Random thoughts so far...

Discussion in 'Toronto Maple Leafs' started by Goonface2k14, Oct 6, 2013.

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  1. Goonface2k14

    Goonface2k14 Registered User

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    Of course, three games are three games, so this is all within that context.

    David Bolland is a much better player than I imagined. Scrappy guy who keeps on an even keel, doesn't get too emotionally invested in the moment. Much unlike Grabo, the guy he is essentially replacing. Grabo has skills, and he gave 110% on many nights, but the fact that he cut off communication with Carlyle last season reflects on his character. Bolland seems better suited for the third (and at times second) line centre role, because when he won't let up because of a lack of ice time. He'll continue to earn it and lead by example.

    Which brings me to Nazem Kadri, who is losing some of that ice time. The way he plays at times is not reflective of a guy on a team vying for a championship. I'm not saying that's where the Leafs are at, but that's how Carlyle evaluates his team. Sure, Nazem scored a ton of points last year, and broke out as far as offensive output goes. But last night vs Ottawa he looked a lot like the Kadri prior to last season. Lazy blind passes to try and escape your defensive zone will get you into the coach's dog house in a hurry, especially if he has other options. I'm hoping he just needs to get his legs going and it's just some early rust. Time will tell, but so far it's a bit disappointing to see him dogging it a bit.

    The same can't be said about Mason Raymond. He's buying into Carlyles system and giving it his all each night. In hindsight, so far, what a nice pickup by Nonis (get well soon big man), for virtually nothing. I'm not sure how the Canucks gave up on him so fast, and that nobody else snatched him up. To me, it's like he replaced Matt Frattin almost perfectly.

    And speaking of offseason pickups off to good starts, the man of the hour, Jonathan Bernier, has been everything he's been billed up to be so far. I was skeptical at first, as I'm a big believer that goalies can easily be overhyped because of the team they play for, and can rust away with little playing time. Bernier was a high draft pick, which is always a gamble with goalies, and I thought the pedigree he carried with that inflated his value. After watching him now for these first few games (last night was what it was, he looked good, much like he did vs Philly), I can see the reason the Kings took him so early. The Bernier-Reimer combination is a wonderful thing for a Leafs team that often gets into hi tempo back-and-forth games, with high speed forwards and pinch-happy defenceman. Great move, Nonis.

    JVR looks like he has a bit of an extra step this season, I think he should get 30. Ranger looks a bit off pace, and gets caught making poor decisions. We really miss Fraser there. Hopefully he gets back soon. Reilly looked fine to me, after a nervous start. Kid has wheels and sees the ice well. I think he'll do just fine if they decide to keep him with the big club. I hope they don't trade Gardiner, I think he's just beginning to scrape the surface with his tremendous skating and hockey sense. Can't wait to see Clarkson and see what he brings to the mix. Overpaid, but definitely a guy with some unique skills that can go a long way in a playoff type of setting. Gunnarson looks a lot better this season, as does Dion. Sure, he might not fit as a captain, and he does seem a bit full of himself which I think is why he gets voted as the most overrated player by the players, but he still brings a lot to the table with his strength, shot, and offensive mindset.

    Overall, great start, but they need to tighten up a bit defensively (especially the core guys like Kadri) to be a team that earns home ice for the post season. I think we'll see Bernier and Reimer bail these guys out often, but that can only work for so long. They're getting there, but there's still work to do. I think the Bruins will regress (old team), and the Habs and Sens are a tad bit overrated (I'm just not a fan of either teams' offensive depth). The Red Wings will fair well in the East and will compete for one of the top three spots. The Flyers are toast. The Lightning are better. The Penguins might struggle a bit, but overall they'll be alright. Perhaps the Rangers get hot, but I wouldn't count on it under Vigneault. I can see the Leafs getting into the top three, if they play their cards right, and more importantly, if they stay healthy.

    GLG.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  2. kes81sel

    kes81sel Go MacT

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    Good evalution of the team :) I agree with everything u said just about.
     
  3. Duke Silver

    Duke Silver Truce?

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    Grabovski didn't cut off communication with Carlyle. Carlyle doesn't really communicate one-on-one off the ice with any of his players, leaving it up to his assistants.

    I wish people would stop painting Grabovski as some sort of locker room cancer.
     
  4. Tak7

    Tak7 Registered User

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    Agree with everything you said, but take some exception to your comments re. Nazem Kadri.

    People need to remember that this is Nazem Kadri's FIRST full NHL season. FIRST. There will be growing pains with someone so inexperienced. Also - if you are the other team, and you are playing the Leafs, logically you are going to try and pair up your best players against Kadri, when the alternatives are Bozak and Bolland.

    That's what we saw in Philly - Giroux and Vinny line being matched against Kadri; the end result was he had a tough night. And there will be more tough nights for him.

    But don't forget one major thing - 3GP 1G 2A = 3 pts

    He's producing. Big goal against Ottawa. Big assist in Montreal. He will be fine. People just need to be patient with him.
     
  5. Goonface2k14

    Goonface2k14 Registered User

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    Well perhaps that's more of a Carlyle thing than a Grabo thing. And I'm not saying he was a cancer, which would suggest he rubbed off on his teammates the wrong way as well. In fact, I think he gave it his all in the postseason, and I'm certain he had the respect of his teammates, especially during that time. And we all know Carlyle has his history with players in the past. But the reality is that there's only so much ice time to give, and Nazem's breakout along with Bozak's chemistry with Kessel (whatever that's worth, all that matter is that Carlyle believes in it) put Grabo on the third line on most nights. That's not where he probably envisioned himself, and I think he shut it down a bit because of that, and maybe because he already earned himself a nice contract. Remember, this same guy was hated in Montreal prior to joining the Leafs. There's a reason for that as well. All in all, Grabo was one of my favourites, and I was sad to see him bought out. He earned his goals. He played with passion most of the time. He was the best Leaf on several nights in Burke's first season as GM. He showed great chemistry with MacAurthur and Kulemin that season. But he just didn't fit in with the team approach last season, and I think he took it personally. To me, under a drill sergeant type of coach, who basically says "it's my way or the highway", you're much better off with a soldier like David Bolland than a more needier player like Grabovski.
     
  6. Goonface2k14

    Goonface2k14 Registered User

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    Well sure, a goal is a goal, but he didn't really create that goal. I don't want to split hairs, because after all it is only 3 games, but Raymond made that play (nice patience to hold on while everyone thought he would pass back to the point, and then fire it under the first defenders stick right to Nazem who basically shot it into an open net). Nice crafty move by MR, and it was during cookie-time (PP time) as well. Nazem, on the other hand, made some disappointing plays, especially a couple of really ugly blind passes which led to glorious opportunities for the Sens. There's no excuse for that at the NHL level. I hate to put the kid under a microscope, but he did show a lot last season, so the expectations are much higher now too. And sure he might get some bad matchups, but that's no excuse either, especially at home. Lupul, Kessel and JVR will also see their fair share of top end-talent opposing checkers too, and nobody's making any excuses for them. Either you can play with the big boys, or you can't.

    Again, it's three games, so take it for what it's worth. I'd much rather have Nazem in trouble now than later in the season. Let's hope Bolland's workmanlike attitude rubs off on him the right way as the season progresses. If so, I'm not worried at all.
     
  7. Punch Drunk Loov

    Punch Drunk Loov Gaaaaary Roberts!

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    I think we have a good balance of new and old players that makes watching this team very exciting this year. Three new top 9 potentially top 6 players and a new goalie. If we can avoid huge losing streaks I don't see why we can't make the top 3 in our conference
     
  8. Eternal Leaf

    Eternal Leaf Registered User

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    That's not fair at all. Bozak missed a similar (if not easier) "open net" shot in the same game. It's not as easy under pressure.

    A goal is a goal.


    BUT, yes those blind passes were bad. I'm sure he'll get a talking to. Very early in the season anyway.
     
  9. namttebih

    namttebih Registered User

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    He did however create Dion's goal though didn't he?
     
  10. Kingstonian84*

    Kingstonian84* Registered User

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  11. Goonface2k14

    Goonface2k14 Registered User

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    Indeed he did, heck of a slow down and pass. He also created a lot last season. I guess I'm being a bit extra critical because his mistakes vs Ottawa were very avoidable. I'm sure he'll be back to his sharp play in no time, and I have no problem with Bolland getting time with Lupul if they need to go that route in the short term.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  12. Goonface2k14

    Goonface2k14 Registered User

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    Early indeed.

    I do however think Bozak's chance was tougher. Much harder pass. Anyhow, we're splitting hairs now, it's just one game. I think RC even made reference to that in his post game pressed (that it's one game, it's no big deal).
     
  13. Community

    Community 44 is Rielly good

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    I love the guy and wanted him on the first line, but Lupul's looked sub-par IMO... Just not noticeable at all so far, I really hope he steps it up. One of the players I was watching for at the home opener and he barely did a thing IMO.
     
  14. bobermay

    bobermay Registered User

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    You mean, besides Lupul's clutch goal in the dying seconds of the 2nd period that helped the leafs bring Ottawa to OT and eventually get the two points?

    He's been fine...
     
  15. Johny Drama

    Johny Drama Registered User

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    Did you miss the game saturday night?
     
  16. Daisy Jane

    Daisy Jane everything is gonna be okay!

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    You do realise Lupul scored, right?
     
  17. therealkoho

    therealkoho Gary says it's A-OK

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    Oh-oh RW didn't really talk to his players either!!:amazed:
     
  18. Duke Silver

    Duke Silver Truce?

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  19. Raym11

    Raym11 Phaneuf sucks

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    this is probably the best most well rounded team we've had in years, atleast since the 2004/05 lockout.



    Thats my random thought. We lack a #1 center but we have everything else. We used to have a #1 center and lack everything else.

    I'm actually excited and optimistic about a season for once without coming in with the usual mindset of "making the playoffs would be nice but i dont expect this team to make it".

    We're a real playoff team now, our team has an identity for the first time in 8 years, you can tell the Leafs are a team and proud to play with their peers.


    I'd love to see Kadri become atleast a high end 2nd line center by next year.



    I also like the way the organization has fully backed Kessel as well as the city. I used to be a non-believer in Kessel, but that guy has changed my entire outlook of him over the last 3 years. He is a franchise player regardless of what other fans will cloud their minds with. Alot of it has to do with the leafs. Dont think he'd be turning into the player he is becoming infront of us on any other team. He's a completely new player.
     
  20. Stats01

    Stats01 Registered User

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    We don't need to worry about Pit, NYR, Philly, unless we're going for a WC spot. Everything else is about who in our division is winning and losing. Our focus has to be on our division and finishing top 3.
     
  21. Community

    Community 44 is Rielly good

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    I was actually at the game, and was watching him whenever he was on the ice.... He was nowhere near as noticeable as Kessel or JVR and IMO he has another level or two that he isn't quite at yet, perhaps because he missed most of training camp.

    Edit: Just because somebody scores, doesn't mean they have a good game... Ranger just about got the game winner, but if he had played half-decent (really thought he'd be better than he has), we wouldn't have needed it to win....
     
  22. Teeder9

    Teeder9 Free rent for Mo?

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    Offense and goaltending is fine. Defensively however, we're pretty terrible. I'm not sure we deserve to be 3-0, but I'll take it
     
  23. The Caveman

    The Caveman We are all the goat

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    I expected a sophmore slump from Kadri. Having Bolland there will take some pressure off. Lets keep a long term perspective here. If he can keep up a ppg while playing lesser minutes, so be it.

    Lupul missed all of training camp, so he is rusty. Expect him to pick it up after a few more games.

    Ranger/Gards have until Fraser gets back to prove that they belong or one will become the #7 D.

    Reilly looked so good despite the hiccups. We will see if he and Franson can gel. It was just their first game together.

    Bernier. My god is he calm. I love reims, but he doesn't give the same vibe back there.

    Bottom line is that this team finds a way to win. Without 4 starters, they are scrapping every game. Look forward to having our full line-up together. I hope this isn't our year for injuries,
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  24. Community

    Community 44 is Rielly good

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    Agree with all of this, Bernier's glove save right when he went in got the whole building rocking....

    Also I was very impressed and happy to be at Rielly's first game, kid didn't get much time in the first, but later he got a lot more time and looked great. The only time he rushed the puck up he got passed 2-3 guys with his speed and got the puck deep (which I believe lead to a pretty good chance on net).
     
  25. SprDaVE

    SprDaVE Registered User

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    We have to cut down on the turnovers. There was some really pee-wee turnovers last game.

    Once we can tighten up there, and hopefully that happens soon, we should look better. Hopefully we can still score once we figure out how to break out of our zone without giving the puck about a million times.
     

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