March 23 2012 09:57AM
Do something. For teams dwelling outside the playoff bubble, those words tend to accurately reflect the mood of the fan base. Fire the coach. Fire the trainers. Trade someone. Axe the professional scouts. Something.
I thought that ex-Leafs coach/G.M. and ex-Oilers coach Pat Quinn had an interesting take on “doing something” in the recent book Behind the Moves.
March 22 2012 01:22PM
The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won a Stanley Cup, their starting goalie made 40 of 41 saves against a Montreal roster that included Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard and Yvan Cournoyer. That goaltender was also described as a player, by Andrew Podnieks as one who "lived a life so rife with unhappiness" and was "unfriendly to reporters, teammates, and even small children."
Now, in no way does the career of Phil Kessel mirror that of Terry Sawchuk but when people discuss Sawchuk upon reflection of the goaltender who died much too soon, they focus on the records he set and the Stanley Cups he won with the Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings.
March 22 2012 09:15AM
Being a sports fan in Toronto isn’t fun, or at least it hasn’t been for a long time. The city hasn’t seen a major league championship win since the ’93 Blue Jays. Twenty years of cold winless winters and summers that are over by spring training is enough to make even the most devout Toronto sports fan a crotchety, cynical, rotted husk of a person.
But how do you explain why the city and particularly the Leafs have been so misfortunate for so long? With the Leafs looking like they’re about to take the title of longest playoff drought from the Panthers when Florida presumably makes the playoffs this season, one has to get down into a Tebow and ask why.
Leafs Nation Podcast
March 21 2012 10:03PM
This week, the Leafs Nation podcast features Ellen Etchingham alongside myself (JP Nikota) and Danny Gray. Ellen is a wonderful writer from The Score's Backhand Shelf who, unfortunately, has become a Habs fan.
I'm not entirely sure, but I think that becoming a Habs fan midway through life is rather like a Spiderman backstory gone horribly wrong. A human is bitten by a radioactive spider, and, rather than gain super powers, a certain cerebral atrophy takes hold.
In all seriousness, if you haven't read any of her work on the history of the game, please educate yourself now. She is undoubtedly one of my favourite new hockey bloggers, and a pleasure to have on our show.
March 21 2012 06:24PM
|Not a Selke trophy|
A lot has been made of Phil Kessel's defensive game, or lack thereof, this season. Phil has been labeled as being a soft player that plays poor defensive hockey. Generally the opinion on him is that he doesn't back check, floats around in the defensive zone and only focuses on the offensive side of his game.
Usually to win a hockey game one team must out shoot their opponent while limiting their shots against. However, this style of play doesn't work well when your goaltenders are letting 10% of shots into your net. This, unfortunately, is what the Leafs net-minders seem to be doing.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Kessel is going to be up for any Selke awards soon but what I am going to tell you is that he is nowhere near as bad defensively as fans think he is, and I have some numbers to prove it.
Follow me over the jump for details.