Raking Leafs

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

10/21/2007

Cover your eyes

TOR vs CHI 10/20/2007 - TOI - F/O - Score Sheet


Another lead. Another loss. And it takes one of the newest members of the Leafs to directly diagnose the problem.
"Every time we have a lead, we get burned...We sit back, don't play as hard, and that's why you take penalties."

Bravo Blake. The fact no one within the organization has recognized and addressed this issue is worrying. Very worrying. And don't get BitterLeaf started about a little in-game management and the far-fetched notion of maximizing one's advantage within the rules of the game and calling a time out to re-focus the team.

In what I considered a hang-over from the pre-lock/Pat Quinn days of the concept of the shut-down third period, it seems the Leafs stop doing what they have been doing in a game to be successful in an effort to be more careful, cautious or something. No more forecheck to continue territorial dominance. The ice that was tilted in the Leafs' favor slow teeters back to level, and then passes the point of no return in an avalanche of tentative nerves and home crowd jeers.

Who is to blame? Ain't that the fucking question of questions. Maurice is creeping up my s-list. I haven't really harped about the bench mismanagement too much, as many good coaches ignore the tool of the time out. The supposed veteran leadership core should be able to sense such a shift and give an encouraging word and an exemplary shift now and then. If this is exacerbated by a case of nerves, the home stand coming to an end and going out on the road may provide a fresh start for this squad.

As for the game itself, Kaberle seems to have awoken from his off-season slumber, joining the rush confidently and effectively. White made a great stretch pass to Pohl who should've buried the chance. Antropov staring down Kane was very enjoyable, who was extremely impressive, practically running the entire offense himself. Jason Williams seems to have landed a plumb role on the Hawks' powerplay after years of second class status in Detroit. I'm beginning to wonder what Steen's problem is. For all his skill and smarts, he can't seem to play with anyone effectively. I just don't get it. I thought him selfish last year when he would just shoot shoot shoot, but Maurice considered those acts selfless, and encouraged a more Steen-first mindset. In a more limited role, Stajan isn't as impressive, but still very solid. Gamanche is slowing a bit, but I still love what he brings to the table. He seems like a natural fit with Blake. I'm doubting Kubina's fitness coming into the season, because he seems even slower than last year. I've defended him in this space many times, but when you can't take care of your own end, the offense he brings isn't that important. Woz got used for another professional tripping penalty. Move that stick, boy! Poni's whining is complete bullshit. Belak did well blindfolded. McCabe is slowly regaining his confidence through invisibility. White deserves kudos for his standing up to Stumpel after the cheap hit from behind, that the entire Florida team and media ignored because White wasn't called for dropping his gloves. Raycroft was busy, but should've had Lang's wrister. And Antro continues being awesome.

Leafs Lines
Poni-Sundin-Blake
Kilger-Antro-Steen
Gamanche-Stajan-Tucker
Bates-Pohl-Belak

Leafs Pairs
Kaberle-Kubina
Gill-Woz
McCabe-White

Raycroft


UPDATE - "...over-rated rock band..." -100 points. The Police kick serious ass. And if you're so inclined, Mute Math do a good impression of the upper-driven trio.

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5 Comments:

  • At 2:40 PM, Blogger Thomas said…

    You're right, the problem lies for the most part in our lack of commitment towards continuing our forecheck during a third period lead.

    I think a critical difference between Raycroft and Toskala is that Vesa is a lot more clutch late in games. While it is completely unfair to pin the loss on Raycroft (the effort was not there in the third), I think Vesa is able to stop 2 of those third period goals. That is two Raycroft loses in a row where he lets in 4 goals in the third.

    Stajan's early season bravado is wearing off and he's playing a little more like he did last year. Maybe moving him up to Sundin's wing with Poni and giving Blake to Antro (who is utterly dominant almost every time out there, plus some stellar PK work) might spur Stajan, give Antro a solid winger and wake Steen up (through jealousy of Stajan I hope). I think we will be really improved when Carlo comes back, because Woz is a terrible right now.

    We're also experiencing a huge drop off in Tucker, which I would have never expected. I don't see him aggressively forechecking, I don't see any boldness on taking shots, or any creativity in finding the space he had last year (not only at the side of the net, but also coming in as the last forward in the zone and slapping it home.)

     
  • At 5:28 PM, Blogger HockeyTownTodd said…

    Chicago at Toronto was real interesting, only if you are curious as to how bad can the Leafs get.
    The Hawks 3rd game in 4 nights, and the Maple Leafs 3rd in 6 nights, they couln't even play the schedule excuse.
    "Leafs fans are a passionately disgruntled bunch,
    but good sports, even with their funny accents."-----The Third Man in
    The Leafs taking a 2 goal lead (3-1) into the third, found themselves tied at 1:34 in, and just disintegrated into 'I got him..no ...you take him' until it was shower time. The Hawks finished it off with 5G in the 3rd, 2PP and an empty netter. Sundin's SHG, and the Belak-Koci bout were the only reasons the Toronto fans had to leave their seats. After the game, the DON had more than a bit to say about the Leafs letting Perreault and Pecca get away..
    I have been to Toronto, and there is a lot of good hockey in the area. Most everyone knows their hockey there...but...there must have been a lot of inbreeding. How else could you explain that they just keep buying Maple Leaf tickets.
    Chad Kilger has got to go...he is just too good on the boards. A tradition has slowly evolved in the Toronto organization to squeeze out anyone that good, or just let the fans run em' out of town.
    A player that skilled, just makes their experiment in mediocrity look bad.

     
  • At 11:12 AM, Blogger Thomas said…

    Tlusty is playing tonight!!!

     
  • At 1:56 PM, Blogger ninja said…

    From what I hear, Mr. Tlusty has a beauty release, so hopefully he can read Antro well, find the seams and fire home tonight.

     
  • At 1:59 PM, Blogger ninja said…

    HTT,

    Kilger is going nowhere. And you should try to avoid buying into the memes that generalize the population's DNA history.

     

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