November 01 2012 11:42AM
I'd like to have thought that, by now, most Leafs fans would have come around on the fact that Matt Frattin is at best, a player slightly over replacement-level.
I think Frattin probably has more offensive upside than a 4th liner. He seems more suited to a third line role.
It seems that teams create a difference between their 3rd and 4th lines in name alone. From a team-building perspective, it makes more sense to me, to have your best players on your first line, slightly worse players on your 2nd line, slightly worse players on your third line, and slightly worse players on your 4th line. The "offensive upside" gap isn't as big as we'd like to make it out to be. Anybody who has seen Mike Brown stickhandle or shoot could probably attest to the fact that it's not like he doesn't have talent.
October 31 2012 11:14AM
There's been a lot of discussion on various blogs lately, predominantly the Backhand Shelf and our sister site NHL Numbers, on how fourth lines are composed. I thought it might be interesting to look at the composition of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it appears to be that the thought process behind the team's fourth line has become more clearly a line where the Leafs want to put good players instead of bad players.
The addition of David Steckel last season showed a clear leap on the part of the Leafs towards making their fourth line more serviceable and less dependent on the grinders and fighters Brian Burke supposedly loves. Just a general look at the Leafs that got the ice-time in years from 2009 through the present shows this shift.
October 30 2012 09:45PM
Nobody's perfect, but I figured I'd leave this image up. Tyler Bozak tweeted out the picture, then deleted, but it was caught by a Leafs fan who posted it on Tumblr. Not too much to write, considering Thomas Drance at Canucks Army wrote the necessary words last year:
Here's the point to me: blackface halloween costumes are racist at worst, and woefully ignorant at best. They're in indefensible poor taste and any smart person knows it. There's context here though, hockey players and the world they inhabit isn't always enlightened. Just based on Bissonette's usually excellent twitter account you can infer some borderline medieval attitudes towards topics like in-game toughness, and women. Up until tonight I wouldn't have included "ethnic minorities"(*) on that list, but the fact that one of the most "with-it" NHLers wasn't wise to the shit-storm that would ensue when he tweeted out a photo of a teammate in blackface is baffling, revealing and sad.
Those words will live on in infamy across this network. There's no article here, it's been written already. Keep the comments clean.
October 30 2012 12:00PM
Remember when the Kontinental Hockey League swore that the only NHLers who would be allowed to seek lockout shelter playing for Russia's top-flight league would be the ones who met an admittedly not-so-stringent criteria?
Again, here's the KHL's own criteria:
- Has played no fewer than 150 games in the NHL over the last three seasons;
- Has experience of playing in the KHL;
- Represented his country at one of the last two IIHF World Championships, World Junior Championships or the Olympics;
- Is a Stanley Cup winner, a Stanley Cup finalist, or a winner of one of the individual prizes awarded by the National Hockey League at the close of the season.
You'll notice that none of these criteria apply to Joffrey Lupul, but rumours have surfaced suggesting that Lupul is off to Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, probably because Lupul told Sportsnet last night of his intention to sign with the club, but nothing official has been announced.
October 29 2012 10:56AM
A real odd thing happened Saturday night.
Vancouver Province beat-writer Jason Botchford was interacting with some Canucks fans on Twitter, appeared to be warming the West Coast fan base to the prospect of Tyler Bozak joining the Canucks:
@taj1944 Wouldn't it be a better adv to have a third line centre?— Jason Botchford (@botchford) October 27, 2012
@taj1944 The canucks disagree with your assessment— Jason Botchford (@botchford) October 27, 2012