Mailbag: Responsenado


As I write this, the entirety of hockey twitter is fascinated with the newest version of Sharknado. I still haven’t watched the first one, because “So bad that it’s almost good. Okay, not good, but we pay attention to it anyway” is the purpose of my existence, not the plot of a movie. Everybody seems to be having a ton of fun, though, so who am I to judge? Here are some questions and answers.

If the Leafs were in Sharknado 2, who would have been killed first? Anyone by a shark in a toaster?

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Anybody who has poor compete level. Probably Nazem Kadri. Wait, no, can I change my answer? I’m changing my answer. The Leafs resign Mikhail Grabovski, and he dies while distracted by a pineapple he decides to murder instead.

David Clarkson is the only one to survive the incident in the National Hockey League, and he’s awarded the Stanley Cup by default.

What good does it do bringing in good possession players if they’re just going to be forced into Carlyle’s puck = bad philosophy? Can he actually change?

A lot of the choices that the Leafs make are very fixable and will likely be second guessed by the new assistants once they hit the video room. The breakout is a good example; I can’t see “have both wingers cherry pick” flying much longer, along with the tip-in-at-centre dumps. Carlyle’s philosophy on the whole may or may not change, but the little things are easily mendable.

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thoughts on how shanahan said that spots are open for young talent but then signs all these bottom 6 guys? to me there’s not room for those guys to play

There is a difference between “open for young talent” and handing guys jobs. The Leafs don’t fancy themselves as a team in the rebuilding stage, and as such will at least attempt to be competitive. There’s a difference between losing out to worse players because the suit a role, and losing out to better talent because they’re better at hockey. The latter breeds healthy competition, and probably leads to a better hockey team.

None of the guys coming up, outside of maybe Peter Holland, jump out at me as “must play on the Leafs” talent, nor do they have blue chip upside. The exception to this is William Nylander, but playing him in the NHL at his age is probably a negative thing. It’s probably better that the Leafs take this approach – it helps the now a lot while not having much, if any effect on the future.

with all this depth, don’t the leafs trade a forward soon?

There’s this factor too. Acquiring all of these guys allows the Leafs to make some quantity for quality trades, or cross-position moves. There’s a hair over two months before puck drop; a lot can happen in that kind of time frame.

given the leafs recent moves this summer, what are your predictions for the upcoming season? is it realistic to hope for playoffs? it seems like a really different “culture” from last year, in a good way.

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I’m not a big fan of predicting the standings or statistics; it’s one thing to point out general trends, but specifics seem to exist so people can brag if they’re right or pretend they said nothing if they’re wrong. The Leafs seem headed in the right direction, however, and if nothing else should be a vastly more entertaining team to watch this year.

“Culture” is a weird buzzword that tends to get used by the media to explain wining or losing, but you can see a philosophical shift in how management is approaching the game. There’s less “intimidate” and more.. I’m not quite sure. I can’t really put my finger on a direct identity for this team. That may be a good thing, though; limiting yourself to a singular approach seems silly. If the Leafs become a sum of multiple philosophies that manages to play dominant, entertaining, and ultimately successful hockey team, I can’t see anyone complaining.

They still need to play games though. Looking into my crystal ball just shows, well, crystal.

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  • Should I be giving a damn about the Orlando Solar Bears (other than the name, logo)? Anyone worth a watch? And also, with about 2M left in the cap if we send down a few players, who would you go after for a 7D and a 3G?

  • Mailbag/article idea

    Last season the marlies possessed a player that was the fourth highest scorer in the league and he happened to be a defenceman. He ended up winning the Eddie Shore award and in spite of all this TJ Brennan was never given a shot with the big club and arguably less capable players were. What happened to the talk of “meritocracy” from the lockout shortened season where the best players were given the ice and those that were under performing were given the press box? To add to the oversight (or willful negligence) he wasn’t re-signed this year and was left to go to the islanders as a free agent. Whether he was in the long term plans for the team it seems reasonable to think it would be a good idea to treat him like an asset, sign him, and play or trade him for an asset in return. I’d love to see your take on this as I haven’t seen much on it and I personally think it’s borderline scandalous to let such a player go.