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Messages - Chris

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1
Maybe it’s just me but I wasn’t all that wowed by Robertson.  I think there is definitely a player there but I think he still hasn’t figured out how to not try and do too much.  I don’t see him ready to knock other guys out of the lineup this year.

Which is why I'd like to see him getting first line minutes in AHL as opposed to 4th line minutes in Toronto.

Agreed and once everyone is healthy and Foligno arrives, that's where he'll probably be - assuming there is an AHL season to return to.

I didn't see most of last night's game but I have seen flashes of high-level talent from Robertson. He's made a few really shifty/clever moves, made a nice pass on the PP (I don't remember which game), is quick and tenacious. I don't think he knows his linemates very well so he seems to be all over the place, maybe trying to do too much at times. But, really hard to get a good read based on his usage so far.

I would like to see him get 1 game with substantial first or second line minutes to see how he meshes with better linemates but Keefe doesn't seem to be interested in that. Especially if Matthews and Nylander are still out for the next game - give him the opportunity. Put him on PP1, he's a definite shot threat (I remember that amazing goal off the faceoff in the blue/white game). It's not like the PP can get much worse at this point.

2
I like how we attack the zone with better speed 5on5.  We also don’t do drop passes
Get Rielly off it and it'll improve...let Willy carry it.
I know we talked about this a lot in one of the other game threads. I just don't see what benefit Rielly brings on the PP right now. No shot, too slow/safe with his passes, not good defensively. When everyone is healthy Nylander should replace him.

3
I think we'd better start re-focusing on hoping Andersen comes back.
Better also hope he comes back as "good Freddie" and not "bad Freddie."

4
This was another game where I’m just left meh with both Thornton and Simmonds.  Robertson was not really noticeable but he was playing with a non-NHL player and had minimal minutes.  Hard to show anything when you don’t get an opportunity
Thornton was fine and a contributor to the first goal. Simmonds looks really off. Robertson looks decent but needs to get moved up the lineup. Maybe when Willy comes back he goes with them and Hyman to the third line. We'll see but I imagine Keefe will be juggling the lines with all the extras.
When Willy is back and Foligno arrives I doubt Robertson will be in the lineup.
I'm not talking then, I'm talking next game. Foligno isn't here for at least 3 games.
Fair enough...I have seen no evidence that Robertson will be given a serious opportunity higher in the lineup if everyone is healthy and available. He'll probably sit out once Willy is back, whether Foligno is here or not.

5
This was another game where I’m just left meh with both Thornton and Simmonds.  Robertson was not really noticeable but he was playing with a non-NHL player and had minimal minutes.  Hard to show anything when you don’t get an opportunity
Thornton was fine and a contributor to the first goal. Simmonds looks really off. Robertson looks decent but needs to get moved up the lineup. Maybe when Willy comes back he goes with them and Hyman to the third line. We'll see but I imagine Keefe will be juggling the lines with all the extras.
When Willy is back and Foligno arrives I doubt Robertson will be in the lineup.

6
This was another game where I’m just left meh with both Thornton and Simmonds.  Robertson was not really noticeable but he was playing with a non-NHL player and had minimal minutes.  Hard to show anything when you don’t get an opportunity
Yep. He had one shift in the 3rd after the 4 min PP I think, where he looked dangerous. The guy is a scorer and playmaker, he should be given some time with good linemates just to see what he can do.

7
Well, that was a fitting end for a game not well played.

8
Thornton hasn't been terrible tonight but how about giving Robertson a shot there in the 3rd? Maybe his fresh legs and creativity would have an impact there.

9
Take some notes on how they did that, Manny.
Would be nice to see the Leafs execute like that on the PP.

10
Regarding Robertson...I'd like to see him get the shifts with Matthews that Thornton has been getting. Tough to get a read on him at this point. He covers a lot of ice but doesn't seem to be accomplish much. That's probably what happens when you only play a few 4th line shifts per game with ineffective linemates.

11
There seem to be a couple of things going on with the PP.

1) Because of the stupid drop passes, when the puck carrier gets to the line everyone else seems to be mostly standing still. So at that point a dump in (if the carrier is challenged and can't break through) will almost certainly fail because the forecheckers won't get in before the defense gets control. Similarly, if the puck carrier does get in while maintaining control, he is usually forced to the boards where the play is easily pressured because there's no spacing (again because of the lack of movement). This leads to lost puck battles and clears by the defense.

2) When they do manage to get control, there is too much play along the boards. Not nearly enough movement of bodies or puck. This is the one I really don't get, there is so much skill out there in terms of puck handling (at least when they stack PP1, not when they bog it down with Thornton and Simmonds) but they move...in...slow...motion. They let defenders pressure them, then lose the puck battles and the puck is cleared. Is it a lack of confidence after so much failure? Or maybe too much confidence that they can hold the puck and eventually make a great pass?

I think the way to fix it is to put out a consistent 1st until with most of your top offensive players and have them MOVE. Move around the zone like they do when they have those great 5 on 5 shifts where everyone is involved. Become less predictable. And get pucks to the net.


12
Good thing about Foligno is Thornton can be scratched.
But will he be scratched or will it be Engvall or Mikheyev? Thornton has done nothing most of the season. He really needs some games off. Tomorrow would be a good start.

13
I’m really done with Rielly on the PP
The PP is really not a good match for his skill set. He's best when he's skating with the puck, joining the attack as a 4th forward. On the PP he basically stands around and makes the simplest/shortest pass (no imagination), doesn't really have a good enough shot to be a threat. May as well go with 5 forwards at this point.

14
I think Thornton needs a break. He is just killing that line. He really isn't doing anything out there.
Not as bad as Simmonds is killing the Engvall line.

The bottom 6 lines are kind of a mess right now. But if they're not moving Hyman or Galchenyuk from their spots I don't know what else they can do.
If Simmonds wasn't so slow Id move Kerfoot back to the 3rd line or bring up Robertson.
Is there someone on the taxi squad they could sub in for either Thornton or Simmonds occasionally? I don't pay much attention to the cap situation so maybe there's a reason for it but could definitely use a speed injection on the bottom lines. Not sure if Robertson is ready but I hope so.

15
Thornton has looked done for weeks now. Simmonds not far behind.

Hutch has been solid tonight. One iffy goal and a bunch of really good stops. Can't really expect much more from him.

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