Author Topic: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion  (Read 60815 times)

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Offline Frank E

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #480 on: December 08, 2017, 12:13:26 PM »
What I like about Martin’s hitting is how cleanly he does it too.

He's only taken 4 minor penalties this season...I think I know what the other 4 majors are, so those inflate his total PIMs.

Online herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #481 on: December 08, 2017, 12:47:22 PM »
If you haven't read this yet: https://theathletic.com/172018/2017/12/06/meet-the-man-whos-responsible-for-keeping-the-maple-leafs-healthy/

Mirtle and Siegel talk about it, among other things.

I was pretty excited when Dr. Jeremy Bettle's hiring was announced; the front office was digging outside the hockey sphere for smart people who knew how to optimize athletes' bodies. You can see the results now in the past two seasons' injury reports. Zaitsev went home after the first season with a better idea of how he should train (less for strength, more for stamina). Andersen has trimmed down significantly and has added an extra level of spryness to his huge reach.

Now with Marleau, Hainsey, and Moore in the fold, the pool of knowledge has only grown in how to keep players' careers extended well beyond the average. Too bad for Leivo.

The podcast also dips into Babcock's management of minutes, how each player has roles assigned and they don't really deviate. No forward plays over 20 minutes, and the top 4 defense are hovering between 21-23 minutes for the regular season. Those minutes-savings probably cost us a goal here or there, but over the long haul adds up to over 10 games of full 20 minutes of TOI that our best players have available to them.

This is long-view deployment (which is what I'd argue is happening in other deployment 'issues'), rather than win-today deployment. The obvious extrapolation is that Babcock is expecting we'll get into the playoffs and is building the program accordingly. Heck, with the playoff format the way it is and the division we play in, 2nd place in the Atlantic is probably the easiest path through.

Offline WhatIfGodWasALeaf

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #482 on: December 12, 2017, 11:21:39 AM »
Soshnikov to the IR with a lower-body injury and Kapanen has been recalled.

Offline bustaheims

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #483 on: December 12, 2017, 11:25:19 AM »
Soshnikov to the IR with a lower-body injury and Kapanen has been recalled.

Clearly, all that ice time he's getting put too much strain on his body.
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Online CarltonTheBear

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #484 on: December 12, 2017, 11:25:54 AM »
... did Soshnikov just get Robidas'd?

Online herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #485 on: December 12, 2017, 11:28:06 AM »
Soshnikov has a history of overextending himself in his off-ice workouts.

Offline Significantly Insignificant

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #486 on: December 12, 2017, 01:26:53 PM »
Why recall Kapanen?  Is it just a "here collect an NHL salary for a couple of days" transaction?  Or is Leivo really about to turn in to a rage monster?
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Online louisstamos

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #487 on: December 12, 2017, 01:33:54 PM »
Why recall Kapanen?  Is it just a "here collect an NHL salary for a couple of days" transaction?  Or is Leivo really about to turn in to a rage monster?

Leivo will probably still be in the lineup, but it helps to have 1 extra guy in case someone gets hurt in the warm up or something (it *has* happened before...)

Offline bustaheims

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #488 on: December 12, 2017, 01:40:08 PM »
Leivo will probably still be in the lineup, but it helps to have 1 extra guy in case someone gets hurt in the warm up or something (it *has* happened before...)

Basically, yeah. With the amount of road games they have upcoming - including a number of back-to-backs - better to have another healthy forward with the team, just in case someone gets sick, etc., on the morning/afternoon of a game.
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Online herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #489 on: December 12, 2017, 03:45:31 PM »
The Leafs 'system' has been on the hot seat all season, but probably moreso lately, their run of wins notwithstanding.

Out of the gate, the Leafs were flying up the ice with regularity and scoring a ton. They were also chasing the puck back regularly and fishing it out of their net, but not quite as often as their opponents were. It was glorious fun, but the number of turnovers we were getting stymied by meant something had to change.

Mirtle: The Leafs are the hottest team in the NHL – but they aren't really playing all that well

The Leafs have been winning a ridiculous number of games since falling flat on our first western roadtrip on the backs of a stellar November for Andersen, and some surprisingly good showings by McElhinney, all the while being routinely outshot and showing little of the flash and zip (and other storage formats) the Leafs showed in the first 10 games. Matthews has been out of the lineup almost as much as he's been in it. Zach Hyman has more goals than Nylander and Marner (almost combined). Polak has been in the lineup more than he's been out of it. What the hell is happening?

Here's a theory:

Okay. Mike Kelly generally uses words and concepts I'm into, but twists it just enough that I have questions. He says it's more successful (and the game results bear this out), but why?

This style of play is hurting us in facets of our game that we used to excel:

Our fancy stats show the Leafs are a team playing average-ish hockey, in front of a giant mega goalie. Our fancier stats show we're boxing out the rebound opportunities in our end. Is this actually good?

I'm leaning towards this interpretation:

It's trading off the speed-driven offense derived from stretch passes and skating carries into OZ (as well as the costly turnovers), for more of a unified, blue-collar march. Dump-ins (uncontrolled entries) are often turnovers too, but this strategy pushes the turnovers into the OZ, rather than NZ; an OZ turnover usually has 4-5 Leafs between the puck and the net, while an NZ turnover usually has 0-2 Leafs between the puck and the net.

Early on, defenders were gapping up on Marner and Nylander and Matthews much more aggressively, causing a lot of those turnovers as they were the players who'd hold on longer to make a play. Given an opening, these players will still dance it in, but option 1 when the doors are closed is a diagonal dump-in. The strong side gets a majority of the forechecking to try to flush the puck back around up to the weakside defenseman to set up. This strategy really only requires hard work and discipline (which is cheap!).

It's old school Canadian hockey, with some new school mods. We're still funneling our shot attempts from the middle of the ice; defensemen haven't been told not to shoot, but they're only really shooting when there is room to close down to the circles.

I maintain the Leafs are still trying to train their players how to play Playoff-brand no-room hockey. I don't think we're collectively very good at it yet, but our talent and whatever voodoo Steve Briere and Piero Greco are cooking up with the netminders is currently masking our mistakes. When this team starts putting it together and can switch modes at will, there aren't too many teams that can put up with that. Consider how we're gutting out ugly road games with Matthews, Nylander, Marner (and Bozak and Komarov) barely producing. What'll happen when they come around?

Offline Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #490 on: December 12, 2017, 03:49:57 PM »
Further to Matthews coming around, is he concussed or what?

Offline Frank E

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #491 on: December 12, 2017, 04:26:16 PM »

<snip>

I maintain the Leafs are still trying to train their players how to play Playoff-brand no-room hockey. I don't think we're collectively very good at it yet, but our talent and whatever voodoo Steve Briere and Piero Greco are cooking up with the netminders is currently masking our mistakes. When this team starts putting it together and can switch modes at will, there aren't too many teams that can put up with that. Consider how we're gutting out ugly road games with Matthews, Nylander, Marner (and Bozak and Komarov) barely producing. What'll happen when they come around?

This is how I feel about things.  I just don't know if Babcock is forcing them to play like this, to try and get them to figure it out so that they can play like this properly during the playoffs, or, you know, they're just not playing well.

Online herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #492 on: December 12, 2017, 04:42:47 PM »

<snip>

I maintain the Leafs are still trying to train their players how to play Playoff-brand no-room hockey. I don't think we're collectively very good at it yet, but our talent and whatever voodoo Steve Briere and Piero Greco are cooking up with the netminders is currently masking our mistakes. When this team starts putting it together and can switch modes at will, there aren't too many teams that can put up with that. Consider how we're gutting out ugly road games with Matthews, Nylander, Marner (and Bozak and Komarov) barely producing. What'll happen when they come around?

This is how I feel about things.  I just don't know if Babcock is forcing them to play like this, to try and get them to figure it out so that they can play like this properly during the playoffs, or, you know, they're just not playing well.

A bit of column A, and a bit of column B, which is usually what happens when you change things up this much during the year. A lot of them still don't know what to do in the defensive zone to break cycles (I don't really know either). The points cushion means we can afford to focus more on development the first half of the season.

If my read is right, then I'd say it's a really good thing. It's Babcock saying, okay, I know what the talent is and what it can net; now I want to see who can bring it every night. He incessantly cites Datsyuk and Zetterberg and Marleau as players to model. Less talented players get the minutes because they work harder consistently.

I don't think anyone would argue that Nylander is pretty awesome; I don't think anyone would argue either that Nylander with Hyman/Brown/Matthews' work ethic would be even more awesome.

Offline Coco-puffs

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #493 on: December 12, 2017, 05:13:29 PM »

This style of play is hurting us in facets of our game that we used to excel:


Um, I don't think we've ever excelled at most of the "against" rates in that tweet.  In terms of the "share", yes, we've done better but only because our offense was generating (slightly) more than we were giving up. 

Furthermore, how often have we gotten the lead first during this stretch?  I do wonder if Babcock insists on the dump-n-chase more once they have the lead to reduce those NZ turnovers.  I remember this team losing a heck of a lot of leads last year and its probably because they just kept trying to do the same thing with the puck (ie try controlled entries even when its a high-risk play) even when they had the lead and being safer would have been more helpful.

The Leafs also have one of the toughest schedules in the league for November-December (plus the first game in Jan  :-\ ).  They had an easy start, against some weaker CF% teams, and it put a shine on the team that probably wasn't entirely deserved.  Since then, they've had both their California and Western Canada road trips, and 10 of those games were against teams with CF% of 51.4% or above.

Ultimately, I hope this does make them more effective come playoff time.  Learning to generate good offense without being too risky in the neutral zone would definitely benefit them once the checking gets even tighter. 

Online herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #494 on: December 12, 2017, 05:43:38 PM »
Your point about the leads is a good one.

Playing safe on the lead generally leads to a lot more chances against (we are seeing it). Getting better at playing possession style is better defense in my opinion. But if the team sucks at playing the possession style with the lead, there isn’t much point in sticking with it.

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #494 on: December 12, 2017, 05:43:38 PM »