Goals for, or Goals Against? That is the question
Today, Mike Zeisberger acknowledges the most obvious flaw to recent editions of the Leafs: defense. And many thought the summer acquisitions would solve the sieve that was the 05-06 Leafs. But personnel wasn't the main issue last year, but rather the problem was a lack of execution of a sound team game plan in all three zones. Any team that is successful at keeping the puck out of their net does this, and the reason it works is because any schmuck can score a goal against the best defender in the world given the right position on the ice. Be it a two on one, or a takeaway, or gaining a quick positional advantage, if the defending player isn't where they are supposed to be and taking care of the puck with the proper support, they aren't defending anything.
I think we're a team that comes to play every night. We have skilled players for sure, but I think working as a team and giving our all for 60 minutes every night has been the key.
That is a laugh. Yes, the effort has improved, but in no way, shape, or form is it consistent. And as a result team D is still a problem. And even more worrying, Maurice is pinning this shortcoming on personnel as well.
It's a matter of (the) style of players that we have...We have an offensive-minded team...The guys up front, maybe with the exception of Mike Peca, all think they're offensive guys. When they get a good feeling and a positive feeling, they're looking to make plays...Because of that mindset, there are nights that we go out and look really good with the puck and nights that we don't. Our challenge is to introduce a bit more of a grind to our game, a bit more of a defensive mentality to our game without hurting our players' chances of doing what they do best.While it is fundamental to play the game to a team's strengths, neglecting the important part of winning, i.e. not letting the opposition score, could be considered mental. I see this lack of focus and pride in defense as a coaching issue. Sure some players are "offensively minded", but great players are the ones that learn to take care of their own zone first and foremost.
And they learn that important lesson from who?