Raking Leafs

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

10/05/2006

Can we get a do-over?

10/04/06 TOR vs. OTT

I'm having trouble coming up with how to start this post.

The game started well, but it was all downhill from Poni getting stoned all alone in the slot. The powerplay was a dud, though Wellwood filled in just fine for Allison. Mike Fisher should be a Maple Leaf. Neil embarassed Gill. I was getting a drink for the Schubert wrap around. So was Raycroft. Sundin's penalty shot should've been a tripping call - he got the shot off, but his legs were taken out, which is the only call Domi got right last night. And Alfredo selfishly scored into the empty net; nice captain the Sens have there.

So many disappointments - Gill; get used to the phrase "can't turn and go." McCabe; the blue-line turnstile. Holy crap did he get too much money! Woz; makes me nervous whenever he has the puck. Where is steady Harry?!. O'Neill; see below. Steen; What? Are you upset you aren't the chosen one (Sundin's rookie winger) anymore? Grow up already! Tucker; You call that leading by example?

So few bright spots - Sundin; dictionary definition of one-man show. Wellwood; still feeling out the wing, seems hesitant to look for his shot, which is why I think Sundin elected to shoot on the only clear two-on-one in the game for the Leafs; he didn't want to get a return pass. Kaberle; if Tomas wasn't here, it would look ten times worse. Peca; finally a consistent thinking-man's player out there. Pohl; keep at it, Johnny, it will come. Battaglia; if he keeps skating and hitting like that, Bates will be this year's Chad Kilger. Raycoft; not bad considering the sieve in front of him.

Very different coaching style - Lines were changing every time they came over the boards. Apart from Poni-Sundin-Wellwood, every different combination was deployed. Peca skated with Kilger and Battaglia. Pohl skated with Kilger and Sugar. Stajan shared time with Battaglia and Kilger. Tucker and Steen floated on the right side amongst these three lines, with O'Neill getting the odd shift.

Coach not up to speed yet - Needs to learn his player's personalities and the team personality in general so he can spark them. Seemed a bit like an akward dance at times last night; not making the right step at the right time. Needs to study up on division teams' tendencies. Defensive zone not much better than last year. Maurice has a TON of work to do. Tempo, while good, can't be sustained at the moment.

The need to cut the dead weight - O'Neill has to go. He thinks he's entitled to stay in the NHL. Times have changed, bub. You had your free-ride last season. Put-up or shut-up and accept your...I'll put it nicely...conditioning stint with the Marlies. Explore all the options you want, Jeff, but right now I'm not sure you'd make the Marlies squad!

And if Harrison is placed on waivers, and consequently snatched up by anyone, and Wozniewski stays, as this Koshan article suggests, count me in on the JFJ lynch mob (I know its only one game, but the Leafs have to represent). I don't know if I can stand losing another Jason Smith type player. Woz is more "proto-typical" but he ain't any good under pressure. At least, I haven't seen it yet.

More of the same tonight, and for many nights after that. Nice summary of what is to come, courtesy the MadHockeyBlogger.

I'll be at the Mets game tonight, so I won't have anything posted until I can watch the recording from Ottawa.

6 Comments:

  • At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jesus, if we lose Harrison then I'll lead the lynch mob. Especially if it is in order to keep Wozniewski! A friend of Harrison's was telling me that the Leafs were considering making Woz a forward because his skill-set is so offensive (yes, both meanings).

    I plead misrepresentation on O'Neill's part for thinking that he was going to be good. I didn't realize when he said he had done a lot of hard work that he meant by his standards not accepted standards.

    First game but the kids need to bear down. They are expected to fail so they need to stop putting so much pressure on themselves.

    p.s. Tucker was invisible.

     
  • At 2:01 PM, Blogger Alan Linquist said…

    Gill. Ha ha ha ha. Told you you were going to frustrated by that guy. He'll be much better when he's no longer playing as the 4th defenseman, though.

    I also thought Raycroft played fairly well. Back when the Bruins had Tim Thomas, Hannu Toivonen and Andrew Raycroft, it became apparent that all three of them had a fairly major flaw. Thomas tends to get a bit floppy when he opponents crash the net. Toivonen has trouble stopping pucks shot high glove side. And if you shoot low and hard on Raycroft, he's going to kick out a juicy rebound. Get used to seeing a lot of that.

     
  • At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Zanstorm said…

    Tucker didn't get alot of icetime, nor did O'Neil.
    I am not worried after this loss because Gerber really stood on his damn head. It should have been 3-0 Leafs going into the 2nd.
    The big negative is Hal Gill, who just isn't going to cut it.
    At least Raycroft looked good for the majority of the game. Yeah he looked shaky at other times, but i was impressed anyways.
    A+ to Wellwood, he played well!

     
  • At 2:15 PM, Blogger ninja said…

    AL,

    Yeah, thanks for Gill. He was good on the PK, but going up and down at 5-on-5...no thanks. I can deal with Raycroft, though I thought he seemed a bit slow going east-west.

    Z,

    Tucker had 18:41 of ice time. Albeit, not with Mats, but that is the idea: spread the age and experience around. Maybe he was tired or being overly responsible defensively, but Tucker needs to be the first guy in chasing a dump in.

    O'Neill got what he deserved.

    And I'm definitely worried, not that I had high expectations, but this team scares no one. Hopefully by 2007, that will change.

     
  • At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was too young and involved in school to really feel the depression of the dark period between the conference finals and the start of the Pat Quinn Era (first full season) but I am thinking that this is going to be a year long version of the post-New Year's swoon.

    This could be devastating.

    Having said that, if the team can improve it's kids and make good moves towards competing in 2007 then I can repeat that mantra all year.

    And Hal Gill was always going to be a 10-14 minutes guy but Colon Campbell is a tool.

     
  • At 4:44 PM, Blogger MetroGnome said…

    Tough game last night...the Leafs were clearly the better team for most of the first. Unfortunately you can't play Hal Gill and Wade Belak against the Senators without consequence.

    On the bright side, Sundin looked great.

     

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