The good, The bad, and the ugly start for the Leafs

An optimist could argue the leafs are a top notch offensive team waiting for the defense to find its groove before the team takes off. A pesimist would argue their a bad team on a hot streak, waiting to collapse into the basement once the scoring slows down.

I however argue that this is a team winning on pure effort, and losing because the role players aren’t filling their roles. Hall Gill has been sloppy at times on the PK, Wellwood hasn’t been able to bring the Leafs PP to life (as he hasn’t played), McCabe hasn’t been a threat from the point, and the 3rd and fourth liners havent been forechecking well.

It bugs me when people say the Leafs are making the same mistakes as last year. Bates Battaglia didn’t stumble all over the ice last year. This team has been, in many ways, worse than last year. And almost all of that, is stemming from the depth players.

The Good:
Sundin- On a rampage

Antropov- What a start

Blake- Not scoring, but creating lots of offense, outstanding 5 on 5

Stajan- Finally finding his faceoff groove

Steen- defensively miles ahead of last year

Poni- Most consistent player on this team, other than Sundin

Gamache- Nice energy. needs reduced minutes, but is a handy tool to have (if i’m Maurice i’d get this guy practising shootout drills, perfect fit for shootout specialist)

Tlusty- I’m amazed at bhow well he’s been playing WITHOUT the puck. room for improvement, but another handy tool to have.

Kaberle- More minutes hurt his game, but Kaberle with a hurt game aint that bad

Kubina- Not worth 5 mil, but more ice time has helped his game.

Gill- I took a hit at him before, but he’s still been pretty good.

These players (8 forwards 3 D) have a combined 40 goals (more than the Defending Cup Champion Duchks ENTIRE team has scored), and are a combined +57

The Bad
Chad Kilger- When he shows up, he scores, when he doesn’t he gets beaten easily. tough to give him more minutes. He’s also seen virtually no PK time.

John Pohl- Some predicted he’d get 50 points, i just hope he’s not causing goals in his own net now.

Boyd Devereaux- A 2 year contract has cooled the fire in his belly. Playing on the 2nd line hasn’t even helped him.

Wade Belak- need I say anything

Bates battaglia- eek, what a nightmare. he plays 2 minutes a game, and is -7

Kris Newbury- I thought this was a guy fighting to be an NHL regular, but you cant tell by his play

Brian McCabe- Every ounce of defensive play he learned at the end of last year, left with his point shot…rough start

Ian White- Played well vs the Habs, but a bad year overall. Getting decent PP minutes, but doing nothing with them.

Andy Wozniewski- Good start, but now he cant stay out of the box. once some injured players come back, dont be surprised to see him on waivers

Anton Stralman- He needs to adjust to the pro game. That means he needs to play more games, but he hasn’t played that well at either end of the ice….its a tough situation, but with all the injurys the decision is already made.

These players (6 forwards 4 D) have averaged 9 goals, and are a combined -33

The Ugly
Mark Bell- 15 game suspension

Carlo Colaiacovo- the injuries get worse and worse for him

Kyle Wellwood- Remember when he was day to day with a hip flexor?, that was 50 games and 2 surgery’s ago.

Darcy Tucker- The Life of the powerplay is injured.

So, what can Ferguson and Maurice make of all this? Well we know Paul Maurice likes to play his best players, so we should expect more of that. The Leafs should have this lineup against the sens:




When healthy this team has 27 roster players. Meaning as many as 4 (though likely less) could be placed on waivers.

75 Responses to The good, The bad, and the ugly start for the Leafs

  1. jpmac says:

    Ottawa and Toronto are two completetly different teams.

    Ottawa has a capable defensive system. Also if you are trying to compare the forward unit of Tornto to the forward unit of Ottawa then maybe their might be a slight prblem with that reasoning.

  2. leafy says:

    LMAO….that was hilarious!

  3. jpmac says:

    No it is just to easy..seeing as the majority of leaf fans are blinded.  before the season..I believe it was leafy who stated that
    "the leafs will get 100 points this year"

    Maurice said it was the best team he has ever coached

    and Ant monkey said "they will make it to the conference finals in 08/09"

    So when leaf fans make all these bold predictions before the season, and now all they want to talk about is the trouble the leafs are in, it makes it somewhat comical thats all

  4. jpmac says:

    Almost as keen as when you boldy predicted the leafs will get 100 pts this year

  5. leafy says:

    Oh, that…..well, I can explain.  My psychic can be equally faulted for this one.  She said that big things will be store for me in the near future.  So naturally, I thought she was talking about the leafs.  I just put 2 and 2 together.

    A number of players that contributed well last year are not having good seasons this year.  And overall, the team can't seem to play as well as last year, for whatever reasons.  We actually played well last year, even if we missed the playoffs by a point.  This year, we just can't seem to play as a unit or in synch.  I'm at a loss to explain it.

  6. leafy says:

    4 balanced lines…that's fine.

    Colaiacovo is NOT a bust, just injured.  Lots of great players started their careers with injuries, e.g., Bill Barber, Tim Horton…even "Rocket" Richard!

    Bobby Orr had his share of injuries, and even had to retire young.  Was Bobby Orr a bust too?

  7. senators101 says:

    lol.  Are these your thoughts of tonights game?

  8. lukeleim says:

    with an almost completely healthy lineup, the Leafs prove their inability to compete with the top dogs in the east. Anybody surprised?

    The good: it’s the beginning of the season and their is enough games left in the season to turn it around.

    The Bad: even though it is the beginning of the season, the Leafs will not turn this season around and will miss the playoffs again if they continue to dress their current roster.

    The ugly: john ferguson jr. is still the general manager.

  9. leafy says:

    Actually I have more thoughts on Leaf errors, but the HTR server does not have the necessary storage space.

    I guess one thought on tonight…Ottawa looks as close to unbeatable as any team we've seen in a while.

    They remind me of the Islanders of the early 80's.  Absolutely no weaknesses.  Speed, skill, power, defense, special teams, goaltending.  You name it, they've got it.

  10. leafy says:

    Can't argue with that.  Even Clint Eastwood would be impressed.

  11. leafy says:

    They probably concluded that his impact would be negligible at best.

  12. senators101 says:

    We Sens fans are happy right now.  HOWEVER:
    For Ottawa:  Too many F*ing penalties tonight, it was disgusting.  Corvo should be shot twice.  Once for being a retard and playing around with the puck in front of his own net.  Second for shooting the puck over the glass when he had plenty of space and time to do something else.  The penalty that led to the goal, I can't really complain.  I think the defenseman in this league that has an chance of stopping/slowing down Sundin coming from behind the net is Chara, simply because when Sundin uses his reach to keep the puck away from the defender, Chara is tall enough to still fight for that puck.  But back to the penalties… Ottawa would have gotten even more goals if they didnt take those penalties as soon as they picked up momentum.  It definitely slowed them down, which showed in the shots.  From leading 7-2, they get outshot 31-21.  All the penalties helped the leafs big time.  And Toskala was thrown under a bus.

    For the goals:
    Woz – no idea what he was doing on that 2 on 1.
    White – no idea what he was trying to do at centre which caused that 2 on 1
    Blake – should have beaten phillips to the puck on the opening goal – should be more aware (but that goal was pretty, you must admit)
    short-handed goals should never happen in hockey, especially when they originate from centre-ice. thats pathetic.

    What I like about this sens team though, is that they can find ways to win.  Last game was a prime example where they couldn't score from anywhere, and were down 1-0, but in the third period score a shorty to take it into ot and shootout.  But, I still like to complain.  I guess thats the difference between a winning team and a losing team.  When a winning team wins all the time, we can nitpick.  When a losing team finally wins (regardless of how bad they play) they are ready to do the lotto 649 happy dance.

  13. senators101 says:

    Also to add to what I was saying.  Another big difference is the speed.  Our slowest guys (minus Richardson) can keep up with practically anyone on the Leafs.  Can't wait till Spezz comes back.

  14. RealisticLeaf says:

    I have said it before and i will say it again.

    This team has no heart or drive to compete. This team just flat out looked like it was done after the first goal.

    Only good thing of the night besides Antropov's good play again…was that Maurice finally blew his stack. It is about time he tore a strip off this bunch of under achievers. Was nice to see him get angry for once.

    He also mentioned benching some players. Maybe him and that freakin genius JFJ should not have waived Gamache. Maybe they should have waived that waste of space Bates Battaglia.

    This is just another example of how stupid Leaf management is. They waive a younger Gamache that has better upside then anyone on their fourth line and has speed to burn that played like a sparkplug most nights. And keep the likes of Bates Battaglia, Kris Newbury, Wade Belak, and Boyd Devereaux. If anyone of these guys could kill a penalty i would say yes keep em. But none of this group with the exception of Belak bein a goon lends anything that a younger Gamache could not have done.

    The new NHL is built on speed. Something that Leaf management still does not understand. The Leafs should have been so lucky to have a speedy talented winger on their team. Not like the pylons i listed above.

    JFJ is caught up in the Quinn syndrome. If the player has no size then they must not be NHL worthy. This is similar to Sullivan but on a smaller scale.

    I swear if Danny Brier played on the Leafs they would waive him too.

    Another example why this team won't do anything under JFJ and Maurice. Rather have old lumbering farts instead of young speedy players.

    Bunch of idiots.

  15. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    oh no, not a chance. quite the opposite. had Toskala started against Chicago we would have won.

  16. Aetherial says:


    Do any of you really have a clue what Tlusty is like without the puck? I highly doubt you have any idea.

    Don't take Maurice's words and use them to try to sound more hockey savvy than you really are.

  17. Aetherial says:

    I think that about sums it up.

  18. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    maurices words are the thing that is killing me. he says he's focusing on team defense, and the first month they give up the most goals against. my guess is, he doesn't have control of that hockey team, but you wouldn't know because he's so cool and calm when talking to the media.

    "Do any of you really have a clue what Tlusty is like without the puck? I highly doubt you have any idea.

    Don't take Maurice's words and use them to try to sound more hockey savvy than you really are."

    what i find funny is that it was MAURICE who said Tlusty is bad without the puck. so YOU took his words, and tried to seem hockey savvy by repeating them!!

    Maurice braced us for a player that had zero ability to play without the puck. Tlusty disprooved that. He's not Peca, but he knows the basics. keeps his feet moving, his head up, and is usually where he needs to be.

  19. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    why are you an ass all of a sudden???

  20. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    I heard this morning that JFJ is pissed. He was abesolutely livid after last night, and he's got 2 days to sit on it before friday. Dont be surprised to see something done.

  21. I-BE-LEAF says:

    Maple Leafs forward Simon Gamache cleared waivers Wednesday. In 11 games, Gamache has two goals and two assists with a minus -1 rating. – TSN

  22. leafy says:

    But you have to remember he's only 19.  He seems to be more responsible defensively than some more experienced forwards, i.e., Kilger, Tucker.  Nobody is saying he's Bob Gainey, but his age needs to be factored in.

  23. leafy says:

    I agree with the main thesis of your argument.  The Leafs need more speed.  When the year started, I thought they'd be faster than last year, but the opposite has happened.  Why I don't know.

    Re Gamache, the be fair, his impact diminished greatly as the games went on.  Plus he cleared waivers today, so none of the other 29 GMs pounced on him.  He could still end up somewhere and become a good player, but it seems more likely that his impact in the NHL will be negligible.

    But I agree with your thoughts on speed for sure.

  24. leafy says:

    The only thing Ottawa needs to do now is try to add an upgrade or two before the deadline to be as dominant as possible.  I wouldn't worry too much about their small problems you mention.  Even dynasty teams like Montreal, Islanders and Oilers had them.

  25. senators101 says:

    Oh I'm not worried.  I'd be stupid if I was worried.  At 12-1, there's not much to be worried about.  We just need one more top 6 forward to play with Alfy on the 2nd line.  I was thinking a centre would be good, but I'm learning towards a left winger now.  Keep Fisher there as he provides so much damn energy — he's a hockey player.

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