Raking Leafs

Mixing metaphors and casting cliches about hockey and the Maple Leafs for the ether's pleasure since MCMLXVII.


M(aurice). O(ffense).

I suspect someone in the MSM read James Mirtle's post questioning how the Maple Leafs are going to score goals this year without Allison and Lindros, as the very next day Steve Milton of the Hamilton Spectator gets the new head coach to articulate his basic game plan.
The offence is based on how fast you practice...That's where offensive concepts come from. You learn how to play with each other. You practice at high speed, and what you've done is create anticipation of where the puck is going to be and how it's going to get there. That anticipation creates the half-step you need. It used to be that a half-step didn't mean anything...But now, you get five or six inches and that's enough to get away.
It'll be a two-man forecheck with room in it that if you had to pull it back, you can. But the whole concept of forechecking is changing, because we're not dumping the puck in any more, except for line changes. Our basic offensive theory is 'Where will we put the puck when we can't do anything more with it?' And some of that is dictated by the skill level of the individuals.
Milton also speculates that due to the high skill level of the Leafs blue line (additions Kubina, Carlo and/or White) much of the offense will originate with the puck mover, which is ideal for the new-NHL (and really, the old NHL too, but it was less prevalent due to the emphasis on defense).

"...Bringing centres back into their own zone would increase the options for the defencemen. And a puck handler with options is a dangerous weapon."

With that approach in mind, perhaps we'll see McCabe(R) and Kaberle(L) as the first pair, Kubina(R) and Carlo(L) as the second, and White(R) and Gill(L) as the third.

Sounds like a decent strategy; play to your strengths. Just keep those odd-man rushes off of turn-overs to a minimum, Paul.


  • At 3:35 PM, Blogger Tom L said…


    It sounds like Maurice has been talking with (or at least taking notes from) Lindy Ruff. If you want to play an up-tempo game you have to have efficient d-men who can retrieve the puck and move it quickly, countering the forecheck and moving the puck back out of the zone.

    That is one of the things that the Leafs have going for them this year, the question will be execution. Personally, I always thought the Leafs, under Quinn, were just a bit too undisciplined to execute a system like this often enough and that was regularly their undoing. too much emotion, not enough brains.

    Guys like McCabe are going to have to step up that portion of their game to really be effective 5 on 5.


  • At 9:24 AM, Blogger ninja said…

    Tom L,

    That is exactly my concern with Gill; can he get to the puck, get it under control and move it quickly? Because a slight delay or miscue can easily result in pressure by the opposition, scoring chances, penalties against, and goals. Not to mention tiring out forwards who could've been attacking.

  • At 11:18 AM, Anonymous pete said…

    "we're not dumping the puck in any more" coming from a Leafs coach might be the most beautiful thing i've ever heard.

  • At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Matt said…

    *Sigh of relief*

    I'm so glad to hear this from Maurice. A legitimate gameplan for the "new" NHL, finally! Honestly, I'm not even concerned with the standings this year, I'll just be happy to see this change in philosophy manifest itself on the ice.

  • At 9:24 AM, Blogger ninja said…

    No doubt, we'll be seeing a new look Leafs squad very shortly.


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