Author Topic: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion  (Read 17778 times)

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Offline TML fan

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #330 on: November 09, 2017, 11:33:58 PM »
These last 3 posts were gold. Great stuff guys!

Offline hockeyfan1

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #331 on: November 10, 2017, 05:57:26 AM »
Excellent article outlining the why and the how of Kadri's importance to the team during Matthews' absence:


- shooting percentage 20.4%
- possession #s at 51%
- highest defensive zone starts of any Leaf (107 5v5)
- is sixth in league scoring (9 goals, one behind fifth-place Matthews, and five behind first-place Kutcherov)
- had 12 PP goals (in 2016-'17) eighth in league
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 06:06:33 AM by hockeyfan1 »

Offline WhatIfGodWasALeaf

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #332 on: November 10, 2017, 08:46:58 AM »
While they're already adjusting, the reasons I believe they are largely sticking with it at the moment:
1) When it works, it's worth it. Plays all over the ice become isolated battles where talent can stack the probabilities in our favour. The main problem is sloppy execution/mental stuff in the plays that cause us to have to break out more often: taking loops instead of stop/starts, fringing puck battles rather than asserting position, etc.

2) The Leafs want to dictate play and force the other team to adjust (and they are). Their style gives up chances by design in order to gain more attempts at net, where their prodigious shooting talent should swing the pendulum in their favour over the long run.

3) We've got a lot of UFAs. There's some natural selection happening and coaching staff's priority is building the program, not doing whatever it takes to win exactly right now.

4) There's a window of opportunity in the schedule coming up to do some of the adjustment work, and plenty of video fuel to bring to bear on the problem.

I'll watch with interest tonight, I hope you're right and I certainly understand the reasons they are trying to do what they are doing, thanks for outlining it though because it definitely helps to galvanize those ideas for me.

They've lost six of the last ten though, they've not necessarily executed on their system in the four victories either and teams have largely figured them out.

I don't think they are in a position to keep trying what is not working.

It's okay to say that the players just aren't executing, but when it happens over a long stretch like this and you're consistently being presented with the same counter-system by the opposition, surely the smart money is in adapting on-the-fly to find a way to win?

I understand what you're saying about Babcock not necessarily being interested in just winning at all costs, but I think there is room between playing a boring trap (winning at all costs) and continuing with the current system with a tweak that gives the dmen more support and an easier out.

I hope as you mentioned that they can iron things out over this little break they have coming up.

Oh and thanks TMLfan, herman has an excellent eye for this stuff!

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #333 on: November 10, 2017, 09:29:35 AM »
I'll watch with interest tonight, I hope you're right and I certainly understand the reasons they are trying to do what they are doing, thanks for outlining it though because it definitely helps to galvanize those ideas for me.

They've lost six of the last ten though, they've not necessarily executed on their system in the four victories either and teams have largely figured them out.

I don't think they are in a position to keep trying what is not working.

It's okay to say that the players just aren't executing, but when it happens over a long stretch like this and you're consistently being presented with the same counter-system by the opposition, surely the smart money is in adapting on-the-fly to find a way to win?

I understand what you're saying about Babcock not necessarily being interested in just winning at all costs, but I think there is room between playing a boring trap (winning at all costs) and continuing with the current system with a tweak that gives the dmen more support and an easier out.

I hope as you mentioned that they can iron things out over this little break they have coming up.

Oh and thanks TMLfan, herman has an excellent eye for this stuff!

Thanks guys! As I am largely shooting from the hip here with subjective observational analysis (even though eyes are lyin' sons of bees), so I too hope that a lot of that bears out  8) I'll dig through the numbers over the weekend when I've got more actual time.

I agree with your point that adjustment is needed after getting somewhat easily derailed by the NZ trap that many of the teams without the offensive horses employ. In a good chunk of those games referenced, we had to eat trap because early turnovers ended up in the back of the net, so is it worth while to tweak the system (i.e. get 9-12 players to do something different in a handful of scenarios) during a road trip on jet lag, or lean into executing what they should have been doing in the first place?

What they have cleaned up nicely are the OZ turnovers where a winger finally gets through, and just to feel a sense of accomplishment, fires a wrister from the half boards with no traffic. No Soshnikov helps with that, plus he's working it out of his game with the Marlies.

Defenders are playing Marner like a shorthop in baseball now. Before they didn't have enough of a book on him and were scared into backing off his razzle dazzle, which opened up room for JvR and Bozak to capitalize. Now they just 'smother the bounce'. No room, no play, Bozak and JvR take the long trip back to standing around in the DZ. That's an adjustment we can make in supporting Marner's forays (a quick bump back to a player with speed following up), which would open up our attack balance.

Hyman's not barreling into 2 D and the crease on his drives as much anymore (that Marleau play was beautiful communication, and Marleau stopping up in soft coverage) is a great adjustment (as Coco pointed out yesterday). Shooting from a bit farther out is also normalizing his shooting percentage and he's on pace for 19 (!) goals.

Nylander was feeling rather tentative about getting into prime scoring areas. He did it early in the season and had minimal results, and wasn't attacking as deep lately. He's picked it back up the past two games, curling deeper in the OZ off his auto-entries to get the defense to cover a wider range of options.

I also have lots of thoughts about our PP1 vs PP2 that I'll get into after I actually do some work.

Offline Frank E

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #334 on: November 10, 2017, 10:38:55 AM »
Mason Marchment starting off pretty well with the Marlies...undrafted 22 year old has 11 points in 10 games.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #335 on: November 10, 2017, 03:26:13 PM »
https://mapleleafshotstove.com/2017/11/10/morgan-rielly-strong-first-quarter/

This is good.

Nested in there is this link that, to me, sheds a bit of light on why Zaitsev is playing a different game now than he did in the KHL.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 03:30:12 PM by herman »

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #336 on: November 10, 2017, 04:38:10 PM »
On the flip side: What's Up with Jake?
https://theathletic.com/149485/2017/11/10/dellow-trouble-in-the-work-zone-means-not-enough-time-in-the-fun-zone-for-jake-gardiner/

I mentioned this up thread: Getting crossed up with Zaitsev on East-West plays in the DZ = ruh roh.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 04:42:13 PM by herman »

Offline CarltonTheBear

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #337 on: November 12, 2017, 12:41:13 PM »
After all the doom and gloom from a week ago, the Leafs are still 4th in the East in points percentage.

Rielly and Kadri are on pace for 69 points. JVR's on pace for 41 goals and 68 points (which is pretty insane actually considering he's playing less than 14 minutes a night). Matthews was on pace for 50 goals and 97 points pre-injury. Old Man Marleau, who many wondering if he would even score 20 goals, is on pace for 34.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 12:44:05 PM by CarltonTheBear »

Offline L K

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #338 on: November 12, 2017, 01:43:20 PM »
After all the doom and gloom from a week ago, the Leafs are still 4th in the East in points percentage.

Rielly and Kadri are on pace for 69 points. JVR's on pace for 41 goals and 68 points (which is pretty insane actually considering he's playing less than 14 minutes a night). Matthews was on pace for 50 goals and 97 points pre-injury. Old Man Marleau, who many wondering if he would even score 20 goals, is on pace for 34.

And while it took a bit of a boost from Marner over two games it's interesting that somewhat disappointing seasons from both Marner/Nylander as 2nd year pros are still on pace for 56 points.  It really doesn't feel like we have seen the best of either of them yet (although Nylander has certainly had better stretches than Marner). 

Last year after 19 games the Leafs were 8-8-3 (8 ROW, 19 points).  This year they are 12-7-0 (11 ROW, 24 points).  I'll take that from a team that really hasn't played their best/most consistent hockey yet.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #339 on: November 13, 2017, 09:21:20 AM »
So continuing on from our discussion about the Leafs stretched breakout failing for a couple of weeks, they've tightened it up the past week while Matthews has been out, and found ways to win mostly through pouncing on mistakes (a la Penguins 2017 playoffs) rather than overwhelming wave after wave of chances through depth (a la 2016-17 Penguins regular season) and also getting improved goaltending.

They've cut back on the long pass, and instead, kept the centre in the swing position tighter to the D, as WIGWAL suggested. Wingers don't even go up to the blue line anymore, as they stop just past the red line for tip-ins. They're maintaining better numerical advantages in the NZ as a result, so there aren't as many odd-man rushes coming back. By the same token, they're also not really generating anything interesting unless their opponent makes an error (Marner thanks you, Brandon Carlo) or takes a penalty.

Watch Rielly's goal from Saturday:
- Boston screws up a line change and gives us a temporary power play; Leafs, with a solid 5-man breakout, ID the weak-side immediately and attack the right, unsupported lane
- Marner's low-percentage and contested cross-ice pass is deflected oddly right to JvR on the opposite halfwall; JvR smartly bumps to Rielly
- Rielly shoots for a rebound with a nice low wrister (hoping for the kick out to Marner who is in good position to pounce)
- Rielly gets a maze of Bruins legs and sticks instead as all 5 of them scramble to compensate from the earlier miscommunication and unlucky bounce
- Who doesn't this puck hit before beating Rask? Zero Leaf screens/tips.
- This goal is brought to you by one good Leafs play (breakout), one Boston mistake, and literally every hockey god smiling upon Rielly

GameResultGFGAShots ForShots AgainstEven CF%SV%SH%PDO
VGKW-SO33252845.50.893121.013
MINW42193741.50.94621.11.157
BOSW-OT32333551.60.9439.11.034
@BOSW41253941.60.974161.134

Courtesy of hockey-reference.

The wins are nice, because points in the bank are points in the bank, but if we're looking at the measures that usually carry a team to sustained success, it's not as pretty as the 4-0 record suggests. It really helped that we faced a couple of pop-gun attacks in MIN and BOS (they shot 2% on Saturday, and made McElhinney look like an All-Star).
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 09:41:37 AM by herman »

Offline L K

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #340 on: November 13, 2017, 09:31:58 AM »
I like that they have been using the flip pass/high clear a little more too.  Gets the defenders moving backwards and still lets the forwards attack with speed.  We have enough players who are good at winning open ice puck battles because of their stick handling ability so those neutral zone "forecheck" situations are going to end up in the Leafs favour overall.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #341 on: November 13, 2017, 11:22:45 AM »

4 days with no games, so it's not really a huge deal.

Today's practice was missing Matthews, Nylander (who got stapled pretty hard to the boards by Chara), and Bozak (who has had back/pelvis problems all of last season).

Offline LuncheonMeat

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #342 on: November 13, 2017, 11:32:24 AM »

4 days with no games, so it's not really a huge deal.

Today's practice was missing Matthews, Nylander (who got stapled pretty hard to the boards by Chara), and Bozak (who has had back/pelvis problems all of last season).

I'm dying to get a look at Polak on Kadri's wing.  :D
“How many people from Ontario play in the National Hockey League? Once we make it safe, they’re coming home. Mark my words, they’ll be coming.”
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Offline Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #343 on: November 13, 2017, 12:18:56 PM »

4 days with no games, so it's not really a huge deal.

Today's practice was missing Matthews, Nylander (who got stapled pretty hard to the boards by Chara), and Bozak (who has had back/pelvis problems all of last season).

I'm dying to get a look at Polak on Kadri's wing.  :D

Me too, especially given how well Kaberle played when they converted him to forward.

Offline CarltonTheBear

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #344 on: November 13, 2017, 12:41:09 PM »
Me too, especially given how well Kaberle played when they converted him to forward.

Obviously the "let's convert this guy to another position" stuff is silly and we always have fun with it, but I do legitimately think Polak would probably make for a better 4th line forward than defenceman (which isn't exactly saying much).

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #344 on: November 13, 2017, 12:41:09 PM »