November 23 2015 03:33PM
I typically fill up the introductory paragraph of the mailbag with gibberish and nonsense to give the illusion of pre-jump words. This week is no exception, but I wanted to use this spot to thank everybody for the birthday wishes I received yesterday on all the forms of social media yesterday. It was borderline overwhelming and it's nice to know so many people have my back.
Anyway, there's a bunch of questions sitting here. Let's dive in!
November 23 2015 01:32PM
You'll have to tune in and get your fill of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey action tonight, because it's going to be a long week for you otherwise. After tonight's game, the U.S. Thanksgiving schedule kicks in and the Leafs won't play again until Saturday night. On the plus size, that just means that Toronto has a full week of Mike Babcock practices, so I'll accept nothing less than a finely-tuned puck possession team come next weekend's date with the Washington Capitals. I predict Ovechkin won't even get a shot off.
But hey, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Leafs play Boston tonight, and here's your primer...
November 23 2015 01:30PM
It's that magical time of the year, when position in the standings starts to matter, when you feel you can start judging players by their numbers without having "SMALL SAMPLE SIZE" screamed at you, and that time when the Leafs provide a glimmer of hope of a playoff run before they come crashing down to earth in the new year.
With all these fun things to now consider, we'll forego the usual approach of looking at the Leafs over the past week, though a 2-1-0 record and giving up only 4 goals is worth noting, and we'll rank the Leafs on how they've done since opening day.
November 23 2015 11:24AM
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports
Editor's Note: The following is a guest piece from historian and friend of the blog, Mike Commito. About a year ago Committo wrote a biography about Pat Quinn for the Canadian encyclopedia, and as part of the project he touched base with a handful of key people close to the late head coach and general manager, including: George McPhee, Brian Burke and Trevor Linden.
As Mike explains it, there were some quotes he didn't get to use because of a strict word count, and he was hoping to revisit Quinn's memory anyway on the one-year anniversary of his passing. We're happy to give him a place to do that.
November 23 2015 07:13AM
Now that William Nylander has sole possession of the AHL scoring lead as a 19-year-old with 23 points in just 17 games, it seems the debate over his place in the league is being stirred up more and more every day. With the parent Leafs dying for scoring help, and the young Swede looking like a destroyer of worlds with the Marlies, you have to figure there's also been a lot of internal discussion around whether he's ready for the bigger stage.
If there isn't really anything left for Nylander to learn in the minors - and it appears there isn't - he should take a step forward in competition. But it looks like the Leafs will wait a little longer to make that move, at least until the new year, where they'll benefit from giving him a second-half debut.