Nation Radio - December 31, 2011

January 03 2012 10:09AM



We close out the holiday season with an extended visit from Nation writer and all around swell chap Jonathan Willis.

Lowetide also adds his own thoughts to the mix on where the Oilers may be headed and we make a short stop in Winnipeg to see how the fans are enjoying the suddenly red hot Jets.

This is Nation Radio.

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Contributions From The Back End

JP Nikota
January 02 2012 12:38PM

In my last article, I wrote about how the Leafs have allowed significantly more goals so far this season than last, but that this year, the Leafs' forwards have compensated by scoring a whole lot more. The truth is, I should have said that the team has scored more goals than last year - it isn't really just the forwards, the team also is getting much better production so far this season from their defenders than they were a year ago today.

Follow me over the jump for more.

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The Leafs' D So Far

JP Nikota
December 31 2011 05:13PM

This year for the Maple Leafs Annual (may it R.I.P.) my contribution was a preview of the Leafs' defence. I predicted then that they would be marginally better than last year's incarnation, with the addition of Cody Franson taking Brett Lebda's place as the extra defender, and John-Michael Liles filling Tomas Kaberle's shoes more or less adequately. I'd also hoped that the defence would get a little more help from the goaltending department with James Reimer set to see more action.

So far, the Leafs have allowed 122 goals against, and have an overall goal differential of -6. This isn't good enough for a team that hopes to finish in the top 8 in the East, and it's actually a significant decline over last year's record on December 31st, which was 108 goals against and - good Lord, would you look at that - a goal differential of -22. So the fans are witnessing progress, but it's nearly all coming from the forwards.

Below the jump, I've taken a look at which individuals have performed best using Behind the Net's statistics.

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Vintage Flame
December 31 2011 01:44PM

Well it’s the game we’ve all been waiting for, the showdown for top spot in Group B and the bye in the medal round. Or at least it was supposed to be. Canada held up their part of the rivalry agreement, but apparently someone forgot to deliver the memo to the U.S.

Instead, the New Years Eve game will mean nothing to the Canadians and has the makings of about as much excitement as Canada’s previous three games. That’s right; instead of the mighty obstacle the U.S. was pegged to be from the start, they are now nothing more than a stepping stone. Game time is 8:00 pm EST / 6:00 MST

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Vintage Flame
December 29 2011 01:49PM


Canada plays for the second night in a row, but it should have no bearing on the outcome of this game. The Canadians are rolling right now with 13 goals for and only 1 against, the penalty kill is at 100% and they are getting goals from everyone. In the last game, expectations were put on guys like Mark Scheifele and Ryan Strome; they delivered. Scheifele had two goals in the 5-0 win over the Czech Republic and it seems that one of Canada's biggest strengths when they assemble these teams every year, is that when they need someone to step up, they do.

It's always been a feather in the cap of Hockey Canada and the coaching staff, as to how quickly these teams come together with such limited preparation time.

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