MLHS Notebook

MLHS Notebook

Since 2011, Anthony Petrielli has been providing his weekly long-form breakdown of the Toronto Maple Leafs' games.

1214

It seems like the Jake Gardiner talk just won’t go away, even though an immediate trade seems extremely unlikely. Elliotte Friedman got the ball rolling on Gardiner rumours early last week in his 30 Thoughts piece, where he wrote: 19. I see Carlyle. I see Jake Gardiner. I hear what they say about each other and think, "Well, 50 per cent of all marriages do end in divorce." On the weekend, the Satellite Hotstove panel discussed how the Leafs were open to listening to offers for Jake Gardiner. Of course, that blew things out of proportion. Here are some of the things we...

331

Only three teams in the preseason had more points than the Leafs (Boston, Washington, Dallas), and you know what’s the best part about that? Nobody really cares. It was only a few years ago that some kids named Bozak, Stalberg, Kadri, and Gustavsson wowed Leafs Nation with a strong preseason and had fans thinking “hey, maybe this team is better than we thought.” We all know how that ended. This preseason though, nobody has really bothered to drum up the Leafs results or tout it as some big accomplishment and momentum boost heading into the season. Maybe it’s because the Clarkson...

636

There are so many different angles to consider when looking at last night's Leafs-Sabres brawl. Where to start? Perhaps the best place is the shift before, when Jamie Devane and Corey Tropp mixed it up with the end result being a predictable Devane win considering the size advantage. The faceoff before they fought, Tropp was clearly asking Devane to go the entire time. By the time the puck dropped, he still kept at it before the big Leaf eventually obliged. I can’t tell you whether it’s right or wrong for Devane to fight a guy in that situation, but if...

279

The Leafs announced the resigning of Colton Orr and Drew MacIntyre yesterday. Orr played 44 of 48 regular season games with the Leafs before dressing for all seven playoffs games. For his efforts, he’s getting a 2-year deal worth 1.85M total. His 925K salary is the most you can make while still being able to be buried if waived and sent to the AHL under the new CBA. This past season Orr led the league in penalty minutes and was second in fighting majors. According to hockeyfights.com’s ratings, he won nine of those 14 fights. Of the players who finished top...

1017

Even though the Leafs haven’t played a hockey game in weeks and the Stanley Cup Finals are about to begin, there is no shortage of storylines surrounding the team right now. Let's get to them. Losing Eakins After four years in which Dallas Eakins served as an assistant coach for the Leafs and Marlies, and after a year as the Leafs director of player development, Eakins became head coach of the Marlies in August of 2009. He took a team that finished with 90 points and lost out in the first round of the playoffs to last place in their division...

1098

We aren’t in the dog-days of summer yet, but in terms of Leafs content things are in a lull until the draft and free agency. With that in mind, I answered some of your questions: Daniel Marois: As a guess, what type of player do you feel the Leafs would want to jump into the top-10 for? If someone like Valeri Nichushkin slips outside to just outside the top-10, would it be worth it to jump up about 10 spots to get him? I am still banking on Toronto targeting Max Domi and seeing how far he slips. If someone...

317

We’re going seven. How many Leafs fans would have gladly accepted a one-game winner takes all scenario for the Leafs at the start of this series? That’s where Toronto finds itself today. Few people gave the Leafs a serious chance to beat Boston, but here we are. After falling behind in the series 3-1 following a heartbreaking game 4 loss in overtime, the Leafs have battled back to tie up the series. Both teams started the game off tentatively as there were only 15 shots on net by the Leafs and Bruins combined after one period. Toronto started to pick it up...

343

If you have been following along with my Notebooks since the playoffs started, you’ll know that I’ve continually asked if James Reimer was going to steal the Leafs a game at some point in this series. Well, he’s officially stolen one. Reimer ended up with 43 saves last night, helpeing the Leafs stave off elimination after the Bruins turned it on and launched 19 shots at him in the third period. He had two saves in particular – the toe save on Bergeron, and the knob save on Jagr — that were ten bellers. Reimer has played pretty well this...

380

No matter what happens in the rest of the series, this much is clear: The Leafs have closed the gap on the Boston Bruins. Are they equal to or better than Boston? Probably not. But compared to where the Leafs were last year against Boston, this is a dramatic improvement. Last season the Leafs weren’t even in Boston’s stratosphere. Every game was embarrassing in every way possible - the scoreline, the physicality, the intimidation, the goalies, you name it. Even if Boston does end up winning this series in 5, there’s no question Toronto has made them work for...

610

If the story of game 2 was the Leafs' excellent line-matching and the great performances from their stars, the story of game 3 was the Leafs shooting themselves in the foot. The simple fact of the matter is that when you make the mistakes the Leafs did, you are rarely going to win a playoff game. Alec already went through all of the goals against this morning so I’m not going bother doing that again. Plus, I think we all know what happened. Other than the first goal, which was the result of a lost faceoff and unfortunate bounce,...

771

Seems nobody told the Leafs this wasn’t supposed to be much of a series. Toronto stole home ice advantage from Boston with a thrilling 4-2 win last night and if the first playoff game back in Toronto didn’t already hold enough intrigue, it's now going to be officially bonkers. Here are some notes and points of discussion from one of the Leafs' best games of the season: - After game 1, I noted Chiarelli's quote about the Leafs being a faster team than Boston and how the Bruins were trying to trap their speed. Well, game 2 had so many great examples...

480

Well, that was a rude awakening wasn’t it? Here we were all were excited and pumped up about playoff hockey… Only to come crashing back to Earth watching the Leafs play like that. After the jump, I'll discuss the main narratives circulating right now and offer my two cents. From there I proceeded to re-watch the game – unfortunately — and have written out some additional notes. I'll wrap up with the biggest questions going into Game 2. *** Narratives: Leafs are inexperienced and not ready for playoff hockey. The Leafs were turning the puck over with regularity up the middle the ice on...

355

Since when do the Leafs do things the easy way, anyways? The truth is the Leafs made their bed on this one. All they had to do was beat Montreal at home on Saturday night to play the Habs and give everyone the series they wanted to see. They laid an egg. Boston blows a two goal lead against Washington and then lets in a late one against Ottawa to lose two games in a row and here we are. I don’t think the Leafs have a better chance at beating Boston than they did Montreal, but I’ll say...

755

The Toronto Maple Leafs are officially in the playoffs. I hope that felt as good to read as it did to write. It has been a long nine years since Jeremy Roenick broke Leafs Nations’ hearts in 2004. The excitement that year was nuts. The Leafs traded for Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch for a bunch of guys nobody knew existed and Toronto was buzzing with Stanley Cup hopes. I remember Leetch’s first game against the Islanders; Leetch had three points and the TV broadcast had this stupid iso-camera on Leetch every time he touched the ice. (Ironic side...

603

I hope to have an article up later in the week, but for now I thought I’d share some notes. - Make it three straight years in which a player other than Phil Kessel has taken Leafs fans by storm as the initial team points leader, and three straight years Kessel ultimately comes out on top and leads the team in scoring. First it was Clarke MacArthur, who came in as a cheap free agent and started off his Leafs tenure with 8 goals in 7 games. He finished the year with 62 points that year; Kessel finished with...

336

Notes - We haven’t discussed the PK nearly enough in this space so I thought now would be a good time to. Last year, I noted the Marlies PK system and how they play a ‘T.’ Essentially, it’s two base defenders down low and then two forwards that play in a straight line and swing back and forth when the puck is around the top of the circle. In other words, it’s a hybrid diamond/box. Last year, the Marlies had the best penalty kill in the league, killing off 88.1%, with the second place team coming in at 85.6%. This...

215

The Leafs are all but set to make the playoffs for the first time in nine years, yet there is an inordinate amount of vitriol being directed at Toronto’s head coach Randy Carlyle, for some reason. Considering pretty well everyone predicted the Leafs not to make the playoffs, it’s pretty funny to see the coach leading a surprising playoff appearance - and a team that's currently fifth in the East and 7th in the League - get chastised That’s the Toronto fishbowl for you, though. The main points receiving attention are pretty straightforward: The Leafs dress goons. Often, they dress two at the...

459

After looking at potential trade targets in last week’s preamble, it only makes sense to look at the Leafs potential trading chips for the deadline that's two days away. Around the trade deadline, eyes always gravitate towards pending UFAs and the Leafs currently have five. It’s safe to say UFA to be - Colton Orr, Mike Kostka and Ryan Hamilton - aren’t going to bring Toronto anything via trade so we can cut them off the list of names to discuss. The other two UFAs to be are Tyler Bozak and Clarke MacArthur. For good measure, John Michael Liles has also...

952

‘Tis the season for Leafs trade rumours. Now, I’m not about to dig up every rumour out there on the internet and go through it, but I do want to provide some thoughts on the team, the direction of the organization, and what’s out there before the Leafs do (or don’t) make any moves. Most trade talk when it comes to the Leafs has centered on a veteran goalie for most of the year, with Roberto Luongo and now Miikka Kiprusoff being named most often. Even if we ignore that James Reimer and Ben Scrivens’ respective .918sv% and .915sv%...

889

It’s like déjà vu all over again. And no, I’m not talking about “The Slide.” Last season, the Leafs went into the year with moderately low expectations. Many had hoped the Leafs would be able to squeak into a playoff spot, but few experts and analysts actually predicted them to make it last season. But when the Leafs got off to a hot start last year, led by career seasons from Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, expectations grew for the team quickly and playoff fever started to rise in Toronto. Of course, we all know how the story ended when the Leafs...