Jun 24, 2012, 7:00 PM EDT
Say what you will about the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, but when things were going well, that team could light up the scoreboard. Unfortunately for Buds fans, other teams lit up the scoreboard far more often – especially when it all fell apart at the end of the year.
There are basically two ways to judge those results. One side is to say that a high-octane style could work – particularly considering the personnel on hand – if the defense and goaltending was simply adequate. The other is to say that the team needs to embrace big-picture NHL trends of going defense-first. Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle sides heavily with choice “B,” as he told Kevin McGran.
“I look at the way (the Kings) played and the type of team they had was very similar to what we had in 2007 (in Anaheim),” Carlyle said. “It was a grinding type of puck movement (in the playoffs) … There wasn’t a lot of goals scored off the rush. There was a lot more special teams in the games.”
This is the kind of hockey Carlyle wants his Leafs to play.
The big question is: do the Leafs have the makeup of a team that can grind out a lot of low-scoring, one-goal wins? Let’s not forget that along with a deep group of forwards, the Kings employed one of – if not the – best defense corps in the NHL and an undeniably elite goalie in Jonathan Quick.
A question of personnel
Is there anything resembling that in Toronto? Dion Phaneuf once came into the league with Drew Doughty-type acclaim, but he seemed to plateau in Calgary.* James Reimer showed flourishes until a concussion derailed his season, so the Quick element isn’t there, either.
If you ask me, the Leafs were at their best when Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul were shocking the hockey world with their fantastic, frenetic play. Their best off-season move so far involved letting go a once-promising defenseman (Luke Schenn) for a hopeful power forward in the making (James van Riemsdyk).
Of course, the key phrase is “so far.” Perhaps Toronto can add some talent in net and some stability on the blueline. Otherwise, it’ll take some fantastic coaching from Carlyle if the Maple Leafs want to look anything like the Kings.
(Other than the “struggling to get into the playoffs” part, that is.)
* – There is talk that he’s improve, yet that dialogue has a “he’s not all that bad” tone.
(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)
Jun 19, 2013, 12:05 AM EDT
It’s the first NHL game on NBCSN to surpass 4 million viewers.
Jun 18, 2013, 10:50 PM EDT
They beat the Syracuse Crunch in six games.
Jun 18, 2013, 10:23 PM EDT
“It’s going to be a strong, solid franchise just like Winnipeg is now.”
Jun 18, 2013, 9:27 PM EDT
Things are getting dramatic in Philadelphia.
Jun 18, 2013, 8:38 PM EDT
His annual cap hit is a hefty $7,727,273.
Jun 18, 2013, 7:40 PM EDT
Coburn might be heading the other way.
Jun 18, 2013, 7:10 PM EDT
He also loves 2013 NHL Draft prospect Darnell Nurse.
Jun 18, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT
The coach already had him picked as Plan B if Marian Hossa couldn’t play.
Jun 18, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT
Blackhawks coach knows his team has to improve in those areas.
Jun 18, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT
Stemming from his arrest in 2011.
Jun 18, 2013, 4:47 PM EDT
“I’ve got a nice little scratch mark on my forehead from the claw marks.”
Jun 18, 2013, 4:42 PM EDT
23-year-old defenseman had six goals in the playoffs.
Jun 18, 2013, 4:13 PM EDT
26-year-old made his NHL debut last season.
Jun 18, 2013, 3:26 PM EDT
But will they stay?
Jun 18, 2013, 3:18 PM EDT
Could an NHL team one day call it home?
Jun 18, 2013, 3:07 PM EDT
As per TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Jun 18, 2013, 2:49 PM EDT
He’s still “day-to-day” with his injury.
Jun 18, 2013, 2:18 PM EDT
He’s been given permission to seek employment elsewhere.
Jun 18, 2013, 2:16 PM EDT
“We don’t care about calling certain guys superstars on our team,” said the coach.
Jun 18, 2013, 1:38 PM EDT
Hey, he did take two weeks off.
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