Discussion in 'Toronto Maple Leafs' started by willmma, Feb 28, 2021.
Title should be "Monday game start, Tuesday finish"
Is Campbell injured?
I like the gif, its the only reason I quoted you. LOL!
lolz yeah that’s super intense but I laughed
Would rather just give Matthews the game off again. We are in a position where he doesn't need to rush back.
Get that wrist healthy. We don't need it getting aggravated and then having to miss weeks or worse, instead of another game now.
Yeah I wouldn't be surprised if Matthews plays tonight though. Keefe did say he is not officially ruled out.
Exactly. 6 points up on Edmonton with a game in hand. They have the cushion that they can risk no Matthews for an extra game or two right now.
For all we know it’s healthy now. I get the sense of caution but the idea of treating him too preciously makes me nervous too.
When introducing new faces to your roster, put them in a place to succeed.
Memorably, that didn’t happen with 2019-20’s prized acquisition, Tyson Barrie, who suffered a confidence crisis early, and Dubas owned some of that.
So, in assembling this 2020-21 Leafs team, Dubas’s new free agent signings — Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds, T.J. Brodie, Zach Bogosian, and Vesey — were handed important and specific roles. Expectations were outlined in detail by coach Sheldon Keefe.
On his third franchise in three seasons, Vesey took a pay cut ($900,000) knowing his future as an NHLer could depend on how he performed in Toronto. Dubas and Keefe did their best to give the Boston native a running start, placing him to the left of John Tavares and William Nylander in the top six.
Vesey scored on a wild opening night versus Montreal, and things looked promising. For a minute.
Despite Toronto’s injury woes, Vesey has played his way down the bench… to the point where he may not be on it.
Vesey’s glaring mistakes may be minimal but so are his impact shifts.
On the league’s No. 2-ranked offensive squad, Vesey’s two goals and two assists over 22 games rank him 16th in Leafs scoring. On nine of his past 11 outings, Vesey has registered one shot or zero shots on net. Four times in February his ice time was chopped to less than 10 minutes. And prior to assisting on Jason Spezza’s vintage goal Saturday, Vesey was mired in a 13-game point drought in which he was minus-6.
“He hasn't been able to make his mark and really claim his role and what he is going to be able to bring on a consistent basis,” said Keefe, who even threw Vesey on the top power-play unit last week.
“In each game he has played, we have found positives in it. At the same time, he is in a situation where we have had other guys who have come into the lineup with a lot less opportunity and have found a way to make an impact in the game positively, especially offensively.”
Queuing up players for success is part of the blueprint in Leafland, where the roster fringes will always be in flux, but that should not trump the meritocracy Keefe is trying to install.
“We’re going to play the players that give us the best opportunity to build something great,” the head coach promised at the outset of training camp.
“You may not start where you’d like, but if you stay with it and you work and stay positive and take advantage of the opportunities that you do get, you’re gonna give yourself a good chance to solidify yourself within a role within our team.”
Spezza, Nic Petan, Travis Boyd, Pierre Engvall and Alexander Barabanov have all upped their game from January. Taxi squad members Scott Sabourin and Kenny Agostino are antsy for an audition.
Meanwhile, Alex Galchenyuk and Nick Robertson are sharpening their skills with the Marlies. Wayne Simmonds (about three weeks away) and
Vesey is no doubt feeling pressure from all directions here.
“He's in a situation where he's being challenged and pushed for his ice time,” Keefe said. “We do think he has been consistent and reliable defensively. He has helped us on the penalty kill. We like him there. We have found value in his game.”
We’re not writing off Vesey just yet. Change is constant
But if the likes of Tomas Tatar, Travis Konecny and Jeff Skinner can get healthy scratched, why not him?
Should the cap-tight Maple Leafs eventually return to full health, it’s not a stretch to see Vesey end up on the waiver wire.
He arrived with something to prove. It’ll be up to him not to leave that way, too.
Barabanov better in the top six
Alexander Barabanov’s stay in the more offensive half of the lineup may be short-lived, but he’s shown some pop on Line 2.
Still in search of his first NHL point, the KHL import skated a season-high 13:31 Saturday. And despite a frightening D-zone giveaway to Connor McDavid early, he had a positive impact in the 4-0 victory.
Nearly invisible for his first month as an NHLer, Barabanov has fired nine shots in three games.
“He just looks way more confident with the puck. He's getting out of our zone and through the neutral zone a lot better,” Keefe notes. “When we look at scoring-chance generation, he's been among the leaders for us in the last couple games so we want to look to see if he can continue to build upon that.”
Matthews a possibility; Andersen not so much
Auston Matthews (wrist) was given another light workout Sunday, skating alone and not participating in the full team practice. But Keefe has not ruled out the top centre’s availably for Monday’s rematch in Edmonton (10 p.m. ET).
“He has progressed, compared to where he has been in the last few days,” Keefe said. “That’s positive. We’ll have to see how he is.”
Jack Campbell (leg) was given Sunday off after his 30-save shutout. Either he or Michael Hutchinson will start Monday, as Frederik Andersen (lower body) will be afforded more time to recuperate.
“Whether it’s goaltending or Auston or other situations, we’ve got a lot of question marks that probably won’t get answered until game time,” Keefe said.
Sunday’s practice lines:
After winning that first game we have a nice little bumper. Rest Matthews if he still needs it.
Give Matthews another game or two off. Let's save him for when we play a good team.
So never ?
I don't know why anyone is concerned about Matthews playing or not, the team and him will figure out what is best and do it. If he can play he is going to play, this isn't an aging player trying to load balance before the playoffs or something.
I can't watch tonight but I am calling it now, Barabanov is scoring tonight. He's been on fire of late, just a matter of time it converts to points. 4-2 Leafs. McPowerplay with 2 PP points.
Yeah, this season is all about making sure we've got the most amount of guys healthy to start the playoffs.
This season is going to be one of our best chances to win the Cup.
Barabanov and Mikheyev score, along with Nylander and Thornton... team D holds McDavid off the scoresheet again.
McDavid throws tantrum, demands a trade immediately to Toronto, or he won't play again. Oilers trade McDavid at 50% for Nylander.
I am terrified of what Connor McDavid's response to a pointless HNIC showing on Saturday will be tonight. Just hope we can keep up, because I just cannot imagine 97 being held to a quiet night again.
Ill be shocked if we go two games in a row without a penalty against, and we all know that is where McDavid gets a large chunk of his points
I can easily see McDavid putting up a few points tonight ... I expect a good bounce back effort from the Oilers
Hoping to get at least a point out of this one.
It's completely irrational and stupid but I like this player so much I want his stats padded.
Honestly, I just like watching Matthews play, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little depressed when he’s not in the lineup.
Chances are McJebus is going to create something tonight. He looked really pissed the last game. Just need to try to shutdown everyone else. Take advantage of our chances hope for another great goaltending performance.
Ya it was a joke...lol
I'm probably the only one who is happy with 10pm start time.
I'll be on the road working, won't get home until 10pm, so I won't miss the game at all.
Hopefully boys play a repeat performance.
Good write up.
Nice to see Vesey having to work for it. I don't think it's long before he's waved.
Yeah, he's not even been that bad. He's just not good enough to crack the lineup. By not bad I mean when I see him on the ice I don't think he's a liability, I don't think he's an asset though.
Hes basically invisible. A total nothing burger.
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