Postgame: No Good Goals in 3-1 loss to Arizona

Hockey’s a funny sport, ain’t it? What a funny game for the Leafs, as they lost their eighth straight, bringing Peter Horachek to a .200 winning percentage in his ten games behind the Leafs bench.

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The Rundown

Phil Kessel got it going 16:33 into the first, his first even strength goal in 18 games, sneaking through the wickets of Mike Smith. Through 40, it remained the only goal, and though the Leafs were outshot 30-15 through 2, they’ve defintely won games in the past few years while playing worse.

Enter Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s 114 foot goal. I’m not going to link the video- it’ll be played hundreds of times on the lowlights over the next week, month, even few seasons. Full credit to OEL on taking the chance, though.

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Martin Hanzal then snuck one in between a post-hugging Bernier and, well, the post.

Bernier was having a good game up to this point. His numbers still ended up being pretty solid, stopping 42 of 45.

Ontario boy Sam Gagner got fired up in front of his childhood favourite team to ice the game with 3:30 to go on a tipped shot.

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Mike Smith’s an easy target for criticism- but went ahead and played a fairly solid game. Besides the one weak goal, he made 24 stops. 

There wasn’t much to get excited about in this game on either side. Two teams that appear to be non-playoff locks at this point produced three of four goals that were a direct result of bad/unlucky goaltending.

Maple Warrior

Phil Kessel, why not. He scored his 20th goal of the season on a night where few Leafs looked overly impressive. He’ll look good in Arizona when he gets traded for Max Domi.

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  • 147 days until the NHL draft.
  • The Kessel-JVR-Bozak line was played at 85% starts in the offensive zone, resulting in a 56-57% Corsi for the three players at even strength. Though it’s never been great defensively and weren’t exactly playing the best opponent, it’s a moral victory of sorts and probably the best way to use those three players together.
  • Why can’t the Leafs score? PDO is killing the Leafs’ chances of re-signing Horachek long term. Post your hot and cold takes below, since I’m rather dumbfounded.

The Leafs travel to Philadelphia on Saturday night.

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  • Dawgfan1980

    This team is so mentally fragile, when the 114 foot shot went in, you knew it was over for the night.

    This is the downside to preseason in the middle of the campaign. I think long-term this is the right move and next year, the team will look more cohesive and coherent after playing a more normal style for the back half of the season.

    I know many people have unrealistic expectations. Kessel is a top 5 winger in the game. I don’t think we will have enough good players though for his window though. I think also that #44 can be a #1 D-man, so that’s the new target.

    Watch the games, look at the stats and learn, that’s all we can do. I know others will opine with thoughts in this section about how the internet basement dwellers are getting their just desserts for loving Corsi. Keep spouting that nonsense please, it proves that you are unwilling to use all of the tools at your disposal. That gets you in the situation where you sign players for well over the value of their role. Basically, anytime you poo poo a gathered, watched stat you are saying you want to play with a handicap.

    My hope? Ottawa finishes 9th in the conference, we discover Kadri is a really good #2 center, we figure out what Bernier is and settle on fair value for him and his next contract, and continue to see the development of Rielly and Gardiner into 1/2 and 2/3 defensemen over the next two seasons. You grow pieces slowly. We won’t trade for a 1C, you draft those. Move UFA’s for lotto tickets (4th-7th round picks) and hope you hit or wait for Nylander to make the league in ’16-17 fulltime.

  • Kanuunankuula

    So let me see if I got this right Adam. If you play 10 games and you win five of them you are playing at 500. If you win 4 it is 400 and if you have won 2 you are at 200. But Adam the leafs have won one stinking game under Peter’s leadership, thus they are playing at 100 not 200. Way to go on your math Adam.

    Leaf fans just can’t wait till the off season when we can sign a goaltender who never could win the job in L.A. and has been average at best this year. But wait you are pointing out to me that after a couple of months of play last year a number of leaf lap poodle media types wanted Bernier to be the third goalie for team Canada in the Olympics. Yes these fools actually wrote that crap. At best he has been average this year but I guarantee that the stat boys and media will be pushing for Bernier to get a nice big fat contract. In fact let us make it iron clad like Clarkson’s contract.

    Now why would he get a huge contract you ask? Well like a Phaneuf or a one dimensional Kessel you are highly over rated if you play for the leafs.

    You people really wonder why this team has one playoff appearance in the past decade and they performed the ultimate choke in that playoff series.

    Simply clue in that most of the players are totally over rated.

    Btw I don’t need to have all those corsi, fenwick, airwick spray stats to know that in far too many games this year Bernier has SUCKED.

    Yep keep living in your dream world with the James Mirtles of the world and tell your self that one goal a game is such an improvement over being the highest scoring team in the league. I mean what can be more exciting to watch than your club either scoring one goal or getting shut out.

    Seriously folks what is more pathetic the leafs performance or idiots thinking that the leafs current style of play is a major improvement. Give your heads a shake.

  • Kanuunankuula

    Whats48years: What the hell is the point of you even commenting? Everything is always the worst, under Carlyle, under Horachek… There is just no pleasing you, is there? Jesus, I’m so sick and tired of always seeing your whiny comment here. Give even some suggestions or something, or just let it go. We know the’re bad, but at least there is some hope. The process is improving, and since they suck this season, we might even get a good pick for it.

    As for the game, this is a case study why not to start goalies back to back. Toskala-level badness. Leafs have the process, but are just killed by their PDO (probably some cosmic karma for last and the year before that). Too bad for Horachek TBH. Time to move some contracts for picks and let the youngsters handle the rest of the season.

    • Kanuunankuula

      The fact that you can pontificate that the process is improving despite that this team is averaging a goal a game speaks volumes as to how utterly clueless you are about hockey. M.L.S.E. loves people like you.

      Your the type of guy or gal who goes around bragging that his team made the playoffs once in 10 years.

      Seriously buddy give your freaking head a shake.

    • CMpuck

      So poor Kuula has reading comprehension difficulties. Just for you I’ll repeat what I’ve stated numerous times in times in here namely SUGGESTIONS OR SOMETHING that will help a team that I have supported for 60 years. Okay little boy here goes.

      #1. You somehow change the ownership of this team. You can’t have a three headed snake of Rogers, Bell and Larry who are at their throats all the time.

      #2. You also must allow the hired management to do their jobs. You can’t have the Jerry Jones wannabees who are the bean counters and blue suits on the M.L.S.E. board making on ice decisions.

      Nonis isn’t a member of Mensa but it is that upper management board who is ordering him to give Clarkson an iron clad contract and demanded that Phaneuf and Kessel be resigned to huge long term contracts. Nobody in hockey management could be that stupid.

      #3. You get an owner who actually wants to win like a Mike Ilitch.

      #4. That new owner doesn’t every season make the leafs play the most back to back games in the eastern conference. You actually try to help your team with the schedule rather than having an extra monster truck show so you can rake in more cash 365 days a year.

      #5 The new owner goes out and buys veteran solid management people with proven track records. Not a rookie president such as Shanahan. Those top solid WINNERS, the Kenny Hollands, the Bob Babcocks will start to consider Toronto when they see that they will have control of the on ice product and that management will back them 100% in their decisions.

      #6 When you bring in a supposably talented Mark Hunter to help in the scouting his first assigment is to FIRE EVERY ARCHITECT OF DISASTER FROM THE PAST 10 YEARS OF SCOUTING. Yes these clowns who have done such a pathetic job for the leafs. This means Dave Morrison, Mike Penny, Tom Watt and the rest of this gaggle of losers IS FIREEEEEEEED.

      #7 Your new scouting staff puts an emphasis on leadership skills. Case in point out in Vancouver, the Vancouver Giants had two great young captains in Lucic and Gallagher. Lucic went in the third round and Gallagher went in the seventh round. The Canuckleheads showed no interest in them even though they were playing in their back yard.

      #8 You obviously for the next few years get as high as a pick as you can. You actually pick a player who has the physicality to play and get this can actually skate. Already I hear clowns in here telling us to get McDavid’s linemate. A big strong center who is the first to admit he has trouble skating. Great lets make sure we draft another Dave Clarkson who has trouble skating.

      #9 You wheel and deal at the trade dead line. You unload Gardiner who get this has 3 more points than some slug that Florida put on waivers. Jake who has those oh so brilliant corsi and fenwick stats between the two blue lines is minus 20 and has 11 stinking points as a so called gifted offensive D man.

      You make sure you deal for two second round picks as one of those picks should be used to get a good young goalie.

      You offer Bernier a relatively short term deal at $4 million a year. If he doesn’t like it tough walk. After all Reimer was convinced teams would come flocking to him and he ended up crawling back to the leafs. As others in here who are more intelligent than you Kuula have pointed out Bernier has at best been an average goalie this year with an uncanny ability to give up big goals in games. You honestly wonder some nights if his head is in the game.

      You eat Clarkson’s contract as you send this bum to the A.H.L. Not only he is horrible defensively but this non skating so called forward who has ample time on the power play has 4 stinking assists all season long. Bury the bum in the minors and eat that salary and let it be a reminder of NEVER AGAIN WILL A PLAYER GOING TO THE LEAFS GET A CONTRACT LIKE THAT.

      Simply rip that C off Phanuef as fast as possible and give it to the guy the players and the new qualified management and that includes the new G.M. who replaces the FIRED NONIS, the new coach and his new assistants and Shanahan decide who is best qualified to proudly wear the C like so many predecessors before him.


      • Benjamin

        1) Useless conjecture

        2) Useless conjecture

        3) Useless conjecture

        4) Useless conjecture

        5) Age is no guarantee of efficiency. #AllHeartBriseBois

        6) Inaccurate

        7) Useless conjecture

        8) Draft well, got it

        9) Trade players, got it

        You pick the best player available in the draft, doesn’t matter the position. That’s drafting 101.

        Don’t overpay Bernier, got it.

        Not physically possible, he has a NMC.

        Like what SJ did to Marleau and Thornton? No. If you can trade him for assets, sure.

        That was more interesting, thanks.

      • Dawgfan1980

        At least we got you to finally come out and give things you want to see changed.

        1) Ownership issues – Well, as long as they are profitable, they won’t sell.

        2) Management did their job, or do you think Nonis didn’t want to sign Clarkson? I’m not necessarily sure what you mean by this statement.

        3) Ownership again. Owners shouldn’t care about winning first, they should care about sustainability in profits, that is what successful business do.

        4) So you think the owners set the schedule or have input and say? Alrighty. I don’t know where to start with this one…

        5) Who’s Bob Babcock? Wasn’t Burke a “proven winner” along with Carlyle? The Leafs haven’t had an issue with hiring “winners”, they have an issue replicating the variables those “winners” had.

        6) So you think our scouting staff is abhorrently awful? Hmm… I can’t argue really to say that the Leafs haven’t had great luck with first round picks. They’ve had better luck with later round picks though, that seem to rely more on depth scouting. I do agree that some tweaks need to be made in the way information may be presented, but you don’t gut the whole staff, well, you would it seems.

        7) How do you see and scout leadership? This is an honest question. Do you just draft the guys wearing the C, the A? Saying Lucic is a “leader” isn’t really true now is it? He might be a tone setter, but Chara is the leader of that team. Would you prioritize leadership over other hockey skills? Would you say Daniel Winnik and Polak are leaders on this team currently or are the Leafs rudderless with the current roster? Do you see anyone on the roster with leadership skills? Say, Trevor Smith, who was the captain of the Marlies, does he display leadership?

        8) Are you suggesting a modified tank to get a higher spot? I think most teams do draft a player that they think is the best player available to fit their scheme. You do value skating ability, is that the main thing you’d be scouting for and leadership second?

        9) Two second round picks for Gardiner? You wouldn’t give that up from the tenor and tone of what you say about him most of the time.

        If Bernier chooses not to sign at $4/yr, then who starts? You aren’t high on Reimer, or is it just drafting this goalie from the Gardiner deal to start in how many years?

        You can’t bury Clarkson, he has a no movement clause. He can’t legally be sent to the minors. Its a breach of contract. Once again, to repeat, YOU CAN’T SEND CLARKSON TO THE MINORS, IT’S NOT LEGAL. You can trade him and retain salary, but your idea, it cannot happen legally.

        Who would you make captain if not Dion atm?

        You said you’ve been a leafs fan since the 50’s. I applaud you for surviving the Ballard years. With the advent of the salary cap though, its not about ownership as much as it is asset management. We agree that the assets have been poorly managed at this point. Phanuef is overpaid for being a 2/3 defenseman. Bozak is overpaid for being a 2/3 center. Clarkson is overpaid for being a 3/4 winger. Lupul is overpaid for the amount of games he gives you.

        You think that the ownership has the same priorities as you. Don’t ever fall into that trap.

        You didn’t school anyone, you showed that you feel ownership is poor (and after living through Ballard, no one is as bad as that bastard was) and your understanding of Clarkson’s contract is lacking.

        Lastly, sign up for an account. It would help provide a little more substance to your points. Just my $.02 and I know you don’t agree with me, but that’s fine. You can keep screaming for heads, the same screams that keep players from wanting to come here.

      • TGT23

        Nothing you’ve said in this long rant is either a good idea or would make anyone smarter for having read it.

        Most of it can be broken down to an old hockey fan expecting old hockey results from old hockey thinking. None actually help this team. Also “draft better, trade everyone, fire everyone.”…

        Trade a 24y/o D-Man because he’s having a rough year. Or do you want to trade him merely because advanced stats say he’ll come around? You’re using PLUS/MINUS to prove your point? You must be 60+…

        If you think someone with his skillset won’t be a good NHL defensemen and has 0 shot, you’re the delusional one.

        Play hardball with a UFA because it worked on an RFA? Give your head a shake… Reimer didn’t have a choice but to come back.

        Clarkson can’t be cut, waived, demoted or bought out… How is it you people don’t understand his contract?

        Rip the C off a guys chest for no reason other than why not? Teams want the guy, good teams want the guy, so let’s disrespect him and trade him… Yeah, okay…

        Just… Come on, man.

        • Dawgfan1980

          You see that is the problem today TG T23, too many of those old hockey fans opiniating about the game. What do they know. Heh I got a great idea young man, why don’t you go and spend some quality time with grandpa and he can talk to you about all the winning leaf teams he watched. You know teams that won cups.

          Your parents would be delighted that you went and visited him instead of being self centered with yourself and spending those countless hours on corsi and Fenwick.

          But you know that grandpa that you should give a hug to you might be old but he knows about winning. You with your beloved Corsi and Fenwick couldn’t spell Winning. SHOW A LITTLE RESPECT FOR YOUR ELDERS KID. ONE DAY YOU TOO WILL BE AN ELDER AND WOULD DEMAND THAT RESPECT.

          • TGT23

            Actually, grandpa was an intelligent man so I have little doubt he’d be able to comprehend Corsi and Fenwick and understand why and how it is useful.

            He was an intellectually curious man who believed one never stops learning. Corsi and Fenwick would have been something for him to learn, not belittle and ignore.

            What he might be confused by is why someone closer to his age believes respect is given and not earned. You, sir, do not deserve the respect you seem to believe is owed.

  • Kanuunankuula

    I agree with @what’s48years!

    Have said since Bernier came over here that the Leafs organization could have sued the money more wisely as in the team in front of Riems and not on another netminder who is no where a top performer to have been given the Starter job….He has played worst this year than last year and this is who right now id driven the 18 wheeler off the cliff (NOT REIMS, NOT THIS TIME, I’m sad that he isn’t playing as much, but t least right now he isn’t the scapegoat for this sad team and he is not the one who can be blamed for the sinking ship.)

    Bernier has been hyped way above what he really is, and if this organization id dumb enough to keep him and throw a big contract at him, than this is why this team is going no where fast..because players are given a long rope to hang themselves with….Bernier has not proven that he was this BIG STEP UP over Reims, Reimer has been the better Goalie this year compared to Bernier whose has twice the amount of games, and has lost over half of them, where has he shown and proved his value and place a a #1 you would have been better off with the back-up goalie again on the LA KINGS…..

    Bernier has been over hyped and not lived up to it all…unlike last season he has not been th life of this team as in he’s been saving this teams butt, hes let in waY to many softies this season and a lot more goals in under a minute like the first 5 seconds…come on people WAKE UP!!!!

    Bernier is not a starter at least not right now…and Does not deserve to be…


    • TGT23

      “Reimer has been the better Goalie this year compared to Bernier whose has twice the amount of games, and has lost over half of them”

      Reimer is 6-9 and 12-16-1 last season… How is that a point you’re trying to make in Reimer’s defense as the better goalie when Reimer… Ah, nevermind… There is no logic with you. Facts be damned.

      As for this one… 1 goal is not going to cut it. But, neither was the Carylye style. So, what does it matter? A lot of fans think losing 5-4 is better than building a real team with a real system. But hey, sure, fine, go watch Colorado.

      And that goal on Bernier… Bro… I understand losing the puck but god damn…. His stats look fantastic, and he played fantastic, at least until that 1st and 2nd goal…

  • CMpuck




  • CMpuck

    Well at least they’re finally exceeding expectations and making a fairly solid effort of tanking. Although there’s a lot of time left, I’m gonna say they pull out a tenth place finish. As usual.

  • TGT23

    A number of valid points to my comments. In reality it indeed starts at the top as we are stuck with the three headed snake and yesiree The leafs are truly number one in Forbes magazine listing where it really counts and that is bringing in the cash to the bank.

    The richest team in the N.H.L. I get that most people in here have been served mediocrity as long as they have followed the leafs. That is not your fault but ownership.

    What really bothers old time leaf fans is that a proud franchise has sunk to the Ballard era level. There was an agent who had a kid named Redmond. He told Ballard not to draft him. That seldom happens and was an indictment of Ballard and his ownership.

    As far as the use of the building M.L.S.E. does think of the share holders as they try to fill the building up every night. Now the leafs over the past decade have had some seasons where it has come down to the final week as to whether or not they would make the playoffs. As some posters have pointed out playing back to back and the leafs usually lead in this category season after season is a killer and will cost a club 5 to 6 or more points a year.

    Was it only a couple years ago that the Habs and Leafs played a futility bowl game late in the season in which the winner would climb over the loser but both teams would miss the playoffs.

    Well the Habs got the Molson people back in they canned the G.M. brought in a new coach and in a few years with the brilliant play of Carey Price are a very strong hockey club.

    The leafs after that season continued the down slide.

    To me one of the major faults of a lot of leaf fans and the media is that everyone is highly over rated. One of the major reasons that Clarkson was signed was that in a very, very weak free agent year he was considered the best. The bean counters and blue suits of the board felt that despite the fact he only had one 20 goal season and was a terrible skater it would indeed be a feather in the camp for Toronto to brag that they got the top free agent.

    Yes I would go with a rookie goalie next year. Why do you ask. Because intelligent leaf fans realize that a total tanking not just this year but next year and the year after will enable the club to possibly obtain the future corner stones to build a contending club. There are no guarantees, just ask Edmonton. But free agency hasn’t worked and trading your problem for another problem isn’t the answer either.

    I’m still convinced that too many people including a number in here want some tinkering for the club. For them to be competitive now. Which means a 10th or 12th pick. That doesn’t cut it.

    Anyone who thinks Jake Gardiner is capable of being a solid N.H.L. defenceman is living in a delusional world. A huge minus rating and 11 stinking points from a guy who has never thrown a check in his life.

    Look I appreciate your passion in here. Guess what If I was your age and had been brain washed with mediocrity all my life I probably would be stating exactly what you post in here.

    Some of long time leaf fans, similar to a Spike Lee Knicks fan or those dedicated Oakland Raider fans are tired of being embarrassed and treated like a halloween joke during the season.

    Some of you will continue to accept the mediocrity. Others will hope it can change. But unless the power makers, the blue suits and bean counters stop interfering in the on ice decisions and proven winners are brought in at every level get ready for more mediocrity.

    Mike Ilitch talked about how he brought the whole organization together and simply said I want to turn the Detroit Red Wings into a winner. I will go to any length to bring in the best scouts, G.M., coach and players to obtain this goal. He succeeded splendidly just as he did with the Tigers.

    We can only look on with envy.

    • Dawgfan1980

      I had a long winded thing typed up and posted, but then I realized something. You enjoy hearing yourself rabble rabble on about the ownership, the overrated status of players (that the mainstream media loves to pump the tires on so they can sell copies that it seems you read and further perpetuate the hype. See: Clarkson, David; Bolland, David) and the overall disdain for advanced stats. Trying to teach you anything at this point seems to be futile, so until you sign up for an account so you accountability, please stop.

      • Dawgfan1980

        Well that is the point isn’t it. But I got an idea why don’t you spend some quality time with grandpa. He could teach you about winning, especially leaf teams that won cup through talent, leadership, respect for each other. Everyone played a 200 foot game. Oh he might be confused with Corsi and Fenwick but he could spot a good draft pick from a block away. Yesiree you youngsters know it all after all you have all your new wonderful stats that are guaranteed to lead the leafs to the promise land. As your grandpa will point out to you he knows about winning. You can’t spell the word.

  • TGT23

    can’t wait for a team with mcdavid/nylander/kadri/rielly/gardiner/johnson/percy & possibly bibeau ? if not mcdavid , strome/marner/hanifin but seriously, this fanbase deserves mcdavid.

  • TGT23

    Nice try kid. Bottom line is that you practice ageism. As I stated one day you will be an elder and hopefully you won’t have that smug superior know it all of a punk that you are. I guarantee your late grandfather would have told you to respect your elders. Put it in practice KID.