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Will The Toronto Maple Leafs Develop An Urgency To Their Game?

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Under Dubas, the Leafs have become a data-driven organization and they’ve also accumulated some playoff scars.

Intellectually, the general manager who celebrated his 35th birthday on Sunday is a patient, process-driven man. But after watching his team fail to win a playoff series in each of the last four years, he’s spent this unusual off-season reflecting on urgency.

He didn’t see nearly enough of that in the August return-to-play qualifier against Columbus where he felt the team’s talent should have allowed it to dictate terms. In Game 1 and the deciding Game 5 of that series, he thought the Leafs felt things out too much. It’s a trend he traced back to aspects of the consecutive first-round losses to Boston that came before it, too.

“We were on our heels and waiting to see what would happen in the game, rather than going out and attacking the opportunity,” said Dubas, speaking with Ron MacLean as part of the Leafs' annual coaches clinic.

“I think part of it is maturity, I think part of it is experience, but I think both of those things go into mindset and what the mindset of the group is,” he added. “We have to stop waiting. We’re waiting for our potential just to happen and we have to start going out and exercising that and making it happen and forcing the other teams to respond to us.”

This has already been communicated to players.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink



I’m sure hockey pros may know more specifically
what this outwardly vague talk means with the Leafs’ roster and
how specific players play and how they work as units than makes sense to me.

Otherwise it almost sounds like Dubas is saying his players should
borderline force things and actually against a team like Columbus there is a sign ticket risk in that. Be more assertive. Force the action. Make them defend your speed and skill. I can see the positive side to that. But we’ve seen what happens when extremely highly-paid Leafs’ forwards who are not yet (if ever) good two-way players try to dictate the game and rely on their speed and skill. Often they turn the puck over and then are out of position to defend if they even try or know how or care.

It’s a weird roster. Thornton is not a good skater anymore and can’t check.
That was never Spezza’s game either. Kerfoot is not ideally a center.
Simmons is much slower than he used to be and is more of a net front specialist with grit. Who are the 200 ft players on this team (other than maybe Rielly)

Posted by lefty.30 on 11/30/20 at 11:41 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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