Matt Frattin is probably just replacement-level

Cam Charron
November 01 2012 11:42AM

I'd like to have thought that, by now, most Leafs fans would have come around on the fact that Matt Frattin is at best, a player slightly over replacement-level.

I got this comment, though, yesterday:

I think Frattin probably has more offensive upside than a 4th liner. He seems more suited to a third line role.

It seems that teams create a difference between their 3rd and 4th lines in name alone. From a team-building perspective, it makes more sense to me, to have your best players on your first line, slightly worse players on your 2nd line, slightly worse players on your third line, and slightly worse players on your 4th line. The "offensive upside" gap isn't as big as we'd like to make it out to be. Anybody who has seen Mike Brown stickhandle or shoot could probably attest to the fact that it's not like he doesn't have talent.

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Jason Gregor
November 01 2012 10:53AM

The Last Gladiators is a documentary about hockey, but it focuses mainly on former NHLer Chris Nilan. The film is honest, funny, realistic and heartbreaking. Nilan talks openly about his career, his drug and alcohol addiction as well as his upbringing with an abusive father. Check your local listings to see where it is playing in your area.

There was an advance screening in Edmonton a few weeks back and after I mediated a Q and A with Nilan and the audience he agreed to do an interview about the movie. He was just as candid in the interview as he was in the movie. I didn't omit any of his responses and the following interview is just a small sample of what you'll see in theatres.

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Leaf prospect Josh Leivo: Unbe-Leivo-ble

Gus Katsaros
November 01 2012 09:02AM

Nothing special jumps out at you watching Josh Leivo. He doesn’t blow by you with blistering speed or dazzle in one-on-one situations. He doesn’t have a 100 mile-per-hour slap shot and isn’t going to flatten people with huge hits.

What does jump out is improved scoring capacity, a singular aspect exhibited from his pre-Ontario Hockey League days that he’s adapted to his maturing overall game.

Scoring goals.

Year over year from his draft year in 2011, he scored 19 more goals and on a similar pace this season, without OHL scoring leader Michael Sgarbossa.

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Yakupov scores twice, Malkin gets 3 assists, Tellqvist with a stellar save, and much more!

Steve Dangle
October 31 2012 09:36PM


Another packed day of KHL action here - 11 games!!! That's more than 10 games. It's science.

Yakupov's looking great, Malkin's looking great, some familiar names, some new ones, and some crazy finishes.

Check it out and enjoy!

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The death of truculence: A look at the Leafs' fourth line

Cam Charron
October 31 2012 11:14AM

There's been a lot of discussion on various blogs lately, predominantly the Backhand Shelf and our sister site NHL Numbers, on how fourth lines are composed. I thought it might be interesting to look at the composition of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it appears to be that the thought process behind the team's fourth line has become more clearly a line where the Leafs want to put good players instead of bad players.

The addition of David Steckel last season showed a clear leap on the part of the Leafs towards making their fourth line more serviceable and less dependent on the grinders and fighters Brian Burke supposedly loves. Just a general look at the Leafs that got the ice-time in years from 2009 through the present shows this shift.

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