MLHS Notebook

MLHS Notebook

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

918

Right now is the easiest possible time to dump on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brian Burke, Phil Kessel and anyone associated with the organization in general. Call me crazy, but there are a ton of reasons to be happy moving forward. The fact is, when Brian Burke came to Toronto, the Leafs were a terrible team (roster here. In comparison, here is the Nashville Predators EXPANSION roster) . Some may argue they still are, and that may or may not be valid. But let’s look at what Burke started with compared to where they are now before we conclude his tenure has...

683

Going to cut right to it this week. This was a hard Leafs Notebook to write. Where to start? Talk about why Wilson failed? What's good about Carlyle? How they actually played this week? How about the trade deadline? There was a lot that happened in a short period of time, so I broke it up accordingly: There is a chart on the teams who finished seventh and eighth since the lockout, that I highly recommend you explore, then I talk a bit about what went wrong for Wilson at the end of his tenure, draw some comparisons between he and Carlyle,...

1271

Hockey is not a sport without its politics. If there's one thing HBO's 24/7 has briefly shown its viewers, it's that there is a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that affect roster decisions, play, signings and so on that a lot of the times we generally never find out about. On that note, simply judging a roster decision, a player choice, a line combination and one single game is nearly the equivalent of judging the entirety of an iceberg, just by simply looking at what you can see above water. As many of you know, there's...

1058

Funny how a week changes everything. This time last Monday, the Leafs were coming off handling Ottawa easily and two very good efforts against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They took it to two teams who are in the same playoff clout as them and fared very well. Fast forward to the present moment and they beat a bad Edmonton team, lost to the Jets in Winnipeg, the Flyers in Philadelphia and then at home to the Montreal Canadiens on Mats Sundin night... so naturally, they suck now. The truth is though, they are essentially right where we thought they would be all along:...

910

It's a week of celebration, but it has nothing to do with the current Leafs team. Mats Sundin is back, and this is the week to remember him. This upcoming Saturday the all-time leader in points for the Toronto Maple Leafs is deservedly having his number raised to the rafters. Surprisingly, there are mixed feelings on Mats in Toronto, but when it comes right down to it he gave everything to this team on the ice and that's all that matters. You know the numbers by now, you know the playoff runs, the overtime goals, the consistency; but above all that,...

603

Harry Sinden, the great Boston Bruins GM, once had an interesting quote about the job of being a General Manager and what it's all about. Said Harry: "I think the bottom line is pretty simple, who can play and who can't play. That's the bottom line. That is the fundamental job of the GM. Most GMs, if they didn't have to make that call, could do it, because administratively, it's . There is a little more involvement because you have to plan how you're going to field the team, make such things as a salary cap work, but that's...

524

If there's a theme to this weeks Leafs Notebook, it is going to be two things: toughness and desperation. You can have all the talent in the world, but at this time of the season if you aren't playing tough, desperate hockey, you won't be going anywhere except the golf course. So to talk about toughness, to talk about desperation, we're going to go back to last season first. When the Leafs went on their run to attempt to make the playoffs we saw a lot of things on display from that group and toughness and desperation were two of them. Whether...

1584

Amid all the trade rumours swirling around the Toronto Maple Leafs, I think we're looking at this all in the wrong way. The Leafs have been linked to some big ticket names this year (Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, Eric Staal, Rick Nash, etc.) and the thing is, they actually have the players to make that deal should they be so inclined - even if that means overpaying. Before when a player of that ability became available, the Leafs did not have the proper assets to pull off such an acquisition. Now, they could win a bidding war should they really want...

625

Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images Forty one down, forty one to go; the Leafs have shown a lot so far this season but now is when we really begin to see how far they have come. There used to be a substantial difference between the top teams in the league and everyone else within the standings. Crunch time in the season would begin with around 20 games left in the season. Not anymore. There is too much parity, too many points on the line, and one bad week could bring you from contender to pretender status at the snap of your fingers. From here...

229

Happy holidays, everyone! In light of the holidays, it seemed like a good time to thank everyone for the warm reception I've received since I began writing here. Half way through writing the first Leafs Notebook I ever drafted for MLHS, I remember apprehensively wondering how would it be received and if I would get ripped apart, but you guys have been great. I enjoy the conversation and for those of you who don't comment, I appreciate the time you put in to read it. Due to being out of country I won't be writing the Leafs Notebook next week, and...

439

Last season Brian Burke boldly stood in front of the media after trading Tomas Kaberle and made it clear, “Getting into the playoffs by the skin of your teeth and getting your ass kicked in the first round is not my idea of building a championship team here.” A little under a year later and 32 games into the next season, it's fair to begin evaluating whether the Leafs are playing hockey that would make them competitive in the playoffs or if they're doing just enough to make it and subsequently get their "ass kicked in the first round." At...

312

NHL realignment, more Burke & Wilson vs. Cox & Simmons, new owners and, oh yeah, the Leafs played some hockey games, too. Quite the week and a lot to discuss, so we'll get right to it. The most important thing to happen this week, believe it or not, was not the new ownership change, it was NHL realignment. The Leafs will of course be playing the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning six times a year now, each. They already play four of these teams six times a year, but now they're adding 12...

419

If the Toronto Maple Leafs ownership group was one person, it would be pretty safe to say that win or lose, that one person is not losing any sleep over it at night. I'm okay with that. And you should be, too. Full disclosure is necessary, and that's to say the John Ferguson Jr. hiring was terrible. There is no hiding behind that, and it is far and away the worst decision MLSE has ever made. To their credit though, they turned it around and signed one of the premier General Managers in the NHL to follow that up, Brian Burke. Whether...

780

Something very interesting is unfolding with the Toronto Maple Leafs and it has nothing to do with anything they've done on the ice, or any of their players for that matter. On November 19th, Brian Burke joined his friend and co-worker Ron Wilson by entering the Twitter world. They then proceeded to have a now-notorious exchange with Sun reporter Steve Simmons. The interesting thing here is not the exchange - that was immature, pitiful, funny, take your pick - what's intriguing is the new dynamic Twitter is creating and the paradigm shift that is beginning to take place. Now, I should...

885

Phil Kessel is tired of losing, that much is clear. In layman's terms, there are two types of hockey players: Those who love to win and those who hate to lose. It took Kessel some time, but he's become the second one. Justin Bourne, who now runs The Score's blog "Backhand Shelf," discussed this concept last season over at Puck Daddy (view here). In it he says, "Here's the difference: It's like putting a cupcake between a chubby kid from a mansion on the hill, and some wiry starving kid from the streets. They both want the cupcake. But our portly friend...

609

Everyone collectively take a deep breath, and hold it.. ....Hold it a little longer... .. Now, exhale. You can relax, there is no need to panic. The Leafs are 17 games into the season, they are 10-6-1 and they've hit a rough patch. Nobody thought this team was going to play great all season, did they? Yes, there are many troubling signs (which I'll get to), but there are also a ton of positives (which we'll look at first). All the Leafs have managed to do at this point - and it isn't much - is not blow their playoff chances. They've built up...

146

Happy Halloween, everyone! Quite a four games of hockey for the Leafs. I said last week that I would be interested to see how the Leafs did against some formidable competition and they finished 2-2-0 on the week. That's not bad at all but there's certainly room for improvement. There were a lot of positives from this week (that have probably been lost in translation considering the Leafs lost Sunday night) to go along with some glaring negatives too. Let's take a look at some of the things that have been going on. - Since it's fresh in everyone's mind, we'll...

298

I wasn't really sure how to start my first post here at MLHS as half of me wanted to completely introduce myself, and the other half wanted me to just get right into my first article. I guess I'll settle somewhere in between.I've been doing my own blog for quite some time (called the Leafs Dressing Room) and Alec saw it and approached me about writing here. First and foremost, that's really humbling. Secondly, I think this site constantly pumps out quality work and has great readership. I enjoy reading the articles here as much as I do the...