KK Members Blog
Brian Burke, on the AM640 yesterday, talks two trade offers, Phaneuf and Nazem Kadri.
Listen to Brian Burke on AM640.
Panthers (3-3-0) vs. Leafs (4-2-1)
The Leafs need a win tonight. Badly. Or else the team might just find itself on a tailspin to oblivion and the City of Toronto will push the panic button.
The Leafs’ 4-0-0 start raised eyebrows across the NHL. Brian Burke haters disappeared in that span as well. Gone was the criticism of the Kessel trade which flooded talk radio all the way into September. Gone was the criticism that Brian Burke failed to bring in a top line forward in Free Agency. Or the idea that stashing Kadri in the minors for another season was not the right move.
If the Leafs lose tonight, look for those critics to come back out of the closet. Not only that, but guys like Versteeg, Armstrong, Brown, Zigomanis, McArthur will all be exposed to the pressure-cooker that is the Toronto media.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Nashville Predators have a lot in common. Both have young stud Captain defensemen who play a similar game. Both have good goaltending. Both are strong on the backend. And both have a core of forwards that isn’t deep with offensive talent.
But the Nashville Predators are better.
You can thank Barry Trotz for that (the fact that he has not yet won the Jack Adams trophy is criminal). Every year sports journalists write off the Predators, and every year around February the same sports journalists churn out a string of articles about how the Predators keep on proving their doubters wrong.
The journalists aren’t just bandwagon jumpers. In fact, they are right. On paper, the Predators had no business making the playoffs 4 out of the last 5 years; after the 2006-2007 season, the Predators should have finished out of the top 8 in the Western Conference every single season. On paper.
Dear Toronto Maple Leafs,
Please stop sucking. This city of 5.5 million people needs you.
Think of us like Gotham City. In ruins.
We have not seen a playoff game since the 2003-2004 season. There are people in this city who have never been old enough to legally see a Leaf Playoff game in a bar even though they are over 19.
Over the course of the last 6 years of post-season drought, we have bought each of your new jerseys (home, away and third), bought tickets to the games, spent thousands of dollars on bar tabs and planned the parade route each year (we’re keeping the blueprints because obviously this is the year right?).
From this weeks ‘Who’da Thunkit’
Dallas Stars….2/25 on the PP (8%)...
they have allowed 10 PPG in 30 times SH…and…1 SHG in 7 games.
Teams you wouldn’t take to meet your Grandma
Columbus 3/30 PP (10 %)...allowed 6 PPG and 2 SHG, 7 games
Buffalo 4/36 PP (11.1%)....given up 6 PPG and 1 SHG, 9 games
Pittsburgh…8/49 PP (16.3 %)....given up 6 PPG, and 1 SHG, 9 games.
Colorado…the victim of 4 SHG in 7 games, 9 PPGA, 7/30 PP.
Dion Phaneuf was –3 last night. He was on the ice for 4 out of the 5 goals. He made a lazy play with his stick that led to a Mike Richards goal; he got unlucky when a slap shot from the point ricocheted off his skate into the net; he got caught up ice in the offensive zone leading to a 2 on 1; and he just got blatantly beat by Briere.
As of today, Phaneuf ranks 217th in the league among Defensemen with a +/- rating of –5. The irking fact about that stat is the fact that it is NOT out-of-the-ordinary for Phaneuf. If Nick Lidstrom was –5 at this point in the season, you could still bank on the fact that he would finish the season over +30. But Phaneuf has not been more than + 10 in his career since 2007-2008 when he was +12 (interestingly enough, over his career of 411 games Phaneuf is also +12).
Ironically, Phaneuf’s counterpart on the Flyers in the game yesterday, Chris Pronger, just happens to be one of the best +/- players of all time. In 1109 career games, Pronger is +176. Pro-rate Phaneuf’s stats to the same number of games. He falls short by almost +150. But it’s not just the +/- that sets the Flyers Assistant Captain apart.
This isn’t the first time someone has told Tomas Kaberle to shoot more. He may be a world-class offensive d-man. He may be able to move the puck up the ice and quarterback a powerplay better than almost anyone on the planet. But his shortcoming as an offensive d-man is his reluctance to shoot the puck.
Kaberle ranks 52nd in the league in Shots on Goal among defensemen with 10 on the season. Let’s do the math here. 30 Teams. 2 Defensemen on each team’s top PP unit on the points. That’s 60. Take away 2-3 d-men away from that number for guys like Ovechkin and Kovalchuk manning the points as forwards. Kaberle ranks 52 out of approximately 57 guys on the points of top PP units. By the way, his partner on the point, our Captain, ranks 1st among all d-men with 24 SOG.
Now there will be some among you who say, “well, Kaberle’s job is to set up Dion’s shot on the right or Kessel’s shot on the left.” Well, there is no light way to put this so here it is: You are idiots. This conversation is for people who actually understand hockey.
As of today, our Powerplay ranks 16th in the league at 14.3%. The Rangers drew 10 minutes in minors on Thursday, yet we failed to convert on one. And Kaberle is largely to blame.
Leafs (4-1-1) at Philly (2-3-1)
The Leafs have something to prove this game. After a 4-0-0 start, the Leafs have lost the last two games: An overtime loss to the Islanders which the Leafs dominated from start to finish but could not pull out the W; and a regulation to the Rangers in which the Leafs looked more like the team from last year than the team that began the season with the franchise’s best start in almost two decades. Which team will show up?
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 220 Pounds
Height: 6’ 8”
Wight: 257 Points
For those who didn’t see the fight:
The heart says: This year is different. This year the Leafs will be a top 8 team in the East.
The head says: on paper, the Leafs are the worst team in the Northeast, and that means another year out of the playoffs.
We fall in love with the Leafs too easily. Already there is clamor around the city about the playoffs. Talk radio is flooded with how fast, how much more defensively responsible this team is. People are posting the current NHL standings on Facebook Profile pictures, calling for Kessel to win the Rocket Richard, calling for Giggy to win the Vezina.
Leaf Nation is the Charlie Brown of the NHL. We keep believing Lucy won’t take the playoffs away. But she will. And we will fall flat on our faces once again.
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