December 14 2013 01:14PM
I didn't think it would take this quick for such an obvious rift to develop between Randy Carlyle and Dave Nonis, but you can sort of tell what's happening based on some of the things Darren Dreger says on the radio. This morning, Dreger re-assured listeners that Morgan Rielly's exodus from the lineup was a coaching decision, and that Carlyle had better get used to Peter Holland.
One of the best Twitter accounts in Toronto has been @Hope_Smoke, who listens to the radio so the rest of us don't have to. The sense I'm getting is that management and coaching disagree on some of the personnel. Nonis may have assumed David Clarkson would get more powerplay time than he has. Nonis wants Jake Gardiner in the lineup every night. Nonis is probably behind the apparent decision to sit Mark Fraser and Paul Ranger tonight.
Have you opened your Badvent calendar today? It's the Leafs and the Blackhawks tonight, on lousy ice tonight at the Air Canada Centre due to a support staff strike.
December 14 2013 12:06PM
You kids enjoying Deathcember yet?
David Clarkson has been suspended for two games for his illegal head-check on Vladimir Sobotka. Below is the video from the NHL explaining the suspension. 1,000 fictional bonus points if you can name whose voice that is on the video.
December 13 2013 01:54PM
Missouri loves company. The hockey gods hate the Leafs.
December 13 2013 11:12AM
I don't want to beat the deadest horse in the world, but Mark Fraser is not an NHL defenceman. Another noon hour came and went without Fraser finding his way onto the waiver wire, which may not be too surprising, but I think Fraser has played well enough to earn himself at least a healthy scratch, and the opportunity for John-Michael Liles to get some games.
It's beating the horse. With Fraser on the ice the Leafs have just 40.3% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts [Extra Skater], and have been out-scored 4-12. The numbers don't really improve when you restrict the sample to 5-on-5 score tied or 5-on-5 score close, and he is really driving down the play of one Paul Ranger, who I think is a fine defenceman on his own, but locked into a brutal third pairing.
I uploaded a brief video of the problem with Mark Fraser.
December 12 2013 01:25PM
Counting shots and shots against for a single game can be somewhat misleading—late in games, when a team is trailing, they'll tend to shoot more. The best solution to this problem is to avoid counting shots during the parts of the game where it's in one team's interest to shoot the puck more than the other team's. We call this "score-close" or "close" situations: either the game is tied, or there's just one goal separating the teams in the first or second periods.
The Leafs have just one game this season where they've earned a higher rate of the close shots than against Los Angeles, where they out-shot the Kings 30-16, or earning a 65.2% shots rate. That was the 4-2 win against Buffalo, where they had a 66.7% shot share (out-shooting Buffalo 8-4 in close situations. Hardly a large-enough sample size for this project). What I found amazing is not that the Leafs had a higher share of shots than their opponent, but that it happened against Los Angeles, one of the dominant shooting teams in the league.
The question is… can they have a repeat performance, in St. Louis, on the road, on the second half of a back-to-back? Let's consult our magic 8 ball.