TJ Brennan's Domination

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 10 2014 10:29PM

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have struggled to get offence from the back end throughout their season. Dion Phaneuf has had a stellar defensive season, but is putting up some of his worst even strength numbers in his career. Cody Franson, who has been quietly been one of the league's premier offensive threats on the point since coming into the league, has fallen flat. Morgan Rielly still has a habit of looking like the teenager that he is, and while Jake Gardiner is having a better year offensively than last year, it's a slight improvement on a disastrous shortened 2013 season. Paul Ranger is the Leafs' best offensive defenceman at the moment (ES points per 60 minutes), which speaks for itself.

We can argue why all these things are what they are until the cows come home. Maybe the Leafs picked the wrong players? Maybe Randy Carlyle is using them incorrectly? Maybe it doesn't matter how often they make offence, as long as they prevent.. never mind.

But what if I told you that down the street, there was the polar opposite? An moderately young offensive defenceman so dominant, that he may just be the biggest impact player in professional hockey right now, on a relative scale?

Enter T.J. Brennan.

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Mailbag: Week of February 10th

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 10 2014 09:30AM

 

So, there wasn't a mailbag last week, but that wasn't me "giving up" on the concept. Rather, I got slapped in the mouth with a nasty case of Strep Throat, which lead to it hurting to speak, swallow, breathe, or think. Needless to say, I was in no shape to answer a mailbag. But today? QUESTIONS!

If you'd like to submit a question, email me at jeffler@gmail.com, or tweet your question with the hashtag #TLNMailbag. Tagging @Jeffler would be a fun courtesy, but unneccessary, especially if you're closing in on character limits. You can also leave your question in the comments of this post. 

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Marlies Lose 4-3 To Hamilon

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 09 2014 04:12PM

The Toronto Marlies and Hamilton Bulldogs face each each other too often. I lead with that as my opening paragraph too often. How about this; today was a game featuring two very fatigued teams. The Marlies have been everywhere in the league over the past month, with multiple road trips and crowded weekends. The Bulldogs just played a game in Ottawa last tnight. This wasn't going to be a game where speed killed, but rather an endurance war. Despite a hot start by the Marlies, this game fell in favour of their cross-highway rivals, with a score of 4-3. 

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Marlies Sweep Season Series With Griffins

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 07 2014 07:52PM

 

The last time the Toronto Marlies took on the Grand Rapids Griffins, it was an away-and-away in two different cites. Both games were won by the Marlies, but the most memorable was the first game, an outdoor game in front of about 15,000 people at Detroit's Comerica Park, as part of the Winter Classic festivities. The weekend brought the Marlies to 3-0-0 against the Red Wings Affiliate, and tonight, they had an opportunity to call the season series a sweep. They did so, winning 4-1. 

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Marlies Win Physical School Day Game

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 06 2014 02:53PM

 

Buses full of groups organized by their respective leaders enter the scene. Together, they fill the stands. They're loud. They cheer their team when they're up, and they boo the opposition as if they killed their loved ones. Many have signs. Even as these pockets of fans don't know each other, they all come together in unison to sign relevant pop anthems during breaks in play. It's more than just a game to them, and the atmosphere leaving Exhibition Place that afternoon, with the sun very much awake, was electric. 

Sounds like the Toronto FC rebuild got off on the right foot, right? The reality is a bit less glamourous. The scene was Ricoh Coliseum, not BMO Field. The supporters section leaders you imagined are actually teachers. Katy Perry had no relevance to the game, they crowd just like singing. It's more than just a game to the masses in the stands, because they're children and they didn't have to be in class. Yes, yesterday was a school day game. Which usually means a brawl, opposition 50 save shutout, or a blowout. For once, it was neither, and the Marlies won 5-4 in a shootout. 

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