b) Agreed about the quickness! The players you mentioned were all very fast not to mention Stajan and Kulemin! At the beginning I kept noticing this #41 skating around out there I was thinking "who is that guy" found out Kulemin, love it.
c)Ya Schenn looked decent in his debut, and once again Kulemin didn't do a lot but you could see him getting into the mix and he really does skate well. Give him a couple months more in North America, by X-mas he'll be looking sweet.
d) I really thought it looked strange with the 2 hands on teh stick in your own end. I never heard about that before and Tlusty wasn't buying into it ahaha. Ian White made that great outlet pass to Earl, but he was lost in his own end and refused to take the guy in front on the 3rd of 4th goal.
Ian White is OUT. Kaberle, Kubina, Finger, Frogren, Van Ryn, Colaiacovo, Stralman, where does Ian fit in?]]>
League id 47999 password is password.
Max Teams: 12 Scoring
Roster Positions: C, C, C, LW, LW, LW, RW, RW, RW, D, D, D, D, D, D, Util, Util, Util, Util, G, G, BN, BN, BN, IR, IR, IR, IR
Stat Categories: G, A, P, +/-, PIM, PPP, SHP, W, GAA, SV%, SHO
Draft sept 28 7pm (sunday)
it was as expected sloppy. lots of penalties, weak ones I might add. but again, players are just getting back into the swing of things.
Some things I noticed
a) we wont get pushed around. we didnt have mayers in the lineup or even our biggest players like antropov, pony and kubina and while the sabres are pretty small pups themselves, we didnt back down. if we're going to go down, we might as well go down fighting, hitting and making life difficult. hollweg was really good at that. can he keep it up? tahts hard to say. he has a rep for taking really dumb penalties. but with all the bodies around, i think he knows he has to play more controlled and not be selfish. he got under the skin of the sabres and walked away lots of times but when he needed to, he fought. he must do that to stay in the lineup. its really important for the leafs to avoid their usual half dozen blowouts which have happened the last 3 years. perhaps it was coaching and/or leadership and/or goaltending but the leafs were rolled over too many times and simply quit. if tehy can stop that trend, call that a huge success.
b) team speed. wow, we're quick or at the very least we have some quick players. its very possible that the sabres were just going through the motions but the leafs used their speed well and created plays from it. players like blake, tlusty, hollweg, they really used their legs and were going full tilt. moore impressed me the most. he really looks like he has an extra step. even on D, carlo, van ryn, thats some pretty good mobility.
c) the kids. well kulemin didnt do too much but you can see he has decent hockey sense and two way smarts. he was in decent position most of the way but clearly he isnt a game breaker. he makes lots of smart plays though and if the leafs do start this quick pass offence, he'll fit in well. he was really good at making tape to tape quick short passes to players in stride. tlusty used his speed quite a bit and was effective opposite blake. they create havoc. schenn, well what can you say? solid. at 18, first ever NHL game. yeah nerves got the better of him, but he played a safe solid game. pogge starred in the 2nd period even if he kinda struggled in the 3rd. he wasnt terrible. he looked athletic and quick and should keep the marlies a good team this year. earl scored on a nice breakaway, he's quick too.
d) the system. its a work in progress. 2 practices and 1 game will not solve anything. but in time, maybe by february, they will start to "get it". they were taking away lanes and blocked 31 shots on the night. pretty impressive since it seemed last year they didnt do that in a month. if they use their speed, they should get back into position better. and while they were hemmed in their zone a few times, they didnt panic all that much. they collapsed, got in the way and stayed patient for the most part. still a lot to learn and lots to improve but all in all its good to know they're listening. they do have a million bad habits to break but with so many newcomers, not all of them were taught the wrong way the last 3 years.
i also liked the team's effort. the worked hard almost every shift. coliacovo again teased us with the impact he can have. but with the way he needs to play to be effective, i cant see him staying healthy playing taht way.
on the down side. silly penalties and a weak PK. plus a bad start. the sharks were one of the best 1st period teams. thats a goal for the leafs, to start strongly. i believe the last 3 opening nights the leafs were scored upon on the very first shot attempt on goal. if anything i think the leafs woes at the start of games were due mostly to just laziness and a total lack of concentraction and intrest in playing. wilson i dont think will allow that to happen.
white unfortunately has a long way to go to make the team. his lack of size is such a huge disadvantage. he is easily beatable. kronvall was ok but really has to stand out to make the team. not sure if he has the talent to beat out all the other guys.
all in all, a really small first baby step. they'll have their difficulties i have no doubt. not every game they'll score 7 goals, certainly not every game will they come out on top. its a work in progress and there is lots of work to do. as long as the 23 guys band together and really want to work at getting better and are open to learn and adapt to what is being taught to them, i think in a few months, tehy will start to see a few results and that foundation and identity the leafs have not had whatsoever in the JFJ era. i say around february they start to "get it"]]>