November 13 2013 12:52PM
While David Clarkson was in the middle of his 10-game suspension, I wrote about how it could actually be a blessing in disguise. The Leafs were near the top of the conference and the league, and had won almost every game to that point. The headlines were all about Reimer vs. Bernier, Bolland's hot start, and MayRay-mania. The crazy hype surrounding Clarkson had subsided.
Now a few injuries later and with a 5-5-0 record in the last 10 games, things have changed.
November 13 2013 12:41PM
When we last ran into the Minnesota Wild, they were on their first win streak of the season. They then lost to the Leafs, despite out-shooting Toronto 37-14, and then lost to Tampa Bay and Florida. Since then, the team has mostly been winning, scraping together a 10-4-4 record since the 3-3-3 start.
Almost every addition the team has made over the last year-and-a-half up front has been to improve the team's skill: Jason Pominville, Zach Parise, Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle. Given how poor of a puck-possession team the Wild were between the dawn of their franchise and as recent as last season, they've sort of become a poster child for shifting institutional philosophy. Despite retaining the coach and the general manager Mike Yeo and Chuck Fletcher, the team has worked to change the stylistic make-up of their team.
I feel the Leafs have the skill to be a team like the Wild, they just need the philosophy. As you'll see below, the Wild are not a team that the (somewhat) struggling Leafs want to run into tonight.
November 12 2013 11:35AM
Nonis also looks back on a time when the Leafs had a better Corsi rating than they do today – and were losing a lot more games. Back in 2009-10, Toronto generated a lot of shots on net but was let down by its own goaltenders.
That period seemed to create skepticism for the Leafs GM about stats that he believes have grown so much in popularity because of fans and media.
“We were outshooting teams on a nightly basis and losing every night,” Nonis recalled. “Our so-called Corsi stat was probably pretty good and right now our Corsi stat sucks. But we’re winning hockey games.”
Credit to Nonis for actually getting at the crux of the issue here. While I'd rather spend my days researching hockey statistics than defending the validity of statistics, ultimately widespread acceptance of the numbers that myself and many others use is going to come down to how well we predict things.
November 11 2013 07:05PM
Frederick Gauthier - C - Rimouski (QMJHL)
November 11 2013 07:58AM
On the evening of December 24th, 1914, something redeeming happened along the Western Front in France and Belgium. Something sane, kind, good and human took over from the cruel madness that was emerging from the first few months of the Great War. On that night, rifles were put down and soldiers on opposite sides of a pitted field rose from their makeshift trenches filled with mud and earth and came together as comrades, offering each other gifts and friendship.