March 18 2013 04:34AM
A few thoughts to kick off your week, and previewing the things we'll look at on this blog in Toronto Maple Leafs analysis…
No. 1 - Nikolai Kulemin's scoring: Where did it go?
One of the major concerns this season has been the lack of production from Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin. In 2011, those two were 3-4 on the Leafs with 58 and 57 points apiece. This season, the two are on pace for just 31 and 44 points apiece. Bob Mitchell in the Toronto Star brought it up in a column yesterday, with a quote from Randy Carlyle:
“From my memory before I got here, Kulemin had a big-time shot and I don’t see him shooting the puck as often,” Carlyle said before Saturday’s game. “He used to step over the blue line and his wrist shot had the ability to beat the goalie from the top of the circle . . . I don’t see that happening anymore.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
March 17 2013 07:36PM
Being on the road has no doubt been the weaker situation for the Toronto Marlies this sesaon, particularly after the lockout. Entering today's game, the blue and white had only won one of seven games away from Ricoh Coliseum after the beginning of Leafs training camp. That said, it's been a while since they've been away from home, and many were hoping that the 7-3-0 run of the past several weeks was more than just arena advantage, but rather the forming of team chemistry. The Lake Erie Monsters were the first test of this, and with a 5-3 win today, the Marlies are hoping this is a sign of things to come.
March 17 2013 01:02PM
The Leafs move up in the standings, even though they lost. Losing is the new winning! I talk about Lupul's comeback, the trouble with Bozak, and the argument for trading Nikolai Kulemin.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
March 16 2013 11:17PM
If you're going to face a division rival a million times a year, you may as well be good at it. Thankfully for the Toronto Marlies, this is the case for the Rochester Americans. Headed into todays game, they've only lost one of thirteen games against the Buffalo Sabres affiliate in the last calendar year. With them just two points behind the blue and white for the North Division lead, a win was crucial, and the Marlies had what could be their most convincing victory of the season, beating the Amerks 6-1.
March 16 2013 09:10PM
Photo via Claus Anderson/NHL Interactive
Sometimes you can nitpick certain aspects of the game. Sometimes you can just throw out the spreadsheets and enjoy a perfectly good game of hockey. Not a lot to comment on here—this was a hockey game with minimal structure from both teams, some hilarious coaching decisions on both ends, lots of goals, and an interminable shootout.
Winnipeg beats Toronto 5-4, but Toronto, for the second straight Saturday night, came back from a 4-1 deficit to force overtime and the shootout. They got their chances in the OT, but Nik Kulemin missed an empty net and Nazem Kadri failed to convert a gorgeous play set up by Phil Kessel and John-Michael Liles. They couldn't get anything done in the shootout and James Reimer could only hold off the Jets for so long before Zach Bogosian scored the winner.