We're All Marlies Fans Now

Danny Gray
April 04 2012 07:39AM


Getting excited for the AHL playoffs as opposed to the NHL playoffs is like going from prime rib to, I don’t know, weird brother of prime rib. But as the Maple Leafs once again failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs here we are. While I don’t intend on buying a Marcel Meuller Marlie’s sweater or anything I’m going to throw as much attention as I can towards the Toronto Marlies’ quest for the Calder Cup. Here are some reasons you should do the same.

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First Niagara. HSBC. Who Knows?

A. Bates
April 03 2012 09:24PM

BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 03: Matt Frattin #39 (C) of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his first period goal against the Buffalo Sabres with teammates Phil Kessel #81 and Tyler Bozak #42 at First Niagara Center on April 3, 2012 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Maple Leafs went into Buffalo and had a hell of a good first period. That was the team that we all forgot existed earlier in the year and, until recently, hoped would return. The Leafs had 13 shots, IN THE FIRST PERIOD! those 13 shots lead them to a 3-0 first period lead.

This was not to be however, they went on to record 12 shots over the next two periods. A couple of questionable Buffalo goals in the third period helped the Sabres to tie up the game to force the game into overtime.

The Leafs had an unfortunate break (or fortunate break, however you want to look at it) in the overtime period when Dion Phaneuf flipped the puck over the boards, leading to a Buffalo powerplay, gamewinning goal.

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Goaltender Independent +/- rates for the Leafs

Cam Charron
April 03 2012 02:53PM

Our friend @67sound, who is going by the name Ian these days, I guess, posted some numbers to his Twitter account about the Leafs' defensive inefficiencies up front. Here's a bit of a data dump for reference.

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With average goaltending, the Leafs would have made the playoffs

Cam Charron
April 03 2012 12:44PM

Coming into this season, I don't really fault Brian Burke for wanting to get a full year out of James Reimer. After all, his rookie season was very promising with a .933 save percentage off of 939 shots against at even strength. His overall save percentage dropped (.921) because the Leafs' penalty kill was so poor, but there were certainly good things to be seen with Reimer in control.

However, Burke never got a good backup for him, a move that may have cost the Toronto Maple Leafs a playoff spot this season. Jonas Gustavsson had a .910 save percentage at evens in 2011 and another .910 in 2010. The evidence was pretty overwhelming against 'The Monster' yet Burke went with Gustavsson as Reimer's backup.

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Inside and out

Ryan Fancey
April 03 2012 11:01AM

As long as I've been a Leafs fan, I've yet to see things really spiral out of control the way they have this time around. I wasn't exactly alive for the Ballard years, and in the late 90's (when the team was sort of in reset-mode) I was a kid in junior high. 

For the entirety of my adult life, the Leafs have been dreadful. This season is obviously no different results-wise, but it feels like a lot has changed.

Everything surrounding the team seems in such disarray that it's tough to decide on which issue you're going to touch on when discussing hockey on a given day. Usually you'll find, when logging on to Twitter in the morning, that there's an opinion or quote that fans and analysts are all dipping in to, but now it's as if they're coming on in barrels.

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