October 17 2013 08:36PM
You can argue either way whether you think the Maple Leafs are going to be good or bad this season, eventually the team's record is going to tell the story, but you can't deny that the team is weird. This team has managed to win games in the weirdest ways and they don't lose much. They lost a very weird one on Thursday, probably a weirder loss than all of their weird wins on the season combined. If there is an absolute value of weirdness, the Leafs lead the league.
The above image is courtesy of Fox Sports Carolina. It was a harmless icing call by Ron Hainsey. Morgan Rielly may be used to no-touch icing, but maybe he isn't. He let up, as did Carolina forward Radek Dvorak, and Dvorak barely beat Rielly to the hashmarks and icing was waved off. The puck bounced off the end boards and Jonathan Bernier seemed unsure whether to play it or not, and the puck took a wild bounce off of his skate and in. One of the weirder winning goals the Maple Leafs have conceded in their long history, but it capped a three-goal Carolina comeback.
Leafs lose, 3-2.
October 17 2013 10:19AM
We're seven games into the season and I feel that for the most part, we've avoided the dreaded "Morgan Rielly Question". To simplify Article 9.1 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, an 18- or 19-year-old player that is eligible to return to junior hockey can have his entry level contract extended by a year if he doesn't play 10 games at the pro level.
At this point, you worry less about "burning" the year off of the ELC, since Rielly has played enough games at the NHL level that he'll probably surpass the 9-game limit once he gets recalled to the Marlies once his junior season is over (EDIT - @birky points out that only NHL games count here). It becomes a developmental question, whether you think that the benefits of having Rielly on your team now surpass the benefits of having Rielly on your team next year after a year of dominating the Western Hockey League.
October 16 2013 02:37PM
This post from Phil Birnbaum yesterday is well worth a read. It's interesting and while I disagree, I think it's important that data-driven people look for reasons why the Toronto Maple Leafs won so many games last season despite being out-shot.
At 6-1 to start the season, it's going to take more than theories, charts, and graphs to show people that what the Maple Leafs accomplished last season was unsustainable. I will point out that the things driving the Leafs to victories last season, chiefly a high 5-on-5 shooting percentage rate, aren't the same things driving their success this season.
It turns out that seven games is far to little to judge a hockey team's successes and failures, but let's delve into the Birnbaum argument anyway.
October 16 2013 12:25PM
Hey - a win's a win, right?
October 15 2013 08:33PM
OH MAN!! NEW PODCAST!!! YAAAWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The guys talk about Mason Raymond's awesomeness, the Oilers' suckage, and trouble with pooping. Also Dave Bolland.