the next two weeks, along with games against Canadian rivals Ottawa and Vancouver, in a six game in 12 days stretch. From there GM Dave Nonis will have three weeks to consider the state of the team during the Olympic break, after which the team will play just three games before the March 5 trade deadline. Interesting decisions lie ahead.
Petrielli's Notebook will arrive in time to consume your entire afternoon. Until then, some links...
A compilation of Kessel's 27 goals so far this season
A lot more...
The Leafs made a minor league deal last night, sending Andrew Crescenzi to the LA Kings affiliate in Manchester in exchange for Brandon Kozun. Crescenzi was an undrafted rookie camp invitee who brought size and had played well enough to earn a contract with the organization, but he was a low-scoring defensively oriented centre. Kozun is a smaller offensively inclined winger, that will - worst case scenario - improve a Marlies attack with just two forwards on the roster with ten goals. Hard to declare a deal of this magnitude a win, but it also provides some SPC flexibility...
Tyler Bozak is Toronto's first line center. For now and the foreseeable future, Bozak has a stranglehold on a very enviable position between James Van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel. While Bozak has occupied a similar spot in the past, Nazem Kadri's emergence last season and Bozak's own untimely injuries had set the stage for a tantalizing possibility - the seemingly natural progression of Toronto's most talented center (Kadri) into a role on the first line.
Unfortunately, it didn't work out quite like we envisioned. When both Bozak and Bolland were out of the lineup, Randy Carlyle's hand was forced. He...
Back to work for the Leafs tonight, as they will hit the half way point of the season against Buffalo and Carolina this weekend (Friday/Sunday, with a rare Saturday off) before heading to the Big House for the Winter Classic on New Years Day.
By virtue of the collective ass beating the Eastern Conference has been handed at the hands of the stronger West, an 86-point pace somehow has the Leafs clinging to a spot on the right side of playoff cutoff mark. Many of the inter Conference matchups are behind us now and the points pace must pick up...
Team Canada has effectively named their roster for the World Junior Championships to take place in Malmo Sweden starting on Boxing Day. Having had a little bit of time to digest their decisions from a Leafs perspective, here are some of my thoughts.
No Matt Finn
The biggest surprise on Team Canada's roster from a Leafs perspective is Matt Finn's omission. Finn is an all-situations defenseman whose biggest weakness in his game is probably his physicality -- an element which is considerably less important on International ice. I'm surprised he didn't make the team (almost as surprised as I was when I heard Nurse...
The Leafs pulled out a win in the shootout Saturday over Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals to move to 14-8-1 on the season, good enough for second place in the Atlantic division. Sitting three points back of the Boston Bruins and in a tie with Tampa (Leafs ahead on goal differential tie-breaker), this week is an important one for the Leafs as they approach a real tough stretch of games in early December. This week sees Columbus in town Monday, Wednesday at Pittsburgh, and closing with a back-to-back in Buffalo and Montreal, Friday and Saturday respectively.
Pulling points out...