December 16 2013 08:54PM
In the pre-game I discussed how momentum in hockey is fleeting. One minute, an image of Jay McClement and Nik Kulemin smiling on the bench after Kulemin missed an open net to give the Leafs the lead. The next minute, viewers and fans left wondering just which one of them left a clear passing lane to Sidney Crosby wide open.
This was a frustrating game for many reasons. Toronto's played two of their best games of the season in the last week. They were playing a Pittsburgh team without Kristopher Letang, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. They were down to their 11th defenceman on the depth chart, had the bulk of powerplay opportunities and got a very quality start from Jonathan Bernier. These are the types of games that the Leafs should be winning, but again, the lack of offence has come back to bite the team, as they failed to score a single goal at 5-on-5 for the 9th time this season (last year they only did that six times).
It was a 3-1 final in Pittsburgh, not in the Leafs favour.
December 16 2013 01:39PM
I have to admit I am a huge fan of the HBO series 24/7.
As a hockey fan I really wish the NHL would do a lot more of this kind of thing. One of the smartest things Pete Rozelle did during his tenure as NFL Commissioner was green light Ed and Steve Sabol’s brilliant idea of NFL Films. NFL Films went a long way to helping to propel the NFL into the juggernaut that it is today.
December 16 2013 12:54PM
Hockey works in a lot of different ways. Last week, the Maple Leafs may have sandwiched their worst game of the season with two of their best. One of the best-kept secrets in hockey is that momentum is mostly illusory. Humans are wired to look for patterns, and take mental leaps to separate processes from results as long as it lines up with a predetermined conclusion with narrative support.
It's hard to predict what happens in hockey when it comes to results, and commentators have tried for years to look at recency, games in the past week, recent games between the same opponents, in an effort to better predict or explain what happens in advance. Most of it is hocus pocus, and a good post at Arctic Ice Hockey summarized this today. No matter what you're told tonight, the result of the last Penguins and Maple Leafs game will have no bearing on what happens tonight.
The second best-kept secret in hockey is that the Pittsburgh Penguins are actually not a very good team.
December 16 2013 08:22AM
Episode one of the Leafs-Wings 24/7 series aired in Canada last night!
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
December 15 2013 08:19PM
When the NHL first announced that the Toronto Maple Leafs would face the Detroit Red Wings in the (then 2013) Winter Classic, I was incredibly excited. Not because it was an outdoor game, not because I in any way liked the idea of the Leafs having to play more games than usual against the Red Wings, and not even because it'll be the highest attended NHL game ever. Okay, that last bit is pretty cool. But no, my main excitement came from the two teams being on HBO 24/7, giving an uncensored, behind the scenes look at the two respective teams.
It may be a little early to write off all four episodes, but so far, I'm not a fan of what I'm seeing. With that said, here's a full rundown: