Author Topic: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion  (Read 61872 times)

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Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1140 on: March 08, 2018, 07:14:47 AM »
The impact of the crappier players on our team got me to thinking about a recent Malcolm Gladwell podcast I listened to, entitled "My Little Hundred Million." In it, he discusses the theories of Anderson Sally (http://andersonsally.com) who've done analysis to show that in soccer, it's almost always best to invest in improving the quality of the lower players than it is in getting superstars. On the opposite, in basketball it's almost always best to invest in getting the best superstar possible.

I'm a big advocate of going after Tavares hard, but I'm wondering if improving the lower ranks is better value? Where does the NHL fit in on the soccer-basketball spectrum. In both soccer and basketball, there's few line/personnel changes, but in hockey, there's obviously frequent changes. At best, your best defensemen play just over a third of the game; in basketball, your best player plays 3/4 or more of the game.

Do you recall this article being posted here?
Hockey is a strong-link game.

Chris Anderson and David Sally’s work with football are also referenced.

To me this means:
a) get the best player you can preferably through the draft (early cheapness) and only go big money on UFA at the top of your roster; this has the effect of improving your depth naturally by forcing your better roster players down into easier slots.
b) give a ridiculous amount of focus and money into cap-invisible areas of improvables: drafting, development, player comfort, coaching/managerial resources. Just because the game is strong-link doesn’t mean better depth coming in for nearly-free in terms of cap-hit won’t be of significant help (The Extra 2%).
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 07:32:20 AM by herman »

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1140 on: March 08, 2018, 07:14:47 AM »

Offline Bullfrog

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1141 on: March 08, 2018, 07:25:14 AM »
I don't even remember what I had for dinner last night. Thanks for (re-)posting!

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1142 on: March 08, 2018, 10:42:53 AM »
I've been thinking about this all year but haven't gotten down to the nitty gritty of the data/video. Is it weird that our entire right side plays the same style (to varying degrees of success) while the left plays their own same style?

My theory is that the right side defender's priority is to be the engager/cycle breaker and either get the puck to his support partner for the breakout skate/pass, or glass it out. Hence Zaitsev always chipping by default, Polak always icing it, and Hainsey never really skating with it. There's an advantage when the defense needs to be shuffled, everyone is still doing the same thing they did before (plug and play); the disadvantage is that when other teams notice (and I'm sure they have), it's pretty easy to line up against a one-sided attack plan.

This doesn't absolve Hainsey of his poor decision to make that heavy 'pass' that accidentally gets kicked to O'Rielly, but from a coaching perspective, there is nothing to be gained from reaming him out on the bench over something he knows he flubbed, which is the point OldTimeHockey and Hainsey are referring to. From the brief glimpses I'm afforded through the tv, coaching from the bench is more gameflow decision making and keeping your players spirits up; anything negative is saved for the refs or the dressing room. The conversation to cover tactical adjustments should take place during practice/video sessions, not on the bench.

Further to this, as I wrote a few weeks ago(?), with the forward group in varying degrees of consistency and offensive/defensive flavour, I'm seeing the LW is primarily the guy that is not the carrier, centre is low-high support, and RW is the primary carrier.

So ideal breakouts, theoretically, go like this:
  • Opposing forward comes into the zone
  • RD tries to mash him off the puck
  • LD swoops in to support and pick up the loose puck, or takes the pass from RD
  • If RD ends up with the puck, there are safe parts of the ice they can take it to get a change going, or feed it back to LD to scan for options. If RD doesn't feel safe passing to his partner, he'll flip out or hammer it off the glass and wait for the reset.
  • If LD gets it, he feeds the forwards (see below). If LD doesn't feel safe passing to his partner, or the C is late, he'll try to skate, or sling it off LW.
  • What the forwards do:
    • LW has blown the zone once it looks like the D will have the puck and is circling at the OZ blueline for a stretch pass; if there is a line change, LW leans towards the left for a tip in off the pass. If LW is caught but has possession with no carry support, he punts into the corner for RW to flush out, and force a 50/50 deep in the OZ. Our LWs generally hang net-front or behind the net in the OZ.
    • Centre swoops low to form the support triangle with LD and RD either as a bounce pass from LD to primary carrier RW, or as a secondary carry option, or bump to LW even if they break coverage. Once in the OZ, the centre facilitates the cycle, working up to the D for a deflection, or taking it to the net.
    • RW hangs out in the weakside ice around the red line as a 'quiet' option to hit on the stretch pass, or to support whatever happens to the Centre. He'll a) swoop low and around the Centre to gain speed for the rush through the blueline -- if successful, he'll stop up at the circles or blueline to try to hit the LW or C with speed, or set up a heavier cycle; or b) bump a soft chip down the wall for LW to crash through the other side with speed and flush the puck back to RW/RD, or pincer behind the net to hopefully generate a heavy shift. RW is usually the most skilled guy on the line on this team, so he gets a lot of handling time off the halfwall, trying to get the puck to the middle of the ice, or up to the LD
Anytime the engage and support breakdown, the forwards need to recognize this really early and stay low to support the zone defense. Some forwards are better than others. JvR and Bozak are largely ineffectual at both engage and support aspects of defense, but if you can spring one, it's a rush chance the other way that the opponents need to respect. Matthews, Nylander, Marner are excellent pickpockets and engage without much physicality through stickwork (Matthews, Marner) and speed/balance (Nylander/Kapanen). Brown, Hyman, Komarov get it done through hardwork and being in their assigned places.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1143 on: March 08, 2018, 10:51:39 AM »
In light of all that, Zaitsev is basically in transition this year. He was usually the go-option in the KHL to rush or start the breakout. Babcock sees his size, strength, skating, and skill and is trying to round him out into being a stopper as well (a la Polak's calling card). Success has been inconsistent at best. On top of that, he's a new dad this year, so I'm guessing sleep is a luxury.

What Babcock really likes about Zaitsev is that he is the type of player that loves defense, hates getting scored on more than he enjoys scoring, and relishes the responsibility of PK time. What I think Zaitsev needs to figure out is that he is better than he thinks. When he's healed up, his skating can get him out of trouble more often than he currently believes, and stuffing the puck into the OZ and keeping it there (which he is good at once it gets there) makes defense super simple.

The most comfortable he's looked (which bears out in the numbers) was when he played with Marincin last season and was allowed to be the rusher/mover, while Marincin handled the gap-ups and board engagements.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 10:54:31 AM by herman »

Offline Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1144 on: March 08, 2018, 11:00:03 AM »
I didn't have time to review the entirety of your dissertation, but the take-home message I gleaned is that we should call up Marincin.

Offline Crucialness Key

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1145 on: March 08, 2018, 11:01:08 AM »

The most comfortable he's looked (which bears out in the numbers) was when he played with Marincin last season and was allowed to be the rusher/mover, while Marincin handled the gap-ups and board engagements.

There's our answer then---trade Marincin & Zaitsev to MTL for Weber (50% retained) & Juulsen  ;D ;D ;D

Offline CarltonTheBear

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1146 on: March 08, 2018, 11:02:16 AM »
An alternative theory for Zaitsev's struggles is that he's actually a Russian spy sent here by Putin and he's too fatigued for games because he spends his nights wearing silly wigs while executing covert missions for Mother Russia.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1147 on: March 08, 2018, 11:05:20 AM »
An alternative theory for Zaitsev's struggles is that he's actually a Russian spy sent here by Putin and he's too fatigued for games because he spends his nights wearing silly wigs while executing covert missions for Mother Russia.

Wouldn't it make more sense for him to be embedded in the capital of the US?

Offline Significantly Insignificant

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1148 on: March 08, 2018, 11:10:26 AM »
An alternative theory for Zaitsev's struggles is that he's actually a Russian spy sent here by Putin and he's too fatigued for games because he spends his nights wearing silly wigs while executing covert missions for Mother Russia.

Wouldn't it make more sense for him to be embedded in the capital of the US?

Nah, their best agent is there.
"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.” - Khalil Gibran

Offline Bullfrog

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1149 on: March 08, 2018, 11:14:22 AM »
Further to your analysis, herman, I think it also explains some of JvR's downfalls. I think he's actually quite a bit better a carrier than he demonstrates, primarily because that's not his role on the team. He's not in Marner or Nylander's league, but I'd like to see him freed up to try some more zone entries.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1150 on: March 08, 2018, 11:22:21 AM »
Further to your analysis, herman, I think it also explains some of JvR's downfalls. I think he's actually quite a bit better a carrier than he demonstrates, primarily because that's not his role on the team. He's not in Marner or Nylander's league, but I'd like to see him freed up to try some more zone entries.

He's not even in Marleau's league carrying the puck though they have a similar style there. He's a wizard in tight with stationary positioning, and definitely has the skills to weave through the NZ, but his stick strength is very soft; i.e. he gets stripped of the puck very easily despite the puckhandling skills and hands. We know JvR can be fast too (see OZ loose puck on a line change), but he sort of doesn't use it.

Offline Highlander

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1151 on: March 08, 2018, 11:34:33 AM »
I don't even remember what I had for dinner last night. Thanks for (re-)posting!
Was it Frog Legs and frites?
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children"
                                           Navaho Proverb

Offline Zee

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1152 on: March 08, 2018, 01:21:09 PM »
The Leafs better win on Saturday.  If not, the streak is 5 games, and they're off until the following Wed/Thur when they have back to back.  That's a lot of days to think about your slump, let it fester in your mind, start squeezing your sticks and suddenly the 18 wheeler is gassed up and ready to go.

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1153 on: March 08, 2018, 01:25:06 PM »
An alternative theory for Zaitsev's struggles is that he's actually a Russian spy sent here by Putin and he's too fatigued for games because he spends his nights wearing silly wigs while executing covert missions for Mother Russia.

With Mike Babcock as Stan Beamon.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline Highlander

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1154 on: March 08, 2018, 05:49:03 PM »
or as Dennis Weaver leading the truck to its utter destruction!
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children"
                                           Navaho Proverb

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Re: 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs - General Discussion
« Reply #1154 on: March 08, 2018, 05:49:03 PM »