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Postgame Quotes: Feb. 15, 2016

From Official Toronto Maple Leafs

Tuesday, 02.16.2016 / 12:30 AM ET / News

Toronto Maple Leafs

Here’s a sampling of what the Maple Leafs had to say following a 7-2 loss in Chicago.

P-A Parenteau

They’re a really good team, but there’s no excuses for our team to lose that bad like that. I think we’ve got to come out harder than that and if you play a better team you can’t use that as an excuse every night.

Matt Hunwick

Most of our penalty killers have been with us all year, so it’s our responsibility to know our assignments and know what we’re doing. We got beat in a number of different ways tonight – whether it’s off the rush, in the zone, 5 on 3 – you name it, we got beat tonight. It was a difficult night for our penalty kill and we have to be a lot better.

James Reimer

It just wasn’t our night. We just didn’t have it tonight and they were coming. They got a couple of opportunities and they buried on them. They’ve got some good players so that’s what happens sometimes.

Mike Babcock

Well obviously our penalty kill wasn’t near good enough and we took too many penalties, so we weren’t in the game basically from the start tonight. I thought we played a much better second, an even game but we were down three and they just buried us on the powerplay.

Source: Postgame Quotes: Feb. 15, 2016

Leafs' Cheap UFA Gambit Already Paying Off

From Pension Puppets

What the market will pay for the Leafs’ expiring free agents is tough to gauge, but they’re a win for the Leafs regardless.

For many years, we here at PPP called for the Leafs to identify undervalued UFAs and sign them to cheap, short-term deals. We reasoned that if the player rebounded, he would either be re-signed as a useful player or dealt for assets at the trade deadline. If the player failed to produce the results desired, the team wouldn’t have wasted much in the way of money or long-term cap space, and in the meantime, would have sheltered prospects.

Instead, because the Leafs fixated for so many years on more expensive “blue-collar” players such as Mike Komisarek, David Clarkson and Dave Bolland, the team wound up spending extra money on an area of market inefficiency. While the Leafs slowly figured out that they could pay 3rd and 4th line players peanuts every year, other teams noticed as well, and started to pay less and less for their own bottom-six and bottom-pairing talent.

With the market bottoming out for short-term UFA help, there has been some consternation that the Leafs’ “pump’n dump” contracts won’t yield much of anything at the deadline, which is to say that most teams have a bunch of cheap, short-term contracts they can use to plug holes in their lineup already. The fact that a number of well-known NHL veterans have hit the waiver wire recently and gone unclaimed seems to add further credence to the idea that what the Leafs currently have on offer isn’t worth beans on the trade block.

Here’s the thing though: that’s fine. The Leafs’ cheap, short-term UFA deals are already paying dividends.

Even if the team gets nothing for any of the players signed/acquired this summer, they will have already had the benefit of three advantages: 1) the team got to take a chance on their bouncing back at next to no cost, 2) they didn’t plug up their cap situation with bad, long-term deals that will impede the Leafs’ ability to re-sign the likes of Mitch Marner or William Nylander, and 3) they got to keep prospects in their farm system for longer, instead of leaning heavily on young players in a hopeless losing season.

But what about their trade value, though?

Within the context that these pump’n dump deals are already a success, it doesn’t make too much sense to worry about the returns that these players yield for the Leafs – anything, absolutely anything they get in return is gravy. Having said that, it’s all but guaranteed that the Leafs will be able to get a pick or two out of the mix.

Certain contracts, like those of Roman Polak or Tyler Bozak each stand a realistic chance of netting the Leafs a tidy return before the trade deadline, so it’s not as though the Leafs are unable to acquire more assets without their pump’n dump deals, but let’s look at the list of players signed/acquired in this past off-season who are on the trading block:

Player Cap hit
Michael Grabner $3,000,000
Shawn Matthias $2,300,000
Daniel Winnik $2,250,000
Nick Spaling $2,200,000
P.A. Parenteau $1,500,000
Mark Arcobello $1,100,000
Brad Boyes $700,000
Rich Clune $575,000
Matt Hunwick $1,200,000
Martin Marincin $700,000
Frank Corrado $632,500

There are a few players on the above list that don’t strictly meet the pump’n dump criteria, but I thought I would include them for the sake of discussion. Grabner, for instance, cost the Leafs 5 middling prospects to acquire (don’t trade young goaltenders!), Spaling came over in the Kessel deal, Marcin cost Brad Ross and the 107th pick (not to mention the fact that Marincin is still young), and while Corrado was a waiver wire pickup, he is still young enough to have some limited upside. Nevertheless, the Leafs would probably love to flip and and all of them (with the possible exceptions of Marincin and Corrado) for other assets, particularly draft picks.

The most likely to go are Parenteau, Arcobello, Boyes, and to a lesser extent Matthias, since all of their contracts are quite reasonable given their production. Hunwick also stands a decent chance of being moved, since his usage has quite outstripped his income, even if it has also exceeded his abilities. For any of these players, the Leafs might expect in return draft picks in the later rounds or maybe even just a body back in exchange that has a lower cap hit – the Leafs are going to have to manage their cap carefully so as not to go over and be penalized for next season.

Several of the other players look less likely to be traded, though the reasons vary. Corrado and Marincin, for example, are still young and have looked good in their limited showing with the Leafs so far, and so one would think that the Leafs would hang on to them for next season. Meanwhile, Grabner, Winnik, and Matthias all have box score numbers that make their cap hits more difficult to rationalize, especially given that they’ve played on a weak offensive team all year and have been handed plenty of opportunity to score. Clune and Spaling, on the other hand, cost virtually nothing but also add very little in the way of scoring help that most teams will be looking for at the deadline.

As for concerns about the NHL’s waiver wire setting the tone of the market, it’s true that it does, but not in the way you would think. Yes, there have been veterans let go, and it is true that they have gone unclaimed. But rather than indicate that teams don’t need help, it instead signals that teams are looking for greater cap efficiency from their bottom-six forwards and bottom-pairing defencemen, and several of the Leafs’ players mentioned above have that in spades.

Brandon Prust and Mason Raymond? They both cost too much for playoff teams to bother claiming them. Same for Sam Gagner. Scott Gomez doesn’t cost much, but then, he’s old as dust anyway. None of Parenteau, Arcobello, Boyes, or Hunwick are prohibitively expensive or old, and so it is possible that a market exists for their services. These waiver wire snubs don’t mean that playoff teams aren’t looking for rental help, it’s just that the help has to be cheaper.

With the sudden “injuries” to Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak and the trading of Dion Phaneuf, the Leafs have the perfect opportunity to showcase their inexpensive wares, and other teams have undoubtedly taken notice. It’s a matter of time before the Leafs begin converting them into later-round picks that will only help the rebuild.

Source: Leafs' Cheap UFA Gambit Already Paying Off

Game Journal: Game 53 – Maple Leafs vs. Oilers

From Official Toronto Maple Leafs

5:50 PM: Tonight’s officials will be Gord Dwyer and Brian Pochmara. Ryan Gibbons and Vaughan Rody will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in to the game can watch on TSN 4, listen on Sportsnet 590 The FAN and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

5:45 PM: Here are tonight’s projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Oilers.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

40 Grabner – 24 Holland – 47 Komarov

38 Greening – 33 Arcobello – 15 Parenteau

26 Winnik – 16 Spaling – 32 Leivo

25 Clune – 56 Froese – 28 Boyes

Defence

2 Hunwick – 44 Rielly

51 Gardiner – 46 Polak

52 Marincin – 20 Corrado

Goaltenders

45 Bernier

34 Reimer

Edmonton Oilers

Forwards

4 Hall – 29 Draisaitl – 16 Purcell

67 Pouliot – 97 McDavid – 14 Eberle

26 Pakarinen – 55 Letestu – 10 Yakupov

44 Kassian – 23 Hendricks – 28 Korpikoski

Defence

2 Sekera – 5 Fayne

25 Nurse – 19 Schultz

88 Davidson – 62 Gryba

Goaltenders

33 Talbot

1 Brossoit


5:40 PM: Peter Holland will skate between Michael Grabner and Leo Komarov tonight as Nazem Kadri is unavailable due to injury. Here’s what he had to say ahead of the game…

Leafs TV
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What are your thoughts on going up against Connor McDavid?

I better be ready to skate tonight, some of the highlights I’ve seen he just flies. He makes some great moves at full speed, some great passes and he sees the ice well. I’ve got to get my feet moving and make sure I’m on the defensive side of him most of the time.

Is there a curiosity in playing him?

It’s going to be fun. Obviously he was hurt for a while there but he’s been on a torrid pace before and after. He’s a great player, he’s come in with a lot of confidence and so it’s a good challenge tonight.

What stands out to you as a big challenge playing centre?

Just play a 200 foot game, continue the momentum I’m building in the offensive zone but be solid defensively. That’s how you earn [Babcock’s] trust and take some important faceoffs for him. Play all 200 feet.

On the shuffling of roles between players:

When you have three or four injuries and people coming in and out of the lineup, obviously it creates different opportunities for guys. Obviously I find myself on the top line tonight but I just have to take it and play with the confidence I’ve developed here and do my best to help this team win.

Do you get more comfortable as a winger or are you anxious to get back to the middle?

I’ve flip-flopped so much this year that I’m comfortable playing both positions at this point. It seems like every couple of games I witch back and forth so I’m just trying to find my centre game as quick as I can tonight.

Are you worried about being on a highlight reel when you play a player like McDavid?

You know he has that skill. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where he can use his speed to burn you. You don’t play the puck, play the man against him. It goes back to the basics you learn in minor hockey. If you start watching the puck on a guy like that he’s going to make you look foolish. I’m just going to go out and play my game and hopefully I don’t end up on the wrong side of one of those.



5:30 PM:
Here’s what Matt Hunwick had to say following Thursday’s morning skate in Edmonton…

Leafs TV
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What are the biggest challenges going up against a guy like Connor McDavid?

I haven’t really seen him play too much, obviously I’ve heard a lot of things. I think his speed is one of his biggest assets and obviously he can make plays at top speed. We’ll have to have a good gap tonight and he’s just a dynamic player that we haven’t had the chance to see this year. It’ll obviously be a great challenge for us.

Have you seen any of his highlights?

I don’t watch too much but I’ve seen the one, I think it was against Columbus. That’s the only one I’ve seen. Obviously he’s a special player and an unbelievable play there.

Is there a curiosity as a veteran to play a guy like him?

Yeah, I mean I always like to see the newest guys and he’s a generational type of player is what they’re touting him. I think he has lived up to that billing so far in the short time he has been in the League. It would be better watching him play other teams but tonight we’ll have a firsthand chance to see what he’s all about.



5:20 PM:
Jonathan Bernier is slated to get the start for the Maple Leafs in Edmonton tonight. Here’s what he had to say ahead of the game…

Leafs TV
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What do you know about McDavid?

Obviously he’s very skilled and I’ve seen some goals that he’s scored, he’s got very high skills and I think he makes everyone around him a lot better. We all know as a team we’ve got to be on top of him all night long. It doesn’t change when you play against a guy like Crosby or Ovechkin or all those top guys in the League. You’ve got to make sure you’re on top of them all night.

When you see the highlights are you amazed he’s a teenager?

Yeah, I mean the League has changed. You see a lot more guys now 18, 19 and they come up and they’re more ready than 22, 23 when I started. It’s changed a lot but he’s amazing.

On stopping McDavid’s famous deke:

Well it depends. In a game it all depends on how much time he’s got, if he’s got a guy on his back. When he scored those goals it’s because he was alone with the goalie and I think he had a bit more time to stop and go the other way. I’ve seen that goal and obviously I’ll be expecting it I guess if he comes in on a 1-on-1.

How are you feeling about your game?

I feel good. Like I mentioned, I think since I came back from the [American League] and I’ve just got to — whenever I get the call to go in I’ve just got to make sure I go in and make sure I’m ready and give a good chance to my team to get a good W tonight and move on that long road trip. We’ve got to make sure we’re ready right from the start.

Do you feel you need to step up with a shorthanded lineup tonight?

I just think I’ve got to do my job. Once you start trying to do too much, that’s when you’re getting caught. You’ve got to make sure you’re doing your part and hopefully the guys in front of you are doing their part.



5:10 PM:
Here’s what Mike Babcock had to say following Thursday’s morning skate in Edmonton…

Leafs TV
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On the lineup:

[Kadri is out] Everybody else that was in the game last game is going to play. Cowen is not going to play. When they did our scan of him or whatever our medical people do, they felt his hips were really tight. He’s not injured or nothing, he practiced today. We’re going to spend the next 10 days doing what we can to loosen his hips up so we can catch him being good when he starts.

What stands out about McDavid when you watch him on film?

He’s an elite player, he can really skate, great speed through the middle, good hockey sense. It looks like he’s going to develop into a real, real good player at the National Hockey League level. I’ve never seen him live so this will be my first chance. He’s a good kid, I met with him prior to the draft and he looks very exciting.

On injuries scrambling the lines:

I don’t think they’re scrambled, I think they’re beautiful, it’s just how you look at it. A new opportunity, an opportunity to get some momentum together. You do what you do. I never thought Holly would be our first line centre tonight but that’s just the way it goes. It’s an opportunity for everybody and the great thing about life is if you grab hold of something it’s amazing what you can do for yourself. Some guys that might not have thought they were playing yesterday are in. Play hard, play well and let’s find a way to get a win.

What would you like to see from Holland at centre?

I like him on the wing just because I think he’s more comfortable. The bottom line is when you play in the middle you’ve got to be real good down low or else you spend too much time down low in your own zone. If you’re good you spend a lot of time in the offensive zone. That’s going to be the challenge, the faceoff circle and playing well without the puck in your own zone so you can spend some time in offence.

How would you assess the team’s achievement in your system through 50 games?

I think a lot of guys are playing really well, it’s just their level of their capability. I think the big challenge for us as a group, and we knew that going in, is to keep improving our roster so that we can get to a spot that we can have a real good run. That’s our plan.

5:00 PM: The Leafs are continue their road trip on Thursday night when they visit the Edmonton Oilers.

The Leafs are coming off of a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. Peter Holland, Josh Leivo and Jake Gardiner recorded goals for the Maple Leafs while James Reimer stopped 18 shots in the loss. Jonathan Bernier will get the start in Edmonton. It’s his first start since Jan. 27 in Tampa Bay and first appearance since Feb. 6 in Ottawa.

The Oilers last played on Tuesday night and lost 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils. Jordan Eberle had the lone Edmonton goal while Cam Talbot stopped 24 shots in the loss. He will return to the crease against the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Stay tuned for comments from Coach Babcock and the Leafs, projected lineups and more.

Source: Game Journal: Game 53 – Maple Leafs vs. Oilers

Game Journal: Game 52 – Maple Leafs vs. Flames

From Official Toronto Maple Leafs

6:30 PM: Tonight’s officials will be Gord Dwyer and Kendrick Nicholson. Steve Barton and Ryan Gibbons will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in can watch on Sportsnet Ontario, listen on TSN 1050 and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick and Joe Bowen check in from Calgary to set the table for tonight’s game.

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6:00 PM: Here are tonight’s projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Flames.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards
40 Grabner – 43 Kadri – 47 Komarov
24 Holland – 33 Arcobello – 15 Parenteau
26 Winnik – 16 Spaling – 32 Leivo
25 Clune – 56 Froese – 28 Boyes

Defence
2 Hunwick – 44 Rielly
51 Gardiner – 46 Polak
52 Marincin – 20 Corrado

Goaltenders
34 Reimer
45 Bernier

Calgary Flames

Forwards
13 Gaudreau – 23 Monahan – 24 Hudler
93 Bennett – 11 Backlund – 67 Frolik
79 Ferland – 16 Jooris – 19 Jones
52 Bollig – 18 Stajan – 17 Bouma

Defence
5 Giordano – 7 Brodie
4 Russell – 27 Hamilton
15 Smid – 29 Engelland

Goaltenders
1 Hiller
31 Ramo



5:45 PM:
James Reimer gets the start in Calgary tonight. Here’s what he had to say ahead of the game…

Leafs TV
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On the trade:

Life goes on. It’s disappointing, obviously he’s a big part of our team and carried a lot of the weight for the franchise for the last couple of years so it’s tough to see him go, but it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for us to fill the void and get going. When anything — injuries happen or guys get traded, it gives opportunity for other people so now it’s our job to step up and do our part.

How challenging is this for the defence to regroup and keep things together?

Like I said, Dion is a big part of it but having said that, we have a plan that we can cycle anybody in there. The plan doesn’t change now that he’s gone. We all know what we have to do, we all know our assignments and our expectations and it’s our job to step up and make sure we keep each other accountable.

Is it tougher to focus and get ready for the game?

I don’t know, it’s maybe a little bit of both — not to give a politically correct answer, but it’s human nature. You lose a friend, it’s hard, it’s sad. But at the same time there’s a little different energy in the air of you’ve got something to prove. Obviously things are going to be happening this month and everybody to a man has something to prove about what they’re worth and what they can bring. This kind of brings it to the forefront of making you think that you’ve really got to show what you can do and prove to management that you can play. There’s a little bit of that — I don’t want to say excitement because that’s not the right word — but it’s just that oomph that you’ve got to do what you can do.

What can Calgary bring with their transition game?

They’re a skilled team and they’ve got a lot of speed. They can make plays if you give them time. Our plan is just to play well defensively, stick to the structure that’s giving us success for most of the year here and hopefully we can shut them down. They’ve got, like you said, some real skilled forwards and hopefully we can do our part.



5:30 PM:
Morgan Rielly speaks to the media ahead of tonight’s game in Calgary…

Leafs TV
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On the trade:

Yeah I think as a group we were pretty surprised by it. Whenever a trade like that happens you don’t really expect it. We, as a group — it’s tough but we’ve got to worry about this road trip. We’ve got to play tonight. We’ve got a couple more big games coming up. We’ve got to refocus and worry about what happens on the ice. He was a big part of this group and it hurts to lose him but we’ve got guys in this room that can increase their roles and really step up.

Who is going to be the guy who steps up in the interim?

It’s a group effort. I don’t think there’s going to be any one guy who takes Dion’s role. I think as a group we have to step up. We’re going to have to take on leadership roles and we’re also going to have to make up for his loss on the ice. He’s a big part of this team, one of the most vocal guys. There’s guys in here that are going to have to take leadership roles and step up. We’re capable of doing that but time will tell.

How has Phaneuf helped you in your growth?

Dion was one of those guys that really felt comfortable and I think he does that with the young guys really well. He taught us all a lot. Just watching him every day I think you learn a lot from his actions and I think that moving forward, we’ve all learned a lot from him that we can use. When you lose a guy like that there are guys in this room that are going to have to step up and take leadership roles like I said and I think we’re capable of doing that.

Does the business side shock you or is this part of the development process?

It’s just part of the business. As players you have to accept it, trades are going to happen. You might lose some friends to trades and whatnot but you’ve got to deal with it. It’s all part of the job. We have to move on, start worry about playing tonight. This is part of the game.



5:15 PM: Here’s what Mike Babcock had to say on Tuesday morning in Calgary…

Leafs TV
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On Tuesday’s trade:

Dion was our leader and a real good, good man. I’ve only had a short time to work with him besides Olympic experiences in the summers but a real good person, did it right every day, really tried to be a huge influence on our team. The problem for us is Dion is ready now to win and we’re not ready to win. It was a hard decision. I think it’s a good decision for Dion, not today, but tomorrow. And it’s a good decision for our club moving ahead and following the plan that we’ve had in place since it started.

On Cowen:

He was a player that had it going in the right direction, got hurt, hasn’t got it back. We feel we have a real good medical team, a real good medical science group. We’ll take a look at him obviously physically and do what we can to help him get his game back.

Is this a tough day for the players?

Absolutely it is. Dion is — someone’s got to step up now. Someone’s got to step up in the room and provide the leadership he provided and I can’t emphasize this enough, he did it right every single day. He did it right when he wasn’t at the rink, he did it right at the rink, he did right it in the weight room, he did it right with the coaches, he did it right with his teammates. That’s not easy to do. That’s what you need on good teams to have success. We’ve talked about that as a group already. It’s a hard, hard business at times. It’s an unbelievably great business but it’s a hard business.

On managing the last 31 games:

I don’t think like that. We’ve got a game tonight against Calgary and we plan on winning.

On the extra bodies coming into the lineup with the trade:

We’ve got a game tonight, we plan on winning and we’ll work that all out. When they show up, they show up. We’ll go from there.

Will any of them show up for tonight’s game?

No.

On DJ Smith’s connection to Lindberg:

He [Smith] better be right, eh? A little heat on him never hurt anybody… Hunts [Mark Hunter] knows him real good too — the second round pick and this kid as well, also getting us in a position as we improve as a team to be in a better cap situation.

On the captaincy:

Lou and I talked about that this morning, that [there won’t be a captain for the rest of the season] is what I said. We’ll have some more assistants and we’ll encourage guys to step up. We’re a work in progress as you know. We’ll go the course with the captaincy.

Will there be another full-time alternate captain?

Yeah, but you know what I’ll do? Bozak is injured and so on this trip we have Polie [Roman Polak] and Leo. They’re good men who do it right so Hunny [Matt Hunwick], the three of those guys do it right every day and they set a good example. Someone is going to have to be a little more vocal than they were in the past.

5:00 PM: The Maple Leafs are back at it on Tuesday night when they visit the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

The Leafs last played on Feb. 6 when they took a 6-1 loss at the hands of the Ottawa Senators. P-A Parenteau had the lone Leafs goal in the loss while James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier combined to stop 19 of 25 stops in the loss. Reimer will get the nod for the Leafs in Calgary.

The Flames are coming off of a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night. Michael Frolik, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund and Sam Bennett scored for Calgary in the victory. Jonas Hiller stopped 34 of 35 shots in the win and will start against the Leafs on Tuesday.

Stay tuned for updates from Coach, the Leafs, projected lineups and more.

Source: Game Journal: Game 52 – Maple Leafs vs. Flames

Leafs Win In OT

From Official Toronto Maple Leafs

Tuesday, 02.2.2016 / 11:03 PM ET / News

The Canadian Press



BOSTON 
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau scored a power-play goal with 1:54 left in overtime and the Toronto Maple Leafs rallied to beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Tuesday night and end a four-game skid.

Leo Komarov and Nazem Kadri erased a two-goal deficit with consecutive goals for Toronto midway through the third period. The Leafs won for the first time since Jan. 19.

Daniel Winnik also scored for Toronto and James Reimer had 39 saves. Reimer didn’t let anything in after Brad Marchand and David Krejci scored 26 seconds apart in the opening minutes of the third period.

Marchand also scored in the first period. David Pastrnak added two assists for the Bruins and Tuukka Rask stopped 31 shots.

Toronto was scoreless on two power plays before getting another chance in overtime when Krejci was called for holding 1:48 in. The Leafs capitalized on the 4-on-3 advantage when Parenteau backhanded a rebound after Rask stopped a shot by Kadri.

Kadri tied the game at 3-all 11:31 into the third period, tipping in Matt Hunwick‘s slap shot from the blue line.

Komarov cut Boston’s lead to 3-2 on a goal 9:02 into the third after Rask lost the puck in his pads. There was no whistle before the puck trickled out to Toronto’s Michael Grabner, who sent it off the end boards as the Leafs worked it around to Komarov for a wrist shot from the point that beat Rask.

The Leafs regrouped after Boston broke open a 1-all tie early in the third period.

Marchand one-timed in a pass from Krejci 55 seconds into the third, then Krejci struck 1:21 into the period after Torey Krug’s shot bounced off the end boards to the front of the net.

Notes: Toronto was 0-2-1 against Boston entering the game. … Reimer played in his 200th career game. … Pastrnak spent the All-Star break playing for Providence of the AHL before being recalled to Boston on Monday. … Malcolm Subban was Boston’s backup goalie, with Jonas Gustavsson still on injured reserve after leaving a game the week before with an elevated heart rate.

Source: Leafs Win In OT

Up for extension: Morgan Rielly

From Pension Puppets

Having taken a look at whether the Leafs should trade their bevy of forwards (including those on expiring, short term, or long term deals), let’s now discuss one of the crown jewels of the Leafs rebuild in 21 year old defenseman, Morgan Rielly.

History

Rielly’s entire NHL career has been with the Leafs, who drafted him (to mixed reaction) with the 5th pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The first round in that draft was dominated by defensemen. Despite being picked 5th overall, Rielly was the 3rd defenseman off the board, and would be followed by 9 more in the first round.

Rielly missed much of his draft year with a torn ACL, making his selection somewhat controversial, with names like Mikhail Grigorenko and Filip Forsberg still on the board (one of those worked out much better than the other, huh?). Nonetheless, he had an excellent post-draft year in Moose Jaw, and saw himself competing for, and winning a spot on the Leafs in the 2013/2014 season.

What’s He Done As A Leaf?

Rielly acquitted himself quite well as a rookie defenceman, especially considering he was operating within the confines of Randy Carlyle’s ‘system’. He saw his defensive partners move around a fair bit during the year. He started being paired with Cody Franson, before being moved to Jake Gardiner’s pairing, and finally, to Tim Gleason’s (like going from a GTR to a Pinto). In general, his rookie year confirmed that Rielly was who we thought he was – an all-world skater with offensive skills that are nearly unparalleled, but with significant defensive deficiencies. The prevailing opinion at the time is that the Leafs finally had someone who could develop into a top-end defenseman in the NHL – with work on his defensive issues, there was no doubt Rielly could be a star.

In his second year, we saw much of the same thing from Rielly. Again, he was hampered by Carlyle’s system, which was mercifully eradicated upon his dismissal. Paired mostly with Roman Polak, Rielly again showed his incredible offensive potential, but did little to assuage concerns about his defensive ability. Rielly’s ability to supress shots relative to his teammates was among the worst in the league, and undid a lot of his brilliance at the other end of the ice. Going into this year, I felt it was critical we see defensive improvement from him.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t really happened. In fact, in some aspects of play, his results are worse than a year ago. For the first time in his career, he has a negative CorsiRel% (5v5, score adjusted). There may be some teammate effects with that number, as he’s played a lot with Matt Hunwick, but for a player that we’re hoping becomes an upper echelon defenseman, that’s not an encouraging sign. His CA60 (5v5, score adjusted) is actually worse than last year, despite the Leafs being a notably better defensive team (though their shot suppression numbers are slowly approaching those of last year).

Granted, he is being deployed in tougher situations than his rookie and sophomore season, but work by Micah McCurdy(@IneffectiveMath) has illustrated that the effects of deployment are often overstated. At this point, I think we have to consider the possibility that this is what Rielly is. A guy with magical skating, insane offensive talents, and little ability to defend. That’s not a bad player, by any means, but for someone who many Leafs fans have earmarked for superstardom, it may fall below expectations.

Rielly is still just 21 years old, so he does have time to grow and mature his game further, and it’s entirely possible I’m being too harsh on him. A 21 year old with his offensive gifts and talent is worth betting on. And it should be noted that Mike Babcock has declared this a learning year for Rielly, who has slowly seen his role increase throughout the season. It’s possible his somewhat disappointing results are nothing more than the standard defenseman learning curve. However, the Leafs have to make a multi-million dollar contract decision on him soon, and if I were in their shoes, this year would concern me slightly.

What Do The Leafs Do With Him?

Rielly is a restricted free agent (RFA) this year, meaning the Leafs retain the right to match any offer Rielly received. Generally speaking, RFAs hold little leverage. It seems like there’s been little news regarding this contract negotiation – the Leafs almost certainly want to retain Rielly (we’re not the Bruins), and we’ve had nothing indicating that Rielly is unhappy with the Leafs. The question becomes, what type of contract do the Leafs give him. They could opt to give Rielly a bridge deal that would see him through to his unrestricted free agent (UFA) years (where he would presumably get a healthy raise), essentially putting the onus on Rielly to prove that he deserves big money. In Rielly’s case, a deal that eats up all his UFA years will be a 4 year contract, and in theory, would be at a fairly low cap hit.

Alternatively, the Leafs could bet on Rielly improving his defensive play and becoming the star they want him to be – potentially offering him a long-term deal that eats up some of his UFA years, much like the contract John Klingberg received. If Rielly drastically improves, then the Leafs could be getting surplus value on a star defenseman in his prime, and in the Leafs window to contend. If not, then it could be a deal that ends up a little rich for their tastes.

There’s a lot of considerations here, including whether you think the cap will go in the future (which depends heavily on the Canadian dollar, among other things), how Rielly’s development will progress, and your opinion on the Leafs defensive prospects.

Comparing Rielly To His Draft Class

As mentioned earlier in the piece, Rielly was part of a NHL Entry Draft that was very heavy on defensemen, especially at the top of the draft. Some of them are also RFAs this year, and it’s curious to see how Rielly’s level of play compares to theirs, and how it will affect the contracts they receive. In addition to Rielly, Ryan Murray, Olli Maatta, Hampus Lindholm, Jacob Trouba, and Matthew Dumba will all be RFAs. Personally, I think Lindholm is clearly the best of that group, followed by a jumble of Rielly, Trouba, Dumba, and Maatta, with Murray bringing up the rear. Any one of these players signing would provide a solid precedent for the others to follow, so it will be fascinating to see how their agents take that into consideration when negotiating for their client.

In any case, let us know what you would do with Morgan Rielly this offseason. How do you think his progression has been thus far in his career, and where do you think it will go from here (and why).

All stats and information in this post were taken from war-on-ice.com and hockeyviz.com. WOI is shuttering it’s doors soon, but I would encourage anyone to support the work of HockeyViz and Micah McCurdy through his Patreon. He does some phenomenal work – the best in the public sphere (and probably private too), and if anyone deserves your support, it’s him.

Source: Up for extension: Morgan Rielly

Recap: Panthers 5, Leafs 1

From Pension Puppets

The Leafs’ penalty kill sunk the ship tonight.

Box ScoreWar On Ice

The Leafs began this game looking to avoid the slow starts that have characterized their last half a dozen games, but instead, the first shift of the game saw Nazem Kadri, Leo Komarov, and Michael Grabner run around in their own end only to yield a dangerous chance on their own net from the slot that James Reimer had to be sharp on. From there, Florida continued to control play for the first half of the opening period, with the Leafs unable to mount any sustained attack or maintain possession of the puck.

Although the Kadri line had a couple shot attempts, the Leafs failed to actually put the puck on net through the first ten minutes of the game, at which point the shot count was 7-0 Florida and the Leafs’ and Nick Spaling went to the box for interference.

It took until just past the 13 minute-mark in the first period for Peter Holland to wrist a weak shot on Roberto Luongo from a bad angle. The 5v5 Corsi numbers looked just as bad, at 12-2 for the Panthers.

In a sequence reminiscent of Randy Carlyle’s tenure with the Leafs, the Leafs scored first despite being totally outplayed, as Kadri waltzed by a fallen Erik Gudbrandson and hung on to the puck as he moved laterally around a floundering Luongo.

Oddly, Holland decided to fight Aaron Ekblad after a relatively innocuous play with under a minute remaining in the first. It appeared to be a bit of a puzzling decision on Holland’s part in that he and Ekblad had no noticeable altercations leading up to it, but in any event, Holland hung in there and sat for 5.

Dion Phaneuf took a boarding call just 2:46 into the second period on Quinton Howden, and then had to fight Dmitry Kulikov for his indiscretion. On the ensuing power play, it was Alexander Barkov who took a great pass from Brian Campbell to walk in alone and throw a backhand top shelf over a sprawling Reimer. Matt Hunwick appeared to be interfered with on the play, but Babcock’s protests to referee Dan O’Rourke went unheeded.

On the Leafs’ third penalty kill of the game, the Panthers struck again. Vincent Trochek snuck in behind Hunwick as the Panthers came through the neutral zone with a lot of speed, and took a great pass from Jussi Jokinen that left Reimer helpless.

Rielly took just his fourth minor penalty of the season to put the Leafs on the penalty kill – their fourth of the night – and although the Leafs managed to kill it off, the 29th-ranked Florida power play looked dangerous, and Reimer again had to make a great save on a shot from in close to keep the game at 2-1.

Immediately following a great shift from the line of Tyler Bozak, Shawn Matthias and P.A. Parenteau, it was Jussi Jokinen who made it 3-1 for Florida after Spaling made a horrible giveaway in the neutral zone. Jokinen took a pass on a 2-on-1 while Reimer moved laterally and the Leafs’ goaltender had no chance on the play.

The Leafs would take another penalty before the period was over but somehow managed not to be scored on. The shots were 22-15 in favour of Florida, though the 5v5 Corsi attempts were 25-24 in favour of the Leafs.

The third period started with the teams exchanging chances, as Campbell hit the post behind Reimer and then Joffrey Lupul was stopped on a 2-on-1 going the other direction immediately after.

Then, following three consecutive saves, Reilly Smith was left alone in front of the Leafs’ net by Martin Marincin, and Smith buried a rebound to make the game 4-1 Panthers, effectively icing the game just five minutes into the third.

Things went from bad to ugly around the 8-minute mark as a long lob from Alex Petrovic at the blue line eluded Reimer, who appeared not to see the puck at all, despite a lack of screen.

Ultimately, the Leafs won the 5v5 Corsi battle 39-32, but you would also expect them to, given that they trailed for most of the game. Special teams were the Leafs’ downfall again tonight, as they got lit up by the 29th-ranked power play in the league, and also failed to score when they had the man advantage once again.

The Leafs have one more game tomorrow against Tampa Bay before the All-Star break.

Notes on individual players:

– James Reimer allowed more than 3 goals for the first time in 19 games played. We’ll cut him some slack.

– Michael Grabner left the game after taking a puck to the mouth in the second period and did not return. He was visibly bleeding as he left the ice. Peter Holland took his place on the Kadri line for the remainder of the game.

Roman Polak played a lot tonight with the Leafs so often on the penalty kill and with Phaneuf out for 7 minutes of the second period for his boarding/fighting.

– Nazem Kadri had the Leafs’ only goal and was probably also the Leafs’ best player tonight, despite his finish in the middle of the pile of Leafs’ 5v5 CF numbers. He was up against the Panthers’ top line and kept them off the scoresheet until they notched a couple on the power play, when Kadri wasn’t on the ice anyway.

– The other Leaf that deserves an honourable mention tonight is Morgan Rielly. He looked good all evening, and lead the team in the 5v5 CF department.

Source: Recap: Panthers 5, Leafs 1

Game Preview: Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs

From Pension Puppets

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Today we take three different views on the game tonight.

MONTREAL CANADIENS AT MAPLE LEAFS
7:00 PM – AIR CANADA CENTRE
TV: CBC – RADIO: SPORTSNET 590
SBN: EYES ON THE PRIZE

The Maple Leafs host the Canadiens tonight and before the game the Leafs will honour the newest members of Legends Row. Representatives of Tim Horton and Turk Broda’s families will be on hand as well as Dave Keon.

Comparing the two teams:

Toronto Montreal
Record 17-20-8 23-20-4
Division Rank 7th Atlantic 5th Atlantic
Conference 10th East 14th East
League 28th overall 18th overall
Goals +/- 111/125 = -14 129/122 = +7
Top Scorer Leo Komarov 16G Max Pacioretty 19G
Top Points Leo Komarov 30pts Max Pacioretty 36pts
Top Goalie James Reimer .937sv% Carey Price .934sv%
Historical vs 293-349-88 349-293-88

There are multiple takes on tonight so let’s get into it:

The Homer:

WOOOOOOOO! Alright boys let’s kick these puke city kids all the way back to re-Habs! HAHAHAHAHAHA! They don’t have their pretty boy Price in net tonight, just some schlub who wasn’t good enough for our Leafs! We don’t have JVR but thats okay, Uncle Leo will take of the scoring. Jake and Riels will make sure no filthy divers get to Optimus Reim to elbow him in the head again like that fucker Gionta did. Ruined our season! That sonfofabitch is rotting in Buffalo now but thats too good for him. I wonder how that showoff Subban is going to get all flashy tonight. Maybe he’ll have to donate another hospital to Montreal to make up for how he acts on the ice. I hope Babs is ready tonight, but we could have a chimpanzee behind the bench since the Habs have French Carlyle behind theirs, haha!

The Cynic:

Oh great, these guys again. When was the last time we could beat them? It’s been like 10 games since the Leafs beat the Habs. Those guys have our number thats for sure. Who do we have on our top line? A guy deemed not good enough for them, and they’ve only won like 4 games since Price went down! To top things off they have ex-Leaf Ben Scrivens in net, so you know what that means, shutout for the Habs! Man, ex-Leafs always destroy Toronto when they come to town. What? He’s not starting? He’ll find a way.

My take:

It’s a great night tonight! I love Leafs/Habs games. They haven’t played each other since opening night when the Habs won 3-1. Both these teams suck. The Habs can’t win without Price and the Leafs just can’t score enough. Hopefully it’s entertaining and everyone makes it out alive.

Potential Lines:

CANADIENS

Max Pacioretty – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk – David Desharnais – Dale Weise
Tomas Fleischmann – Lars Eller – Daniel Carr
Brian Flynn – Torrey Mitchell – Devante Smith-Pelly

Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin – Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu – Mark Barberio

Mike Condon
Ben Scrivens

Injured: Carey Price (lower body), Tom Gilbert (lower body), Paul Byron (lower body)
Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Victor Bartley, Jacob De La Rose

MAPLE LEAFS

Shawn MatthiasTyler Bozak – PA Parenteau
Michael GrabnerNazem Kadri – Leo Komarov
Joffrey LupulPeter HollandJosh Leivo
Daniel WinnikByron FroeseRich Clune

Matt HunwickMorgan Rielly
Jake GardinerDion Phaneuf
Martin MarincinRoman Polak

James Reimer
Jonathan Bernier

Injured: James van Riemsdyk (foot), Nick Spaling (upper body), Stephane Robidas (lower body), Nathan Horton (nack/back)
Scratched: Frank Corrado, Brad Boyes

Morning News:

Source: Game Preview: Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs

Game Journal: Game 45 – Hurricanes vs. Maple Leafs

From Official Toronto Maple Leafs

4:45 PM: Tonight’s officials will be Garrett Rank and Eric Furlatt. Greg Devorski and Brad Kovachik will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in to tonight’s game can watch on Sportsnet, listen on TSN 1050 and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick and Bob McGill tee up tonight’s game at Air Canada Centre below.
4:30 PM: Here are tonight’s projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards
40 Grabner – 43 Kadri – 47 Komarov
23 Matthias – 42 Bozak – 15 Parenteau
19 Lupul – 24 Holland – 28 Boyes
26 Winnik – 56 Froese – 25 Clune

Defence
51 Gardiner – 3 Phaneuf
2 Hunwick – 44 Rielly
52 Marincin – 46 Polak

Goaltenders
34 Reimer
45 Bernier

Carolina Hurricanes

Forwards
32 Versteeg – 12 Staal – 16 Lindholm
42 Nordstrom – 11 Staal – 15 Nestrasil
53 Skinner – 49 Rask – 34 Di Giuseppe
14 Gerbe – 18 McClement – 20 Nash

Defence
65 Hainsey – 27 Faulk
26 Liles – 74 Slavin
5 Hanifin – 47 Jordan

Goaltenders
31 Lack
40 Altshuller


4:00 PM: Morgan Rielly spoke to Leafs TV ahead of tonight’s game. Here’s what he had to say…

Leafs TV

How subtle a difference is it when you get a green light and jump into the play?

You’ve got to read the play, you’ve got to choose your spots wisely. You can’t put your team at a disadvantage. You have to make sure you’re making the right choice. You’ve got to jump up there and try to make plays when you can but you have to be careful. I’ve been fortunate and it’s just a matter of making the right decision.

On defenders jumping into the rush sparking offence in Philadelphia:

I think so, the D are trying to contribute. Roman getting a goal and obviously Hunny getting a huge one makes a difference in the game. As D-men we like to jump up when we get a chance but not risk it too much.

On Hunwick’s goal:

That was a great shot, he works on that all the time. It paid off that night for sure, we got a good bounce but it’s all about getting the puck to the net.

What did you see on the play that led to the Flyers tying goal two nights ago?

A play that I want back if I can do it again, I’d just put the puck on net. He made a good read and it was a good goal for him.

Did Mike say anything to you after that goal or do you know?

I know.

Were Roman and Matt angling for power play time after last game?

Yeah, maybe, who knows. They’re playing well. It was a great goal by Roman and, like I said, a huge goal by Hunny. We’re just trying to do our job and help the team win games. We’ve been lucky a couple of times to be able to put the puck in the net.




3:20 PM:
James Reimer gets the start on Thursday night. In 11 career games against the Hurricanes he has a 5-3-1 record with a 2.25 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Here’s what he had to say…

Leafs TV

Has your consistency been a source of pride for you? What’s been the key to that?

I think I’ve said it a few times but I think just the way we play, we play more consistently this year night-in and night-out, just the way we play defensively and with our structure. Obviously there’s times where we don’t have our best but that happens to everybody. I think overall the team has played really well and for a goaltender it makes your job a little easier.

On giving the team a chance early in Philadelphia:

Whether it’s the first 10 minutes or the last 10 minutes you want to be ready and you want to be there for your teammates. You take pride — it’s a team sport, right? Sometimes you’re not going and they score goals for you and sometimes they’re not going and you try to keep the other team from scoring. You just want to do your part. For me it was the first 10 minutes of the game.

As a veteran are you more aware of puck luck?

Yeah, bounces are bounces. Sometimes they happen with — what was it? 40 seconds left? Sometimes it happens with seven seconds left. Sometimes it happens 13 seconds into the game. It’s just a matter of keep playing your game, keep playing your game and you never know. It’s a sport. Crazy things can happen and you try to play as consistent as you can and eventually you’ll get the bounces.

The pendulum swings both ways for bounces, doesn’t it?

Yeah, sometimes you think it happens against you more than it does for you, but definitely. It definitely swings both ways. Obviously we’ve had a couple of last-second losses per se. It was good to have one go for us.



2:15 PM: Here’s what Mike Babcock had to say following Thursday’s morning skate…

Leafs TV

Do you appreciate what Brad Boyes has gone through to reach 800 games?

Oh, 100 per cent. He can tell you all that, but 800 is special and I think — was he drafted by the Leafs? And he played on multiple teams and he’s still ticking and still playing. He had no contract this summer and he’s still playing in the NHL. So, good for him and obviously it says a lot about his determination. I mean, obviously his skillset, but you don’t get there on that alone. He should be proud and his family should be proud, it’s hard to do.

How do you feel about the coach’s challenge at this stage of the season?

Well I don’t have a bunch of feelings about it, someone put it in so we try to take advantage of it. This would be my question today: in the last three games the other team had two goals called back for offsides and we had one called back for offside. If all three of those goals had counted, would it have made any difference in the game? I mean, it might have in the score, but — I don’t know if we made it better or worse or different, I don’t know. The other thing is, does the League tell the linesmen, “Do your very best but don’t be worried if you miss one.” So, let’s not be calling ones that aren’t offside, offside. You know what I’m saying to you? What scares me know is anything within a mile is going to be called offside. I’m not trying to be disrespectful of those guys, those guys are proud of their job and they’re trying to do it right, but every time you make a decision it goes up on the big screen and we evaluate whether you did it right or not. I don’t know.

Do you find it takes the flow out of the game?

No.

How do you feel Morgan is adjusting to a bigger role this year?

I think he really likes it. Obviously he has work to do on his game, he’s a kid. He is a great skater, he’s a great competitor, he’s still got to improve a lot in the D zone but he’s getting better and he’s shutting down more plays. At the same time, we’ve got to get him to be better offensively. When to go, when not to go, make sure you know where to go with the puck before you get it, all those things. He’s just like all kids, trying to get better. He’s one of those guys that you like to have on your team and he’s going to be a big part of the future of our club.

What’s the biggest challenge for him to become a number one defenceman?

I just think learning the game and learning the players you’re playing against and learning when to go and not drift and how to box out. When to make a play and when to go off the glass and how not to turn it over. All those things. Lots of great players we all like. We like them all on the other team because all we see is the good things we do, but all their coach sees is all the turnovers they make and all the times they get caught on the wrong side and all the bad sortouts. That’s just hockey.

Could you talk about Tim Horton, Dave Keon and Turk Broda and how the Leafs are honouring them?

[I don’t remember them] in that way, but obviously I know who they are and I think it’s important that you honour the people that have been in your franchise. I think one of the special, special things about Original Six franchises is you have a lot of history and there was a lot of success years ago with the Leafs and those guys should be rewarded for what they did. Obviously most of us celebrate Tim Horton every day so we don’t have to worry about him as much, but I think the other guys — it’s important. I just know how special it’s been when they’ve honoured the guys, how special it is to be a part of it. To hear them talk, to hear their families speak, they are obviously very appreciate and were very appreciate of what they’ve done. We try to have the guys down — Darryl Sittler was in our room this morning, Wendel is around all the time. Anyone who has been determined at the level those guys have and brought the success to the city and the organization, it’s great they’re being honoured.

Do you sense a more confident Shawn Matthias of late?

I think he’s playing better. Obviously he’s getting more opportunity and he’s doing good things. I just talked to Matty, Matty just has to be Matty. Play a simple game, be hard, be heavy on the puck down low and don’t get doing too much. Just do what you do, do it really well and be who you are. The more he does that, the better player he is for us.

On Matthias wanting the puck more:

Well, okay, I want him to give it to Parenteau and Bozak, how’s that? Maybe there’s a disconnect there. No, I’m saying is, when you get it though, you’re more likely to make the right play to get it back to them and turn it over. When you’re nervous with the puck, you’re nervous with your job, you’re unsure of yourself. It slows you down. When you’re confident in what you’re doing and feel like you should have the puck, you make better plays. Simple.

2:00 PM: The Maple Leafs return to action at Air Canada Centre on Thursday night when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Leafs are coming off a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. Matt Hunwick beat the buzzer and scored the game-winner with 7.5 seconds remaining in the game. Joffrey Lupul and Roman Polak had the other goals for the Leafs, while James Reimer stopped 31 shots to earn the victory. He returns to the crease on Thursday against Carolina.

The Hurricanes have been off since Sunday when they took a 5-0 loss in Pittsburgh to the Penguins. Eddie Lack stopped 27 shots in the loss and will start in Toronto.

Stay tuned for comments from Coach Babcock, the Leafs, projected lineups and more.

Source: Game Journal: Game 45 – Hurricanes vs. Maple Leafs

From the Branches: Leafs win; all Canadian teams out of playoff spots

From Pension Puppets

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Maple Leafs had goal scoring help from some unexpected players in a 3-2 defeat of the Flyers. Meanwhile the rest of Canada’s NHL teams lost and now none are in playoff slots.

Good morning!

Roman Polak and Matt Hunwick scored last night as the Leafs beat the Flyers 3-2, with James Reimer putting up a great, and surprisingly physically aggressive performance.

Recap: Leafs 3, Flyers 2 – Pension Plan Puppets
The Leafs snapped a five-game losing streak by topping the Flyers late in the third.

Matt Hunwick’s first goal as a Maple Leaf – Pension Plan Puppets
The game-winning goal against the Flyers came with 10 seconds left.

This is what happens when you rely on third period comebacks – Broad Street Hockey
The Flyers overcame forty straight minutes of poor play and tied the game on a fantastic individual effort from Shayne Gostisbehere, but then allowed the Toronto Maple Leafs to score the game winning goal with eight seconds remaining and lost, 3-2.

PPP’s Other Leafs Stories

Roman Polak: Trade him or keep him? – Pension Plan Puppets
The Leap Day Trade Deadline is fast approaching, and it’s time to endlessly speculate about deadline deals. Today we’ll discuss Roman Polak.

Maple Leafs prospects recap: Defense first – Pension Plan Puppets
Donaghey, Nielsen have big weeks. Recapping games from January 11-17.

2016 NHL CSS Rankings: Who should the Leafs pick? – Pension Plan Puppets
With the top kids playing in Europe and North America named by NHL Central Scouting, we can take a look at who the Leafs can choose from with their many, many, 2016 draft picks.

Last Night’s Other Games

All your playoffs belong to the US! With the Habs taking another big loss last night, they have sunk out of even a wildcard slot. According to our poll from yesterday, many of you don’t mind a lack of Canadian teams in the playoffs; but I present to you a new nightmare scenario: The Sens are the only Canadian team to make the playoffs.

Pastrnak was traded mid-game!

Mississauga Matt’s had some hard falls since his trade to Calgary.

Guess from where Ovi scored completely uncovered by the defence?

OWWWWWWWWW!

Stammer! You need to be more gentle like you were with the puppies!

SB Nation Game Recaps

Devils Survive 3rd Period Onslaught to Beat the Flames 4-2 – All About The Jersey
Reid Boucher scores the game winner in back-to-back games since being called up as the Devils outlast the Flames in a very entertaining home win. This is the recap of tonight’s action.

Miller Scores In Overtime, Rangers Top Canucks 3-2 – Blueshirt Banter
The New York Rangers tossed 49 total shots on net tonight, but it took overtime to overcome Ryan Miller’s spectacular performance.

Special Teams Specialty in Caps 6-3 Win – Japers’ Rink
The Caps get a little revenge and get a couple of points out of their Division rival

The Habs can’t even beat Rask anymore – Eyes On The Prize
You know it’s bad when…

Lightning hold off Oilers 6-4, stretch win streak to 6 – Raw Charge
The Lightning survive a sloppy, back-and-forth affair that saw them surrender another two goal lead and come away with a 6-4 win over the visiting Edmonton Oilers, extending their season-high winning streak to six.

Chicago downs Nashville, 4-1, for team record 12th straight win – Second City Hockey
The Blackhawks earned a win in Nashville tonight, setting a franchise record for consecutive wins in the process.

Especially Bad Teams and Esa on a Tuesday Night – Defending Big D
The Stars power play and penalty kill couldn’t get the job done tonight. No, seriously, this is a new post. It’s just that same thing happened again.

Riveters Self-Destruct, Surrender Three-Goal Lead to Beauts, 6-5. – Blueshirt Banter
Captain Ashley Johnston: “We lost our composure. When you lose your composure, you lose your mind.”

Postmedia Layoffs

Postmedia merges newsrooms, cuts 90 jobs in response to financial woes – The Globe and Mail
None of the titles will close, and the company will continue publishing two papers in some cities

Layoffs Hit Sports Media World Again Toronto Sports Media Blog
It was Postmedia’s turn to throw homes into chaos.

John Scott

It’s official, hockey folk-hero John Scott will captain the Pacific division team at the NHL All-Star Game. This was the only graceful exit from the mess the league created for itself. Thank to the team at BoC for their hard work making this happen.

WE DID IT! – Battle of California
After several long hours of meetings between Battle of California, the NHL, and the NHLPA that were initiated Monday night and lasted into Tuesday morning, the NHL announced that John Scott will in fact captain the Pacific Division in the upcoming All-Star Game.

Other News

Brian McGrattan is apparently OK after this scary KO.

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Canadian Olympic Committee parts ways with chief sports officer – The Globe and Mail
The departure of Ms. Assalian as chief sport officer late on Monday, along with executive director of operations Judy Crute and human resources manager Robert Cousin, comes five days after a report said senior members of the COC knew about sexual-harassment accusations levelled at the organization’s former president, Marcel Aubut, but did little about them.

Michel Therrien and life on the hot seat – Article – TSN
As the losses continue to mount, so too does speculation about Michel Therrien’s job security in Montreal.

Canada’s largest rep hockey league moves to limit foreign players – Article – TSN
A dramatic rule change, expected to be passed in February, will make it far more difficult for young players from Russia, the United States and other countries to join the GTHL, which administers rep and house league programs for about 38,000 players.

Morton’s Microscope: Jeff Skinner – Canes Country
After a sluggish start in terms of scoring goals, Jeff Skinner has surged toward the top of the league in that category recently. Find out why that should not surprise you here.

Dallas Stars Need to Handle Their Unforced Turnovers Better – Defending Big D
The Dallas Stars are struggling. The how and the why appear to go beyond simply ‘Corsi’ and ‘Fenwick’; today we’ll look at the Minnesota Wild game to see if we’re looking at a microcosm of Dallas’ problems.

Those Patrick Marleau trade rumors aren’t going away – Fear The Fin
Yup, we’re still doing this.

The Price is Right: What Does a Cup Cost? – Hockey Wilderness
Today we explore the construction of an NHL roster by taking a deep dive on the payroll of the top 6 contenders in the NHL as of 1/15

NHL kangaroo courts fine for relieving players of their cash | SI.com
For infractions like eating an apple in the hot tub to simply being cheered by family members, NHL players are fined by their team’s kangaroo court.

Where Are They Now? The Building And Dismantling Of The Canucks’ 2011 Team – Nucks Misconduct
Once in a while I like to take a trip down memory lane and examine what happened to a Canucks team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals

Projecting Team North America’s roster for the World Cup of Hockey – Article – TSN
Peter Chiarelli and Stan Bowman have a unique challenge on their hands ahead of this September’s World Cup of Hockey.

Source: From the Branches: Leafs win; all Canadian teams out of playoff spots