Sunday, October 11, 2009

On the Leeds side-streets that you slip down

Before Leaf fans start to panic, one has to wonder what the best case scenario was for this young season. Looking at the strength of competion, I'd say the best this team could have hoped for was to be 2-2-0 in their first four.

The Leafs played well and deserved to win game one against Montreal. It took two bizarre calls and some bad officiating to lose the game against the Sens. Losses to Pittsburgh and Washington shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Leafs have looked absolutely atrocious in three of their four starts this year.

The team didn’t show up for the Sens, got outclassed by Washington and in the last game against Pittsburgh the Leafs had more turnovers than a Pillsbury factory. (Crosby scored two PP goals from the exact same spot on the ice. He was untouched and unguarded on both plays. Maybe it’s just me, but somebody might want to keep an eye on the #87 out there or maybe Wilson’s coaching cheat sheet mis-spelled Crosby’s name and the leafs weren't sure who to cover.)

I don't know if it's physical, mental or both but Vesa Toskala looks about as comfortable as a woman in burqa a at a Klan rally.

Keeping the Story Straight

Does anyone think management set expectations at a level that’s remotely in line with the talent (or lack thereof) on this club?

The organization said playoffs was their goal and then iced a team with Matt Stajan as the #1 centre and Vesa Toskala as the starting goalie - even though he hasn’t been able to approach the league average save percentage in three years.

Burke also promised an entertaining team. Other than game one against the Habs, I haven’t seen any entertaining hockey - have you?

Remember the old competition in camp theory? You know, the one where guys were going to earn their jobs. Well it turns out the Leafs couldn't get the msessage straight on that front either and some guys earned their starts this year based on last season's play. That would be the same season the team put up 81 points and missed the playoffs for the third year in a row.

A few days ago, Ron Wilson compared public criticism of Vesa Toskala to waterboarding. Your read that right, the Toronto media were metaphorically torturing the goalie.

Tonight the coach decided to throw that same goalie under the bus.

The only consistent thing coming from the Leafs is the stench of incompetence.

Shortcomings and Off-Season Moves

The two biggest issues that dogged the Leafs last year were the penalty kill and goaltending. The Leafs were dead last in both categories.

In the off-season, Burke shuffled the defence - moving out Kubina and bringing in Komisarek, Exelby and Beachemin. He also added Rickard Wallin to the forward mix (as well as pugilist Colton Orr)

In nets, Burke actively pursued the Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson, who unfortunately is battling injuries and has only started a single game.

Four games into the Season and the Leafs are, once again, dead last in goals against and dead last on the PK.

Until goaltending and special teams play is resolved, this team will remain winless.

Oh, and a question the media horde might want to ask Coach Wilson: what the heck is Wallin doing on the PP?


  1. I agree, realistically they could only hope to be 3 points better than they are now but a loss is a loss and they've looked as bad as ever in their own end. Better defense and goal-tending was supposed to be the key to making the playoffs this year. So far it's been the same old, same old.


  2. Anonymous3:45 am

    Its perimeter hockey, get over it....

    Leafs need to go back to a time tested formula, cycle the puck in the corner, pin them in their own end on flat feet, then shovel the puck to the point or out front., and make sure the off wing beef is in front of the net giving and taking heat and causing havoc out front..

    It a word you need centres who like to "muck.."

    Leaf's are dead last because of the perimeter passing game, look's great, does nothing...

    The beef they hired this past season needs to overload in the corner by finessing the puck in there just after they cross the blue line..., and the off wing needs to protect that action by drifting to the centre line and back off just a bit to cut off the cross ice pass if they lose the corner battle...

    Wilson needs to back off the fancy passing game into the offensive zone and get back to basics, its not the players...

    old style simple hockey will get them back on track, because most of the league are bunch of patsies too worried about their bodies and looks on TV and are playing perimeter hockey... Leafs dont have enough water beatles to play that game...they need to do this adjustment and then it will start to click",

    so more structured "muck it in the corners and along he boards" and more "crease and slot chaos",

    If there is "No pain", then there is "no gain" in the offensive zone...