Raking Leafs

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


NHL Pacing 12.18.07

Click image to enlarge.

We're nearly 40% of the way through the NHL's regular season. Ottawa and Detroit have long-since emerged as heavy favorites in their respective conferences and Los Angeles is eyeing themselves a Stamkos.

The changes over the last month have been dramatic. The Devils have soared and St. Louis has climbed over three teams in their division. Meanwhile, the Islanders have plummeted.

The Northwest Division is the most interesting. They've had no change in the order of their standings over the last month (save for the technicality at the top), but they now find themselves with four teams in playoff position, when last month they had just two. It's been a good month in the northwest.

Last, Toronto fans can at least appreciate the fact that they play in the division that has the most "Points For" of any division in hockey.



Tip Tip (Tip) Hooray!

TOR @ NYR - F/O - TOI - Event - Game

Want to know why a picture of the 6th goal in a 6-2 win scored in the waning moments of the third period is the lead to this here post? Because of the way it was scored, and how little it meant to the particular game and how important it may be to the remaining fifty three.

I refuse to get too excited about this winning streak. The team is still giving up too many good scoring chances, though there does seem to be a sense of cool-headedness creeping into their play. Of course, Belak shouldn't have fought Orr while the Rangers were down and out, but I'm sure he heard about that after the first. The neutral zone isn't such a hazard now that the entire team isn't trying to race past the other team stacked at the blue line. Some how the puck continues to go in despite a dearth of chances. The late stages during the game against Nashville shows how this team still doesn't have a killer shut-em-down mentality. But that game also showed what Toskala can bring, so I think its safe to say Toskala isn't a bust, even if the la-la-land us fans call reality at times wishes we still had Rask and a few more picks. I'm choosing to call it a bad buy on a good guy. Anyhow, if they can maintain their recent composed play Saturday at home, then I think they might've turned the corner. But don't hold your breath. Beating Julien's system with a knock off of the same thing won't be easy.

But I can't be all doom and gloom after Antro scores a hat trick and Happy Gill once again shuts down Jagr. I think the refs were letting alot of clutching and hooking go last night, of which the Leafs were often guilty. The powerplay clicked, but still looks like shit. The MSG broadcast team made a very salient observation when comparing the Rangers' PP to the Leafs attempt at the same. While the Leafs spreadout and pass around the perimeter, the Rangers collapse and attack the net, including blueliners. The Leafs need to do more of that synchronized collapsing to the net and get some ugly PP scores.

And I hate to say it, but Wellwood needs to hit somebody at least once a game, or he should sit. It doesn't have to be a thunderous check or anything, but he has to let the other team know he won't avoid contact whenever possible. He needs to initiate it just so they can't assume he won't. Which he usually will, but that isn't the point.



The Godfather

Still not going to post about the TEAM, but that doesn't mean I can't post about THE team. Found the below while procrastinating after office hours avoiding the supplemental 'RUSH' pile.




Let the scouts do their job

The draft and the scouts aren't what's hurting the team. The problem is that the Leafs' management has traded away high picks — the scouts haven't had much to work with.
Sorry about the lack of game reports of late. I've been too disgusted to keep rehashing the same flawed execution, and I intend to reserve any renewed excitement until good habits are formed. I've also been away attending to some sad affairs, so I couldn't speak to you about something I only read about.

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