Opinion

Opinion

571

Merry Hockeymas, MLHS. In keeping with opening-day tradition, our bloggers have put their neck out predicting where the Leafs will finish come April. Submit your predictions in the comments. Alec Brownscombe Predicted Finish:  Final wildcard spot I’m most hopeful about improvements on the backend and system changes. Jake Gardiner is in for a big season – over the full year this time - and Morgan Rielly strikes me as a special breed who is going to just keep on improving without a hitch in the road (not going to be a top pair defenceman this season, like he will be eventually, but he...

527

Cody Franson and the Toronto Maple Leafs avoided salary arbitration yesterday by agreeing to a final-hour, one-year, $3.3 million pact. The question now is whether Franson will be a Leaf or donning another team's sweater on opening night of the 2014-15 season. Here's both sides of the argument, as best I see it: PROS: - The most convincing argument for moving Franson: His value, as a UFA to be on July 1, 2015, is likely to to decline by the game unless he has a really big season or something unforeseen. If the Leafs don’t think they can get a deal done...

Morgan Rielly

176

A warm welcome to new writer, Luka Ryder-Bunting, who looks at improvements to be made with the Toronto Maple Leafs' Power Play The Toronto Maple Leafs’ power play interested me this year. The power play was by no means a downfall of the Leafs this season, ranking 6th in the league with a 19.8% success rate. That being said, every franchise should be looking to improve themselves in any way possible, and there is definite improvement to be made on the Leafs man advantage. Much of the coaching staffs’ decision-making seemed odd to me this season regarding player usage. Carlyle seemed reluctant...

2839

Well, folks, there we have it. Another bizarre chapter in Leafs history was penned today as it was officially announced Randy Carlyle is staying on a Leafs head coach despite all basic logic suggesting otherwise. And he’s not only staying, but receiving the vote of confidence and financial reward of a two-year contract extension for his accomplishments presence behind the bench. You can’t make this stuff up. Taking the fall, at least among the non-player personnel, are the remaining holdovers from the Ron Wilson era, assistant coaches Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin, as well as Carlyle hire Dave Farrish. In their...

Randy Carlyle

1139

Fans and media are calling for Randy Carlyle's head and it looks as if he is as good as gone as Coach. Vote for your replacement in the poll below. Not there? Drop it in the comments.

988

Have the goal posts started to shift? Listen here: Dave Nonis on expectations going into the season. http://t.co/yuvFq7sbBh #Leafs #TMLtalk— Maple Leafs HotStove (@LeafsNews) April 1, 2014 VS. Listen to TSN 1050: TSN Drive: March 31st - Darren Dreger’ by MLHS on #SoundCloud. https://t.co/W6vKQLVr7o— Maple Leafs HotStove (@LeafsNews) April 1, 2014 For those that didn't want to listen through the full Dreger segment, here's a quote: "Nonis told the board that there could be another tough year or two ahead." Now, this is either intentional PR face saving (i.e.  spin courtesy of the ‘cous) or at best Dreger malarkey. The simplest example: Does Nonis sign...

929

Having gone through a long and painful rebuild, the Toronto Maple Leafs now find themselves right smack in the middle of a critical time in their development as an organization.  With legitimate core pieces finally in place, it's up to management now to make the proper decisions to take this team from a middling group capable of making the playoffs annually to a powerhouse perennial contender. With that in mind, is locking up Dave Bolland the right move for this organization? Long Term Contracts and Contention Consider this: The Leafs have five forwards already signed to big money deals until at least 2017-2018....

726

Nazem Kadri will attend a hearing with league discipline czar Brendan Shanahan this afternoon. The hearing is reportedly about the collision with goaltender Niklas Backstrom. It's not clear as of yet if this indicates the League has reviewed Kadri's hit on Mikael Granlund and found no supplemental discipline is needed. When the League looks back at the tape, I think, or hope, they will find that the Granlund hit looked and sounded worse in real time than it was when scrutinizing the slow motion replay. The match penalty that saw the Leafs serve a five-minute penalty, and Kadri being ejected...

739

Bear with me and read through this. I know it is a topic that has been beaten to death, but I would like to add another perspective. Some of you have probably noticed that my Twitter feed and recent postings have had some form of hockey analytics mentioned. A part of that reason is that I wanted to share a different perspective on my feed as well as chronicling my growing interest in the puck possession trend. But the main reason is because I have finally filtered out the negative personalities behind some of the metrics and...

176

On Friday morning, I took some shots at a particular writer at the PPP community that were misinterpreted. I will be taking the time to make some clarifications here. The scoring chance tangent of my previous post had everything to do with Greg Cronin’s interview last week with Alec Brownscombe. Cronin explicitly stated that he believed that the Leafs were not out-possessed last season and made a mention that the coaching staff tracked scoring chances. I thought the premise was odd given that scoring chances are generated via shots – more shots, more scoring chances. Unfortunately, we only have one...

473

So I wanted to try and bridge the many events of the Leafs off-season into a giant post – unfortunately, after I get one of the topics off my chest, I am probably going to wing this (sorry Alec). I haven’t had the time to really break down my own thoughts because my summer has been all about being as lazy as I could possibly be – I’m a little surprised that I haven’t gone a day without taking a shower yet. So I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, getting sun, and trying out new beer. Scoring...

307

Anyone that follows me on twitter or that has read any of my pieces here at MLHS knows that I enjoy using possession statistics alongside production statistics to examine and evaluate players. After recent events, like Lupul’s tweets and Alec’s interview with Greg Cronin, that have stirred up the tension between those that use these statistics and those that don’t, I thought I’d dig into why the use of statistics should be embraced. A few common responses that I’m seeing to the use of statistics in general, but especially possession statistics, are “watch the game, statistics don’t tell you everything,”...

1414

Well, it’s been a wild ride on twitter for the past few days. If you follow the hockey analytics crowd on twitter you probably know what I’m talking about, though for those of you that don’t, let me fill you in. I think the best place to start is the beginning of this recent road and it’s a bit of a bumpy ride so buckle up. As I’m sure many, if not all, of you know, on Thursday afternoon the Leafs placed Grabovski on waivers for the purpose of buying him out. I think it’s pretty safe to say that...

1415

It's days like these where you miss Brian Burke. The straight-shooting, loyalist ex-GM of the Leafs had his faults (eg. being too loyal), but impatience was never one of them. The buyout of Mikhail Grabovski, one year into a recently signed contract reeks of shortsightedness and impulsiveness on the part of Leafs management. Admittedly, we cannot judge this move until the full extent of Dave Nonis's plans are revealed. However, we do know that the free agent center options still remaining are limited at best.  Names such as Bozak and Weiss do not  represent an upgrade on either end of...

616

So today, a trade happened. I don’t want to delve too deeply into a breakdown of the trade – mostly because I think this is a topic on its own and you can find what you need elsewhere. Instead, I’m going to focus on the mindset of Leafs management, what this means for James Reimer, as well as the potential Jonathan Bernier carries. I left a semi-large post of my thoughts on the trade in the comment section, but I’m going to expand on it here. The initial thoughts: One prevailing thought I have is that much of...

301

It must almost be the offseason, because NHL Awards have once again caused a stir regarding the voting structure and overall legitimacy of the accolades.  Nowhere is this more apparent than with the Norris Trophy, where the Montreal Canadiens’ PK Subban won out by a hair over Minnesota Wild’s Ryan Suter.  He did so despite the words, “awarded to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position” right on the darn trophy.  Alas, with the results of the past two seasons, the statement about ‘all-around ability’ is looking demonstrably untrue for Norris...

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...

443

Meh. I wanted to avoid getting involved in what is turning out to be a pretty telling philosophical disconnect between some at PPP and MLHS. However, I just can’t let this post slide. Steve Burtch is quite a smart guy. He’s full of ideas, loves to write, and the passion in his work is both amusing in its audacity and engaging with its enormous depth of information. His SDI research raised some good discussion points that perhaps we, as both hardcore and voracious hockey fans, could stand to know more about the evolving role of a shutdown defenseman...

437

The Toronto Maple Leafs face playoff elimination tonight, but have dug their heels in against the Boston Bruins and have “done a lot of good things” in the series according to Randy Carlyle.  From the perpetually unimpressed man who guided the team to a horrid crash and lottery finish and a playoff berth in less than 82 games, I’d call that high praise. With the Buds backs against the wall, here’s four thoughts ahead of the biggest game in the longest time. There must be 50 ways to lose in five If I might briefly eulogize the Montreal Canadiens 2013 season, they...

452

After last night there is no shortage of critics jumping on the uselessness of the likes of Mark Fraser, Mike Kostka, Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren and by extension the coach who continues to deploy them in his lineup. To varying degrees I have been frustrated with all of them at points throughout the season. The fact of the matter is that toughness did play an appreciable role in the Leafs success over the 48-game haul. Let’s forget facepunching for today. Without James Reimer there’s no Leafs playoffs, but without a simplification of the defensive game, an emphasis on winning...