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Old 11-19-2014, 10:31 AM   #76
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I like this article a lot:


Quote:
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the worst kind of mess

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

November 18, 2014 11:23 pm ET

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the worst kind of team for sports fans to support.

There are some teams in sports that you know in a given season are going to be bad.

Teams that you know from the start are undermanned, don't have the talent, and simply will not be able to compete on a nightly basis over an 82-game schedule. Teams like the 2014-15 version of the Buffalo Sabres. There were no expectations for that roster at the start of the season, and everybody knew that it was going to be a long, ugly campaign. It is turning out to be exactly that.

But even that type of team can offer their fans hope that it will work out in the long-run if it results in the right draft pick arriving and potentially sparking an organizational turnaround. And besides, it's not like anybody expected anything different when the season began. They are awful, but they are awful by design. It's part of a larger plan that will, hopefully, at some point work out.

But then there are teams like the Maple Leafs.

Teams like the Maple Leafs offer a special kind of frustration. The problem with teams like the Maple Leafs is they are going to give their fans some level of hope. They have some good players. They spend a lot of money. They make it look like they are trying. They will even put together some stretches where they win some games and compete, just as they did in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season when they made the playoffs, or the first three-quarters of last season, or during a recent eight-game stretch this season where they went 6-1-1.

They just don't seem to know what they are doing.

Inevitably, they will tumble off of the cliff and send their fans into jersey-tossing fits of rage. Just like they did when their only playoff appearance in the past decade ended with a Game 7 loss where they blew a three-goal lead. Or last season when they lost 16 of their final 22 games to miss the playoffs. Or the past two games where they lost by a combined score of 15-4.

The latest defeat came on Tuesday when they were completely embarrassed on home ice by the Nashville Predators by a laughably one-sided 9-2 margin. It was a game they trailed 8-0 before finally scoring a couple of meaningless garbage time goals, and it came just two days after they were blown out by the Sabres and their best player was facing criticism for not talking after the game.

Well, everybody talked on Tuesday. Players were asked if they were trying to get their coach fired. Phil Kessel called the performance unacceptable. Cody Franson said it feels like the walls are caving in on them.

And this is a team that, even after losing by seven goals, still has a somewhat respectable 9-8-2 record.

And this is the problem. Even when their record looks like they're competitive and still in it, and even when they win some games, there are still major problems lurking below the surface that are ready to erupt. Things can, and probably will, still get worse.

The biggest issue the Maple Leafs have had for several years now is that they have been one of the worst puck possession teams in the league, getting badly outshot during even-strength play on an almost nightly basis. This is important because teams that win, compete for championships and ultimately win championships are almost always the best teams in the league at controlling the puck and outshooting their opponents.

The standings tell you what teams did, but they're not always a great predictor of future success. Possession will give you an idea of what teams will do. Just consider that five of the past seven Stanley Cup champions finished the regular season in the top-four in Corsi percentage (percentage of total shot attempts that belonged to the team), including three teams that were No. 1 in the league. Four of those teams finished eighth or lower in the league standings in total points.

When the Maple Leafs made the playoffs in '12-13 they were an extreme outlier, attempting only 44 percent of the shot attempts during 5-on-5 play, the worst mark in the league. It should have been -- and was -- a major red flag for the next season where they somehow got worse last year and dropped down to 42 percent, again last in the NHL. This season they are once again near the bottom of the league at 46 percent, ahead of only the Sabres, Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames.

But because the Maple Leafs have a couple of sharp-shooting forwards that can get hot and score goals in bunches, and because at times their goaltenders will steal some games, they will string together some wins that will mask their flaws. Even during the aforementioned hot streak this season where they earned 13 of a possible 16 points, they were getting pounded from a possession standpoint and only attempting 46 percent of the shots and giving up well over 30 shots per game.

What you've seen during the three-game losing streak that followed is what happens when a bad possession team suddenly stops shooting the lights out offensively and is no longer getting goaltending that can bail them out after the defense fails and continues to bleed shots against.

So what's the solution?

Coach Randy Carlyle keeps talking about compete level and trying harder as if that's the only problem. But there are major tactical and systematic problems, especially in the defensive zone that keeps allowing opponents to put 35 shots on the board every night. At some point the coach is going to take the fall. They always do. And if the problem with the team is their "compete level" and their intensity, and it never comes around even as the coach keeps talking about, doesn't that at some point have to fall on the coach that keeps talking about it?

But even that isn't going to fix everything.

The roster is still very thin in a lot of areas, and the most marketable trade chips, guys like Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner, Cody Franson, are guys that they are probably better off not trading. They are either top-line players in the prime of their career (Kessel, van Riemsdyk) or are young enough that they could still play a role on a competitive team in Toronto in the future.

And that leaves Toronto stuck in the same position it's been in for years. Stuck in neutral. Not quite bad enough that you abandon all hope in the beginning, but not quite good enough to do anything of relevance.

It's the worst kind of position for a sports team to be in.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the worst kind of mess - CBSSports.com
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:15 AM   #77
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Not stalking ya ....but did I read that you are in Ottawa now? Will you become a Sens fan? Lol


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Old 11-19-2014, 11:24 AM   #78
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god I hope not, I'm not sure how much more of the Leafs I can stand though
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:31 AM   #79
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god I hope not, I'm not sure how much more of the Leafs I can stand though

Ha I hear that. Are you there permanently now?


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Interference is my Earth.
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Consequently, Earth is an experimental disaster.
 

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Old 11-19-2014, 12:07 PM   #80
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I'm not sure, my wife transferred out here for her job and my company lets me work from home so it worked out well, so far we are enjoying it but we'll see.
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:12 PM   #81
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I'm not sure, my wife transferred out here for her job and my company lets me work from home so it worked out well, so far we are enjoying it but we'll see.

Cool. I've come to like Ottawa and am there frequently now (kid is a first year Raven)

I mentioned the Sens as we had breakfast in this place last weekend that at night is a sports bar that bills itself as a Canadiens headquarters..and yet also has some Senators flags and paraphenalia mixed in. It's kindof a strange combo to me!


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Interference is my Earth.
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Consequently, Earth is an experimental disaster.
 

If you keep going, you have only your self to blame

 


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Old 11-19-2014, 01:31 PM   #82
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this is pretty much me:

LFR8 - Game 19 - NOPE - Nsh 9, Tor 2 - YouTube
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Old 11-19-2014, 01:55 PM   #83
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you've cut your hair, I see..


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Interference is my Earth.
Quote:
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Consequently, Earth is an experimental disaster.
 

If you keep going, you have only your self to blame

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Best Interferencer On The Damn Planet View Post
Edge:
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:03 PM   #84
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oh hell no, this is Leafs blogger I follow.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:06 PM   #85
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I knew that..im pretty sure you wouldn't let the Habs logo defile the walls of your Leaf Shrine


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Interference is my Earth.
Quote:
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Consequently, Earth is an experimental disaster.
 

If you keep going, you have only your self to blame

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Best Interferencer On The Damn Planet View Post
Edge:
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:07 AM   #86
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So they won last night, just to add to their consistent ability to be inconsistent.

At the end of the game they didn't do their usual "stick in the air to salute the fans" thing and of course the media jumps all over it...

Signs of discontent linger with Leafs' salute snub - Sportsnet.ca

While I realize they are paid professionals and every major market team has to deal with constant scrutiny from the media, there is something about the level of stupidity of the Toronto sports media which gets rather tiring after a while.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:32 AM   #87
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The Leafs get the hockey equivalent dosage of media scrutiny that the Red Sox and Yankees get in baseball or the Cowboys get in football.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:41 AM   #88
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Agreed, I know its pretty tough in Montreal as well.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:54 AM   #89
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$30 million Andrew MacDonald fell down with the puck behind his own net, turning it over for Minnesota to score the game winning goal in the final minute. He is signed through 2020.
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Old 11-21-2014, 05:45 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by elevated_u2_fan View Post
So they won last night, just to add to their consistent ability to be inconsistent.

At the end of the game they didn't do their usual "stick in the air to salute the fans" thing and of course the media jumps all over it...

Signs of discontent linger with Leafs' salute snub - Sportsnet.ca

While I realize they are paid professionals and every major market team has to deal with constant scrutiny from the media, there is something about the level of stupidity of the Toronto sports media which gets rather tiring after a while.

Still, the Toronto players brought this upon themselves. What did they think was going to happen? And Dion Phaneuf saying that they just decided to switch up the routine was as lame an excuse as they come:
Quote:
"That was something that we obviously discussed about. To be completely honest with you, it was something about the way that we've been playing at home, our record and just changing up routine. At the end of the day, we did a lot of things different throughout the day and that was something that we decided to change."
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