Monday, April 25, 2011

Leafs invest in the fairer sex.

Burke and Leafs form task unit to help support and grow the sport of women's hockey.

I must say, I enjoy watching the women play in the Olympics. I've also played with some women who could skate circles around me and probably knock me on my ass of there was such a thing as full-contact shinny.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Toronto future

Muppet and lots of the visitors from PPP seemed somewhat upset about me not including Ben Scrivens in the BoO's NHL goaltender evaluation thread. Ok then. Here's Scrivens in the ECHL playoffs: SV% .825 GAA: 7.07 Definitely the future in Toronto.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Murray knows what he likes...

Bald goalies with similar career stats?

Martin Gerber: 9.11, 2.63
Craig Anderson: 9.13, 2.78

THM's post yesterday, according to his comments is a retaliation at Leaf fans because we love James Reimer too much for him. Allegedly, this is no different than the upside we saw in Toskala and Gustavsson.

Lets just remember, Ottawa, that Pascal Leclaire and Ray Emery were in the recent past glamorized to sickening heights by you. Lets call this a symptom of the sickness we all share, called fandom.

Lets also keep in mind that while Toronto and Ottawa have both had their fair share of pitiful netminders in recent seasons, Ottawa are the only ones still paying one of these former stiffs. Ray Emery is blinging out his Escalade on your hard earned money for another whole season!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Special teams - when your goalie counts

Muppet doesn't like facts. Specifically, he doesn't like the fact that Craig Anderson's SV% and GAA are superior to James Reimer's despite being on a team further down the standings with only three functional veterans. Well, let's look at data set that will give us more information on how the goalies and their respective teams fared following the switch to these two starters.

Here's the data for the power play and penalty kill pre and post All-star game (ASG). Data courtesy of yahoo sports.

PP% pre-ASG
PP% post-ASG
PK% pre-ASG
PK% post-ASG

PP% doesn't rely too heavily on goaltending (we could look at SHs if need be). However, PK is a goalie-centric measure. We have the benefit of viewing the numbers very close to the all-star game around which James Reimer became the starter for Toronto and Craig Anderson became the starter in Ottawa.

However, PP success can indicate the confidence a team has in its own end - the D men can play off the boards, can take part in a PP forecheck and generally be more creative. Ottawa improved an astonishing 8 spots from 20th to 11th following Anderson's arrival. Toronto tanked their powerplay dropping 6 positions to 26th. Recall that Phaneuf was in charge for this part of the season..... But there's less of a link to goaltending than with PK% so let's get to it.

Prior to the ASG, with Brian Elliott in net, Ottawa was a below average team letting in goals on 20% of their kills, ranked 20th. Toronto was even worse at 27th spot allowing almost one goal for every penalty they took.

After the ASG, Craig Anderson arrived and took control of the ice on the PK. An unreal 18 position increase to 2nd in the league, rising from 80.6 to 88.7%. For the last 18 games, Ottawa was better than 90% (according to Greg Carvel) for top spot in the league on the kill.

How about the Reimer backstopped Toronto PK? Recall they were in 27th at 77.8% before the ASG. Reimer changed everything, right?

Um.... no, actually. Things got worse. Well, sort of. They kept 27th spot but saw a slight decline. One thing is definite: Ottawa's special teams became far, far superior with Anderson and Toronto got worse with Reimer. Who loves facts?

Hm.... maybe this indicates a coaching issue. (seguaaaaaaay......)

In the prior article Muppet challenged the omission of Colorado's numbers from Anderson's personal stats, so here are the numbers for Colorado's special teams pre and post ASG.

PP% Pre-ASGRankPP% post-ASGRankPK% pre-ASGRankPK% post-ASGRank

Goaltending: Ottawa v. Toronto

Lots o' flack directed at Ian Mendes for his evaluation so I figured I'd step in and correct some things. Here we go with the goalies.

Brian Elliott5515-27-90.8933.34
Brian Elliott*4313-19-8-30.8943.19
Pascal Leclaire144-7-70.9082.83
Curtis McElhinney73-4-00.9172.56
Jonas Gustavsson236-13-20.8903.29
Jean-Sub Giguere3311-11-40.9002.87
James Reimer3720-10-50.9212.60
Craig Anderson5124-20-40.9132.83
Craig Anderson*1811-5-10.9392.05

*record with Ottawa

Brian “1 thru 5 holes” Elliott was traded before the trade deadline in a goalie swap for Craig Anderson. Bryan Murray is a thief. Elliott was never intended to play more than 15 to 20 games a season so it was a rough situation to be put in. We wish him well. Evaluation No longer a factor going forward.(fuck yeah, Bryan!)

Pascal “Hasek Pt II” Leclaire was supposed to be the starting goaltender this year and things started out that way. He was perhaps the only player in the early goings who was effective in his role. He played stellar hockey while the team in front of him failed to yield any support. What was once thought to be a groin injury occurred on a seemingly innocuous stoppage of the puck. It has since been re-evaluated as an extremely difficult to diagnose hip injury. He was playing lights-out until that unfortunate development. Leclaire was waived and has not been offered a new contract. Evaluation: No longer a factor going forward.

Curtis “Even the Irish can’t pronounce it” McElhinney had an interesting route to Ottawa. Traded by the Anaheim Ducks for Dan Ellis in a backups trade then - 5 hours later - waived by TB and subsequently collected by Ottawa as their backup going forward (who paid for him this year??). McElheinney, you may recall, has a little relationship to the Leafs goaltending history in that he was traded from Anaheim to the Ducks in exchange for Vesa “Doctor, I smell” Toastkala. McElhinney played reasonably well in the games he started. He appears to be a capable backup, but has never played more than 14 games. McElhinney is presently unsigned by the Senators and thus this Evaluation Unclear how he will be a factor going forward.

Jonas “The Non-ster” Gustavsson was once proclaimed by Brian Burke as ‘The best goaltender not playing in the NHL’. That’s some awesome vision on Burkie’s part. A Francois “I’m still relevant!” Allaire type goalie, The Non-ster is a questionable backup to a first year rookie. Huge misstep by Burke in signing this guy. Expect him to play portions of back-to-back games when the opponent is not one of Boston, Montreal or Ottawa. Evaluation: Could become the starter if (when) Reimer’s bubble bursts.

J.S. “I (heart) Burkie” Giguere was acquired from Anaheim for Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala. Who was the dumber GM in that situation? Draw. Will Burke’s penchant for signing and keeping his friends on payroll despite abysmal performances (more on Wilson later) keep Giguere as an option in net? Brodeur never needed pads his size. Will Giggy retire? Will he stick around as a completely unnecessary ‘assistant goalie coach’ or will he get a modest 1-2 year contract as insurance. Evaluation: Unknown factor going forward.

Note: I'm ignoring Robin Lehner for good cause: owing to the injuires to Leclaire and the resulting disaster that was Brian Elliott, Lehner was not subject to effective development for most of the year - the regular travel between Bingo & Ottawa prevented actual game-play. He cannot thus be evaluated with confidence.

The Starters

And now we arrive at the main event - the starters. First up is “future Hall of Famer”, “best rookie goalie in, well, forever”, “the Great Mormon Hope”, “It’s up to Him” James “Optimus” Reimer. Ok, he’s got a cool nickname and a pending trademark infringement suit. I admit, I was originally confused by the nickname as I would pronounce it “Ree-mer” and then giggle at the possible connotations. It wasn’t until I heard Kypreos proclaim him the real deal (he’s fuckin’ cursed now) or something to that effect, that I figured out the pronunciation. The same things are being said of Reimer that were being said of Gustavsson in April of last year, and the same things that were said of Toskala leading in to his first season. He does have a respectable SV% & GAA at .921 and 2.60 respectively. Was this just the result of the now-traditional April surge by the Leafs or he a genuine solid goalie from which we can expect similar numbers going forward? Reimer will play backup-backup for Canada at the World Championships. No other Canadian goalies were available. One interesting thing to note: Reimer isn’t a Burke guy - he was JFJ’s work. Evaluation: If he sucks next year then Jesus clearly hates the Leafs.

This brings us to the Ottawa Senators starting goalie Craig “hey Brian, I stop pucks!” Anderson. He was on Murray’s radar for sometime (Murray’s daughter lives in Colorado so Murray would watch him with some frequency) and was an intended July 1 target of the Senators. A 4 year contract at a modest valuation and no NMC/NTC makes him trade-able if things don’t work out but his numbers with the Senators bested Toronto’s All World Rookie Phenom by quite a bit and on a team with practically no quality defensive defensemen (sorry Phillips - here’s hoping for a rebound). As soon as he stepped on the ice, he was controlling the movement of his defensemen by instruction, approaching the bench to encourage/direct players during stoppages in play and making sound positional decisions. Evaluation: solid foundation in net for a multi-year rebuild.

Overall, Ottawa comes out with a solid lead in net.

Coming soon...... Ron Wilson stays, Better coaches fired and a really sweet look at special teams (if The Man continues opening up internet access)!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hard Knock Life...

Sens move down to 6th yesterday in the draft lottery, won by New Jersey.

That sucks.

I understand the draft lottery exists to dissuade tanking, but the Oilers put out a bunch of 18 year olds and still get the first pick while a team that actually won a few down the stretch and still played hard (you Ottawa), are the team that suffers?

Ah well. I'm sure there will be a decent player around at 6.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Congratulations Ottawa!

According to Ian Mendes, the Ottawa Senators are ahead of the Leafs in their rebuild.

This is amazing!

Must be some kind of record for a GM to pull the plug on the season half way through, announce a rebuild, and then before even making it to his first draft have already passed a team that has been rebuilding for 2.5 years. It must be nice to know that everything and every player is going to work out just as hoped for.

Just think, as soon as Ottawa gets a coach, any coach, you'll be miles ahead of the Leafs since Wilson only won that category because Ottawa don't have a coach. This is objective journalism at its finest folks.

Confirmation from one who knows.

Sloppy Seconds tells us what we all know about Dion Phaneuf from watching him on the ice. He needs balls.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Make that Three (or is it four?)

Reimer, Schenn and Phaneuf all heading to the world's for Team Canada. MacArthur is on standby, meaning perhaps that there are forwards ahead of him who have yet to give a yes or a no.

Kessel was invited to the USA team, but has said no. Sadly for the US, he is the highest scoring US forward available to play but Phil says he needs rest. I have mixed feelings about this, personally. You should play for your country. I would. So would any of you. Kessel won't be the only player to say no this year.

Grabovski and Kulemin both will represent their country's. As will Holzner and Mueller and Mikus from the Marlies.

It's not known if Sjorstrom, Gustavsson, Brown or Komisarek are heading for their respective teams yet, but all are rumoured as possibilities.

That's a good amount of Leafs playing in a pretty decent tourney. How many would make their Olympic teams right now? None from Canada, I'm afraid.

So far from the Sens all I've heard is Spezza. Somebody chime in if you know more than that.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

So long Cory

Clouston let go yesterday. No surprise.

Record coaching the Sens: 95-83-20. Does that surprise you?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Leaf Bias?

This story came out today. Rick Nash has committed to Nonis and team Canada for the Worlds.

Further down the author of the piece suggests that James Reimer is expected to be named one of the teams 3 goaltenders. The comments section below the story is not surprisingly polarizing. Leaf fans (and some non-Leaf fans) think he deserves to be there as a 3rd goalie, while other hockey fans furiously disagree (but they don't seem to be able to suggest anybody more deserving either).

Whattya think?

The real story for me is that Martin Brodeur doesn't appear to be in the plans. It's sad to see great players wind down their careers ain't it?

Three More Years!

The man who brought you Pascal Leclaire and Filip Kuba, who just resigned a shut-down defenseman with a league worst -35, who signed Redden instead of Chara, traded Danny Heatley for a bag of pucks and has traded more 2nd round draft picks for ineffective rentals than I can even count, IS HERE TO STAY.

Be honest, a few of you Sens fans are unhappy about this. I know it.

Of course, Craig Anderson deal looks good and Murray has wrangled a few college players as UFA signings lately, taking a page out of his buddy Burkie's book. And he does have a top 5 pick coming, so maybe it't not all bad.

Personally, I like Bryan Murray as a person. He seems like a decent human being. His GM skills however have not been great lately. Proof is in the pudding.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

$50! Better than a kick in the nuts?

THM, good to hear from you buddy! Sad to see you are under digital lockdown. I'm wondering if it's the same folks who send me business and relationship and penis enlargement emails in broken english to my Gmail account on a daily basis? If so, I hope you guys get those bastards.

As for the $50, you are a good sport and I'll take the winnings. However I would rather you donated the $50 to a worthy cause than put it into my pocket where I'll just spend it on beer and add to the annual growth of my midsection. Opposite of the ice caps, and fat instead of frozen water. I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about.

However it just can't be ANY worthy cause. That wouldn't be very BoO of me now would it? I'm hoping you'll donate the money to a Toronto Maple Leafs cause that I found on their website.

If you're willing, please donate the $50 to the LEAFS DREAMS ARTS SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. It helps creative kids who don't have the financial help to follow their artistic craft. It's either they get stimulation there or they end up being a lowlife blogger like us? Lets help them avoid this cursed life!

$50 That's what THM owes Muppet from our year long bet. Each team had a $50 playoff/no-playoff bet against them so debt-cancellation comes into effect. However, the Leafs did finish higher in the standings and I lost that one. Phew. Limited damage to the wedding account. Muppet - contact me via email and we'll work out how to get you your dough. I'm writing this from a make-you-stupid phone (a.k.a. iPhone) that I've borrowed from a colleague. You see, the largest departments of the Feds have been under massive cyber attack from citizens of large emerging locales most directly, say, to the left of us on a globe. Ours, and one other department especially. As such, only designated kiosks are available for 'net access for very particular sites and internet usage from home is necessarily also restricted as it's provided by the office. So, now you know why I'm not around much these days. As for hockey. Good on the Leafs for a drive that has them - once again, not making the playoffs by a point or two. It's been a while. As for this Kessel v. Spezza thing, Kessel is 1/4 the player Spezza is. I've had a cursory look at the hard data and it's apparent there has been no player in the NHL better than Spezza these last 6 weeks. Kessel doesn't come close - he's a 30 goal scorer along for the ride. If that guy is worth 2 first rounders, than Spezza would fetch 10. Hall of Fame respect to Alfie, but this is Spezza's team going forward. I wouldn't be surprised if Alfie transferred the 'C' in September. In fact, I'd love Alfie that much more. Also, I'm pretty sure Phaneuf is the biggest pussy in the NHL.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Sens draft position

Silver Seven with a nice post on draft position probability going into this last week. So we still have a 36% chance of picking in the top 3 and 97% chance of picking in the top 5

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Battle Game #6 - Dear Sens fans and Hockey Gods...

Has there ever been a game where BoO fans agreed on the same desired outcome? Is this the first time in our vicious history that we actually both want the Leafs to win and the Sens to lose?

A Leafs win keeps our wafer-thin playoff surge still surging.
An Ottawa loss keeps the Sens in the mix for the 3rd overall pick.

Or is it that simple for Ottawa fans? Is there still enough piss and vinegar running through your veins that you would gladly give up a spot or two in the draft just to rip the Leafs and their fans from this fairy tale? Is there enough hate that you would chew off your noses just to spite your own face? Do let us know.

An Ottawa win tonight could mean the 5th overall pick. Not so bad, the Leafs got future Norris-winner Luke Schenn in that same spot. However a loss keeps your chances of moving up two spots to 3rd overall quite alive, with a slim crack at 2nd. I know if I was an Ottawa fan it would be a tough call, but I would make the right one. This season means nothing anymore.

The Leafs on the other hand, could do what no Leaf team has done since 1959, and that is come back from 7 points back with 5 games to play and make the playoffs. That edition of the Leafs won the Stanley Cup. This edition won't. But it would be something else for this team and the city of Toronto to taste playoff hockey featuring our own jerseys again. I won't lie to you - I'm still on my knees and praying for the stars to align.

Leafs win + Hurricanes and Sabres loss.

As I type this last sentence I get down on one knee and pray to the hockey overlords.
Keep the dream alive.