January 23 2014 09:16PM
Pictured above is a win expectancy graph. They're very popular in baseball and football, used to determine each team's odds of winning the game at certain points. What I've mocked up is approximately what the Leafs win expectancy was tonight. Fell down early, caught back up, and then got to about a third of the way through the second period before a big "KER-SPLAT!"
There isn't much to write about here. I assume plenty of people will have their #hotsportstake reserved for the actions of Colt Knorr, Nazem Kadri and Antoine Roussel, and I'm sure many others will talk about how the Dallas Stars Twitter team roasted the Leafs and their association with Justin Bieber tonight. I might also expect Steve Dangle to get into it in the LFR. These postgame thingies are normally brief and we usually have something humorous to talk about, but, er, not tonight apparently.
No, tonight, enjoy my stick figures, and the fact the Leafs are 6-1 in the last seven games. They got mauled by Dallas in Dallas, dropping a game 7-1.
January 23 2014 01:39PM
I may have been wrong about Toronto's game against Colorado. The data I'd looked at showed that the Leafs would get crushed in puck-possession against the Avalanche, being on the road and on the second half of a back-to-back. While they were beaten decisively in "close" situations, I didn't anticipate just how good the team would be in the second period. Check out the ExtraSkater game graph linked here: the Leafs had 18 unblocked shots to Colorado's 11 from the time it was 2-0 Leafs to 4-1 Toronto.
So a pretty good performance, all things considered. The win against Colorado has to rank as one of the best ones of the year, not just owing to opponent but also circumstances, and (for the critics like myself) begrudgingly accepting the Leafs were full value for that W.
Last time the Leafs played the Stars, they busted a five-game losing streak with an overtime goal by Trevor Smith. Game is in Dallas now. Numbers and lineups below.
January 23 2014 10:28AM
Wednesday afternoon, I was out and a TV at the place I was at had Sportsnet Connected on with the closed captioning on. "Is it any coincidence the Leafs win streak coincided with the Leafs acquisition of Tim Gleason?" said the closed captioning. It was presumably attributed to Damien Cox, but I'm going to assume that the closed captioner went rogue, since there's no chance a sentient being said that.
The Leafs are, in fact, 6-3 with Gleason in the lineup, with Gleason jumping into the lineup right in the middle of a Maple Leafs losing streak. I'm going to re-iterate what I've said many times before: lineups change due to injuries and trades so often throughout the year and streaks always happen, so you're going to run into players with disproportionate records when they're in the lineup as opposed to out. No, David Bolland's injury is not why the Leafs are 2nd worst in the East since November 2. No, Tim Gleason is not why the Leafs are on a 6-game win streak. Yes, it is absolutely a coincidence the Leafs are 16-16-4 with David Clarkson in the lineup, and 11-4-1 when he's not.
One thing Tim Gleason has done, however, is stabilized Cody Franson a little. Well, maybe.
January 23 2014 06:23AM
(Photo: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com)
#10 - Greg McKegg - C (Toronto, AHL)
Greg McKegg is a player I've liked ever since he was the one bright spot on a dismal Erie roster, and after interviewing him at a Canadian Juniors development camp a few years back I can't help but root for. That's probably why I'm excited to see him rebound from his tough first professional season and cement his place in the Marlies top six, frequently centering the top line.
Whether McKegg has the ability to move beyond that role remains to be seen, but with few options at that position it is likely we could see McKegg getting spot duty in the NHL next year. If McKegg is going to take the next step it would probably be better to shift him back to the wing. - Jon Steitzer
January 22 2014 08:57PM
On this episode of the Panago Pizza Steve Dangle Podcast, the guys talk about greatness, trades, and the ethical treatment of ducks.