Raking Leafs

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

9/29/2007

...pretty close...

July hypothetical lines:
Poni-Sundin-Antro
Bell-Wellwood-Blake
Steen-Stajan-Tucker
Kilger-Boyd-Bates
"That's pretty close to where we'll start," Maurice said, referring to the makeup of the first three lines.
Blake-Sundin-Antro
Poni-Stajan-Steen
Kilger-Pohl-Tucker
Boyd-Newbury-Bates

Without precognitive powers to foresee Wellwood's relapse and Bell getting rung up for 15 games, let's see how my gambling gene did.

Antro sticks with Sundin, providing post-up play-making options, with Blake getting bumped to the first line to jump into the holes and fly up the wing. With two thirds of my L2 gone, the St.Ajan and St.Een pairing moves up to join the demoted Poni. This has the potential to be a very effective line, but Poni hasn't excelled when playing with these two before, so hopefully this time around is different.

Tucker mans L3 rightwing, which is where he should be. If that upsets you, think of it as the first checking line. I want Tucker on the ice in spurts to set tempo. I don't want Tucker on the ice too much which slows the tempo. Kilger slides up on the left side, while Pohl gets the chance he earned last year.

Boyd and Bates formed one of the better L4's in the league, in my opinion, last year with Kilger. Newbury should be able to fill the void while allowing the wingers to do the heavy lifting in the corners. Hopefully he can keep up the pace when the B boys generate their high pace cycle down low.

Overall, I like the look of the lines. Knowing the powerplay can click without Wellwood down low to the left of the net eases some concerns. The Leafs powerplay has operated on the left side of the ice for several years, and I wasn't confident a scheme focusing on Blake down low to the right of the net would be a smooth shift. I'm still not sure since I didn't get to see the game against the Wings last night, but the box scores provides enough evidence to at least not be too worried.

Look ma, forwards playing defense!

As for defense, your guess is better than mine. With so many unknowns in Kronwall, Woz, Strahlman and Carlo already hurt I can't really work out who is out and who is in. But the forwards have to get their collective head out of their ass. Their zone coverage is atrocious.

Which leads me to a theme I hope to see this season. Rather than the score-a-thon we are usually treated to for the first third of the season, I was thinking a defense first, build from the D zone out, approach would be a refreshing change. Develop those good habits early, then loosen the reins. I don't know. Call me crazy, but if the forwards have as much invested in keeping the goals against down as the blueliners, then maybe they will be tougher to play against as a team.

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2 Comments:

  • At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Duff said…

    Since when did Squeegie,Lurch,Edgar Winter and Sideshow Bob ever play a defensive game?

    With better ice at the ACC,you better hope they know how to "spoon and stack" real soon!

     
  • At 2:28 PM, Anonymous PPP said…

    Ninja, I wanted to e-mail you about writing something short for my blog but I can't find an e-mail for you.

    Drop me a line at pensionplanpuppets@gmail.com if you are interested.

     

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