Author Topic: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion  (Read 33281 times)

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Offline mr grieves

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #765 on: January 19, 2018, 06:28:11 PM »
I think this is a really charitable, optimistic read of what's going on with the team right now, but I'd find it plausible if:

1. Babcock weren't playing -- game in, game out -- the sort of guys he's always played because he thinks they give his teams the best chance to win (Komarov, Polak, Martin, Andersen), instead of younger, NHL-ready players who have the potential to be developed into two-way players (or giving his goalie a break). All indications coming out of training camp were that Babcock's decisions were keyed to his desire to have the best chance to win every night -- all that's changed is that they're no longer winning, so those favorably disposed toward him (lookit that Team Canada record!) have to connect a mediocre record and relatively poor play with an unchanging line-up. If this were a teaching/development year, we'd see more things like players being tested in different roles for a decent run of games.

and

2. We could actually point to some evidence that, over the 20-30 games that the team's been playing well below their abilities (in terms of 'outputs'), Babcock's development plan is producing any tangible improvements. Marner and Nylander don't look, to me, like they're playing better two-way games. They just look stifled, uncertain, and often without adequate support.  I also don't buy that shot differentials are an 'output' -- positive shot differentials, out-Corsi-ing the opposition, winning the scoring chance battle, etc. are, and have long been understood as, the controllable 'inputs' that can lead to desired outcomes. Redefining the 'inputs' down to the stuff Babcock's 'measuring' -- attention to detail, decision making within the system, ability to 'dig in' -- seems, to me, a lot like what the Carlyle apologists were doing  a few years back, albeit with a narrative appended that justifies frittering away the cost-controlled years of elite talent.

Let's clarify inputs and outputs here.

[...snip!]

Marner was getting a lot of penalties earlier in the season because he didn't establish strong positioning (and his body isn't the kind to overcome suboptimal positioning) and had to rely on his stick to try to fish the puck out. Nylander has been really good along the boards since halfway through last year because he's been protecting his stick with his sneaky strong legs and taking smart angles under the defense.

Yes, herman. I too pay my dollars/month to Mirtle and read Justin Bourne. Nylander's doing about what he was doing last season, but the way they're playing, his greatest strength -- controlled zone entries -- doesn't get used, despite the fact that this skill is generally more useful in winning games both in the season and playoffs than chipping and chasing and angling oneself safely. Marner's taking fewer penlties and that's nice, but he -- and the team as a whole -- can't get anything going offensively, so they're drawing (even?) fewer penalties, so... it's a wash.

My point remains: you should have something other than video of a few isolated plays to evidence that there's anything good coming out of this most recent exercise in Babcockian egotism and stubbornness.

As for Babcock in his own words bit (reply #762) on the terrible line-up decisions... echoes of Randy and 'compete.' Loosen your helmet. It's nonsense.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 01:06:04 PM by mr grieves »

Offline mr grieves

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #766 on: January 19, 2018, 06:30:41 PM »
Like I said, it's definitely conspiracy theory-ist... But I think the mgmt team might be that smart...

Lou's shortsightedness and feeble conservatism is now 12th dimensional chess, Babcock quoting George W Bush's "decider" line is good.

Trump has ruined y'all.


Offline CarltonTheBear

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #767 on: January 19, 2018, 10:19:45 PM »

Komarov's getting re-signed. The new Dan Cleary.

Offline BrownRolo

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #768 on: Yesterday at 12:32:58 AM »

Komarov's getting re-signed. The new Dan Cleary.

I'd be fine if he re-signed something like a 3 year, 4.5 million deal.

Play him 4th line minutes plus PK.

Offline hockeyfan1

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #769 on: Yesterday at 03:54:26 AM »
It's starting to sound bleak around here, so for a deviation from the norm of conversation...

(Older January article): 
How Connor Carrick keeps himself in good health in terms of food choices/dietary regimen...


and, coffee for athletes:

« Last Edit: Yesterday at 10:26:00 PM by hockeyfan1 »

Offline CarltonTheBear

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #770 on: Yesterday at 11:52:22 AM »
I'd be fine if he re-signed something like a 3 year, 4.5 million deal.

Oh Jesus please tell me you don't mean per year...

Offline Strangelove

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #771 on: Yesterday at 12:21:58 PM »
You haven't shown why playing Komarov and Hyman more than any other players on the team helps to "develop a program". They are not good two way players. In fact, they are arguably not even good defensive players, depending on what you think about the importance of possession to defence. Hymen appears to be a serviceable third liner and Komarov is now a borderline NHLer/PK specialist.

Playing those guys more than other players who are actually capable of sustaining offensive pressure and possession does nothing but hurt the team's performance (in the short-term) and the team's confidence (in the long-term).

Babcock seems to be a relic of the 90s, in the sense that he appears to be willing to ignore advanced stats and go with his gut. The interesting part is that his gut has led the team astray for months and yet he is unwilling to change his mind or listen to the experts.

Actually, I've shown you why Babcock chooses to deploy them more, but I didn't demonstrated how that has been effective (if at all). The results that we look at are outputs: goals, points, even shot differentials. They're all the end result of a sequence of events predicated on a) system, b) decision making within the system, c) physical capability to execute the system, and d) external forces (i.e. the other team's tactics). We don't have the micro-data to analyze this publicly, but according to Justin Bourne in the podcast referenced previously, these Babcock favourites do it the 'right' way Babcock wants, with great consistency. Where they occasionally falter is in talent-level execution of certain plays, and in Komarov's case, his physical capability. Their system hasn't really changed since Babcock took over, btw. The increase in dumping and chasing is more because other teams have adjusted to the Leafs and are treating them as threats.

Ultimately, the 'program' is not really for these favourite depth guys: they already know what they're doing. It's for the Marners and Nylanders (and similar Marlies) who are so blessed with talent that they've never had to deal with the details (these are the types of players we want to be drafting, right?). Remember Kessel's response to his junior coach who sort of got mad that his lackadaisical defense cost them a goal? "I'll just get a another". And he did and routinely could in that league. In the NHL, that's not a guarantee, and our talent isn't quite at that level. Look at how Gretzky coached. Without a doubt one of the greatest offensive players and minds for the game, overflowing with talent. Couldn't coach his teams worth a lick because all his detail processing was subconscious (so he couldn't communicate that) and I'd say he rarely ever had to try.

What can be controlled though is how players position themselves relative to the puck and play, what they are thinking regarding the game states, etc. So in this developmental period of time, and stage of the build, and segment of the regular season, ice time reward gets allocated according to who is most successful at doing what the coach wants, rather than who lays out the most points. Babcock is in the unique situation where he has both the chutzpah, tenure, and cachet to pull it off.

All I'm suggesting here is that the majority of our analysis is judging by results, and Babcock is judging by the inputs he can see. Rightly or wrongly, this is not irrational stubbornness. His preferred style is simple and conservative (and hella boring). Remember his comments about the World Cup at the beginning of last year when he was asked about Team North America? I'm paraphrasing, but it was to the effect of, "Looks fun, eh? but I like to win." And Team Canada won there, and at Sochi before; with overwhelming talent, yes, but playing a very staid, stifling style, and letting scoring talent overmatch in the offensive zone once set up, or off of turnovers.

I tried to follow your post but to be honest (and glib), your rationalization of Babcock's decision-making seems to me to be totally bonkers. You seem to be suggesting that our analysis is judged by "results" (i.e. what is happening on the ice) and that's somehow wrong. You also seem to be suggesting that Komarov isn't good, even by Babcock's bizarro-world metrics (which seem to ignore points, wins, possession, shots and, apparently, anything actually happening on the ice) but that's fine because it's contributing to a culture of good decision-making... or something.

The Leafs have played a sub-optimal line-up for months. That line-up has played objectively terribly for months, struggling in all aspects of the game. Babcock has failed to make adjustments for months - even obvious ones. Everybody is frustrated.

None of that suggests that Babcock is doing a good job.

Offline L K

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #772 on: Yesterday at 12:22:20 PM »
I'd be fine if he re-signed something like a 3 year, 4.5 million deal.

Oh Jesus please tell me you don't mean per year...

Right now the Leafs have Leivo, Soshnikov, and Kapanen who could easily slit into the lineup.   That ignores free agency and further development from Andreas Johnson.   I think Uncle Leo needs to find a new home next year.

Would he be ok on the 4th line, sure.   Thatís what happens when you sign Matt Martin to. Multi-year contract though.

Offline Chris

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #773 on: Yesterday at 01:00:47 PM »
If Kapanen isn't in the lineup full time next year (and maybe even at the end of this year, depending on moves/injuries), there is definitely something wrong with Leafs management.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #774 on: Yesterday at 03:09:49 PM »
I tried to follow your post but to be honest (and glib), your rationalization of Babcock's decision-making seems to me to be totally bonkers. You seem to be suggesting that our analysis is judged by "results" (i.e. what is happening on the ice) and that's somehow wrong. You also seem to be suggesting that Komarov isn't good, even by Babcock's bizarro-world metrics (which seem to ignore points, wins, possession, shots and, apparently, anything actually happening on the ice) but that's fine because it's contributing to a culture of good decision-making... or something.

The Leafs have played a sub-optimal line-up for months. That line-up has played objectively terribly for months, struggling in all aspects of the game. Babcock has failed to make adjustments for months - even obvious ones. Everybody is frustrated.

None of that suggests that Babcock is doing a good job.

I gather that you are frustrated in the team and understandably so. All I was trying to do was translate why Babcock was making these decisions (which I donít necessarily agree with all of). Babcock has been consistent about this his entire time here (gud pro). Last year was fun because he kind of let the kids do their thing to build their confidence. This year they are getting Riellyíd and since theyíre the offense drivers, their dip from the steepened learning curve is more apparent.

Iím not saying our analysis of results is wrong, or that Babcock is ignorant of them. It comes down to what his priorities are, and pushing Marner and Nylander into playing with Datsyukian effort every night he believes will yield a greater, longer lasting reward down the line.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 03:13:43 PM by herman »

Offline Strangelove

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #775 on: Yesterday at 05:20:19 PM »
I tried to follow your post but to be honest (and glib), your rationalization of Babcock's decision-making seems to me to be totally bonkers. You seem to be suggesting that our analysis is judged by "results" (i.e. what is happening on the ice) and that's somehow wrong. You also seem to be suggesting that Komarov isn't good, even by Babcock's bizarro-world metrics (which seem to ignore points, wins, possession, shots and, apparently, anything actually happening on the ice) but that's fine because it's contributing to a culture of good decision-making... or something.

The Leafs have played a sub-optimal line-up for months. That line-up has played objectively terribly for months, struggling in all aspects of the game. Babcock has failed to make adjustments for months - even obvious ones. Everybody is frustrated.

None of that suggests that Babcock is doing a good job.

I gather that you are frustrated in the team and understandably so. All I was trying to do was translate why Babcock was making these decisions (which I donít necessarily agree with all of). Babcock has been consistent about this his entire time here (gud pro). Last year was fun because he kind of let the kids do their thing to build their confidence. This year they are getting Riellyíd and since theyíre the offense drivers, their dip from the steepened learning curve is more apparent.

Iím not saying our analysis of results is wrong, or that Babcock is ignorant of them. It comes down to what his priorities are, and pushing Marner and Nylander into playing with Datsyukian effort every night he believes will yield a greater, longer lasting reward down the line.

Fair enough. At some point, however, Babcock has to realize that it isnít the teamís effort thatís deficient but the system - his system - itself. There is a plethora of evidence to reinforce that conclusion.

To insist on playing in a way that is demonstrably unsuitable to the team as currently constructed - particularly when there are clear viable alternatives to the current system - is the height of sturbborness (and, I would add, stupidity).

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #776 on: Yesterday at 10:43:58 PM »
Fair enough. At some point, however, Babcock has to realize that it isnít the teamís effort thatís deficient but the system - his system - itself. There is a plethora of evidence to reinforce that conclusion.

To insist on playing in a way that is demonstrably unsuitable to the team as currently constructed - particularly when there are clear viable alternatives to the current system - is the height of sturbborness (and, I would add, stupidity).

This system is the same one that they used in 2015-16 to win the Auston Matthews sweepstakes (and do pretty well in team CF%), as well as the same system used to get into 6 games of the playoffs last season. The major change has been other teams preparing differently against the Leafs (no longer an afterthought, or backup goalie night), and our players' general inability to adjust consistently.

Nothing major has changed other than some players being held to higher standards now for their play away from the puck. Yes, that naturally curtails their offense for now, until they figure out how to do both (which they will). There's a process to playing that Babcock believes leads to winning and that's what these decisions are in service of: sticking with the process. Play the right way and Babcock gives you the minutes and over the long run, that player should start seeing results. You can hear these same platitudes in the response of the players to some of the recent losses as they focus on the consistency and cleaning up mistakes, rather than just bemoaning that they're not scoring.

As for overplaying some vets with down years, yeah, that's been my gripe with them since 2015, but I understand the principle they're going for. There are no gifts in the lineup for the younger players, so they have to prove beyond doubt they belong regardless of their waiver exemption.

Some of the vets are enjoying these gifted roster spots by virtue of consistently being good role models who (once upon a time) could produce, even though they lack the talent. Other than Komarov (and sort of Hyman), they're at the fringes of the lineup and wouldn't be a huge net difference to the fortunes of the team if replaced by the maybe better Marlie while our main horses are still technically foals. I would much rather have a Leivo and Kapanen and Johnsson in the lineup getting reps and developing their games at the NHL level, but I also don't mind some of them getting key minutes in the AHL and rounding out their games to suit potential roles on the Leafs (e.g. Kapanen learning PK).

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #777 on: Yesterday at 10:50:47 PM »
Basically, trying to watch the game through "Babcock's eyes" is helping me have fewer cardiac events this season. I appreciate a coach that never gets too high on the wins and never too low on the losses. He sounds like he's old school and archaic about the way he sees the game, but it demonstrates a strong understanding of PDO effects.

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #777 on: Yesterday at 10:50:47 PM »