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Messages - Chris

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31
thank you, Arn. It was just too hard for me to figure out.

If Matthews hadn't scored all those goals, he wouldn't be leading the league in goals.

Great quote. Clueless.

It's like a lot of people don't even watch the games.

32
I know points aren't everything, but:

Marner:15GP7G15A22P
Matthews:14GP11G6A17P
Tavares:15GP5G9A14P
Nylander:15GP4G8A12P

What the hell else do you expect? The "big 4" are top 4 in points on the team.
The issue isn't their overall point totals. Their issue is at even strength..JT has 8 ESpts in 15games, Willy 7 ESpts in 15games. Take it further, JT has 1 ES goal, Willy, 3...not good enough.
Matthews and Marner are PPG players at even strength.  Leafs need to be a 2 line attack. Right now they're not.

JT and WN have looked pretty ineffective for significant parts of this season, last night it was particularly obvious. OTOH Marner and Matthews have been fantastic. I'd be hesitant to break them up BUT, Matthews and Nylander have worked well before. So it might be worth testing some new combinations. But what are they?

A simple step would be to just switch out Hyman and Mikheyev, perhaps Hyman can provide the spark to get the second line going. If not, then split up the big tandems and try Hyman-Matthews-Nylander and Someone-Tavares-Marner. Who is that someone...I like Mikheyev but he may not be a great fit there. Maybe try Petan or even go back to Vesey, as much as I don't like him he might be a better fit than Mikheyev.

I don't know what is going on but JT just doesn't appear right to me. He looks slower than usual with everything - skating, shooting, puck handling. Maybe he's just focusing too much on playing defensively. And Nylander seems to have regressed into an even less engaged state than usual. Sure, he manages to steal a few pucks each game but mostly avoids physical battles and tend to lose them when he engages.

Tavares is back in New Dad mode.
Yeah, sure. For $11 million a year, you figure out how to get out of "New Dad mode."

33
I was excited about the acquisition, but after watching him play, I've very, very pessimistic about Thornton playing a top 6 role.
CTB has the numbers but Matthews with Joe and Marner were like 73% Corsi..the same hasn't been true with Hyman even though the line has produced.
JT and Willy need to get going so Keefe is hoping Hyman can help them. 

If Matthews didn't shoot like 4% or whatever it was to start the season absolutely nobody would be questioning Thornton's spot on that line.

I would. It was beyond obvious that thornton wasn't keeping up with M&M on line rushes. He simply can't play the game at the pace that the other two play at. The idea that he's an upgrade over Hyman is simply ludicrous. I don't know what Keefe was thinking putting him on the top line.

 I thought he was acquired to play 3rd line center, and even then, he might be better on the wing.
This is what is seemed like to me. M&M seemed to be succeeding largely in spite of Thornton, not because of him. Hyman is a far better match on that line. The question is, once Thornton is back where does he go. Does it make sense to try Hyman with Tavares and Nylander to give them a boost? I might be tempted to try putting Thornton at 3rd line center and moving Kerfoot up to LW on one of the top 2 lines. At least he can keep up and maybe that inspires him to play better.

Ultimately I think we need to get Robertson into the top 6 and see what he can provide. Not sure if he's ready for it yet, based on what I saw in the play in series against Columbus.

34

Sabourin?!

While I have no objection to putting him in the lineup to see what he can provide (maybe some physical play), that is a potentially brutal 4th line.

35
I know points aren't everything, but:

Marner:15GP7G15A22P
Matthews:14GP11G6A17P
Tavares:15GP5G9A14P
Nylander:15GP4G8A12P

What the hell else do you expect? The "big 4" are top 4 in points on the team.
The issue isn't their overall point totals. Their issue is at even strength..JT has 8 ESpts in 15games, Willy 7 ESpts in 15games. Take it further, JT has 1 ES goal, Willy, 3...not good enough.
Matthews and Marner are PPG players at even strength.  Leafs need to be a 2 line attack. Right now they're not.

JT and WN have looked pretty ineffective for significant parts of this season, last night it was particularly obvious. OTOH Marner and Matthews have been fantastic. I'd be hesitant to break them up BUT, Matthews and Nylander have worked well before. So it might be worth testing some new combinations. But what are they?

A simple step would be to just switch out Hyman and Mikheyev, perhaps Hyman can provide the spark to get the second line going. If not, then split up the big tandems and try Hyman-Matthews-Nylander and Someone-Tavares-Marner. Who is that someone...I like Mikheyev but he may not be a great fit there. Maybe try Petan or even go back to Vesey, as much as I don't like him he might be a better fit than Mikheyev.

I don't know what is going on but JT just doesn't appear right to me. He looks slower than usual with everything - skating, shooting, puck handling. Maybe he's just focusing too much on playing defensively. And Nylander seems to have regressed into an even less engaged state than usual. Sure, he manages to steal a few pucks each game but mostly avoids physical battles and tend to lose them when he engages.

36
In real time I thought Nylander went for a bad change. After watching the replays, though, it's less clear. The bigger problem was Tavares letting McDavid blow by him at center ice creating the 2 on 1 which Barrie then turned into a 3 on 1 by outskating Matthews. Would a tired Nylander have had a better chance of keeping up with Barrie there? Maybe (if he was motivated), maybe not.

Holl probably should have laid out to block the pass, that might have disrupted things long enough to let Tavares or Matthews get back to help out.

37

I still can't get over how funny this is. For as much crap as I give Brad Marchand there's absolutely no way he would ever throw such a gigantic hissy fit like this. All because a player lightly tossed a puck at him.
Definitely was worth staying up to watch the whole game just to see this sequence. I would have preferred if someone had pounded Tkachuk the other game after he piled onto Campbell's head, but I'll take what I can get.

38
Vesey...a big fat MEH. I asked a couple of games ago if there's anything he does well and of course, he promptly was gifted an open net by Nylander. At least he was able to put it in the net, so I guess on that count he would rate above a former Leaf named Leo.

Otherwise, though...he really accomplishes very little. Not fast, not physical, not effective along the boards or in transition. If he stays on one of the top 2 lines he'll probably get 10-12 goals just because. But does his presence drag down his linemates overall? That's a tough one to quantify but my impression is yes, it does.

I understand the Leafs lack forward depth (good depth, anyway) and if you put Mikheyev (or Engvall) on one of the top 2 lines then the third line may suffer. So maybe Vesey in the top 6 is something we just have to deal with for now. I do agree with those who are suggesting Barabanov get a chance higher in the lineup. He could be a guy who can't accomplish much with 5-8 minutes on the 4th line but who could mesh well with a scoring line.
I really don't see how underwhelming a dude for $700k could possibly be.
Have  you watched him play? It's not that he is "underwhelming for $700k" (and actually I think it's $900k) as much as he is underwhelming for someone playing on the top 2 lines.

Vesey on line 3 or 4 for $700 or $900k, fine. On line 1 or 2...not so much.

Maybe over time he'll prove me wrong but I'm not seeing much to suggest he will.

39
Vesey...a big fat MEH. I asked a couple of games ago if there's anything he does well and of course, he promptly was gifted an open net by Nylander. At least he was able to put it in the net, so I guess on that count he would rate above a former Leaf named Leo.

Otherwise, though...he really accomplishes very little. Not fast, not physical, not effective along the boards or in transition. If he stays on one of the top 2 lines he'll probably get 10-12 goals just because. But does his presence drag down his linemates overall? That's a tough one to quantify but my impression is yes, it does.

I understand the Leafs lack forward depth (good depth, anyway) and if you put Mikheyev (or Engvall) on one of the top 2 lines then the third line may suffer. So maybe Vesey in the top 6 is something we just have to deal with for now. I do agree with those who are suggesting Barabanov get a chance higher in the lineup. He could be a guy who can't accomplish much with 5-8 minutes on the 4th line but who could mesh well with a scoring line.

40
I've always thought Marner and Tavares look more dangerous together.

And Willy and Matthews always had good chemistry.

I've never liked Matthews with Marner but maybe the stats say different?

I have the same thoughts. I think Matthews and Nylander together is deadly.

Add me to the list.

Solid game for the most part. Freddy saved them early in the first period but I thought otherwise the Leafs played well. Engvall remains a mystery to me, he looks like a solid NHL player. So why is he on the outside looking in? Contract? Trying to save him for the expansion draft? The Leafs are a better team with him in the lineup. And Barabanov...he certainly isn't making a case for playing time but I don't know how much we can expect from him if he's stuck on the 4th line.

41
Hyman has been a beast with the puck deep tonight.

42
Engvall has probably been the most noticeable Leaf this period.  He?s definitely trying to show something
I don't get why he's in the dog house.

43
Ray was right in the pregame: This is Wednesday again, except not as good.
Really? There's been quite a few chances already. Unfortunately most of them have been against the Leafs.

44
Can anyone tell me anything that Vesey does well? Stone hands.

45
Let's try again

Hyman - Tavares - Nylander
Mikheyev - Kerfoot - Marner
Vesey - Brooks - Spezza
Barabanov - Engvall - Simmonds

eh...

Mikheyev - Tavares - Hyman
Vesey - Nylander - Marner
Engvall - Kerfoot - Barabanov
Brooks - Spezza - Simmonds

I don't hate this that much

I really don't know what I'd do in terms of line combos. Definitely an opportunity for some fringe players to step up and make a statement.

Mikheyev - Tavares - Marner
Hyman - Kerfoot - Nylander 
Vesey - Engvall -  - Barabanov
Brooks - Spezza - Simmonds

Why...first line, Tavares and Marner have worked well together. Tavares is a shooter, Mikheyev also and is fast enough to get in on the forecheck.

Second line, give Kerfoot a chance to see if he can make a consistent impact in a more offensive role. Nylander is the shooter here, all 3 are quick and Hyman does the board work.

Third line, Engvall is a good skater. This is where Vesey belongs IMO even when everyone is healthy. Barabanov - who knows. I wouldn't mind seeing him given a shot higher  up in the lineup but I don't think anyone has a clue what he might be able to provide. Maybe switch him and Hyman to even out the 2nd/3rd lines a bit,

Fourth line, probably won't play much so meh. The slow line. Spezza could be subbed in on other lines when offense is needed. Brooks might be a "safer" bet to play a bigger role on line 3 if Barabanov isn't up to the job.

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