March 09 2013 02:14PM
A slight hiccup for the Toronto Maple Leafs in Boston the other night, but Toronto have still won more than they've lost over this recent stretch of games, and have won more than they've lost on the season. They currently sit 15-10-0 in the Eastern Conference, good for 5th, and presumably need 12 more wins in the next 23 games to make the playoffs. Good news, Matt Frattin is returning to the lineup tonight.
It's a tough task tonight against Pittsburgh. I hate to use this word, but the Penguins may be the most enigmatic club in the National Hockey League. Their +15 goal differential is 2nd in the conference, they're 2nd in the conference in points and have scored more goals than any team in the NHL. They also, however, have given up a tonne of goals, found themselves down 4-1 to Philadelphia on Thursday before coming back and last Saturday blew a one-goal lead and a two-goal lead in a wild 7-6 game against Montreal.
Pittsburgh is a team that looks like they could win the Stanley Cup easily one night, then come out the next night and give up six goals in a loss against Florida. Such is life for a team built on offence and shooting talent and not much else.
March 08 2013 03:52PM
Yesterday I discussed some of the entrenched misperceptions about statistical analysis in hockey and why they are misguided. Today, in a post called "Hockey's Counting Problem", Cam Charron looked at some of the significant obstacles standing in the way of effective, evidence-based analysis truly getting a foothold in the NHL's upper offices.
Two challenges he touches on that I want to discuss in greater depth are top-down vs bottom-up processes and the clash between long-term decision making and short-term incentives.
March 08 2013 10:38AM
Let's be honest here - it's the Bruins. What did you expect?
March 07 2013 09:04PM
It was a rough night for the Nazem Kadri line and I'm trying to figure exactly why. I don't think it was because Kadri was roughed up along the Bruins bench late in the first period and Brad Marchand jabbed at him, because Kadri and Clarke MacArthur connected on a pretty goal early in the next period.
Then again, it was a rough night for a whole lot of Leafs. Not in the physical sense, but just in the sense that their early pressure on the Boston Bruins' net and Anton Khudobin got unrewarded, three defensive breakdowns cost the Leafs goals against and they ended up with a 4-2 loss at the Boston Gardens, their 8th straight defeat against one of the best teams in the East.
That said, it's not as bad as the scoreboard indicated. When the Leafs went down 3-1 late in the second, I got the impression that the Leafs deserved better. Recap below.
March 07 2013 03:55PM
That video is from the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won against the Boston Bruins. That was back on March 31st… 2011 which amounts to a seven-game losing streak against the Northeast Division rivals. They've been out-scored 37-10 and shutout three times. In that span of time, Boston has been the best team in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins, it can be argued, are the franchise the Leafs are trying to model themselves off of. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Boston Bruins are. In traditionalist hockey quarters, they're a team that's thrived on thuggery and toughness. When you pay closer attention to how they've built their team, you find that each player addition comes as the way of a methodical decision-making process.