KK Members Blog
If Steven Stamkos were a Maple Leaf, this wouldn’t be happening.
In 9 games this season, Stamkos has a stat line of 8 goals and 18 points. The next closest player is Ryan Getzlaf with 13 points in 10 games.
Yet somehow, if we polled the intelligent portion of the hockey universe today, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin would be the runaway favourites in a conversation about the best forwards in the game right now.
Yes, the season is young. And yes, Crosby and Ovechkin are off to “slower” starts than usual. But Stamkos is out-producing them nonetheless (by a sizable margin).
To put it into perspective, Leaf Nation is buzzing about Kessel’s 7 goals in the first 8 games of the season. Some say he is a legitimate contender for the Rocket. The more mentally unstable ones have even gone as far as to suggest the possibility of Kessel winning the Hart.
Can you imagine what would happen if Kessel had Stamkos’ stat line?
Let me be clear. I am not here saying that Stamkos is better than Crosby and Ovechkin. I am simply saying that Stamkos deserves to be in the conversation.
Leafs (5-2-1) vs Bruins (4-2-0)
The Toronto Maple Leafs are actually ahead of the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings. The Bruins do have 2 games in hand, however, making this the proverbial 4-point game in the battle for division rank.
The Leafs put an end to their 3-game skid on Tuesday against Florida, thanks to a missed Goalie Interference call on Colton Orr and yet another Phil Kessel goal. The Leafs hope to retain that top spot in the Northeast Division with a win against the same team who traded them Kessel a little more than a year ago.
Tyler Seguin (profanity) sucks. He is the worst (profanity) forward on the planet.
Tuuka Rask also (profanity) sucks. He is the worst (profanity) goalie on the planet.
Jared Knight sucks so (profanity) much that he couldn’t make a team that has Tyler Seguin on it.
Oh and even if we finish 29th-30th again this year, Adam Larsson and Sean Couturier are the worst (profanity) prospects in the history of the game.
I (profanity) hate the Boston Bruins.
Give us a win tonight boys.
Caputi has been called up by the Leafs to skate in place of Colby Armstrong, who left last night’s game with an injury after being slashed by Chris Higgins on his hand.
Keep an eye on Caputi to make the most of this opportunity after a strong preseason. He will slot in with Brent and Sjostrom on the Leafs’ 3rd line.
Everyone is up in arms.
The Florida Panthers. Colton Orr just trampled over their back-up goalie. The ref was standing right there. RIGHT THERE. Yet somehow he only noticed the puck go in. Not the 220 pound guy who obviously took the goalie out of the play.
The Media. Everyone is calling it 100% goalie interference. Asking why the referee didn’t blow the play, why the call didn’t go upstairs, why NHL coaches aren’t given challenges like in the NFL.
The Toronto Maple Leafs. Even Ron Wilson and Colton Orr admitted it was goalie interference when talking to the media. Wilson even went as far as to say that Orr should have gotten a penalty.
Here’s what Leaf Nation thinks: We’ll take ‘em however we can get ‘em. We know it wasn’t a goal. We know it was a penalty. We don’t care. We’ll take it.
Phil Kessel scored (again) to make it 3-1 anyway.
Go Leafs Go.
Brian Burke, on the AM640 yesterday, talks two trade offers, Phaneuf and Nazem Kadri.
Listen to Brian Burke on AM640.
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?).
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.
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