Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lost Weekend

Thoughts on this weekend's games...

1. Found it fascinating that the Penguins consistently dumped the puck in on the Leafs left D and sent two forwards in hard after it all night. Three of the four Penguins goals were generated out of that part of the ice, including the game tying marker.

2. Is there any one that likes Glenn Healy's broadcast work? Anyone...

3. I'm not casting blame here - hockey is a team sport - but I bet Raycroft would love to have another crack at the Penguins tying goal (he seems so slow laterally, he was still hugging the right post when the puck was hitting the net). Same goes for goals one and three against the Rangers. That was some ugly stuff.

4. With Cola banged up in New York (he didn't even come out of the room for the third period) and Perrault nailed to the bench against Pittsburgh, that Bell trade is looking just stellar.

5. Enough with the man games lost to injury meme. Two players: Wozniewski (out for 59 games) and Mike Peca (out for 43 and counting) make up for nearly a third of the team's total...the reason the Leafs are unlikely to make the post-season has very little to do with injuries and everything to do with their inability to keep the puck out of the net (and to hold onto a lead - Leafs are 22nd in the NHL when leading after 2)

6. I can't believe I watched the Rangers game until the Rags posted their seventh goal...which also cost me this week in my rotisserie hockey pool, the guy I was up against had Jagr and Nylander. We were tied until the puck bulged the twine.

7. Leafs tragic number is 3.5 (SOL and OT kinda messes up the math here - I guess I should it round up to four?) Any combination of points lost by the Leafs and points gained by Montreal that adds up to 3.5 (4?) means it’s all over for Mats and Co.


  1. Anonymous3:46 am

    I agree on Raycroft. The other thing I notice with him is he drops to his knees a lot so he is very vulnerable if you can get it high on him.

    I disagree on the injuries though. The PP has been significantly better when Wellwood and Tucker have been in the lineup. An extra few PP goals might have translated into an extra win or two which is all the Leafs needed to be in a playoff spot. Wellwood and Tucker are probably the Leafs best pure playmaker and pure sniper and not having them in the lineup for 34 and 26 games mostly at the same time hurt in a big way.

    Same for Peca. Maybe the worst aspects of the Leafs game over the course of the season has been penalty killing. Peca could have certainly helped there. Plus more Peca on the PP means more Sundin even strength since Sundin wouldn't get as much PK time.

    And let's not forget Colaiacovo who has been great since returning. They certainly could have used more of him and less of Belak on defense.

    The good news is the Leafs still hold their fate in their own hands. They just need to beat Philadalphia and the Islanders and then beat Montreal in regulation time. That isn't the most difficult trio of games for the Leafs.


    I think that the first Rangers goal can't be blamed on Raycroft. He didn't see it at all. Sometimes that happens. And the tying goal against the Penguins was a similar situation. It didn't even look like he saw the pass back to Whitney.

    I made it to the 7th goal too. Does that make us masochists?

  3. Teams have been trying to exploit Raycroft's early knee drop all year, and the technique has bit him on the ass more than once when the game was on the line.

    Raycroft shouldn't have started last night. -1 for coach mo. Not that I'm saying it would've made much difference.

    What did the Penguins see on the left flank that made them attack it? Try and force the puck mover to shift the puck over to the other side?

    I think we're to the point of hoping for help, because the Leafs always go to extra innings against the Habs.

  4. David - My point was more about the Leafs 300+ man games lost stat. It's going to get trotted out a lot in the next week or so and it really needs to be taken with a whole box of salt. Obviously the injuries didn't help this club, but it's not like the Leafs are the only club to lose key personnel to injury...

    PPP - If I hadn't seen Raycroft play 60+ games this year, I'd be willing to concede the "he didn't see it" bad break type of analysis...if you woke up tomorrow and found yourself the GM of the Leafs, what would you do about your goaltending situation?

    Oh, and I think being Leaf fans automatically qualifies us as masochists.

    Ninja - I'd love to know why the Pens chose that route to the Leafs zone. Were they trying to keep the puck away from the Leafs right side; were they trying to expose the Leafs' left flank or are the Pens significantly stronger coming off the right side boards? This is the type of thing I wish reporters would ask in the post-game scrums...

  5. Anonymous2:05 pm

    if you woke up tomorrow and found yourself the GM of the Leafs, what would you do about your goaltending situation?

    Sign Giguere in the off season.

  6. DJ stole my answer.

    Theoretically, the Leafs can do it without help but realistically they will need it. Having said that, the Leafs are in good shape to get some help from the Rangers and Lightning.

  7. Giguere currently makes $3.9M - what do you figure it would take to get his name on a contract? I'm guessing it will be close to $5M.

    If the Leafs were to keep Raycroft as their back-up, they'd have $26M tied up on the back end.

    I wonder what Bill Belichick would do if he were an NHL GM...

  8. Anonymous8:54 pm

    I LOVE Glenn Healy's commentary. Love it. Give him Harry Neale's spot.

    Fourth liners I've never heard of should not be able to get the rebound off their wrist shot from the sideboards before the goalie figures out where it went. This is a vastly overachieving club (remember the preseason predictions? No scoring depth, no wingers for Mats, and on and on...) with bottom quarter netminding. Its just plain sad...anything average (Norrena to Thomas) and they'd be well in.

    Do you think O'Neill should be inserted back into the lineup?

  9. Pat V. - Wow. Glad someone likes Healy. I find with him the punch line is more important than the point. That said, there's not a lot to choose from in TV leaf land (Neale is dreadful and Cole should have retired a long time ago).

    I don't know about O'Neill...I think the bigger question is, who sits? I definitely wouldn't bring him back next year.

  10. Anonymous9:30 am

    Giguere currently makes $3.9M - what do you figure it would take to get his name on a contract? I'm guessing it will be close to $5M.

    I'd guess between $5 and 5.5 million. There aren't a lot of teams looking for a top tier goalie (and could afford one) right now so that bodes well. The biggest competition will likely be Detroit, especially if they suffer another early playoff exit.

    I don't dislike Healy though I can't say I really like him either. He certainly isn't as annoying as Pierre 'I live to hear myself speak' McGuire.

    It wouldn't surprise me if this is the last season for Bob Cole. On several occasions this year they have split up Cole and Neale and on Saturday Jim Hughson, the Canucks regular announcer, did the Leaf game and Cole did the Vancouver-Calgary game (if I recall correctly).

    This is a vastly overachieving club

    Really? Can you name me 2 players on the team that are over significantly over-achieving? I am not sure I can name any while Sundin, Kaberle, McCabe, Kubina, and Steen all have fewer points than last season.

    No scoring depth

    Really? I would have thought having 14 players with double digit goals (more than any other team) would have been interpreted as having scoring depth never mind the fact that the Leafs are 9th in the NHL and 4th in the east in scoring.

  11. 13 players have scored 10 or more goals for the Leafs. 14 players have scored 10 or more goals in the league this year. The preceding distinction is more for my own sanity because I thought my arithmetic abilities had abandoned me. Either way, the Leafs have this depth on their roster.

  12. Anonymous11:37 am

    Not to beat a dead horse...but I was referring to the predictions, not agreeing with them. At the time I thought they were somewhat justified.

    Overachievers: Pohl, Battaglia, Devereaux. Maybe Gill and a few others. I guess it all depends on your definition.

    "The team's offensive kingpins are almost as good as any in the league, but the quality and quantity drops off in a hurry." (THN 06/07 yearbook)

    I heard this kind of sentiment echoed from a number of pundits in October. The fact that they've been able to find the depth they have, especially with all of the injuries to forwards, signals an overachievement in my opinion.