March 21 2016 08:27AM
If nothing else, Mike Babcock brings structure with him to a franchise devoid of it for over a decade.
That's meant changing the way this team approaches their offence, defence and transition. The Leafs don't swarm the puck carrier in the defensive zone, and their breakout is much more sophisticated than glass-and-out. Offensively, they're much less rush oriented and tend to cycle the puck more than in season's past.
Observing minor tweaks in the neutral zone is nowhere near as easy. The pace is quicker, there's an awful lot more noise and making sense of it all can prove to be an exhausting exercise. Its importance shouldn't be understated, though.
I've been trying to bridge the gap this season with a neutral zone project geared towards tracking entries. My goal is to get 20-games for each team so that my data might carry some level of predictive value. I'm not there yet - not with most teams - but I've got 13-games for the Leafs and results to share.
March 20 2016 05:17PM
Between call-ups, injuries, and injury call-ups, the Toronto Marlies are a decimated team. Many of their best players are elsewhere, and though they became the first team to mathematically clinch a playoff spot last night, they still have home ice and first place to worry about. For this reason no excuses were to be made, and they certainly didn't make them today, as the Marlies put up a 4-1 victory over Lake Erie.
March 20 2016 03:00PM
Things got a little chippy at the end of last night's game. Hell, just about any hockey game gets a little chippy from time to time. But tempers particularly boiled over late in the third, when Zach Hyman threw a questionable hit on Sabres defenceman Jake McCabe, which led to some retaliation from Zach Bogosian, and eventually one giant scrum that took a few minutes for the linesmen to sort out.
Now all that considered, it really wasn't anything special as far as these sorts of things go. But it did spurn Mike Babcock to make some comments after the game, suggesting that the Leafs will "look after" their supposed lack of toughness in the off-season.
This puzzled me.
Do the Leafs really have a lack of toughness? I mean sure, they don't have a tough team, but are they really that much tougher or less tough than anybody else? Is it something the team needs to actively address in the summer?
March 20 2016 01:37PM
The Leafs youth shine bright but a greybeard might've shined a bit brighter!
March 20 2016 09:43AM
Exactly what was said when the Toronto Maple Leafs pulled the trigger on their biggest trade of the year? We take you behind the scenes to show you what went down on February 9th, 2016.