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Topics - Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

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Since we are in a gap before the playoffs, maybe we could spend a bit of time looking back at the regular season.  How about folks take a shot at the following questions:

1. Who was the Leafs MVP?
2. Tell us why in exactly 6 words.
3. Who was the biggest disappointment?
4. Who was the most underappreciated?
5. Give us your "Nobody Saw That Coming!" off-season trade involving current non-UFA Leafs roster players.

Former Leafs: Ex-Files / Tiger Williams charged with sexual assault
« on: February 09, 2018, 04:40:15 PM »
OTTAWA Former NHL enforcer Dave "Tiger" Williams is facing several charges, including sexual assault, after incidents on a Canadian Forces aircraft.

The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal's office says the alleged victim reported the incidents in December while Williams was taking part in a morale trip to Latvia.

Knowing that there is already a Babcock thread somewhere, I thought I might venture a new one on a more focused topic.

What I'm wondering about is the career trajectories of Matthews, Nylander, and Marner.  Here you have three very creative, very talented forwards; the calling card of all 3 is the ability to make high-level moves at high speed (just below McDavid-level speed).  To have 3 such players on one team at the beginning of their careers is a rare thing very rare I would guess.  What I'm a bit worried about is Babcock's squandering the years when they will be at their fastest (which is not to say their best; supposedly forwards peak in their late 20s).

I understand what Babcock is trying to build.  My question is, could he still get to the "right way" by devising game plans that let these guys play a more open-throttle style at the beginning of their careers while still instilling defensive responsibility.  The fact is that by their mid-20s the Big 3 will very likely not be quite as fast/quick as they are now it's only natural.  If all goes well they will make up for it with experience, positioning etc., and still peak a bit later.

To me, we are in what seems like a not-to-be-missed opportunity to build a team concept that maximizes their skills-at-speed.  Their window of success is (hopefully) a long one, but the window to take advantage of the full range of their gifts is not.

Again, I think I understand where Babcock is coming from.  It's probably no coincidence that Andersen's stats were the worst during the first few weeks when the team was allowed to play a more aggressive style.  But anyone can see that the team is playing against the grain now.

Does anyone have thoughts along these lines?  Maybe I'm wrong and there's no way to get to Babcock's ultimate preferred Wings-like style except by doing it his way.  Still, it seems to me that with the right team development strategy you could have the best of both worlds.

I take it you all are up for this again?

   MotM/Win      MotM/Loss      HonMen      Accolades      Times Voted      Points   
42 Tyler Bozak   0      0      0      0      0      0   
12 Connor Brown   0      0      0      0      0      0   
23 Eric Fehr   0      0      0      0      0      0   
33 Frederick Gauthier   0      0      0      0      0      0   
11 Zach Hyman   0      0      0      0      0      0   
32 Josh Leivo   0      0      0      0      0      0   
43 Nazem Kadri   0      0      0      0      0      0   
24 Kasperi Kapanen   0      0      0      0      0      0   
47 Leo Komarov   0      0      0      0      0      0   
12 Patrick Marleau   0      0      0      0      0      0   
16 Mitch Marner   0      0      0      0      0      0   
15 Matt Martin   0      0      0      0      0      0   
34 Auston Matthews   0      0      0      0      0      0   
28 Dominic Moore   0      0      0      0      0      0   
29 William Nylander   0      0      0      0      0      0   
26 Nikita Soshnikov   0      0      0      0      0      0   
25 James van Riemsdyk   0      0      0      0      0      0   
54 Andreas Borgman   0      0      0      0      0      0   
8 Connor Carrick   0      0      0      0      0      0   
51 Jake Gardiner   0      0      0      0      0      0   
2 Ron Hainsey   0      0      0      0      0      0   
52 Martin Marincin   0      0      0      0      0      0   
44 Morgan Rielly   0      0      0      0      0      0   
22 Nikita Zaitsev   0      0      0      0      0      0   
31 Frederik Andersen   0      0      0      0      0      0.0   
35 Curtis McElhinney   0      0      0      0      0      0.0   
As always, starting out the new season I stop to remember the late poster known as Mr. T., and Sakura as well, both of whom contributed to much to this site.

And I take this opportunity to thank Rick Couchman and the moderator team for making this site possible.  For the first time in years, we have a reasonable hope of actually having something to really celebrate next year.

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / A season to remember....
« on: April 08, 2017, 11:07:57 PM »
Aside from the thrilling way they clinched a berth (adios memories of that last playoff game against BOS) I think all of us sensed long ago that this team is special.  I think the overall performance of the rookies on this team is something you will not see matched anytime soon.  Add to that a breakout season from Kadri, really solid goaltending from Andersen (the regular-season MVP IMO), and some vastly improved play from the defense over the last month or so, and you have a season to remember no matter what happens to them in the playoffs.

In all honesty, I had more fun watching this team than I did even in the years that Sundin was carrying them.

General NHL News & Views / Crosby's slash on Methot
« on: March 23, 2017, 10:29:37 PM »
There were several similar hits in the game last night that weren't called at all. Obviously none resulted in an injury, but had the referees called one of the earlier ones....

The suspension is excessive.

Not only has Polak never been suspended in a 11 year career, but the player he hit turned toward the boards after Polak had moved to check him. Polak's hit was ardly a full force body check as he seemed to slide off the opposing player probably due to the fact that the player turned at the last possible moment.

As for you comment about other incidents, Siney Crosby deliberately chopped a an opposing player in the nuts (from behind I believe) and there was no call and in another game either last night or the night before I saw a reply of one player kicking another in the same spot. Once again no call.

Even if these incidents were somehow missed by the eagle eyed two referees and both linesmen, where is the player safety department? Should that brain trust not be reviewing such incidents?

Inconsistent and poor enforcement of the rules undermines one's confidence in the integrity of the game and the league.

FWIW Crosby literally slashed off the end of Methot's finger tonight.  Anybody think there'll be a suspension for that?

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / The core, on offense. On defense: well....
« on: October 22, 2016, 11:28:28 PM »
It's absurdly early to declare anything like this, but man, based on the games so far I could totally go for a long-term forward core of


and build the offense around them.  I look at these guys and can legitimately dream of them being our Toews/Kane/Hossa/+ someday.  And not so far away.

On defense, Zaitsev has intrigued so far.  Who knows what his topline is?  Rielly, I think, hasn't been very good these first few games but he is probably a first-pairing guy and at worst a #3.  But we need more.

I guess my not very originally secondary point is, no matter where we may be in the standings as the trade deadline approaches, I would listen to offers for JVR/Kadri/Bozak/Komarov, any of the veteran skaters, for a good defenseman or a good pick that can be used to draft defensemen.

The primary point, though, is that I really don't want to see them have to part with one of my suggested core guys to get that needed defenseman.  I'd try almost anything else first.

So, are people up for this again?

Everyone --

Apologies for starting this thread here -- it has nothing to do with the Leafs -- but since many of you may not ever read The New York Times I want to make sure you don't miss the feature on the front page of their website.  It is a truly beautiful story about how your country has stepped up to embrace Syrian refugees in the wake of the tragic drownings this spring.

To me, it really captures everything that I, as an American, like about Canada and Canadians.

Wonderful photos too.

You know, you guys should be proud to be Canadian.  You are leading the way in a compassionate response to a humanitarian crisis, instead of sowing fear and division, as a certain someone who would lead my country is doing. 

Well done.  I hope you all enjoy your national holiday tomorrow.

Mods -- do what you will with this, I understand if it needs to be moved.

Instead of the report-card format maybe people will be up for a more subjective (and condensed) evaluation, plus some speculation.

To set the stage, here's a summary of this year MotM voting:

1. Kadri -- 34
2. Bernier -- 26.5
3. Rielly -- 26
4. Reimer -- 24
5. Gardiner -- 20
6. Bozak -- 15
7. Hunwick -- 13
7. Phaneuf -- 13
9. Komarov -- 11
9. Nylander -- 11

1.  Kadri -- 20
2.  Bernier -- 15
3.  Reimer -- 14
4.  Gardiner -- 9
5.  Bozak -- 8
5.  Komarov -- 8
7.  Parenteau -- 7
7.  Rielly -- 7
9.  Holland -- 6
9.  Hunwick -- 6

1.  Kadri -- 34
2.  Bernier -- 24
3.  Rielly -- 23
4.  Reimer -- 22
5.  Komarov -- 20
5.  Gardiner -- 20
7.  Parenteau -- 19
8.  Bozak -- 17
9.  van Riemsdyk -- 15
10.  Phaneuf -- 14

OK, now some questions:

1.  Who was your MVP?
2.  Who was your biggest disappointment and/or biggest pleasant surprise?
3.  Who was your pick for most underrated and/or overrated player?

And finally, some speculation:
4.  Which player will surprise us all by being traded this summer?
5.  Other than Nylander, which of the Marlies call-ups will make the team and have the biggest impact next year?
6.  How many points will Marner score for the Leafs next season?

I'll offer my answers in the next post.

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Matthews or BUST
« on: April 09, 2016, 08:55:15 PM »
With one period to go, it looks like we have a steady bead on 30th.  After all that ..., uh, effort, I for one am going to wear my heart on my sleeve and just say I will be hugely disappointed if we don't pick first -- lottery percentages be damned.  We need Matthews, I need Matthews, YOU need Matthews.

Let's not rationalize, let's not put on some kind of dispassionate gameface to try to shield the devastating blow to our collective psyches that will strike we don't get Him.

I invite you to join me and OWN your heart's desire. 


or instant death.

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Halfway mark team report card
« on: January 14, 2016, 12:01:21 PM »
Yes, grading players is kind of on the lame side, but still a thread like this gives folks a chance to share their thoughts on how the roster as a whole is doing.  Here's my take, by grade:

Babcock.  I don't think anybody expected him to get the team pointed in the right direction -- which it undeniably is -- so soon.
Komarov.  Career year for him, may net us a 1st.

Parenteau. After a slow start, has been good most nights, real zip in his play.
Kadri.  Now that's he scoring his game is fully rounded, he's settling in to a long-term role as a 1B or 2C.
Hunwick. A few shaky games lately, but mostly has punched above his weight.
Reimer.  Except for his W/L record his stats are excellent.

Phaneuf.  I've come to respect Dion this year, he's playing his best hockey since coming here and deserves the C, an effective leader.
Bozak.  Our best FO guy and has shown he can score w/o Phil.
Rielly. Still has more to give IMO but is really good most nights.

JVR.  Conceivably deserves an A-.  Mostly does his job well on the offensive side of the puck.

Holland.  To me he's pretty "meh" but he hasn't been a liability.
Marincin.  Notice him much?  Me neither.  Well done MM.
Froese. Works hard and is probably playing as well as he ever will.
Gardiner.  Much improved, maybe we are seeing his ceiling?
Harrington.  I thought he has pretty good, though he's now been replaced by MM.

Polak.  This year's whipping boy only deserves about half the criticism he gets.
Winnik.  Seems to have slipped a bit from last year IMO.
Grabner.  Coming on lately; if he keeps it up he'll prove to have been a good signing.

Arcobello, Clune, Spaling.  All pretty much nonentities achieving what is expected of them.

Lupul.  I don't doubt his effort but he's invisible too often.
Matthias. Ditto.

Boyes.  Even with mere 4th line minutes, he needs to produce more.
Bernier.  Without the few stellar games he's put up, he'd be an F.

NG (small sample size)
Corrado, Leivo, Bibeau, Sparks.

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Gardiner: Where's he heading, career-wise?
« on: December 16, 2015, 12:00:45 PM »
Watching last night it struck me that we haven't been talking much about Gardiner this year -- perhaps a good sign.  Most nights, to me, I don't notice him a lot one way or the other.  Perhaps also a good sign ... but OTOH it would be nice to see more scoring from him.

This is entirely impressionistic so maybe some of the advanced stats guys can weigh in with numbers to push the conversation one way or the other.

Anyway, I mainly started this thread to see if people have thoughts about Jake.

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