Raking Leafs

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

11/03/2007

Powerplay does in Leafs

TOR @ NJD - TOI - F/O - Score Sheet

Ok. Time to move Woznewski before he does anymore damage. Get a third rounder and move on. The fact that Clarkson, a plugger by trade, outsmarted and outskated Andy was enough for me. Kronwall should get a chance. Strahlman is far and away a better player, and should remain with the big club after injuries heal.

Marty Brodeur was the difference in this game, barely keeping the Devils in the game through two periods. Of course, while the Leafs were out-chancing the Devils, they were surrendering more than one odd-man chance, usually due to not getting the puck deep or neutral zone turn-overs. The neutral zone is becoming an issue, because the Leafs aren't generating rushes with enough speed or consistency. They keep getting bogged down, and that is when the trouble starts. Face-offs are another area needing improvement.

Another facet that needs more consistency is Sundin's effort. For all his world-classiness, he seems to pick and choose his spots to exert full effort alittle too much for my liking. You don't think the young players notice this selectivity? And all this "I don't know what's wrong" doesn't exactly instill a sense of confidence in his ability to lead the team. Talking about Bell earlier this week, I wasn't sure from his comments if they've even spoken to one another. Leaders need to communicate, or at least have lieutenants to do some of that leg work. Hopefully that is in place in the Leafs' locker room.

Antropov, wearing the 'A', seems a little burdened. He needs to look for his shot, be decisive. People will play off what he does, and he needs to be reminded of what should be a prominent role. No pressure, just play Antro.

Steen's goal was impressive. That's the kind of extra effort the rest of the team needs. Just that little extra step, sticking with a play just a second more, to create a chance. And speaking of chances, so many aren't created when the puck is down low behind the net. Why there isn't more coordination among the forwards after they've achieved this positional advantage, I'd like to know. Where is the cunning to slip out of a defender's line of sight and get open for a shot? Where is the timing between the puck carrier and the player coming down the slot? I just don't understand why these simple but essential elements are missing. The only example of said coordination was on Poni's goal against the Capitals, but even that wasn't off the cycle, but more so off puck retrieval.

Oh well. Welly might be back tonight against the Habs, or shortly thereafter. Bell is back against the Sens, though I dislike the idea of shifting Antro to the wing. His being in the middle is not putting him in those race for the puck scenarios that have left him hobbled. Put Bell on the wing. Kilger-Antro-Bell could be awesome. Nothing against Boyd, just brainstorming.

Hopefully, not too many dives from Montreal tonight. With their powerplay the way it is, it is understandable to want to give it as many chances as they can. Woz, I'm looking at you! Let a Hab trip themselves on your stick and you're fired!

Reading (Tea) Leafs
"I'm hopeful that all those players in that fourth-line role realize we're getting a little healthier and we're not far away from decisions," Maurice said. "It will be based on performance, not: 'You had a great year for us last year and you can stay'. It has to be: 'You had a great weekend for us and you get to stay'. "
Boyd is staying, and so is Kilger so I'd say Bates will be getting the boot.
"Our power play hasn't been winning us games and now it's costing us games. We're just going to dismantle it, try a whole bunch of new people and try to simplify it," said Maurice. "It can't hurt you. It's one thing if it's not scoring goals but it can't hurt you like that...You either have to have motion with the puck or motion with the bodies and we don't have enough of either,"
If you want movement, put Anton on the right point. That kid has amazing wheels, and knows how to use them. For puck movement, go with White and Kaberle. As for what to do with the forwards, Why Antropov isn't on the first unit is beyond me. He should be given full license, to look for his shot, to be assertive. Sadly, what I feared before the season seems to be the case. The powerplay has been left to the players. Is the powerplay still in the players' hands, as was the case to start the 06-07 season, or have the reins been taken back by Maurice? The powerplay stalled last year, and the starter motor is on the shelf already. Some new thinking needs to be injected into this important piece of the puzzle.
Jason Blake missed on a shot, then couldn't hook up with Tomas Kaberle to stop a breaking John Madden from beating Vesa Toskala with a perfect glove-side shot...Kaberle could have played Madden better as he steamed down the left side, knowing the East York native is one of the most opportunistic penalty-killers in the NHL. But Kaberle did pull his stick away to allow Toskala a clear view of the shot.
After playing one of his best in a Leafs' uni, Blake erred big time. He caught up to Madden, then stopped striding for a split second, allowing Madden to pull away. He had Madden, and that is why Kaberle didn't play him differently.

This picture is begging for a caption. And kudos to one of the photogs at the game. The images are huge.



Leafs Lines
Poni-Sundin-Blake
Tlusty-Stajan-Steen
Kilger-Antro-Boyd
Simon-Pohl-Belak

Leafs Pairs
Kab-Kub
Gill-White
Woz-Anton

Toskala

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2 Comments:

  • At 6:38 PM, Anonymous PPP said…

    While the second goal was bad the real killer was the third one.

    No one touched Parise and then Kubina's trying to poke check the puck away in the crease instead of just drilling him onto his ass.

    Wozniewski has comprimising pictures of someone because he is terrible.

     
  • At 1:53 PM, Blogger ninja said…

    I suppose, though I think giving up a short hander with the game tied in the third kinda kills a team.

    I'm hoping Woz is JFJ's pump-n-dump project. It's the only rational explanation for his ice time.

     

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