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The Toronto Maple Leafs were amongst leaders in 2009 for all the wrong categories. The Buds were the most scored upon team in 2009, playing an NHL leading 13 overtime games (2-11) record, and NHL trailing overtime winning percentage (.154).
Broken down after the jump is how the Leafs fared in the calendar year 2009.
Best Wishes for a Happy New Year to everyone!
Despite modest numbers in terms of offensive production, winger Nikolai Kulemin has made great strides in becoming a indispensible, two-way threat that all winning teams require. The young Russian worked up the hopes of Leafs Nation with a dazzling array of speed, skill and finishing ability in various Youtube highlight reels prior to coming over to the NHL, but it’s been his tremendous effort, work ethic and defensive play over here that has won me over thus far this season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of three teams without a shutout this season. They have been shutout four times, allowing 15 goals. They’ve scored 98 goals in wins and a paltry 12 in losses. Of the 44 goals they’ve allowed in losses, 15 come by way of shutouts.
The latest takes on it’s infamy as the record-breaking shutout by a most deserving, Martin Brodeur.
The New Jersey Devils are one of five teams that have not been shutout this season. Brodeur’s three shutouts for the Devils this season set up and then smashed the all time shutout record.
In honour of the new shutout record at 104 – and counting – the following are the to-date shutouts and numbers in the NHL in 2009-10.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a rebuild, or a re-tool, whichever you prefer. Â In any event, a process such as this requires a team to have a plentiful prospect pipe, ripe with blue chippers are all positions. Â The Leafs certainly may not be plentiful when it comes to blue chip prospects, but they do have a few who are developing quite nicely.
And you just never know when and where a potential blue chipper may come from.
If drafting has taught us anything, it’s shown to be far from an exact science. Â Can’t miss prospects turn out to be busts occasionally, and sometimes late round picks have proven to be key components for a team, just ask, among others, Tomas Kaberle, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Viktor Stalberg.
Okay, while he may not garner enough adulation to be put in a group with some of the NHL’s top stars, there is plenty of reason to believe he may in fact one day be worthy of the mention.
He glided down the ice, not showing any sort of intimidation despite the fact he was a little out of his element.Â Like a veteran, he flew down the wing and fired a shot that eluded the goaltender.Â It was his first NHL goal.Â It was his first NHL game.
He skated through the neutral zone, accepting a stretch pass, only to be met by a member of the opposition, whoâ€™s eyes were as big as saucers, knowing he was going to catch him.Â He was leveled, sent for a trip down dream street.Â A hit that caused a nasty gash to open up over his eye, blood streamed out of his nose.Â It was his 425th NHL game.
All 425, as a member of his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For all the headlines the franchise had made off the ice, it’s the Phoenix Coyotes on ice product that should be making the news.
Led by a core of young, talented hard working players, and solid goaltending by Ilya Bryzgalov, the Coyotes have been one of the biggest surprises in the NHL this season, and continued their winning ways tonight defeating the Leafs 6-3 in Toronto, denying the Leafs of their fifth straight win on home ice.
Petr Prucha score twice for the Coyotes, while Vernon Fiddler, Paul Bissonnette, Scottie Upshall and Radim Vrbata all tallied singles for Phoenix. Â Jamal Mayers, Phil Kessel, and Alexei Ponikarovsky replied for Toronto.
Good to be back! It’s been a little while since I’ve had the opportunity to post anything.
The following are some random thoughts I’ve had of late, including Luke Schenn’s banishment to the press box, the Leafs’ recent winning ways, the status of the trade front, and more.
Johnny Misley is the Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations for Hockey Canada, and plays a key role in enhancing hockey in Canada across various levels: from the grassroots programmes all the way up to the National teams. It was very kind of Johnny to take a few minutes to discuss the programmeâ€™s aspirations in the upcoming World Junior Championship in Regina as well as the Menâ€™s Olympic hockey tournament in Vancouver.
Just wanted to share a fantastic bit of work done by Nights, one of our many enthusiastic and intelligent readers, who evaluated how the NHL landscape would look without the first 8 games of the season during which the Maple Leafs struggled mightily. Great work!
Did the neutral zone trap morph into the shootout? The pre-lockout reason for altering the rules, transfigured into the shootout as teams play for the shootout more this season. If trends are any indication, perhaps the two memes have a direct correlation.
For the second time in a week, the Maple Leafs have felt the wrath of the Boston Bruins on home ice, only this time there were distinct differences from Saturday’s 7-2 beat down.
The Leafs, after sleepwalking through two periods of the hockey game, decided to bring their game in the third and made things interesting with goals by Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to pull them within a goal of the Bruins. Â A late, costly penalty by Leafs winger Jason Blake sealed their fate however, as the penalty kill sagged once again, and Mark Recchi scored with under three minutes left to ice the game for the Bruins.
After recovering from the initial shock of the Leafs trading yet another highly rated, potentially top end prospect (Tlusty in this case) for picks, prospects (Paradis in this case) or players who at best can be defined as “depth” acquisitions, I decided to sit back, absorb all of the feedback and coverage from this transaction and form an opinion based on rational thought processes and any available factual information.Â Past my initial, oh no, here we go again feeling, I was uncertain as to my actual opinion on this deal.Â After all, I have never seen the young Paradis play, knew very little about this prospect, and the only information I had available was that he was a late 1st round pick in last years entry draft.Â So, I decided to err on the side of caution and keep my initial opinion on this transaction to myself.Â After researching this prospect, reading the various scouting reports and watching some film, it became rather apparent that Mr Burke had traded a potential top 6 type of sniper for a 3rd-4th line character guy.Â Someone who was physical, had speed, was fearless and could become a real heart and soul leader on an NHL roster one day.Â Considering the intangibles this player could potentially bring down the road, I was willing to overlook the obvious imaginary offensive upside Mr Burke was touting with this prospect and the projections of a top 6 “power forward” type in the NHL and was settling in with a comfortable neutral, “Wait and See” decision on this transaction.
Reports indicate that young forward Jiri Tlusty has been traded to the Hurricanes for Philippe Paradis, Carolina’s first round pick (27th overall) in 2009.
Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri has successfully passed the first hurdle en route to a possible World Juniors roster spot, by earning an invite to the final selection camp earlier today. The roster currently encompasses 36 invitees in total, a number which Team Canada Head Coach Willie Desjardins will have to narrow down to 22 by the end of camp.
By: Gus Katsaros
Prior to the season starting, I had written about the impact of schedules. In particular, as the Leafs face the Habs tonight after playing the previous night, while Montreal is rested. Interesting enough, the last time this happened, Toronto beat Detroit 5-1.
Schedules make a big difference in the results of NHL teams fates during the season. In some instances, it could be the difference between a playoff spot and a tee time (and I thoroughly enjoy both â€“ FORRRREEEE!!).
The Leafs hope to get their first three-game winning streak of the season tonight when the Buffalo Sabres roll into the Air Canada Centre. Â Toronto has gone five straight games without a regulation loss (3-0-2) and hope to continue their stretch of strong offensive performances (3.8 goals per game). Â They’ll be in tough against a Sabres team that is back on the winning track after a slight skid, supported by one of the hottest goaltenders this season in Ryan Miller.
Ho hum, a Saturday night without hockey in Toronto. Here are some interesting/random thoughts to consider:
- Now with 8 goals on the season, Phil Kessel has more goals in his 12 games than the Bruins’ highest leading scorer Patrice Bergeron (7 in 25 games played). Wow.
- With Kessel in the lineup, the Leafs are 5-4-3, earning 13 out of a possible 24 points. Without him, they’re 1-7-4. Yikes.
- More on Kessel; For some reason, he seems to love the weekend adrenaline rush. 20 goals and 35 points in 33 Friday, Saturday or Sunday games for Phil last season. This year, he’s got 5 goals and 8 points in 6 weekend affairs.
- The Leafs are dead last in the NHL with a 5.4% shooting percentage, compared to the ridiculous 12.8% of the Colorado Avalanche. Jason Blake’sÂ sniping ‘em at a 2.6% success rate. In other words, he’s going to score every 38.4 shots… Fantastic. Meanwhile, Hagman’s putting them in at an godly 18.6% clip.
- Francois Beauchemin is playing very well of late with 5 points in his last 10 games with a -2 rating, and averaging just a tad under 26 minutes/night during that stretch. Compare that to the 4 points and -7 rating he had after the first 14 games.
The OHL featured almost an identical hit that had Michael Liambas being suspended for an entire season, now the NHL gets its first taste of the hit. Patrick Kaleta hit Jared Ross in almost a complete copy as the Liambas hit.
This latest edition of Stick Work with Fab&Kats, features the co-hosts, expanding on the winning means nothing blog in an expanded forum.
Fab and I pick our Torontosaurus Rex. Fab goes the conventional route, while I pick a defenseman … It’s an abreviated, yet content-rich edition.
Download (right-click to save-as)
I’ll be posting at FAN590 and Prime Time Sports personality, Bob McCown’s site Fadoo.ca moving forward in addition to MLHS.
My first post consisted of more point system analysis, looking at how post-expansion increases in tied games precipitated the implementation of overtime in the early 1980′s. It needed tweaking once again and then once again in the late 1990′s, and then fully eliminated with the final implementation of the shootout.
By Gus Katsaros
The Leafs arenâ€™t as bad as a four win first quarter. They were a playoff bubble team prior to the season, and the postseason wasnâ€™t necessarily the goal, as was becoming competitive enough to stay in the run. They arenâ€™t a bottom five NHL club, and unlikely to finish in a lottery position.
This season continues the transition like last season into shaping Toronto into a respectable organization, from management, down. That hasnâ€™t changed with the off season moves, aside from some specific performances.
‘Spirit is Everything’ is a fitting slogan .. because winning this season, means nothing.
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