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Messages - Chris

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1
I've seen a bunch of comments about Reilly not being a threat with his shot and "Marner shouldn't be the one shooting", but I disagree. They all have NHL shots. They need to start unleashing them. You've got Tavares and Nylander down low. Get the puck on the net and let them go to work.

I was watching the Vancouver PP carefully. It seemed to be so much more dynamic but they also shot it more.

Basically what I'm saying is: need more Nylander.

There was one play that Vancouver ran that I'd like to see the Leafs try more. It was a quick/short pass from the side to a guy in the middle slot (might have been Boeser, not sure) for a quick, almost one-timer (though more of a wrist shot I believe). Didn't result in a goal but that is the kind of play Matthews could probably thrive on.

But...on the PP in that game, Matthews spend most of his time too far from the net, often looping out near or even past the blueline. He really looked like he wanted nothing to do with the puck. Very strange.

One thing about Nylander, he's one of the few Leafs who seems willing to attempt to penetrate into the central area. I noticed this a lot at 5v5. The M&M line would maintain possession for a long time but with mostly perimeter play. They'd often wind up with 3 players near the blue line and the other 2 deep along the boards somewhere and nothing happened. Nylander though would circle around and penetrate into the center, testing, looking for an opening. Marner and Matthews should be doing more of that.

2
Likes:

Foligno with M&M and Galchenyuk back with Tavares and Nylander - thought he meshed better with those two.

Dermott on right side - let's see what he's got.

Same for Brooks - he has produced in very limited minutes, he deserves a chance to play.

Dislikes:

Can't we rest ONE of the old men...I know Engval hasn't been playing well but that's a lot of SLOW in the bottom 6.

Uncertains:

Barring another major injury, we've probably seen the last of Robertson for the regular season. Mixed feelings on this...on one hand, he really doesn't look fully ready. On the other hand, he's probably more impactful than a bunch of those bottom 6 guys, and will only get better the more he plays.

3
I think Marincin is serviceable as a 3rd pairing/PK guy for a few games if Bogo is out, but I really wouldn't want to be throwing him out there during the playoffs. So _if_ Bogo is going to miss a bunch of games, I'd want to look at other options...can Dermott work there, how about Lily, etc.

4
The Matthews/Marner duo have had the most success this season with a big guy who work the boards (Thornton earlier this season, Hyman more recently). The Tavares/Nylander duo have had the most success with a skilled guy who can move the puck (Kerfoot anytime he gets a shot there, Gally more recently). To me that makes the top-6 lines both now and in the playoffs pretty obvious:

Foligno-Matthews-Marner
Galchenyuk-Tavares-Nylander

It leaves the bottom-6 a little short while Hyman and Mikheyev are out (although hopefully Mikheyev isn't out long) but I'd still put those lines together so they can gel heading into the playoffs and just work with what's left in the bottom-6 until we're healthy.

Any thoughts on bumping Spezza up to the 3rd "scoring" line with Kerfoot or Galchenyuk?

I actually don't mind the old man line. I personally think Simmons brings the line down a little. He's nothing more than a 4th liner for me that can hit and bring some energy from time to time.

I would like to see Spezza get more time. Last night he played 2 full minutes less than Thornton, and over a minute of his time was when he got stuck out on the PK. So really 3 minutes less than Thornton.

Thornton has looked a bit better the last few games, but Spezza makes more happen when he is out there. So the question comes back to, what do they want from lines 3 and 4? Can you put Spezza as 3rd line center, and Kerfoot as LW (or Robertson)? I don't know.

I also think Brooks gets a little bit of unfair treatment and would like to see him get more of an opportunity.

5
They were planning his surprise birthday party

There was that crazy Rogers outage that day to be fair.

That might have been a mitigating factor, but no one else missed the meeting. Between that and Mikheyev's injury, it gave juuuust enough of an opening to slot him back into the lineup (after those frank discussions about responsibility and team accountability). To Keefe's credit, he rewarded Nylander's play with 20+ min of ice time for the second straight game*. Yeah, we trailed a lot (lol) but a pettier coach could have held him off the PP.

* Nylander has crested 20 min only one other game this season: Feb 22 vs CGY and that was a chase game.

And it's funny, the pair of Nylander and Tavares have been the best two forwards on the team for the past two or three games. It's funny what he does with ice time.
I also really liked Kerfoot on that line. He became a Hyman for that line. The energy that drives it. Every line needs a play driver. And if Tavares can be relieved of that role, it will only help the team.

Kerfoot has been good whenever he's played with Tavares and Nylander. The problem is, taking him out of the bottom 6 (especially with Hyman and Mikheyev out) essentially means the team plays with 2 fourth lines. What I'm left wondering is, if you just stick Robertson in that LW role and use Kerfoot to form a more serviceable 3rd line, is the team better or worse than with Kerfoot on line 2? It seems pretty obvious that Keefe would rather go with the 2 top and 2 fourth lines and I tend to agree with those who say Robertson isn't really "ready", but I'll also argue that if he got more time on line 2 we might find out he's "ready enough".

Foligno should help and I'm looking forward to seeing what kinds of lines Keefe comes up with. I do think he needs to come up with a 3rd line that can make an impact, whether it be offensively (maybe with Kerfoot and/or Robertson) or as a shut-down, hard to play against line.

6
Bogosian has been very, very solid as a 3rd pairing dman. He will be missed. I don't know anything about Hutton but wonder if Dermott gets a shot playing the right side. Dermott/Sandin could be an entertaining pair, though maybe not in a good way.

7
On a brighter note... Sandin has good vision out there.

I thought he looked great

Yup. Very clear in his play that he believes he belongs in this league at least. There's a ton of confidence in his game.

He kind of reminds me a bit of Tomas Kaberle. I remember the first time I saw him play (and it might have been his first NHL game), you could immediately tell that he had "it." Just the calm cool way he handled the puck and skated. I think Sandin has more of a physical element to his game but otherwise appears quite similar.

8
Is now when I should post that I am done posting here and not watching any more games?
I'm kind of wondering if there is any point to watching anymore games (until the playoffs) since we don't seem to have a goalie anymore. Curious to see what Foligno brings, so I suppose I'll be tuning in to the next game for that.

9
Galchenyuk isn't top line material. Thornton is pretty useless. This team is just absolute junk right now. Can we send Calgary their garbage back?

I think Galchenyuk is OK on that line and he'd be less effective playing on the 3rd or 4th line. The problem tonight seemed to be Matthews deferring too much (maybe that wrist is still a problem) and Marner _shooting_ too much.

10
Yes Marner is the one on that shift that should shoot, absolutely.

Edit: Yes Rielly is the next best option.

Matthews looks like he doesn't want to shoot or force the play inside. Seems content to spend all his time on the periphery.

I’d still prefer Matthews taking the peripheral shot

Me too, but he's been deferring the whole game until that one shot near the end.

11
Yes Marner is the one on that shift that should shoot, absolutely.

Edit: Yes Rielly is the next best option.

Matthews looks like he doesn't want to shoot or force the play inside. Seems content to spend all his time on the periphery.

12
I sure hope Foligno is better than I think he is. This team needs an injection of something. Not just a goaltender, there's more to it than that.

13
Holy crap.

Maybe we should bring in Ayers.

14
Holl ... is showing his real level.
Muzzin was there doing nothing too.

15
Goaltending is going to sink this team if Andersen doesn't return to form for the playoffs.

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