Jul 17, 2014, 4:07 PM EDT
The Toronto Maple Leafs feel they have a strong starting goaltender in Jonathan Bernier, but their defense last season left something to be desired. Toronto finished dead last in the NHL in shots allowed per game and consequently surrendered an average of 3.07 goals.
They recently brought in Peter Horachek to serve as an assistant coach and he might prove to be part of the solution in Toronto. If nothing else, he’s going into the city with a defensive philosophy he intends on promoting.
“I like to use the numbers 5, 5, 5, which means in every single zone, you have all your people there,” Horachek told The Fan 590. “That means there’s a cluster of people. Back pressure is the biggest difference in the last eight years or so … (successful teams) don’t allow teams to have to have second wave attacks.”
In other words, Horachek wants to focus on coordination from the players on the ice, with everyone being involved offensively and everyone switching over to defense as soon as the puck is turned over.
“Getting everyone in the picture at all times is going to be key,” Horachek added.
Finding a solution to the Leafs’ defensive shortcomings in general is paramount. None of the bottom 10 teams in terms of goals allowed made the playoffs last season. Having a strong group of skilled forwards simply isn’t good enough on its own.
- Update: Crosby on ice with Penguins teammates Friday, leaves early 4
- Ouch: Wild reportedly suspend Harding for ‘non-hockey injury’ 24
- Keeping Kuemper: Wild sign goalie to two-year deal reportedly worth $2.5M 14
- Selanne regrets harsh words toward Boudreau 7
- Flyers’ Timonen admits chances of playing are ‘really slim’ 7
- Desjardins (a.k.a. not Torts) makes good first impression on Canucks 27
- Leafs deny rift between Kessel and coaching staff 20
- Injured Crosby, Malkin will miss start of Pens’ camp 12
- Selanne rips Boudreau in book 18
- Just how damaging are heated negotiations between Jackets, RFA Johansen? 38
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (62)
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman (56)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)