2) not a very good shootout team
3) not playing the young guys enough and not holding guys accountable
4) and yes, those two games in montreal … but …
5) the biggest reason why the Leafs missed the playoffs is their slump in January and February, which began with a loss in Calgary on Jan. 6th and ended with a loss at home in late-Feb to the Caps on Feb 28th.
Edmonton Win (Telly was in net)
Phoenix Loss (this one really hurt)
Minny Loss (Telly in net)
Ottawa Loss (7-0)
Buffalo Loss (Telly in net for 3rd period, 2 GAA)
Montreal Loss in 4-on-4 OT (Telly in net)
TB Loss in SO
Atlanta Win (playing against Atl. last year was fun wasn’t it?)
So at this point,
Belfour’s record during this slump was 3-10-0-1
Telly’s was 1-1-1-0
The Leafs were eliminated from the playoffs after that Capitals loss. Mathematically – no. but in reality they were finished. their inconsistency had been displayed all season long and this 2-month period cemented it. But Telly’s our whipping boy right? Despite the fact that in March – with the exception of the 2 Montreal games – he was completely solid:
Buffalo Loss (Telly in net)
Ottawa Loss (Belfour in net)
Montreal Win (Belfour in net – this is the game that somehow convinced JFJ that the Leafs were a contender, thus no deadline deals were necessary)
NYI Loss in SO (Belfour’s last game)
TB Win (Telly – stopped 29 of 30 shots)
Boston Win in SO
Buffalo Loss (Telly stopped 30 of 32 shots)
NYR Loss (Telly stopped 19 of 24 shots but 3 of those goals were Jagr engineered on the PP)
Carolina Win (Telly stopped 33 of 35 shots against the eventual Cup champs)
Montreal Loss (Telly stopped 25 of 30 shots and had a bad first period – giving up 4 goals)
Montreal Loss (Telly stopped 23 of 29 shots)
Telly’s record after Belfour’s injury:
3-4-0-0 (with 2 of those 4 losses in Buffalo and NYR, in which Telly played well but had no chance of winning).]]>
Issue 1: Tellqvist vs. Aubin
Here’s the thing, it appears that 80 percent of Leaf fans have written off Telly and favour Aubin. but let me make this clear: Tellqvist bombed (along with THE REST OF THE TEAM) in just 2 games in Montrreal. the rest of the games he played last year were SOLID GAMES. Aubin came in and played solid in the last 12 games too. But the way some fans are talking, Aubin is a lock for the back-up position. but i think Aubin is a lock for something else – i think he will be the guy who is traded or picked up through waivers at some point this year. the Leafs brass are more committed to Telly for better or for worse.
but right now, honestly, whoever plays better in the exhibition games gets the back-up role with the Leafs. Aubin will get that spot to begin with, but that WILL CHANGE as the season progresses.
Issue 2: Which two young D-guys are with the Leafs?
My picks – Bell or Coliacovo and Harrison. The only reason why I pick these guys is simple. Harrison has to pass through waivers and as much as the Leafs’ brass are poo-poo-ing the notion of waivers playing a role in who makes the team, i disagree. White and Kronvall, although they might be the two best kids to make the team (outside of Coliacovo), dont have to go through waivers and will start with the Marlies. However, both will make their mark with the Leafs later on the year (hence, how unnecessary the Gill signing was).
Coliacovo is having health ‘issues’ and we do not know much about them. If it is concussion related, Bell will start. Harrison is one of my fav Leaf D-guys and I think he DESERVES to start with the Leafs, hopefully he plays well in the training camp.
Issue 3: Who will make the club’s forward lines?
This question is not as crucial to the Leafs right now. we know the veterans – Sundin, Tucker, Peca, Kilger, O’Neill. We know the big 5 youth movement from last few seasons – Steen, Wellwood, Stajan, Poni, Antropov. We also know that the Centres are pretty much set – Stajan, Sundin, Wellwood, Peca. We know that two spots are open on the wings.
Suglobov, Pohl are the front-runners (one-way contracts) but what about Williams (my fav), Westrum, Battaglia?
Even some of the long-shots look impressive – Tlusty, Earl, Foster.
In particular, Tlusty seems to be an amazing prospect. He will probably start with the Marlies after initially being penciled in for the Soo Greyhounds. But this kid has some serious talent. Its just that he needs to develop physically so there is no way he is in the NHL this year. Maybe next year? He certainly has the skills, vision, and patience to be in the NHL now. Its too bad Sundin was a year or two younger – I could see the two of them click very well.]]>
All I can say about Tlusty is … WOW.
This kid has skills and patience too.]]>