May 12 2012 10:55AM
Everyone’s noticed that these playoffs have been atypical so far, with upsets becoming the rule rather than the exception. For those teams that still have life in their seasons after beating out the heavily favoured (or unexpectedly tenacious) there’s been one common thread– they play D and they have a goalie.
The five teams remaining in the playoffs include two of the Vezina Trophy candidate goalies, plus Pekka Rinne, not so shabby himself. The old adage has proven true again – defence wins championships. The Leafs didn’t play much of it this year and didn’t have a goalie who was reliably able to stop dump-ins from the blue line… Burke, Carlyle, Rogers Communications INC. and Bell Media, listen up.
May 11 2012 12:46PM
The One That Got Away
Yesterday over at PPP I posted my "Salary Cap Fantasy Team". While I won't get into the nitty gritty the idea was to build a team that was 1. Cap Compliant and 2. Made up of players from all over the league and over as many drafts as possible. I felt I had a strong entry, you can see it here. But I also found that you could probably make up an entire roster of nothing but former Leafs. I decided to do just that.
May 09 2012 03:04PM
A little over a year and a half ago the Nation Network added NHLnumbers.com - a leading salary reference site online - into the fold. Since then the team has been hard at work rebuilding the site, retooling the machinery that powers things behind the scenes and are now ready to go forward with the second stage of the plan.
It's slow going to be sure - but we are gradually making headway in what we consider to be one of the most important jobs in building the Nation Network: contributing to the community of stats folks and giving them new tools and new resources to continue building an important part of following the NHL in the year 2012.
May 08 2012 10:06AM
Hello? Yes, this is Dudley.
Many Leafs fans are concerned that Rick Dudley joining the Montreal Canadiens Front Office as an Assistant GM will negatively affect the Leafs at the upcoming entry draft. I’m here to tell you to relax, and maybe even convince you to be happy he’s gone.
May 07 2012 02:10PM
If you have yet to read Kent Wilson's excellent "Content over style" post from last week over at Flames Nation, go and do so. Kent explains the vital importance of avoiding stylistic traps when evaluating a hockey player, instead focusing on the big picture: does the player do things that helps the team win games?
One area I think where the focus on player qualities over player outcomes can muddle things is in team building, specifically when it comes to player categorization, ie; "roles" on a club. For example, NHL teams primarily employ bigger, tougher players in their bottom six forward rotation, especially when it comes to the the 4th unit. This is often an area where folks stop asking pertinent questions (can this guy outplay his opponents? Does he drive goal differential?) are instead start focusing on particular qualities (is he big? Is he mean? Can he fight?). This is how a person decides, for instance, to buy out Nigel Dawes after a 15-goal season only to to sign Raitis Ivanans.
We know that Brian Burke wants to add size to his top six, but what he really needs to do is add a guy who can drive play. Phil Kessel needs a guy next to him who can do that, and here's why: