February 12 2013 09:54AM
I figured there would be plenty of James Reimer posts today, so I decided to string some thoughts together, on Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin, James van Riemsdyk and the Leafs' powerplay.
Kessel and Kadri Should Watch Each Other
I think there’s a mutual learning opportunity by Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri watching each other. Kadri attracts a lot of attention and often draws multiple players to him. This has forced him to learn to play in tight spaces and operate with little time. The ability to operate tight in traffic could rub off on Kessel who attracts such similar attention in a concept I put together in my post last week. Kessel’s passing ability gained momentum since the focus on scoring has lifted. Time to build on that.
February 11 2013 09:34PM
Image via Graig Abel and NHLInteractive
Well that was a game that had a whole heck of a lot going on. Perhaps we saw the game Nazem Kadri truly "arrived" in the NHL. Perhaps we saw James van Riemsdyk posterizing Luke Schenn on a third period goal. Perhaps we saw the game that the Toronto Maple Leafs' 2013 playoff hopes suddenly died as James Reimer limped off the ice early in the second period with a left leg injury. Perhaps we saw the game our entire commentariat will point to when they discuss the importance of Colton Orr in the Leafs' lineup.
Toronto came into this game against the Philadelphia Flyers with a three game win streak and an awful home record. The awful home record gave, as the Flyers hemmed the Leafs in their own end for the first few shifts and took a 1-0 lead late into the period. Dion Phaneuf scored on a point shot to tie the score, and in the second period, Toronto completely broke out with three goals.
By the end of it all, the Leafs had finished with a 5-2 win. All four goalies saw action, Ben Scrivens faced a tonne of shots, stopping 32 of 33, holding the lead he was spotted when he came into the game.
February 11 2013 02:04PM
If the 48-game season without any interconference play has a benefit, it's that the season breaks up conveniently into 12-game chunks representing a quarter of the season. The "quarter pole" in a regular 82-game season takes place in the second period of Game #21, where our minds are focused on other things rather than statistical analysis after a convenient number of games.
Each Leafs game this season (well, comrade Thomas Drance covered one for me) I've sat studiously in front of the television, and each time a team takes a shot deemed quality enough, I'll mark down on a piece of paper the time it was taken, the player who took it, who passed him the puck and whether the play resulted in a missed shot, saved shot or a goal.
Every 12 games this season I will tally up the data and see what we come up with.
February 11 2013 11:16AM
Nobody wants to forget about the game that happened on Saturday, when Toronto wiped the floor with Montreal both on the scoreboard and on the judges scoreboards, but alas, with three quarters of the season left, and three more games against Montreal to boot, the 6-0 drubbing on Hockey Night in Canada will fade away until the summer when"remember when" posts pop up discussing some of the more fun moments of the season.
Traditionally, Philadelphia is a more aggressive rival than the Montreal Canadiens, but given one Maple Leaf had a phone hearing with NHL brass after the events of Saturday, chances are there's a directive for Toronto, whether internal or external, to be on their best behaviour.
Toronto plays the Flyers tonight after sweeping a three-game road trip that took them through two teams in the Southeast division and up the Atlantic coastline to Montreal. The Flyers are 5-6-1 and a beatable team. Not to "giveaway" one of the chief storylines of the game, but Philly will bring Luke Schenn back to Toronto for his first game since the trade…
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 10 2013 04:00PM
Underrated in the Toronto Marlies schedule rotation is the matching up with the three teams of Texas. For the past few seasons, the blue and white have played a pair of games against the Texas Stars, Houston Aeros, and San Antonio Rampage. The road games are all played within days of each other during a road trip, giving the team a chance to adjust to several play styles in a short time. As for the road games, it gives the fans an opportunity to see something different. Today's game against Texas was particularly important, as the Stars are atop the Western Conference, with the once leading Marlies sitting back in sixth. Today was an opportunity for Toronto to gain some ground, but the gap widened instead, as the Marlies fell 3-2.