Joe Sacco fired as coach of Colorado Avalanche after four NHL seasons

The Colorado Avalanche on Sunday fired coach Joe Sacco after four seasons at the helm, the team said.

The Avs have not hired a replacement.

The Avs made the change after a last-place showing in the NHL’s Western Conference, and for missing the playoffs for the third straight year under Sacco’s watch. Sacco had a final year left on his contract as coach.
After a rookie coaching year in which he helped guide the Avs to the playoffs in 2009-10 and was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year, Sacco’s teams finished out of the running the next three seasons.

299 Responses to Joe Sacco fired as coach of Colorado Avalanche after four NHL seasons

  1. Gambo says:

    Does anyone remember the last time the rookie who lead the league in points wasn’t nominated for the Calder? I’m surprised Yakupov isn’t nominated, he lead the league in points and goals. One could say it’s because he was a -4, but Huberdeau was a -15 and is still nominated. Doesn’t make sense to me.

    • leafy says:

      That’s easy. Wayne Gretzky. In his rookie season of 1979-80, he was tied with Marcel Dionne for the Art Ross trophy, but Gretzky didn’t win the Calder because he didn’t officially qualify as a rookie, having played in the WHA previously.

  2. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Leafs played a decent game…turnovers were the killer. Every bad turnover resulted in a goal. Play with a little more puck possession, remove those turnovers and they will compete.
    As someone mentioned, Fraser has looked a little overwhelmed at times and the fact he is not a great skater, neither is his partner(Franson) exposes Fraser a little more. We can use his toughness on the backend though. Maybe carlysle should look at some new combo’s.

    Gunnar Phaneuf (Gunnar allows Phaneuf to play his full game)
    Gardiner Franson (good puck moving tandem and Gardiner’s speed makes up for Franson’s lack of)
    Fraser O’Byrne (Tough third pairing to play against-limited 5 on 5 ice time, good penalty killers)

    They have a day to give it a try in practice.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Caryle said it best, every team turns over the puck every game, you’ll never play a game without turnovers.

      What’s stood out to me this series is how Boston gets to capitalize on rentals like Jagr and Redden. These kind of pick ups are an advantage in series. Hell, even if we kept Steckel he’d be an asset to bring in the line up to solve our faceoff issue.

      Franson and Phaneuf’s posts stung, had Rask lost on both shots, the game was that close. Gardiner is becoming the blueliner he was advertised to be coming into the season, being able to rush the puck off the breakout gives the Leafs another dimension.

      This is still a winnable series.

      • leafmeister says:

        Toronto does not need to dominate the entire game, but they can’t fall asleep for periods. That 2nd period was awful, as was the 2nd half of the first. Big deal that they were able to bounce back in the third.

        I actually gave up hope on winning that game after Horton scored right after Gardiner, and couldn’t help but laugh at that pathetic short handed goal.

        I am still bitter that this team didn’t show up on the last night of the season. That was the worst hockey I have ever seen them play, and cost them a chance to face a much weaker Montreal squad.

        • LN91 says:

          Well, it does not matter if we played Montreal or not…You have to win every series to win the cup. No matter what, we would need to play the Bruins so either beat them now or later…No difference.

          Anyways, I will put the heat on the D this series. It’s not their actual defense that has troubled the Leafs but their inability to make a play with the puck. Explains why Gardiner played so much in the third. It’s puck possession.

          Anyways, so does this mean Toronto needs to go after D-Men this offseason? I doubt it. The Leafs have offensive prospects like Morgan Reilly and Jake Gardiner…Also have more defensive prospects like Jesse Blacker and Matt Finn who are very good with the puck and very mobile…So, it’s more of a time issue sadly. Got to wait!

          • leafmeister says:

            It would have been good experience to win a series. The Ottawa youngsters will benefit greatly from running over Les Habitants.

            Also, not necessarily. Boston could have been beaten out by a team they don’t match up well against.

          • leafmeister says:

            I am not discouraged about the future of the team, as making the playoffs was a big step. I know I shouldn’t even be this frustrated, since Boston is a stronger team in all reality, but it just sucks to see them fall asleep for the second half of the 1st and the entire 3rd.

            Phaneuf with the puck on his stick is painful.

      • leafmeister says:

        Steckel might not be a bad idea, since it took Boston all of one game to figure out our ‘faceoff specialist’, Bozak. He has been abysmal on the draws.

        IMO, if Bozak wants more than 3.5 mil he can find it elsewhere.

        • LN91 says:

          Toronto, I believe, needs to work up the middle this off-season more than anything.

          Who stays and who goes? Kadri, as we all know, is staying. So, Toronto needs to decide on Grabovski vs. Bozak. I also think they need to decide now because Nonis/Leafs management cannot beat around the bush anymore with this ‘Center’ issue.

          • leafmeister says:

            I don’t know how much they can do. I would love to see them doing something bold and try and turn some of our abundance of D into a center.

            I have suggested a Gardiner for Couturier deal, and as far as I can tell, it looks fair to both sides. Maybe Toronto would have to give up a pick or something, but I think it would be worth it. Kadri and Couturier down the middle would be an excellent 1-2 punch for years to come. Philly does not have a long term replacement for Timonen, and an NHL ready 23 year old puck mover would be of tremendous value. It is basically Schenn for JVR 2.0, so Toronto may have throw in something to make up for winning that first trade, but it would address both team needs. As long as Philly is confident in Schenn as the long term 2nd line center, it makes sense for both teams.

            Giving up Gardiner would suck, but you have to give quality to get quality, and I am confident in the Leafs ability to replace him internally.

            • leafs_wallace93 says:

              How often do you see a quality for quality trade? It’s usually a bunch of prospects with a pick for quality.

              The Leafs don’t need a Courtier, they need a center more fully formed.

              • leafmeister says:

                I don’t think a more developed center is available, unless Vancouver decides to blow up and part with Kesler, but that isn’t very likely. Couturier could eventually be that Kesler-eque two way forward that is essential in the playoffs. Also more Canadian players is appreciated.

                If he is available, Toronto should be all over it.

                I know quality for quality trades are rare, but they are not unheard of.

                I would also be willing to part with picks to bring in a quality center.

                • leafs_wallace93 says:

                  I think you have to target Edmonton, they want depth and blueliners and we have that in spades.

                  Other than that, something will present itself by the draft, teams will be looking for shake ups after playoff upsets.

                  Gardiner has massive upside, I for one want to see how his career shapes up as a Leaf. Not to mention we haven’t seen what Reilly can do at the pro level.

                  • leafmeister says:

                    Who from Edmonton? RNH? No way he is available. Sam Gagner? Good player, but too small and slender.

                    Hall, Yakupov or Eberle would be great, but are likely unavailable and not centers.

                    The only top quality center I can see becoming available is Kesler, and that seems pretty unlikely. If he did though, Nonis would have to be all over it.

                    • leafs_wallace93 says:

                      I think anything is possible in Edmonton, they’re looking for radical change.

                      Kessler is intriguing given that the Leafs could also take back Luongo’s contract in a deal.

                    • leafmeister says:

                      Luongo/Kesler for Gardiner/Scrivins/Frattin/2013 1st?

          • leafy says:

            The middle, yes, but also 2 defencemen. If we want cup contention (as opoosed to just making the playoffs), we definitely need to add 2 good defensemen.

            • leafmeister says:

              They should focus their assets on a core center now, as they rarely become available. Nonis cannot let this moderate success divert his attention from building the core of this team, which is the weakest down the middle. Ideally that would be a 1st line center, but if they can get a 2nd line guy who plays a rock solid two way game, that could also work.

              When they feel they can contend, a top 4 guy can usually be had in free agency or for a pick at the deadline.

              • leafy says:

                That’s true. The middle is top priority right now.

              • nordiques100 says:

                Not many readily available out there at least before next season.

                It’s expected Stastny is out there. I am not a fan. But i would capitulate and accept it if the Avs take back like Grabovski. They need to make sure the dough is there for when and if they want to re-sign Dion and Phil.

                There’s Stephen Weiss via UFA. Again I guess he’d be replacing Grabovski and I would assume them keeping Bozak too.

                But you wonder, after his injury, will he be any good?

                A player i’d like to see, and this may be far fetched, but Mike Fisher. Hey, he is a UFA in a year. If Carrie is on tour for the next while, why not bring in Fisher and rent him for a season. He knows the division well and he is a big, strong centre who can play multiple roles. He can keep up with the Leafs skilled wingers and take some pressure off Kadri.

          • toronto77 says:

            Bozak was the leafs worst player last night I think. Grabo is more suited for Carlyle’s system, a great 2-way centre who always helps in the defensive end and takes the puck to the net. He always takes bone crushing hits and never losses a step.

            The one thing that Bozak does better than Kadri and Grabo is the face-off circle. Other than that Kadri and Grabo are both better overall players than Bozak.

            I said it a million times, Bozak is a perfect 3rd line centre, not a no.1, you want to keep him than re-sign him for cheap to finally play where he belongs.

            The thing is….the damage is already done with Grabo and his 5mil deal. If you cannot get a decent return for Grabo and his contract then you might as well keep him because though he is not worth 5 mil, he is still a decent player and just let Bozak walk.

  3. leafy says:

    Toronto will win Game 4. Mark it down.

  4. LN91 says:

    Toronto should aim to sign Andrew Ference in the offseason.

    Mobile, steal him away from Boston, and I love the way he plays!!!

  5. nordiques100 says:

    Wow Canucks….Done.

    Look for them to be completely different next year.

    I think they need to make changes right from the top. If they are going to make changes to the lineup, best not to let the stubborn Mike Gillis do it.

    They should have known that at the beginning when he first got hired and said he was left with “nothing”. So I guess Schnieder, Luongo, the Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, Raymond, Edler, Bieska, Hansen are nothing. What has he brought them?

    Headache with the goalie situation. His 3 main acquisitions are Hamhuis, Garrison and Kassian. Simply not enough to support the core. Booth, Roy and Ballard were dreadful as Canucks.

    Its time for wholesale changes there. Its almost written in stone Vigneault will be gone.

    Do you now keep Lou and trade Schnieder? I think they might. I guess that depends on who is running the team. If Gillis is still there, he has to move Lou, but if i am any team I am not taking his calls. Let him suffer in his own mess and force him to buy Lou out.

    A new GM may decide to move Schnieder instead. The current Canucks brass will tell you he is their MVP and injuries and you the media and fans created this problem. No, we actually didn’t. Its all on them and Schnieder was brutal in his 2 games.

    A team like the Isles, who have no starter for next season, or a team like Minnesota maybe, a team with prospects and a need for a starter too with Backstrom a UFA, could come calling….for Schnieder though, not Lou.

    Their D is a lot of overpriced 3rd to 6th Dmen. They haven’t had a top Dman since Jovanovski. But Garrison and Ballard may be virtually untradeable. Edler to me is the only keeper IMO.

    Why they gave Higgins a 4 year extension is beyond me. Kesler to me is the only forward worth keeping, but, he is chronically hurt. How long can you keep building your team around him and the Twins?

    The twins are UFAs after next season. is it even possible to consider trading the pair? I think it is now. Again, I guess it depends on who is running the team. A new guy has to keep his options open, including moving the Sedins.

    But that may be the last resort and the others, like the Booths, Garrisons, Burrows even could be moved instead.

    The team needs to get younger, have more guys willing to compete like Kesler and definitely scoring.

    Just not sure a GM who stubbornly believes he is great is the right man for that task.

  6. mapleleafsfan says:

    Really glad we didn’t have to play the scary Montreal Canadiens and their big bad power play.

    I was reading a month or two ago on hfboards about “Is Karlsson really that much better than Subban?” or something along those lines. I hope no one has any doubts after this series. Karlsson is in a league of his own. Subban is a PP specialist that can hit (some times).

    • nordiques100 says:

      I think the team became really disoriented when Emelin was gone.

      Their D is just way too soft. And I believe the goalies really miss him

      Gorges can be gritty but he puts no fear into anyone.

      Subban, same, gritty, but who fears Subban’s physical play?

      Markov is soft, Bouillon is just too small and while Tinordi is big, he is young and inexperienced.

      Emelin was a big hitter and did a lot of little things for them that went really unnoticed.

      Its just surprising how a team we have been told has a ton of depth just couldn’t withstand a loss of one guy.

  7. LN91 says:

    Toronto needs a young center.

    New York Islanders needs a young defencemen.

    Can we make a Ryan Strome or Brock Neslson deal? Preferably Nelson?

    • leafmeister says:

      Who do we deal? Being NHL proven, Gardiner is too valuable. Would Blacker, Percy or Finn get it done?

      • LN91 says:

        Wish I could tell you that.

        Strome for Reilly would probably be the worth…But after falling in love with Erik Karlsson the last 2 seasons. Toronto cannot do that.

        Gardiner? Well, unlike Nelson and Strome…This guys has actually played some games in the NHL. He’s had a sophmore slump, which is reasonable and we have seen it before, but this Boston series has kind of proven that this guy is a guy you win with.

        That leaves Blacker, Percy, and Finn. Unfortunately, that can’t get you Strome…He will make the Islanders scary.

        Nelson? Maybe. All I know is Nelson is huge, quick, strong defensively, great at the dot, and skilled. Toronto would love that maybe over Strome.

        • leafmeister says:

          I think they have to keep Rielly.

          Percy for Nelson might work. Both are drafted in the late 1st, and are progressing nicely.

          Strome looks good, but his upside is probably similar to that of Kadri’s and they both are smallish centers. Nelson looks like he fills more of a team need.

          • I think Strome only becomes available if he can’t produce next year for the Islanders. Right now, there’s no reason to trade him unless you’re getting a proven NHL player.

            Also, how good does 5.5 cap hit for Tavares sound compared to shitty over priced cap hits out there?

            I’d take Tavares over a lot of players making more money than him.

            • coyotes_bettman says:

              Again the Leagues “Worst” GM signed Tavares to that amazing Cap friendly long term Contract…amazing how awful Garth Snow is as a GM but his team has lasted atleast 2 games longer in the playoffs than the Canucks, one game longer than the Habs and it appears the Wild are on their way out tonight as well….all teams with “GREAT” GM’s.

              Snow is the man.

  8. leafmeister says:

    Alright Phaneuf circljerkers. Lets see you justify that travesty.

    • LN91 says:

      I was okay if Boston won, as the Leafs had a tremendous game…But not like that.

      What was Phaneuf thinking? In no way that play was ever justifiable by anyone. Everyone played great, the team was pushing Boston to the brink…And then your Captain does that. That’s just ridiculous.

      Also, I would understand if Phaneuf had a great series and made one mistake (like O’Byrne did in Game 3, he was great tonight). But he has been horrible at both ends of the ice this series. Did you see the PP with him on it? Most of the PP goals came with Gardiner on the ice.

      Sorry, sounds like I’m ranting but I would like to see how reijosh, Gambo, Wallace, and mojo defend this guy?

      And I want to see leafy’s point of view, he must be seething red right now.

      • leafmeister says:

        He is only good when you only watch Toronto games. When you watch other teams top defensemen, they occasionally make mistakes and usually make the right play. Phaneuf making a good play is almost newsworthy.

        I hope by this point he has lost the respect of the room. He was a Wilson choice for Captain, and Wilson was right about exactly zero things, so I cannot wait until that fucking joker is run out of town.

        I would strip him of the C and demote him next year purely for humiliation.

        • LN91 says:

          I just don’t get it. Why? It still makes zero sense.

          Every D-Men and forward was playing well…And then Phaneuf greedily wants the spotlight and screws up again.

          I will admit, he did have a strong end to the season…But as the captain and one of the more experienced playoff Leafs on this roster. He has been brutal.

          Kessel has defied the odds and has played great. Lupul has been solid. Grabo and Kulemin with no playoff experience have been giving everything they have.

          Rookies? Gardiner has been the Leafs best player by a mile, Frattin has been great. Kadri has been invisible, but it was kind of expected and Carlyle tried to manage expectations by putting him on a lower line.

          That leaves Phaneuf. The captain and one of the more experienced Leafs…Brutal and his error screwed the Leafs tonight on a play that should have not happened.

          • leafmeister says:

            This is a challenge to all Leaf fans.

            Convince me there is one aspect of the game he is above average at.

            Hint: I wouldn’t start with decision making, skating, puck handling or shooting.

            At least he showed his true colours before we resigned that fuck. I will try my very best to boycott them if he is resigned.

            • LN91 says:

              I don’t care if he’s re-signed..But as I’ve argued with many…He is not a D-men worth over 5.5 million.

              • leafmeister says:

                Fuck that. Like you said, the guy was a cancer in the room. You think that massive ego is gonna just take losing the captaincy (assuming he does, which he should) in stride?

                Get team players here.

                Can you imagine Sundin putting himself before the team? It just woud never happen. Mats would have ended that game 3 minutes into overtime, with a favorable result for Toronto.

                If there is one thing we Leaf fans can do well, its run a sonovabitch outta town. So lets gather our pinchforks and torches and get that asshole somewhere else.

        • LN91 says:

          Calgary shipped out Phaneuf when he became a cancer in the locker room.

          The reason? Bouwmeester was given Phaneuf’s “A” and he was not happy out being stripped of the title. Became a real Prima Donna after it

          I’ve said it all year…Lupul is the captain of the Leafs, not Phaneuf….So, I don’t think its reasonable to strip him of the title.

          • leafmeister says:

            Lupul should 100% have the C. He is clutch. He shows up to play big games, and scores big goals. He puts the team first. Phaneuf does none of that.

            I would love to see him gone this summer.

            We are talking about Ron Wilson’s choice for captain. That should say enough right there.

            Put that liability on another team so that we can actually benefit from his play.

        • toronto77 says:

          How about Grabovski for captain…lol

          Man oh man does this guy play with heart, him and Kulemin are the top two forwards that play with defence first mentality and then take the puck hard into the offensive zone.

          I think Bozak has been horrible all series, but had some decent passes tonight.

          Gardiner has shown brilliance again!

          I hate Phaneuf but at least he admitted to making a bad play that cost them the game.

          • Gambo says:

            Gardiner was amazing again, eh? Hopefully he’s given a big role next year right off the bat. Seems like Carlyle is starting to see how the team really benefits with him in the lineup.

            I hate Grabovski’s contract, but I love the way he plays. I’m torn, don’t know what I want with him.

          • leafmeister says:

            If he can’t make a good decision in playoff overtime, he is not worth having.

            Big fuckin deal if he can admit it. He is the captain. The fucking CAPTAIN. I just hate him so much.

            • LN91 says:

              It was stupid…But that’s not what angers me as players like O’Byrne and Kessel have made dumb plays.

              What I hate about it and probably infuriates many Leaf fans is this…It was so selfish. Not caring about the team, just himself. There’s really no other way to describe it. Even if he made that hit, the 2-on-1 would’ve still occurred.

              • leafy says:

                LN91, Leafmeister, Toronto77, and Gambo:

                Great points all the way around.

                Grabovski was all heart, Kulemin very strong all series.

                Gardiner was brilliant. I love his game. Great skater and puck handler. Future looks very bright with him and Reilly on the blueline.

                Would love to see Lupul get the C.

    • Gambo says:

      Yup, stupid play at the end. Can’t argue that.

  9. toronto77 says:

    This was one of Phaneuf’s worst plays in his entire career. Maybe with this humiliation he drops his ego?

    He’s almost 30! maybe if he was in his early 20’s because you are still maturing, but at his age!! how many players at that age still have an ego like that?

    Maybe Pronger does, as apparently he cause shit in the locker room and Richards was given the C and not him, but other then that most players don’t have an ego like that.

    At least if the leafs get eliminated they will have a good chance at getting the 17th or 18th overall picks, and selecting either Gauthier or Rychel!

    • leafmeister says:

      This play should drop one thing, and that is Phaneuf from an NHLer to an AHLer. If for no other reason than to humiliate him.

      At least the Habs and Canucks are gonna be eliminated.

  10. toronto77 says:

    The leafs I think are one their way to becoming the next Bruins!

    They play a similar style but are younger and less experienced but they are on their way, and with tough players like Biggs, Ross, Broll, McKegg and Leivo a couple short years away, they look to be the next Bruins.

    They could even be better because imagine a hard working blue collar team like Boston but with some great skill to compliment the team with players like Kessel, Kadri, Gardiner and Rielly.

    They leafs are learning a lot from the Bruins!

    • LN91 says:

      It’s been a great learning experience no doubt…But that play from your captain might have deflated the entire squad. So sad.

      Anyways, Toronto does have a talented young squad. Gardiner, although has struggled with the sophmore slump, is slowly proving that he knows what it takes to win. He led the Marlies to the AHL final last season and was also on that Gold-Medal USA World JR team that won gold and ended the Canadians dominance.

      Just, who should stay, and who should go becomes the question.

    • leafmeister says:

      My rational mind is not discouraged. Boston should win this series. Not like that, but in the grand scheme of things.

      The team showed that they can play with Boston, which is encouraging.

      With better D, a proper captain, not having Phaneuf on the bench/ice, and having 6 dressed defensemen not named Dion Phaneuf, Toronto should fair much better.

      It still is good experience for the youngsters, and showed us Phaneuf’s true colours before we resigned him!

  11. LN91 says:

    April Reimer-1…Elisha Cuthbert-0

  12. toronto77 says:

    Does anyone listen to Brady and Lang in the morning on Fan 590???

    These guys are the biggest losers ever!! don’t know what their talking about

    Listen in tomorrow to see how Brady defends Phaneuf.

    Everyone who calls in and bashes Phanuef, he gets all defensive and gives them attitude and tries and make them sound like an idiot.

    Last week someone called in and said Phaneuf was crap and was not the best d-man, and Brady says “so Dion is not their best d-man?, than who is” and the guy keeps rambling and Brady asks again “I need a name, give me a name”. and the guy says “Fraser” and Brady grunts and says”Fraser? give me a break”

    But Brady was tricky the way he asked the question.

    we could all agree that Fraser, Franson, Gunnarson are all perfect as 3-6 d-men, but are probably not your top 2 d-men and probably can’t handle the ice time that Phanuef gets but they get their job done.

    Sadly…Yes,maybe Phaneuf is our best d-man, but that’s not a good thing!

    Fraser, Franson, Gunnar, Gardiner, Liles, O’Byrne are all perfect for their respective roles but Phaneuf is way over his head.

    I keep saying that the perfect tandem is to have Gardiner or Rielly paired up with Phaneuf, so you can have a Niedermayer-Pronger or McInnis-Pronger or Nidermayer-Stevens match up in Toronto.

    To have an offensive machine like Gardiner or Rielly with Phaneuf will take an enormous amount of pressure off of him and he will never need to pinch.

    I don’t think you can strip Phaneuf of the C or any captain for that matter because it will more than likely stir up shit in the room, if you want to strip the C, just trade him.

    BUT WHAT SUCKS!!! who do you replace him with via trade?? because their is no one in the system that can play top line minutes with a mean physical style.

    • leafmeister says:

      No. Phaneuf has no place on the future of this team. If you can, trade him this off season. If not, let him go for nothing. The cap space can be better spent on an actual team player.

    • LN91 says:

      I never remembered Phaneuf being a primarily defensive player. He’s solid All-Around but not a great defensive or offensive D-Men. I don’t understand this ‘shutdown D-Men’ title many on here have given him because he’s not a Shutdown guy.

      His decision making, poor skating, and puck handling has probably prevented him from being great. His shot, although big, is very inaccurate (please don’t give me this 10% crap this season as all the Leafs shooting percentage was highly inflated and not comparable to their career numbers).

      You’re right, as of right now, no one is better or can replace him…But, I hope Leafs management puts him in his place. He’s a solid D-Men, worth no more than 5.5 million dollars, and not the 1A that he is billed in Toronto.

      I’m still stunned…And feel for every other Leaf in that dressing room.

  13. leafy says:

    We had lots of chances, but it wasn’t to be.

    I feel sorry for Lupul. That guy is all heart and soul.

  14. leafs_wallace93 says:

    As a fan of Phaneuf, can’t defend him tonight, looks like he has to dealt or this will hang over the Leafs like Luongo over Vancouver or… Coultier over Vancouver or… Jovanovski over Vancouver…

    This was his McCabe scoring on his own goal in OT moment.

    • leafmeister says:

      C’mon. Toronto fans are not good at much. We demand nothing, we (royal we, I would never pay a dime) pay inflated prices for garbage, and we regularly confuse shit with gold. However, we can rally around a player we hate to make his life miserable to the point where he wants to leave. Lets run him out of town.

  15. mojo19 says:

    We should start up somewhere else before this thread breaks. If anyone is interested, I’m going to go start posting on one of the top one’s on the main page.

  16. nordiques100 says:

    At least he owned up to it.

    This is a big learning experience for the whole team, including Dion.

    One mistake and we shouldn’t be running him out of town.

    Dion is a high risk, high reward player. Same with Gardiner. We tend to see a lot of those on this team. Kessel, Kadri, I can go on. I think i rather see Dion be that kind of player, the player that made him an all star and in consideration for the Olympic team in his early years and what made him a stud in Junior.

    Just ask yourself, would you run Kadri out of town taking a 4 minute penalty if the Bruins scored on that PP? Doubt it. And I am pretty certain no one blames kessel for giving the puck away on that Shortie Boston scored in game 3. He is still GOD.

    He made a mistake and it cost the Leafs the game AND he owed up to it as a good captain should. Kessel did the same in Game 3 and there were more than enough blame to go around in game 1 with all those giveaways.

    Its a learning experience for this team. The first lesson will be how they bounce back from it.

    Dion went for a big pinch. Horton got punished hard to make the play and credit to him as it resulted in a goal. Toronto needs to learn from that and guys like JVR, Kessel etc need to learn to evntually do the same if they want to win. they need to take hits to make plays.

    Dion’s play was high risk, but I think he expected a forward toback him up. Again, experience. Next year you’ll see a Kessel, JVR learn that kind of thing and they’ll do that and the same play by Dion will not be a 2-1 b/c there will be forwards backing the pinching D.

    It was a mistake and bad timing, but you have to look at all the factors. Not jump the gun and sign the trade Dion petition. THat’s just dumb.

    Lets take some good away from this game and get back at it in Game 5. Frattin had a good OT, he looks like a guy in the future who can create stuff from nothing. Gardiner was great, lets hope he can be that way over 6 months, not just 6 periods. The D played admirably after losing Fraser. I cant fathom how difficult it would be to be playing every other shift and having to go up against first Seguin, then Lucic, then Jagr in the intensity of OT. The guys gave it their all.

    Grabovski was a star last night. He needs to produce though but was a buzzsaw yesterday. Reimer was great again. He is another after last year a few of us, including me to some extent who wrote him off. We should apply this logic for Dion. Lets not write him off yet shall we?

    They can compete with Boston. They have improved leaps and bounds. Just a year ago they were getting killed 8-0 against this team. Now, Boston is barely getting by even with a 3-1 lead in the series. Only Game 1 was not close. Only game 1 was where it was total Boston domination. It was not a whitewashing as previous years.

    Mistakes cost them 3 games. You’ve seen Boston, a recent champion, they limit those mistakes. Chicago, the presidents trophy winners and recent champs, they limit mistakes. Its how you learn from them.

    Jon Quick was brutal on his giveaway to Steen, but look at what he’s done since. winners of 3 of the next 4 for LA. I think the cup run was a huge boost for him. He knows that he needs to forget it and his team, his experienced team that has learned how to win also forgot about it too. and quickly I might add. This is what experience does and there is no value on it. You have to live it. you can try and acquire guys who’ve won b4 or something but nothing like living it yourself to learn from what to do and what not to do.

    This is something the team can build on. A good team will rally around their captain and give it even harder next game. And as captain, he must learn too and I think he will.

    They had a combined 206 playoff games coming in. These 4 games so far are worth that much and more already for this group. Short memories win series. If they chip away and play the speed game again in game 5, its possible they come back here. Its all about not giving up. Lupul isn’t ready to give up and neither is Dion. Or Reimer. the other 20 guys must follow suit.

    • leafmeister says:

      I am seeing all this risk. Where is the reward?

    • leafmeister says:

      On a good day, he is an above average defensemen. He has not played one game, never mind a stretch, in Toronto where I would call him elite.

      • nordiques100 says:

        take off your blinders.

        • leafmeister says:

          Okay. Done. So, enlighten me. What about Phaneuf’s game makes him worth all the mistakes and defensive errors?

          • nordiques100 says:

            He takes all the pressure off everyone being the captain. it allows Lupul to do what he does without the pressure of the C on his sweater.

            He is an excellent offensive defenceman. There are very few, Weber, Chara, who had that huge shot at the point who make people flinch. its a weapon.

            He is a big hitter. Few are as good open ice as he is.

            He can log a ton of minutes. He’s been durable. He adds a physical element to the leafs D that really the team doesn’t have.

            I said the blinders because many if not all the leafs are making mistakes left right and centre.

            look at kessel. shies away from contact. wont confront the left Dman when trying to get the puck out, wont take a hit to make a play, makes some bad passes. or Kadri, gives puck away going 1 against the world, makes bad passes etc etc.

            But you know what, i’ll take that from them cause they are trying to create stuff. Dion too is trying to create something. He tried to pinch it failed. Next year he’ll though do the same and he’ll have a forward backing him up this time.

            So I guess the Norris nominated Subban blows as he is a giveaway machine. Or the reigning Norris winner Karlsson. He’s been a giveaway machine too and soft and high risk and at times looks lazy.

            Defence is a brutal position. Its made more brutal when you don’t have good players to play with. Suter is the exception but even he was exposed due to fatigue because the Wild simply have no one left. And his former partner Weber, a ho hum average year for a guy like him. He felt the loss of not having been surrounded by good players.

            Dion literally has no one. Gardiner is still a relative raw rookie. Franson was written for dead and is perfect for the 3rd pair as his play showed earlier this season, but can be exposed if given more ice time.

            Same with Fraser, a career minor leaguer. Ditto Kostka, a career minor leaguer who got a ton of ice in game 1 and was picked on mercilessly by the Bruins, a team he couldn’t keep up with.

            Gunnarsson is not a top pair Dman but sadly the best partner for Dion we have. O’Byrne is a depth guy he cannot play first line minutes.

            Karlsson is ok cause he has Phillips, Gonchar and Cowen.

            Subban is ok and better this year with Markov around ALL season to take the pressure off.

            Weber lost suter and had to play with a rookie Josi. Josi played well but Weber could be better.

            The Flyers missed the playoffs because Paul Manning and Olivier Laurdisen were playing not Pronger and Timonen and they lost Carle.

            The Canucks have Bieska, Hamhuis, Ballard, Garrison and Edler make over 4 mil and none of them are better than Dion. None of them bring something unique to the game and were mistake filled too.

            Dion plays as high risk game. Some times it costs the team some times it rewards it. He is that kind of player. He is not going to play like Adam Foote, a rock on D who never makes a mistake. He will not be like Pronger or a Bourque. Who would?

            He brings a unique skill set. And like all NHL players is of course not worth the money he is making. no one is.

            He also plays his off-side. I bet you’ve never played Right D as a LH shooter or vice versa. Its impossible when someone is bearing down on you to make perfect plays every time on your backhand. He shouldnt be over there but the options were Kostka, Komisarek, O’Byrne or Holzer over there. Not ideal choices.

            I never said he was elite. I said he shouldn’t be run out of town for one mistake. If that was the case I say then lets get rid of Kessel now. bench him in fact for game 5 since he can’t seem to handle playing vs Chara heads up. Or Kadri who has a dreadful series. Lets bench him for taking a 4 minute penalty while on the PP.

            Or how about the Bruins benching Chara. He was on the ice for both TOronto 1st period goals. He was exposed badly playing his wrong side actually pushing Redden to the right side to get back to his own side. He actually couldn’t handle Kessel playing the Right side as a LH Dman. Its hard playing the off side. And then he screened his own goalie. mistake. brutal, get rid of him. I think not.

            There are 210 defenceman in the NHL (30 teams, 7 per team on average).

            Weber, Keith, Pietrangelo, Jack Johnson, Kronvall, Schultz, Edler, Erik Johnson, Suter, Giordano, Doughty, Boyle, Beauchemin, Robidas, Yandle, Karlsson, Myers, Subban, Chara, McDonagh, Streit, Greene, Timonen, Letang, Byfuglien, Green, Pitkanen, Campbell, Hedman are the other 29 no. 1 Dmen in the NHL. I’d take Keith, Pietrangelo, Doughty, Suter, Subban, CHara, Letang Karlsson and Kronvall over Dion but none of the other guys.

            Overall, I’d put Dion in the top 30 in the NHL among Dmen. That’s probably the top 10-15 percent of the Dmen in the entire league. Not bad I’d have to say.

            And of this group there are a lot of giveaways and defensive mistakes. But these guys have the puck alot, these guys play a ton, want to make an impact.

            Dion has his share of ups and downs, but so do these other players. And really for the most part they go with the ebb and flow of their team. The Leafs had what, one loss when Dion scored a goal all year? Not bad.

            He is a big piece and important piece to the puzzle for Toronto going forward. He could use some help though.

      • blaze says:

        Well you’re just another casual watcher who would pick apart any star defenseman that came here.

        What a shocking surprise Beauchemin is an absolute stud back in Anaheim. His play here was very over criticized considering how shitty the Leafs were.

        Just watching the highlights of other teams it’s no suprise you’d think everyone else is awesome before maybe watching them play all year.

        • leafmeister says:

          His shitty play should earn him a diminished role, his shitty attitude should send him packing. He didn’t take a diminished role well in Calgary, and had to be traded. Wilson immediately put him on the Captain pedestal, so a diminished role won’t sit well, and demoting him won’t be good for the locker room.

    • blaze says:

      Best post of the thread.

  17. blaze says:

    Dion made a brutal pinch. The goal was a punch in the gut. It is what it is. One terrible play doesn’t mean he played a dogshit game. Some giveaways last night;

    Franson 6
    Phaneuf 5
    Gardiner 4

    Yet people only see Phaneuf. When Phaneuf outmuscles guys down low and more often then any other Dman gets the puck up ice out of danger no one even has a clue because he doesn’t figuire skate it out like Jake.

    • LN91 says:

      Like I said before, if Dion had a good series…I would look the other way as like you said, all these players make mistakes. I forgave the O’Byrne incident as he has been very solid in every other game. However, Phaneuf has been poor in every game this series. That is not 1…That is 4.

      He has been on for a majority of goals this series and the PP has been brutal with him on it as the second-unit has been the productive one.

      The play itself was absolutely selfish. I’ve never seen a great captain or leader make that big of an error (Maybe Tony Romo against Seattle…But Tony Romo is not a good leader). Phaneuf is the captain, that’s why he’s always under scrutiny. Mats Sundin, Doug Gimlour, Wendell Clark handled the pressure and played with heart and soul. No one ever questioned their play. If Phaneuf cannot handle it or cannot fulfill that role, give the C up.

      Also, I would understand if he needed to make a big play to change the game. If Boston was dominating, go for it. However, Toronto was gelling and pressuring in overtime and did not warrant a huge play at that moment.

      So, that leaves one thing, it was a selfish and egotistical play from Phaneuf. A play that no matter who it was…Should have never happened it. I think that’s what infuriates Leaf nation the most…Not the actual play.

      • blaze says:

        Are you kidding me no one ever questioned the heart and soul of Sundin? You must be too young to remember.

        Anyways what about it was selfish and egotistical. Did you play hockey?? Ya Dion definitely thought fuck this game I’m going do what I want.

        Or maybe he made a poor split second judgement in the incredibly fast overtime game. Dumbass play cost them a shot at the series, as unlikely as them winning was anyways. But it is what it is.

        The D was pinching like that all night and usually a forward was back. Dion should’ve been more aware. Trying to play a physical game all night leading the team with 10 hits.

        Real tough way to lose. I would be pissed at any player, but wouldn’t be screaming to run Kessel out of town if it was him.

        • leafmeister says:

          Because Kessel’s high risk plays come with some rewards. Like goals and stuff.

          Rewards from Phaneuf’s adventures around the ice are few and far between.

          • blaze says:

            Oh no being a nearly 10 goal 30 pt dman in half a season while taking on one of the highest workloads in the entire NHL because believe it or not he is Toronto’s best dman.

            Zero rewards from that. The fact that Dion is the biggest contributor to a D core that ended the playoff drought and is hanging in there with Boston their supposed kryptonite should show you maybe he’s a little more effective than you think.

            • leafmeister says:

              He is lucky that Reimer was so good this year. When the goalie isn’t there to bail him out (as has been the case in his previous shitty T.O seasons) nobody thinks he is quite so good.

              Much of the shot differential numbers can be attributed to poor defence, and as you so correctly point out, Phaneuf was leading the charge.

              Reimer’s play is by far the most encouraging thing to take from this year.

              • blaze says:

                Ya that would make sense if Scrivens didnt have an excellent year as well.

                The entire team philosphy changed this season with more commitment to D. Though not perfect as seen by the high number of overall shots the quality of shots and second and third chances improved.

                People are quick to forget our PK by some divine miracle went from last for years to 2nd overall.

                McClement lead the charge followed by Dion, with 3:06 minutes a game on the PK. 8th most for any Dman in the NHL.

                Plays huge PK minutes on a dominate PK.

                Plays big minutes on the PP and puts up 16 PPP, good for 6th in the NHL amongst Dman.

                Plays 5th most minutes in the NHL for Dman against some of the toughest compititon.

                6th in hits amongst NHL dman.

                Some people seem to think Phaneuf isnt even a top 4 defenseman.

          • blaze says:

            What if Dion timed his pinch a bit better and chipped the puck back in, hemming Boston in leading to a GWG.

            That exact type of play had already happened many times trying to keep the pressure up.

            Phaneuf fucked it up, it happens.

            • LN91 says:

              Not in OT in a playoff game. Sorry, does not happen when you’re trailing 2-1.

              The actual play was boneheaded.

              • nordiques100 says:

                looking at the whole play though, it was an incredible one by Horton to take punishment to make the play.

                Many times, many players wouldn’t and wouldnt get the puck out that cleanly to set up the 2-1. This includes Toronto players. Its a lesson learned. Sometimes it takes losing to learn how to win.

              • blaze says:

                What are you talking about the D was playing very aggressive throughout the end of the game pinching exactly like that multiple times.

                Sometimes I wonder if we watch the same games.

        • LN91 says:

          Sundin did get some heat, but I remembered if I needed a big game or play from him…I usually got it.

          It was selfish because Phaneuf really was not think about the team at that moment…I’ve never seen that play in an OT game. Ever. I played goalie, and if I saw that and lost on that play…I would be really upset because it was dumb.

          For a guy that has played 29 playoff games. and his fifth series…No excuses or inexperience bullcrap for his poor play.

    • LN91 says:

      However, I am not saying like Leafmeister we should run him out of town.

      I just think Leaf fans should be more realistic of his abilities as a player. He’s a solid D-Men, many teams would love to have him. Maybe a #2 or #3, but he is not a star D-Men nor an elite player. A guy that contributes to a Stanley-Cup winning team…Not lead it.

      • leafmeister says:

        I don’t think he would take that role in stride. Burke and Wilson immediately put the guy on a pedestal here. He earned nothing, and will not take losing his role well. Get actual team players here.

        I know this is old news, but the fact he was pretty much the consensus for most overrated player should speak volumes.

        If they can trade him, I say do it.

      • blaze says:

        Yep people said that about Chara until he was 34.

        • LN91 says:

          Please tell me that is a joke.

          Chara has been great far before the Vancouver-Boston series…At 34.

          I wanted Chara before the Leafs re-signed McCabe after that stellar season. How long ago was that?

      • nordiques100 says:

        He needs help. right now he is a no. 1 and there are not many guys named Suter, Weber or Karlsson around unfortunately. That’s bettman’s fault for diluting the league and its talents.

        Its a hard position. There is a possibility guys like Hedman, Larsson, Gudbranson become no. 1’s but right now they are not. They are still learning and thats a byproduct of coming into the NHL so quickly.

        Luke Schenn is our greatest recent example. He should be fine, but as an 18 year old breaking in, under Ron Wilson of all people, good lord, he regressed sadly with each passing season.

        many teams would love to have him. I know not everyone is a Dion fan and for sure they should have that choice. But the D has a rookie, a guy who was written off, a guy who cant move with a bad hip and probably shouldn’t be playing, 2 minor league castoffs and depth guys, its not a D to write home about.

        surround Dion with either hard guys to play against like Seidenberg/Boychuk/Ference or have a super pair like Suter/Weber and who knows how well Dion could do.

        I think he needs help. I know its something some people loathe because it means more money allocated to the D. But i think adding help today, will help guys like Gardiner, Reilly, and even perhaps Holzer, Finn, Blacker eventually giving them the proper time to develop. Give them the proper access to improve their game, not be thrown to the wolves of Leaf Nation.

        Carlo died from it. Schenn too. the many players in the 80s as well who were rushed to the Leafs D. Dion allows for the focus to be on him, not Gardiner. And eventually Reilly could benefit from that too. Not everyone has the Karlssons or Subbans or Suters like i said.

        or even if they add more unique skills to the D, that would help too. Fraser fights, Franson is a big body who can shoot from the point, Dion brings a little this, a little that and a lot of minutes. Gardiner is the super skater. Gunny when healthy is a safe player. Reilly will bring some offence too eventually. Maybe a couple of hard guys like what Boston has surrounding Chara, who can do more than one thing would help this D and Dion.

  18. LN91 says:

    I must admit…There are some great points and debates going on here.

    • nordiques100 says:

      I think we have a good start to something that could be meaningful.

      I again go back to LA. they missed the playoffs 7 years and then lost 2 first round series. but were competitive in those series.

      The additions over time of Richards, Carter, Scuderi, Mitchell, Penner eventually put them over. They had their core, Doughty, Kopitar, Brown, Quick, but added to it with more and more depth replacing the guys who were ok, with guys who were better.

      Like Simmonds. He’s a good player a really good player. But Richards is what they needed more. Stuff like that Toronto needs to do. Big job then for Nonis.

      Dion, Lupes, Kessel, Kadri, JVR, Reims the main core. Some of the other guys are worth keeping, some of the others will need to be replaced. We’ll see what happens. SOme change needs to happen though. for the better. Status quo won’t be acceptable for next season no doubt.

      • leafmeister says:

        Alright, I will temper my Phaneuf rage. If, and I maintain that this is a major if, he can accept an extremely diminished, 2nd pairing role where he does not get a sniff of the oppositions top players, he may have a place on the team. But, there are attitude concerns, and the fact that Wilson handed him the captaincy after accomplishing nothing but monopolizing the locker room music probably does not help his feeling of entitlement.

        • nordiques100 says:

          no i think he can play on a top pairing.

          I think the team can just improve on Gunnarsson as his partner. but hard to find that right mix. I mean they’d need to find a top RH Dman to move Dion back to the left side.

          It may have to be a LH guy in an imperfect situation. Or someone to play with Gardiner to have 3 balanced pairs a la the hawks who have gone with Keith/Hjalmarsson, Seabrook/Leddy, Oduya/Roszival. Something along those lines and they play balanced minutes.

          Not too many of those available. I think previously they envisioned Komisarek and/or Schenn being that. Didn’t happen.

          I think he’ll always get his 20+ minutes and be on the top PP unit. I think exposing Fraser/Franson upwards to the 20+ hurts them as is playing Gunny 20+. One credible guy, who is an upgrade on whomever we’ve rotated in, be it Liles, Kostka, O’Byrne would be and could be the big difference here.

          But they have to score on that acquisition. they’ve failed too often with Dmen in the past. So, its a bit worrisome to see who they go after.

        • blaze says:

          Do you honestly think the Leafs have another defenseman that could take over Phaneufs role completely?

          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            They do not at the moment.

            • blaze says:

              Exactly. Sure Im all for going out an acquiring a top pairing guy that’s fine. But today we don’t have any better.

              Phaneuf is a top pairing defenseman despite the criticisms and flaws. If we get rid of him and don’t replace him I wouldn’t expect to be playoff bound.

              • leafmeister says:

                I wouldn’t expect to be playoff bound regardless. Most statistical analysis suggests the Leafs played well over their heads this year. Who knows what would have happened over 82 games.

                • blaze says:

                  So let’s just rebuild then.

                  • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                    I will say what I have always said about Phaneuf.
                    Dion struggles with…when to, when not to. Always has. He pinches or goes for the big hit when he shouldn’t, he rushes when he shouldn’t, he doesn’t pinch or throw the big hit when he should or rush when he should far too often. He has always struggled with decision making. He is not going to make, or even be considered for team Canada. Last night is a great example, the only reason for that play would have been if he was trying to change momentum because Boston was taking the play to us, which wasn’t the case.
                    That said, is Dion a good defenceman? Yes.
                    Is he upper level like Suter, Chara, Doughty, Keith etc? No
                    Is he worth $6.5 mil or deserve a raise? No. He is a $5 to $5.5 mil guy tops.
                    Does he have talent? Yes. Does he put it into a “complete game” on a consistant enough basis? No.

                    So what should the Leafs do in the off-season? A lot of you won’t like my thoughts, but here’s what I would like to see them do.
                    They should target teams like Calgary, Buffalo, Philly, Colorado, Vancouver, NYR(If they get knocked out in the first round) for trades as these teams are re-tooling or rebuilding.

                    1) Let Bozak, MacA, Kostka and Connolly walk.
                    2)I am fine with Kadri/Grabo as the 1-2 punch to start the season. I think under the right conditions, Grabo is still a good productive centre.
                    3)Look for a potential top-line D-man. Giordano, Myers come to mind.
                    4)Acquire a BIG third line centre who is good on draws and won’t break the bank. Boyle comes to mind.
                    5) Acquire another BIG winger to develop or play in top 9.
                    6) Be willing to trade our 2013 1st or prospects for assets now.

                    Say for arguments sake,
                    Toronto sends Franson(love the guy), Ashton and 2013 1st to Buffalo for Myers and Foligno.
                    Toronto sends Blacker and a 2013 4th to NYR for Boyle.
                    Liles could either be moved and the money used for a depth, or kept as a 7th D-man.

                    Lupul – Kadri – Kessel
                    Kulimen – Grabo – JVR(always loved that line)
                    Foligno – Boyle – Frattin
                    Komarov – McClement – Orr
                    ex. Colborne, McLaren.


                    Gunarsson – Phaneuf
                    Gardiner – Myers
                    Fraser – O’Byrne
                    ex. Liles, Holzer, Reilly? UFA?

                    If Myers, Gardiner, Reilly, Percy and Finn continue to develop as expected, Phaneuf becomes a player you don’t HAVE to re-sign and could be moved for other needed pieces at next years trade deadline. As well as Colborne develop into a good 2ndline/3rdline centre.
                    Do we have that #1 centre? No. But we have size, speed, grit, talent and a more balnced D. We would be tough on the walls, BIG defence that is mobility and is still young. Reimer in net of course just solidifies things.

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