Thursday Leaf notes - Lupul, McLaren, Rielly, Bon Jovi

Cam Charron
October 24 2013 11:04AM

So, three tidbits from practice on Wednesday. The obvious start is Joffrey Lupul, who blocked a Paul Ranger shot and is going for X-rays. we may have an update a little later in the day, or tomorrow.

The timing is bad, obviously, since the rest of the Leafs are getting healthy or coming off suspension. We've all been waiting to see the Lupul and Nazem Kadri duo play with David Clarkson on the other wing, and it could be another couple of games before we see that. Some terrible injury luck early on this season in Toronto.

The other reason the timing is bad is because I was planning on putting up a post about the huge improvement we've seen in Lupul. Check his puck-possession and shot rate numbers over the last four seasons:

  Shots/GP Corsi Rel
2011 2.39 -9.2
2012 2.89 -1.7
2013 2.63 -4
2014 3.30 14.3

(BTN and HR)

So far this year, Lupul leads the Leafs in goals with 6 and is second in shots with 33. He's shooting enough pucks at the net that even if his shooting percentage falls back to his career norm, he's still going to be a very high goal-scorer. I can only speak anecdotally because I haven't tallied up zone entry numbers through the first 10 games, but it appears as if he's the second most active Leaf in the neutral zone as far as skating the puck in with speed and control, second only to Phil Kessel.

Also, seven drawn penalties this season (all situations).

This, along with an incident in training camp, is the second time Lupul has been hurt in practice so far this season. Hasn't cost him any games yet, but Lupul has unfortunately been attracted to injuries for the past several years. He's missed 46 games as a Maple Leaf and has played 110 (suspended for 2) meaning he's missed close to 30% games the Leafs have played. It's one of the reasons I isolated his big contract as a huge risk, but Lupul has really improved as a hockey player since signing that deal.

UPDATE - Maybe this isn't so bad...

FRAZER MCLAREN TO RETURN

Why?

Why? Why? Why?

The Leafs are fighting less than they did last season and have two comeback victories so far on the year, neither of them "sparked" by a mid-game fight that rallied the troops. They haven't fought since October 10 against Nashville when David Broll scrapped with Matt Hendricks, and have fought just five times outside the opening game.

There's no good reason to have Frazer McLaren in the lineup for anything other than fighting, and there's no reason to have a specified fighter in the lineup. Carter Ashton, David Broll, Josh Leivo and Troy Bodie have all been pretty impressive in their limited time on the ice this season as a collection of players filling in on the bottom six. Those fill-ins have been pretty positive additions thus far, and while I agree with "nobody should lose a job due to injury" I still think McLaren ought to be waived. Maybe Boston will take him. A top-line forward for the Bruins got popped by John Scott last night and the Bruins could probably use some size or a fighter to deter violence against their players. It seems to be happening a lot to the Bruins lately.

UPDATE - Maybe this isn't so bad...

MORGAN RIELLY TO STAY UP

Mixed feelings about this news. I think Rielly has been a fine defenceman and I can understand the Leafs hesitancy to send him down to a reeling Western Hockey League club that may not be committed to trading him.

That said, entry-level deals and extra restricted free agency years are things that have become quite valuable now that we've seen a crop of players drafted prior to the institution of the salary cap system stick around. The Rielly-Franson pairing hasn't exactly been the Leafs best so far this season, playing second pairing minutes but buried deep within their own zone (a sigh for the way Carlyle's system in Toronto has messed with the team's puck-possession numbers).

Still, Rielly is third on the Leafs in quality of competition and has a couple of assists to his name. He hasn't been great, but he's looked like an NHL defenceman through 8 games in his young career. The eventual worry is what happens when Mark Fraser comes back, since Fraser's injury was what gave Rielly his spot in the lineup. There's the chance somebody else gets hurt, but didn't the Leafs put pressure on Franson this offseason by suggesting that the team had a lot of defensive depth?

It seems like the prudent move would be to send him back down.

BON JOVI'S NUMBER TO BE RETIRED

Huh? From Pension Plan Puppets, who have details and the clipping of a Toronto Star article. This is absolutely ludicrous.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 WesternDP
October 24 2013, 11:48AM
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"I still think McLaren ought to be waived."

Lets give him a look a see if he plays better than Orr.

Orr is a carreer -33 with a 7.3 shooting pecentage...-3 and 0% this year

McLaren is +5 and shoots 11.1%

If we want to get rid of one, trade them to the West.

I also want Broll (and Devane to a lesser extent) to get their time playing big minutes in the AHL, so they are used scoring and winning and then perhaps they can produce from the 3rd and 4th lines when they become full time guys in the NHL.

Broll and Devane could be very good bottom six tough guys. Lets not rush them and have them end up like Orr.

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#2 John Lofranco
October 24 2013, 12:12PM
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Could lupul's improvement be attributed to playing more with Kadri (instead of Bozak) as his centre? How are Nazem's numbers stacking up to last year so far?

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#3 Mac daddy
October 24 2013, 01:57PM
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Oh you have a negative view on something positive that the leafs have done? (Rielly)

How surprising.

Your "I'm Cam Charron and I disagree with everything Leaf's management does" angle that every article is written in is getting so old.

And you used Corsi as a referece again, another surprise. ;)

I guess we all have our crutches.

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#4 Skishow
October 24 2013, 02:14PM
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Mclaren waived? Without even giving him a shift this year? I completely and utterly disagree. He came in last year and cemented himself as a solid fourth liner with a good forecheck and a heck of a lot better skillset then Orr has. He even scored a few goals last year (including a game winner in Boston). He's perfect for the position he's in so the young players can develop and the star players get more ice time. If he's dreadful, then perhaps I could see how waiver talk would come up...

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#5 STAN
October 24 2013, 02:28PM
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If Rielly were 20 years old, he'd be sent to the Marlies. Keeping him was the only reasonable thing to do. Another 6 months in junior hockey might even see him regress.

As for Lupul, he's one of those guys who matured a little later than normal, but who's upside is still huge. Your numbers reflect what we see day-in and day-out - he's good with the puck, quick hands, rarely just throws it away and is playing with far better puck-possessors (Kadri and Raymond).

McLaren and Orr? What a waste of roster spots. I'd take Leivo, Brodie, Broll, Smith and Devane in a heartbeat over those goons.

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#6 kesselkadri
October 24 2013, 04:21PM
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Cam once again you get causation all wrong. The leafs do not need to fight as much this season because of the identity they formed from all the fighting in previous seasons and so far this season.

That is, from don't mess with me stick swinging Kessel, fiesty facepunching Bernier and blocker to the face Reimer if you enter his crease and of course Orr. These other NHL teams are intimidated by the leafs which is showing up not only in fewer fighting incidents but more importantly in the team winning record but also the elevated team level SH%.

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#7 MaxPower417
October 24 2013, 04:49PM
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kesselkadri wrote:

Cam once again you get causation all wrong. The leafs do not need to fight as much this season because of the identity they formed from all the fighting in previous seasons and so far this season.

That is, from don't mess with me stick swinging Kessel, fiesty facepunching Bernier and blocker to the face Reimer if you enter his crease and of course Orr. These other NHL teams are intimidated by the leafs which is showing up not only in fewer fighting incidents but more importantly in the team winning record but also the elevated team level SH%.

You accuse Cam of not understanding causation and then attribute fighting to shooting percentage.

*slow clap*

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#8 Gobby
October 24 2013, 06:34PM
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MaxPower417 wrote:

You accuse Cam of not understanding causation and then attribute fighting to shooting percentage.

*slow clap*

Yeah... It's called the intimidation factor, teams are less likley to crash the net, go in the corners, etc.

I know because it can't be shown as a number, that it's tough to understand for you.

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#9 MaxPower417
October 24 2013, 06:57PM
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@Gobby

lmao What?

That affects the Leafs shooting percentage how?

I know because it's not in a colouring book that it's tough to understand for you.

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#10 Gobby
October 24 2013, 07:21PM
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MaxPower417 wrote:

lmao What?

That affects the Leafs shooting percentage how?

I know because it's not in a colouring book that it's tough to understand for you.

Sign. I guess I'll have to dumb it down even more. If a team is intimidated, they stay to the outside, taking lower percentage shots. And if no one is crashing the net to get rebounds, there are less goals.

If you'd ever played any high level hockey in your life you'd know that, but sitting behind a computer relying on numbers is cool too I guess.

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#11 MaxPower417
October 24 2013, 07:30PM
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Gobby wrote:

Sign. I guess I'll have to dumb it down even more. If a team is intimidated, they stay to the outside, taking lower percentage shots. And if no one is crashing the net to get rebounds, there are less goals.

If you'd ever played any high level hockey in your life you'd know that, but sitting behind a computer relying on numbers is cool too I guess.

HAHAHAHA. Please don't stop being so equally condescending and laughably wrong.

Here is your comment

"These other NHL teams are intimidated by the leafs which is showing up not only in fewer fighting incidents but more importantly in the team winning record but also the elevated team level SH% ."

Your CLEAR implication in this paragraph is that other teams being scared of the Leafs, which you further defined as "being afraid to go into the corners and not crashing the net" somehow causes the Leafs to be better at shooting the puck at the other end of the rink.

Obviously that idea of "causation" makes zero logical sense.

If you'd ever taken school past the second grade you'd know that.

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#12 Gobby
October 24 2013, 08:00PM
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MaxPower417 wrote:

HAHAHAHA. Please don't stop being so equally condescending and laughably wrong.

Here is your comment

"These other NHL teams are intimidated by the leafs which is showing up not only in fewer fighting incidents but more importantly in the team winning record but also the elevated team level SH% ."

Your CLEAR implication in this paragraph is that other teams being scared of the Leafs, which you further defined as "being afraid to go into the corners and not crashing the net" somehow causes the Leafs to be better at shooting the puck at the other end of the rink.

Obviously that idea of "causation" makes zero logical sense.

If you'd ever taken school past the second grade you'd know that.

The name of the person who made that comment: kesselkadri

The name I've been commenting under: Gobby

"If you'd ever taken school past the second grade you'd know that" Says the moron who can't read apparently.

Children should be seen and not heard.

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#13 MaxPower417
October 24 2013, 08:03PM
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@Gobby

So because I assumed the person who responded to me, was the person I was responded to, you're excused from making nonsensical statements and still believe you're in a position to talk down to others?

Oooooookay.

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#14 Leaf Fan in Mexico
October 24 2013, 08:14PM
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Boys, you don't have to have played high level hockey to be a good analyst, any more than you have to have been a chef to make a nasty good dinner! I mean the opposite is also true, some high level hockey players are crappy analysts... number can be very indicative if aligned with the gut. The smart analysts uses both... This said, I do like the gritty play and hope it continues, fighting is typically a stupid net sum zero so really not sure where that goes. And it is true some you dont like to play teams that are gritty tough, not necessarily because you are intimidated. More often it cause you cant get your own game on, and it is very very tiring to be ground in the corners, in front of the net, etc.... I like the Leafs approach this last year or so particularly because now we have some damn good lines (probably 3 of the best 2nd lines in the game... ok we have 2/3 of a 1st and 2 great second lines!)... loving it so far

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#15 MaxPower417
October 24 2013, 08:29PM
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5 people have "props'd" a comment that claims that intimidation directly leads to a higher shooting percentage. Amazing. I guess the goalie drops into the fetal position and cowers because the big bad Maple Leaf are coming down the wing which gives them tonnes of net to shoot for.

I love the blog, but it has a comment section that would make the Toronto Sun jealous.

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#16 Cole
October 24 2013, 08:40PM
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@MaxPower417

Dude just shut up... no one should get this worked up over comments on a blogging site.... go outside or something

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#17 MaxPower417
October 24 2013, 09:05PM
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@Cole

But the work I'm procrastinating doing is inside...

Define worked up. Calling out people for being ignorant means I'm not calm?

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#18 Cole
October 25 2013, 12:54PM
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MaxPower417 wrote:

But the work I'm procrastinating doing is inside...

Define worked up. Calling out people for being ignorant means I'm not calm?

"But the work I'm procrastinating doing is inside"

Translation: My parents won't let me out until my homework is done.

You're "calling people out" because you don't understand a basic concept of hockey. The intimidation factor is real,and while it may always not decide a hockey game... it's a definite factor against some teams. If you ask anyone who's laced em up for a serious hockey game they'll tell you the same.

Bottom line, you are the ignorant one.

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#19 MaxPower417
October 25 2013, 08:03PM
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@Cole

Ha, not quite. I suppose I'd be more offended if I was more than 5 years removed from high school. But in reality there were two factors at play. 1) midterms and 2) As a broke university student, I'm renting a place near Jane and Wilson and I'd get shot if I went outside at 1am, like you suggested.

Anyway, back to the matter of you and other saying ridiculous things. You think a basic concept of hockey is that one team being intimidated makes the other teams shooting percentage higher.

You actually believe that?

I know you want to play the role of the hockey purist, giving it to the geeks that think they can understand a game through numbers but maybe you should stop for half a second and actually read what the specific argument is about.

In this case, KesselKadri made the ridiculous claim, that other teams being intimidated by the Leafs would cause the Leafs shooting percentage to rise.

Gobby then tried to defend this position, but in his defence, I was pretty sure the whole time he had misread KesselKadri's post and thought he said save percentage not shooting percentage. However, he never came out and admitted that, so that might not be the case.

Do you really want to grab that torch and claim that one guy punching someone in the face makes another guy a more accurate shooter?

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