January 22 2014 03:34AM
The Leafs have won six straight games, so naturally I started talking about the playoffs.
Oh - and Dion Phaneuf's hat.
January 21 2014 10:13PM
In our Grade 8 English class, we were taught that there are three types of conflict for a narrative: Man versus Man, Man versus Nature, Man versus Himself. It seems an awful lot like the Leafs are angling for that third type. Oh, they decisively beat the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night, with a late empty net goal by Jay McClement giving the Leafs a 5-2 win, but they didn't make it easy. That's six in a row, which came after a long losing streak where the team looked absolutely dead in the water.
It seems that win or lose, there's always a type of conflict present in the narrative. Despite holding a 4-0 lead, the Leafs needed saves from James Reimer late to hold onto a 4-2 lead and they did. After out-shooting Colorado 20-18 through two periods, on the road, on the second leg of a back-to-back, you may have expected some pushback from the Avalanche and indeed, it was 17-7 in the third, with many of the 17 shots by the Avalanche being high-quality chances, including a breakaway from Matt Duchene, and a bouncing puck in the slot that settled on Nathan MacKinnon's stick.
Nothing in sports is supposed to be easy but beating Semyon Varlamov was. One for Phil Kessel, one for James van Riemsdyk, one for Nazem Kadri, and he was gone.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
January 21 2014 02:08PM
Guest Post By Tyler Brozak
So Jeffler goes on Twitter and asks everybody for article ideas. You know, because he's lazier than Alex Kovalev in a preseason blowout. One of his suggestions is this..
@Jeffler Tyler bozaks playlist— Justin Drummond (@Justamaniarules) January 21, 2014
So, I'm all "that's brilliant, you should do that". He's all "waaaahh I'm Jeffler and above that, I'm just going to write a prospect report or something". If he's not going to write that article, I will. If he doesn't like it, he should pick a password that's more secure than grabovski84.
January 21 2014 11:30AM
Another short LGD (but some fun statistical stuff) as there's a quick turnaround between Phoenix and Colorado. The Avalanche are the brethren of the Leafs: got off to a super hot start (the Avs were the only team the Leafs lost to in their first seven games) mostly fuelled by goaltending, but both teams have come back to earth since October. On November 1st, the teams were first in their respective conferences in points rate.
Since November 1st, Colorado is 6th in the West and Toronto is 14th—ahead of just the New York Islanders and Buffalo—in the East. Interestingly, it's been the Avalanche who have a much more noticeable drop in goaltending: their team save percentage was .955 in October and is just .912 since. The Leafs were .937 after October and .913 from November 1st through last night.
The Avalanche are still a young team with a lot of talented young forwards, and still hold on to third spot in a relatively weak Central Division and will probably stay there with no real competition. We're not sure about the Leafs just yet, but Anthony Petrelli had a great characterization in his Leafs Notebook post from this week.
January 21 2014 10:18AM
In this post: A hot sports taco.
For all their talk of sample size, it was the Corsi Mob who lacked the patience to see this thing through.
Against all doubt and snark to the contrary, the Toronto Maple Leafs have now won five straight games for the first time in seven years and look every bit the team they were in October, when they set the league ablaze. Low and behold, the Leafs are now firmly back in a playoff spot, where anyone watching the games knew they’d end up.
It turns out that a slump can be just that, and a few unlucky bounces aren’t indicative of a team tuning the coach out. Everything’s just fine, even if Fenwick says otherwise.