Four Keys of the Home Stretch

Danny Gray
January 31 2012 12:09PM

 

That sure is a nice scoreboard. 

There are 32 games left in the Leafs’ season. They sit 9th in the Eastern Conference, tied with the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers at 55 points. (Though the Leafs have more Regulation and Overtime wins than both teams so if they had all played equal games and remained tied, they’d be in) In order for the Leafs to make the playoffs they are going to need to win more games than they lose. Shocking stuff I know. If they are going to do that, they need the following four things.

 

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Marlies Weekly Update - January 23-31

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
January 31 2012 01:14AM

Editor's Note: This is Jeff's first post for The Leafs Nation. He will be helping us keep on top of the AHL's Toronto Marlies and the Leafs' prospects. Each week he will give us a recap of the week that was and preview the week to come. Following him on Twitter ( @Jeffler ) and read more on the Marlies' day-to-day at MarliesHQ .

This is more of an eight day update than a full week update, but this is a week that included the only hockey event more yawn-inducing and player-rejecting than the NHL All Star Game - the AHL All Star Game.

The Toronto Marlies had a pair of opportunities this week, one rare, one common, that both tied together. The rare opportunity? Rest and relaxation. After all, while three games in three nights seems like a big deal, it's pretty common in the American Hockey League, and in this situation, the Marlies had a whopping 1 game played in 11 days, and it was a 7-2 win against one of the three teams. The common occurance? Of course, that would be an attempt to push forward in the North Division. Now, I can't understate just how frequent these inter-division games are. Out of 76 games in the season, Toronto plays an absurd 42 within the division. All three games would fit the pattern, with Lake Erie, Hamilton, and Rochester being the opponents. However, rather than convert the lack of play into extra energy and widen the gap in the standings, the weekend went a much different way.

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What's Eating Nikolai Kulemin?

JP Nikota
January 30 2012 10:14PM


If you're a top-six forward and Joey Crabb has doubled your goal production despite playing 10 fewer games, it's a pretty safe bet that things haven't exactly been going your way. But add to that the fact that this is a contract year and you are losing yourself future dollars by the day, and things look downright grim. [Editor's Note: This could be great news for the Leafs long-term]

OK, so maybe we won't cry for Nikolai Kulemin - he is still rather well off, I'm sure - but it doesn't help stem the frustration of seeing him on pace for 8 goals on the season. It's true that most of us expected at least some regression from last season's totals but this has been quite the dry spell. [Editor's Note: Here's a look at a simpler time's predictions - pre-season.]

In this kind of situation, the bad news is also, to a certain extent, the good news: Kulemin has a shooting percentage of 6.94% and it's bound to regress to the mean at some point. Click to read on.

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Introducing The Leafs Nation Podcast

NationRadio
January 29 2012 08:46PM


Last weekend, Danny Gray and I sat down to record the first ever Leafs Nation Podcast. My editing skills probably leave something to be desired, but from here on in, we'll do our best to make this a weekly feature, and have a different guest for each episode.

Read on for a link to the audio.

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Should Burke Add Top-Six Size At The Deadline?

JP Nikota
January 29 2012 01:33PM


Really, the only thing that Burke has emphatically said that he wants to acquire in the coming weeks is more size for his top-six. It's not a bad idea per se, but the Leafs' defense hasn't exactly been stellar and their goaltending situation is questionable to say the least. In short, I'm somewhat surprised that there hasn't at least been some mention of adding at another position.

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