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LeafsLunch: As far as the culture that’s something that’s been talked about today. The way the hockey team plays, what has to change for them to be a more difficult team to play against and basically play better in their own end?
Dave Nonis: Well, I mean you’ve watched us play for a couple years. You know, you never want to just point back to last year but, we by and large had the same personnel this year with a few exceptions but, the bulk of our team was back and if you look at our GF and GA they’re almost inverted from last year. They, we were a much more difficult team to play against uh then we were this year. We were tougher on the puck. We were more committed to playing umm
Dave Nonis: there was more of an identity and more players I would say played a little bit outside their comfort zone. You know players that weren’t necessarily great defensively paid more of a price to be a better defensive player. Ummm, that to me, you know, what needs to change I think a lot of it is committing to what needs to be done. Are there personnel issues? Yes. Of course you can look at changing some personnel but uh it’s more than that. It’s about committing to the system and committing to things that you just don’t want to do.
LeafsLunch: Are you surprised or shocked, you said during the beginning of the season they were getting away things, playing a certain style. That they were getting points they maybe shouldn’t have got but, there wasn’t a change in the structure in the defensive zone as opposed to committing a system that didn’t really work at the end?
Dave Nonis: Well, I think the system works if you execute it. There’s a big difference between a system doesn’t work and not executing i and as a player you know, you start having success and you have a month, month and a half winning hockey games and you have a coach and a coaching staff, or anyone else, media saying “You know what, you’re not going to keep winning like this” the players mindset is different. It’s ” Well, we just won, we just won again, we just won again” and I think that, that once it starts to crumble it’s hard to get that back. It’s hard for them to get back the time they weren’t playing well as a team
Leafs Lunch O’Neill: I know I also hate coaches yelling at me Dave and if he’s telling me to do a certain thing out there and I don’t do it consistently I don’t like the coach yelling at me so I want to change according to him.
Leafs Lunch:That’s what we were talking about a lot especially down the stretch. I mean is it the chicken or the egg. Is it the coach that is responsible to make sure that the players do it or is it the players that are responsible to make sure they do what the coach wants?
Dave Nonis: Well, I think that everyone holds some responsibility. I think if you’re pointing at one person I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of how a team operates. I also think that if you look and ask the players did they felt like they were beaten by the coaching staff ummm I would expect that 90% would say no. You know umm, Mike Babcock is pretty hard on his players uhh I don’t think anyone ion Detroit is arguing with the results. They’ve…there are people that are harder on players than others and some that have a soft way of doing things. The notion that Randy beat the players into submission all the time is not true. It’s just not true. Ummm you know, are there issues of how the players played down the stretch for him? Of course there are but uhh this isn’t a guy that was yelling and screaming and if you look and say this is the new age, the new wave of player that can’t handle it uhhh any kind of pushing or uhh the stick as opposed to the carrot again I wouldn’t look too much further than the Detroit Red Wings to show you that that’s not true. You know he…Mike Babcock is a very difficult coach to play for……
LeafsLunch: Demanding, yeah
Dave Nonis: and they played very hard for him so I don’t buy that
LeafsLunch: A lot has been made of the challenges of the leadership group in the room Is that something that is certainly concerning for you? Is it something that needs to be addressed or is it something that’s being overblown?
Dave Nonis: Uhh I think it needs to be addressed to a point. I think to throw everything on the leadership group it’s very popular uhh but I don’t think it’s uhh a necessarily fair assessment. Uhh I think the leaders on our group, we have a larger group, people look at the captaincy or the guys who wear the ‘A’ as the only guys who have an influence. You know when you have a team that’s fairly young, I think were still the 5th or so in terms of average age you need the group collectively to show some leadership ummm did we fail in that regard down the stretch? I think we could have done a better job but to point the finger directly at certain people I don’t think that’s a fair assessment.
LeafsLunch: Did you get the impression like this team quit down the stretch?
Dave Nonis: No. I don’t think it’s that at all. I think obviously disappointed with our play but I don’t think the players quit. I think that they lost confidence in uhh themselves and more importantly at times they lost confidence in each other and that led to a spin that just couldn’t get out of. uhhh I don’t think they mailed it in. I think there’s a lot of disappointed people uhhh but I do think that the confidence level, maybe the lack of maturity ummmm showed itself
LeafsLunch: How does this final 14 game stretch, where going into it you guys were 9 points into a playoff spot and you finish 9 points out, that’s a remarkable run of failure. How does that change you evaluation of the team.
Dave Nonis: Well, I don’t think it changes it, it should be part of it. If we weren’t, if we didn’t have the slide at the end we would be talking about playing this week so I think it has to be part of the evaluation or else you’re not doing a very good job of evaluating your group ummm It’s easy to look and again I think that’s why we have to step back a little and take some time. If we look at the last 3 weeks of the season we want to get rid of everybody, right? [Chuckles from LL crew] And that’s not a very smart thing to do.
LeafsLunch: You can’t
Dave Nonis: You cant and you’re going to be getting rid of some pieces that help you long term that are important pieces on winning teams that you know are sought after by other teams for a reason ummm that is not a very wise way of moving forward. uhhh it’s important to step back,as hard as it is and really take a good look at what we do have and the changes we want to make. If we were making decisions as a group and your listeners and you guys talk to them all the time if we made those decisions today this would be a much different looking team next year and I’m not telling you it’s going to be for the better
LeafsLunch: We mention of course the cap era, we are well aware of it. You guys have about 49 million committed to 12 players going into next season. With that being the case, in the cap era, how much change really can happen in the course of one off season?
Dave Nonis: Well it’s funny in the cap era that’s a lot of money. A lot of money available it’s not a little. You it’s, look at a lot of teams that may have zero available or cap hits for bonuses that are going to come off next year. So there’s opportunities for us umm there’s opportunities for us to add people, there’s opportunities for us to move people that have fairly significant contracts but we’re not starting with 2 million dollars in cap space which is nice. It’s difficult when you’re right up against it, having the cap go up, we don’t know what the number’s going to be yet but we have contracts that are burning off, we have some penalties that are burning off as well that are going to give us some more room ummm you know we have to find ways of spending that money wisely.
Leafs Lunch: Looking back on it now what would you have done differently?
Dave Nonis: Well it’s easy to say that today but again if we’re all being honest and looking at a team the night of the trade deadline we’re 10 games above 500..so…ummm…thee thee changes you’re going to make don’t come after the deadline they come before and for us to make changes and we did try to make them at the deadline to address certain things but they were not in the best interest of our team long term. They were not, they were what we were just talking about. They were moving young players that could help us for 10 years for players that could help us for 2 years uhh That wasn’t something that you know I think uhh was in our best interests you know when we were having the success early on, looking back now uhhh may have wanted to do more to address the feeling of the team despite the fact we were winning but again that’s easy to look back now after we’ve gone through what we’ve went through.
LeafsLunch: Last one, after you signed Clarkson you said you weren’t worried about ears 6 and 7, you were worried about year 1. We know what happened in year 1 not only with him but with the team. Was there too much focus or expectation with this team and are you going to take a step back and say considering what happened we have to think more long term.
Dave Nonis: I don’t think we have to think more long term than we have. uhh You know again every move in terms of giving up assets that we have have been players that are young, uhh have time to spend with us you know. Trading a 2nd for Bernier wasn’t giving up a pick for an old goal tender it was trying to think long term. Not moving our 1st round pick at the deadline when that was what it would take to get a player like Vanek uhh that was something we chose not to do. ummm Historically one of the problems with this organisation has been succumbing to the pressure of the now and not thinking about the long term so..umm..I think.. you know our group was committed to the long term success and, and as painful as you know, you might feel along the way uhh if we’re going to have any true success it’s going to be with long term thinking not thinking about next year or the year after.
Photo: Aaron Bell/OHL Images
(NHL.com) On Thursday, The Toronto Maple Leafs signed London Knights forward Ryan Rupert to a three-year entry-level contract.
Rupert, 19, had 73 points (21 goals, 52 assists), 54 penalty minutes and a plus-36 rating in 68 regular-season games for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. In 10 playoff games so far with London, Rupert has three goals, seven assists and 10 penalty minutes.
Selected by the Maple Leafs in the sixth round (No. 157) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Rupert has 194 points (58 goals, 136 assists) and 279 penalty minutes in 224 games with the Knights over four seasons. He was a member of the Knights’ back-to-back OHL championship teams in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
HB0 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic – Leafs / Red Wings – Episode 4/Part 4 – Complete Episode.
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: Benoit Pouliot #67 of the New York Rangers checks David Clarkson #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Madison Square Garden on December 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
With the HBO 24/7 sideshow and the 2014 Winter Classic spectacle now behind them, the Toronto Maple Leafs look to continue a three-game winning streak versus the New York Rangers.
Fat stacks for D Photo: Getty Images
As reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dion Phaneuf have come to terms on a 7-year contract extension valued at $49-million ($7-million AAV). This keeps the 28 year old Phaneuf in the fold until the end of the 2020-21 season. Bob McKenzie is reporting that there is some form of NMC/NTC, which is a typical addendum to UFA-year contracts. The deal is the second-most expensive contract ever signed by the Maple Leafs (Kessel’s 8-year, $64-million dollar deal signed earlier this season is #1).
The Only Man for the Job
The money should come as no surprise. Back in October, I wrote that the Leafs would likely spend between 47 and 56 million on a 7-8 year deal for the Captain (between 6.7-7 AAV). Very simply, the Leafs defense is among the most porous in the league, and Phaneuf is one of the few defenders that can play 25+ minutes a night in three zones. There’s no one else in the system that can provide what Phaneuf does, and this is the going rate for a defenseman of his pedigree.
Due respect to Morgan Rielly, but even if he is a No. 1 defenseman, it won’t be for at least a few seasons. The prize UFA defender on the horizon is Dan Girardi, though his availability next summer remains uncertain. Phaneuf was going to get paid by some team, and Leafs GM Dave Nonis chose to deal with the devil he knew instead of trolling the free agent market for unknowns.
Terms and Conditions
Detractors will point to his meagre and falling point totals since coming to Toronto – he has just 15 points through 39 games this season – as reason for concern. However, as Elliot Saccucci pointed out the other day, in the world of a rising cap Phaneuf’s dollar figure won’t admit much impediment to building a winner.
His cap number will come in at about 10% of the total cap next season. That sounds high, but will fall as HRR continues to skyrocket and increase the annual salary cap figures league-wide. The more legitimate concern should be: just how prudent is it to pay a guy $7-million until he’s 36 years old.
Phaneuf, selected ninth overall in 2003, has played 261 games for Toronto, recording 35 goals and 92 assists for 126 points over the last 5 NHL seasons. For his career, he’s tallied 110 goals, 245 assists for 355 points in 639 games. Since entering the league in 2005-06, Phaneuf ranks sixth in points and third in goals by a defenseman. Phaneuf has been a finalist for both rookie of the year (2006) and the Norris trophy (2008).
Top Point Producing NHL Defenceman Since 2005-2006
Click on column headings to organize or use the search bar.
The Scientific Method
For those who look for more than just box cars, some advanced metrics are unearthing a lode of information on Dion Phaneuf’s two-way contrbutions to the Maple Leafs. One such, THoR (Total Hockey Rating, created by Michael Shuckers and Jim Curro) puts Phaneuf in the top ten among NHL defenders over the last two seasons. It goes on to suggest that Phaneuf’s contributions over a season add up to almost 4 more wins compared to a league-average player.
More on THoR from http://statsportsconsulting.com: THoR is a two-way player rating that accounts for the all of the on-ice action events when a players is on the ice as well as their linemates, their opponents and where their shift starts. Each event is assessed a value according to the chance that it leads to a goal. THoR uses a statistical model to determine the value of each player’s contribution to the overall outcomes that occur while they are on the ice. The values for THoR in the columns of the files below are given in wins over an average player for an 82 game season. Count/Number in the files below is the number of plays that a given players was on the ice.
If that doesn’t float your boat, then there are some more traditional fancy stats to consider. According to Behind the Net, among defenders with at least 20 games played, Phaneuf faces the hardest Relative Corsi quality of competition, the lowest quality of teammates score, while being twice as likely to start a shift in the defensive zone.
Phaneuf is Phaneuf
What we see every night, Phaneuf shouldering the load against increasingly difficult odds, is confirmed in the above numbers. And it’s no small part as to why he’s been paid $49-million over the next seven years. His ability to handle those tough and plentiful minutes as time goes by, while also providing above average offense, will determine whether this deal is a great success or failure. But the money is market value for 2013, and it’s nowhere near the worst deal Nonis has signed a player to in the last 362 days.
Good morning MLHS,
First off, let me start by thanking Alec, Michael and Michael for inviting me to participate in Maple Leaf Hangout Episode #17 – if you guys and gals had nearly as much fun watching as I did filming, then you and I are off to a good start!
Secondly, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to anyone that didn’t catch the Hangout and wonders what the heck I’m doing here. I’ve been following Alec’s writing since he started out at that ‘other site’ and I quickly moved over to the greener pastures of MLHS when he made the move. Along with reading all of the incredible content that the writers here put together, I’ve also stealthily followed the comments sections, and although I never actually posted myself, I feel like I’ve gotten to know a number of you by reading your comments over the years. So on that note, let me say that it’s an honour to have the opportunity to write to you along with the rest of the stellar (myself excluded) MLHS team.
Briefly, I’m a lawyer working downtown in Toronto with a concentrated litigation practice. As part of my education I’ve had the opportunity to study and write extensively about sports and entertainment law, and I now work at a firm with a practice in media litigation. As a guy with dreams of working in sports, I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent immersed in this site getting my hockey fix. My hope is that I can provide a slightly different take on some of the news and events that concern hockey and our Toronto Maple Leafs. But make no mistake, I’m a fan of the game – and more specifically the Maple Leafs – first and foremost.
I know that the Michaels and I addressed the Rogers deal with the NHL earlier, but I thought I’d just provide a quick run-down for anyone that missed the Hangout, or who simply wants a quick reference.
The Rogers Deal: The Basics
The proposed deal is for 12 years and approximately $5.2 Billion, which averages out to more than the $400 million/ season that the Commissioner was reportedly seeking from a new Canadian broadcasting deal. The deal is one of the longest in sports broadcasting history, and is unprecedented in that it is the first time in North American sports that a major sports league has granted exclusive distribution rights to a single broadcast network. As a result of the deal Rogers gets exclusive rights to all Canadian hockey, across all media platforms (including television, digital, and mobile) until the end of the 2026 season (or roughly until Rick Dipietro’s deal with the Islanders was supposed to expire). Rogers will have the exclusive right to broadcast Canadian hockey on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
As part of the deal, Rogers will sublicense two games a week to the CBC under the Hockey Night in Canada moniker over the next 4 years, while TVA will carry all French language broadcasts in la Belle Province. It’s not clear what will happen to the CBC’s affiliation with Hockey Night in Canada beyond four years. The CBC will also retain playoff games and Stanley Cup finals games that fall on a Saturday. Interestingly, because HNIC has now become part of the Rogers programming platform, editorial control over HNIC (including on-air content, talent and creative direction) now belongs to Rogers. In other words, if you’re tired of hearing Glenn Healy malign the Leafs call Nadir Mohamed (don’t actually) because the CBC can’t help you anymore.
Probably the single greatest impact of the deal is that is promises to mark the end of “regional games” and “blackouts.” So what does this all mean for us Leafs fans?
The Rogers Deal: Through a Blue and White Lens
Unequivocally, the end of “regional games” and “blackouts” is a good thing for Leaf fans living outside of the Leafs broadcast region who just want to watch hockey games featuring the Leafs. Regional games and blackouts occur as a result of agreements reached between the NHL, the national broadcaster (currently TSN and CBC), regional broadcasters (currently Sportsnet), and to some degree the hockey club. Take for example a poor Leaf fan stranded in Vancouver, far removed from his or her favourite team.
Under the current (expiring) deal, when a regional Leafs game is scheduled only those viewers residing in the Leafs broadcasting zone can see it. Making matters worse is that when a regional game is scheduled on a night when a national broadcaster is airing another game coast to coast, in order to prevent the games from competing for viewership the regional Leaf broadcast is limited to a 50 mile radius around the ACC.
Under the new deal, it would appear that even where the regional broadcaster (which will now be TSN as the station retains 10 regional Leafs games in 2014 and 26 in 2015) is broadcasting the Leafs game in Ontario, Rogers will have the right to broadcast the game outside of Ontario, so our Vancouver residing Leafs fan is now a happy camper. This is one of the major benefits of having a single media broadcaster because the concern over games competing against one another is a lot less pressing when you own the rights to all of the games anyway.
The concern for Leafs fans is that as part of the deal struck between Rogers and the CBC it may become necessary to subscribe to cable to see any Leafs games. The way the sub-license has been structured it’s not necessarily the case that the CBC will be carrying the Leafs on HNIC in Canada on a Saturday night. While Rogers owes the CBC two NHL games a week, the company retained control over on-air content and may simply decide that it would prefer to have the marquee Leafs matchup on CityTV rather than CBC. If that is in fact the case, then fans will not be able to tune in to the CBC’s free HD feed, and may need to start shelling out for games.
While the deal has not yet been ratified, the NHL Board of Governors is set to meet during the second week of December and will vote on the deal. That being said, anything less than resounding approval by the Board would be shocking at this point. In short, get ready for a whole-lot more Kypreos for the next 12 years.
Until next time,
The Leafs face off against their third consecutive Western Conference opponent as Dallas Eakins, Keith and son Will Acton, and Mike Brown return to town on Hockey Night in Canada.
Team Records: Leafs – 3-0-0 vs. Avalanche – 2-0-0
2012-13 Season Series: Two teams haven’t met since October 17, 2011.
Key Matchup: Patrick Roy vs. ACC stanchions
Fantasy Hockey: There’s a new way to play fantasy hockey that turns the season long grind into quick hitting one night leagues. And the best part is that you can win cash every single day. You draft a team for one night and get paid out as soon as the games end that night. Click here to play.
Headlined by first round draft selections Tyler Biggs (2011), Stuart Percy (2011), Morgan Rielly (2012) and Frederik Gauthier (2013), the Maple Leafs’ 2013 prospect tourney roster features one member from the 2008 (Andrew MacWilliam) and 2009 (Jamie Devane) draft classes and then four prospects from each subsequent draft class since 2010.
MLHS’ Alec Brownscombe chatted with assistant coach of the Leafs Greg Cronin over the phone this afternoon. Topics covered include the penalty kill, the team’s possession play and possession statistics, the Bruins series, and more. Enjoy.
Crazy eyes Clarkson
Heading into free agency, nearly every Leafs fan knew that Nonis wanted to bring in David Clarkson, considered your prototypical Carlyle guy. Well, I’m sure you all know that Nonis got his man, and at a hefty $5.25 million cap hit for 7 years. There’s been much discussion since the signing about the contract Nonis gave to Clarkson and I don’t particularly want to beat a dead horse. So, without really delving into the subject of whether or not I think he’s worth that money or term, I want to give Leafs fans a look into what Clarkson brings to the table.
Joe Colborne Traded
Joe Colborne, restricted free agent no longer, has re-signed with the Maple Leafs to a one-year, one-way contract valued at $600,000.
The Leafs remaining RFAs include Cody Franson, Carl Gunnarsson, Mark Fraser and Nazem Kadri. By handing out the one-way deal, Colborne came in at a pretty cheap hit of $600,000, leaving the Leafs with around $10 million in available cap space.
The more I think about the Jonathan Bernier trade, the more I realize it was a straight-up judgment call by the Leafs’ pro scouts (led by Steve Kasper, this staff includes Mike Penny, Tom Watt and Rob Cowie.. the trade also likely involved a consultation with amateur scout Mike Palmateer). While Bernier has an edge in pedigree based on his draft position, projecting goaltender development can be alchemy and neither Scrivens or Bernier have significant enough sample sizes to their name to really know what either could become. James Reimer’s biggest workload in a single season is 37 games, so despite what he proved in his first stint as a rookie and then again in the shortened season, there is still a fair amount of projection involved in definitively labeling Reimer a high end starter as well.
Why not turn to goalie scout Justin Goldman, Director of Goalie Scouting at McKeen’s Hockey, for his take?
We reviewed Clarke MacArthur the other day here at MLHS. The feedback seemed rather divided on the question of whether to keep or not to keep the pending UFA. Meanwhile, there’s no doubting that David Clarkson’s name will only continue to remain attached to the Leafs in rumour circles as we approach free agency and the Toronto native remains without a contract past July 5.
With a glut of wing talent already, and Phil Kessel in need a contract extension, there’s no way Dave Nonis should re-sign MacArthur and then also go and sign David Clarkson. It’s not a smart allocation of dollars when depth wingers are the easiest assets to come by in the NHL.
Of course, things could play out in such a way where the Leafs lose out on the Clarkson “sweepstakes” (he re-signs or they are outbid or whatever) and then turn and try to bring back MacArthur. But as of today, with both options on the table, there is certainly merit in the question of MacArthur vs. Clarkson. And it’s a tough one.
The Leafs are on Long Island tonight looking to bounce back after a dismal showing at home against the Habs less than 24 hours ago. Tonight is like most game nights in that I’d highly recommend the Leafs win, but it’s especially the case given they’re playing the Islanders and have New Jersey and Pittsburgh on tap after the upcoming three-day break.
The big story as far as lineup changes go is the return of James Reimer, who banged up his knee 17 days ago. Tonight hopefully marks the beginning of a two- (healthy) Leafs goalie platoon where both ‘tendies push each other for the opportunity to provide quality starts. Reimer’s last start was the Leafs’ 5-2 win over Philadelphia and he enters tonight looking to belatedly continue a three-game win streak. He’s 6-3-0 with a .931 save percentage on the season.
Photo: QMI Agency
Prior to this one, the Habs lost only four regulation games this season, but two of those loses have come at the hands of the Maple Leafs, including the 6-0 shellacking handed to them in the Bell Centre. The 6-0 win also featured physical dominance by the Leafs so this one was expected to be a fiery affair. The Habs added Michael Ryder and PK Subban to the lineup just to make things more difficult.
“When the schedule first came out, you know, you look forward to it. But I think both teams have moved on now and they’re having some success, too.” – Luke Schenn
The definition of success is a funny one. It seems like it should be the Flyers who are proudly sitting in fifth place in the East, poised to make a leap into a tie with Pittsburgh or surpass a division leader with a victory on Monday night. It seems like it should be the Leafs who are taking pride in getting over the hiccups of a slow start, pleased to be part of an early tie for the last playoff spot in the Conference. Surprisingly, the tables have turned, and with very little changing for either team besides the Schenn/van Riemsdyk trade, it seems like Schenn has a lot to prove against his former club on Monday. Moreover, he’s got to show his current club that he can eventually become the type of shutdown defenseman that can warrant giving up a player who now seems to be discovering his true offensive upside.
On Hockey Day in Canada in February of 2012, the Leafs organization added special lustre to their matchup against the Montreal Canadiens with the decision to honour Mats Sundin with a pregame banner raising ceremony at the ACC. The Leafs were 28-21-6 at the time, in the playoff hunt, and had even more reason than usual to put on a good showing. They proceeded to get stomped by a score of 5-0, slipping silently into the night and initiating a disastrous slump that would eventually extend the team’s playoff drought and end their head coach’s tenure behind the bench.
Hope you’ve all been enjoying a day chock full of awkward interviews on CBC.
The main event gets underway in about an hour as the Leafs take on the Habs at the Bell Centre in their second meeting this season. At the quarter point of the season, the Leafs could pass the Habs in the division and conference standings with a win and pull into a tie with the Senators after their 1-0 loss to the Jets this afternoon.
The Maple Leafs, one of the league’s better road teams through five away games (4-1), will visit one of the loudest buildings in the league tonight, the acoustic MTS Centre, where the Jets are 3-1 this season and 26-14-5 since their return to Winnipeg.
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