Sunday, November 06, 2005

Two wins for Ontario but the reaction is slightly different

First off, Hasek had this to say about their 6-0 win last night:
"I knew this was a strong team when I signed here, but I'm surprised with how well we've played.
"I don't know if we're going to play like this all year, but it's pretty easy to win when you're scoring six or eight goals a game. I'm amazed with how well we play offensively and defensively."
The Leafs actually held onto their third period lead last night and beat the defending champs.

That being said, winning one game isn't going to stop the hometown papers from printing things columns like the following:

The best category for the Buds as a team is the power play percentage, in which they were ranked second in the league. However, if you remove their blowout win over the Atlanta Thrashers from the mix, the Leafs would be out of the top 10.
The Leafs ranked 10th in goals scored per game and tied for 14th in goals allowed per game. The team is a negative combined statistic in those two categories. In contrast, 13 teams have a positive combined statistic in the goals per game categories. Again, removing the Atlanta game would drop the Buds even lower in both categories and widen the negative margin.
The Leafs were a dismal 26th in total shots per game and an equally dismal
22nd in shots allowed per game. On average, the team was giving up six more shots per game to its opponents than it generated.
Everyone is aware of the worst statistic for the team -- its five-on-five record. It is with good reason that everyone is concerned because the team was ranked near the bottom (27th).
The early season bright star, Bryan McCabe, was, at one time, tied for first in the NHL scoring race with 15 points. However, that was several games ago and McCabe (before yesterday) still had 15 points and had fallen into a tie for 24th place with 10 other players. However, out of 232 defencemen to play so far this year, only SIX had a worse plus/minus than McCabe's -6.
While the top defensive pair of McCabe and Kaberle is generating lots of points (24), they are a combined minus-9, the lowest combined total in the NHL for a team's top pairing.

We shouldn't give Gross too much credit for his critical analyis - it's like shooting fish in a barrel.


  1. People criticize Toronto but they do have 16 points in 14 games despite having one of the toughest (if not the toughest) schedule in the league. They have played Ottawa three times, Montreal twice, Carolina twice, Philadelphia twice, Boston twice and the defending Stanley Cup champions once. The only "easy" game they have had so far is against Atlanta. After a tough schedule like that, to be 2 points above .500 is pretty good especially when you consider they did it without their captain and best player.

    So you Ottawa fans can bash the Leafs all you like but the Leafs aren't the horrid team (or even mediocre team) that some want to portray them as. Where would they be had Sundin been healthy? Certainly it wouldn't be a stretch to believe that one or both of those Ottawa shootout losses would be Leaf wins and close games against Carolina and Boston could have gone the other way too.

  2. "Where would they be had Sundin been healthy?"

    Where would they be if Kaberle or Macabe were hurt?


    The Sens can absorb an injury or two, however the Leafs will fall to pieces if one of their two NHL-calibre defensemen gets hurt.

  3. The Sens can absorb an injury or two, however the Leafs will fall to pieces if one of their two NHL-calibre defensemen gets hurt.

    If ifs and buts were candies and nuts....

    You are speculating on something that likely won't happen. Both McCabe and Kaberle have been very healthy throughout their careers.

    You are also, like pretty much everyone, completely underestimates the Leafs defense. Klee is every bit as good as Phillips and Berg and Khavanov are solid NHL defensemen too and Colaiacovo is more than capable of stepping into the line up and playing well.

    And don't try to tell me that losing Chara or Redden won't hurt the Sens.

  4. This says it all, Ottawa: 64 GF 28 GA. Toronto: 54 GF 55 GA. If you allow as many goals as you score, you're going to be hard-pressed to finish above .500 in the long run. Yah, it's still the regular season and all but Ottawa has been disturbingly good so far. Last night was case in point. They played a B+ game against a slightly below average team whose goaltender was actually playing pretty well, and they won 6-0. An 11-2-0 record while facing the second-toughest schedule (Leafs have had the toughest schedule) is not too shabby.

  5. David Johnson,

    Wow - nice hypocritical pair of comments.

    In your first effort you bust out with:

    "Where would they be had Sundin been healthy? Certainly it wouldn't be a stretch to believe that one or both of those Ottawa shootout losses would be Leaf wins and close games against Carolina and Boston could have gone the other way too."


    I then proceed to speculate and you shoot back with:

    "If ifs and buts were candies and nuts...."

    You can't have it both ways there, bud.

    As for the Leafs defense, keep thinking that Klee, Berg, Khavanov, and Colaiacovo belong in this league if you want. You'll be one of the few who do.

  6. No, there is a difference in out speculation. We know for a fact that the Leafs have played in some very close games this year, including 2 games vs the Sens. We know that Sundin has missed most of the season and we know that Sundin is a great player and we know that the Leafs are a better team with him in the lineup. It isn't a stretch to believe that one or two of those close games might have gone the other way with him in the lineup. And we know that the Leafs have had a very tough schedule. With all that evidence I think it is safe to assume that the Leafs might not be as bad as some people think (see article).

    You on the other hand speculate about something that is unlikely to occur - an injury to one of two players that rarely get injured. Yes you can speculate about that but it is a pretty big speculation.

    As for Berg and Klee, they did a fine job helping oust the Senators from the playoffs in 2004. And yes, I believe Colaiacovo can play in the NHL and he is doing fairly well with the Marlies (2g, 4a, 6 games).

  7. Sorry guys...

    It's all speculation until the Sens beat the Leafs in the playoffs!

  8. It's all speculation until the Sens beat the Leafs in the playoffs!

    That's not speculation, that's dreaming. :)

  9. What about the mighty Capitals of Washington?

    Sundin where are you ... can't even wiin back to back games against a bottom feeder!


  10. David,

    Typical Leafs fan. The losses were still losses, no matter how close you want to claim they were. The Leaf have proven that they are masters of blowing leads this year, so a loss is a loss.

    As for your "acceptable speculation" silliness, remember that Mats Sundin was injured because he is injury prone - he was injured because he took a puck to the head. I never claimed that Kaberle/Macabe were injury-prone, I merely asked you to speculate on how your Leafs would do if one of the two of them went down.

    So - care to actually answer that question?

  11. Losing McCabe would hurt more than losing Kaberle. I think they could lose Kaberle and not feel a significant impact. McCabe's loss would hurt more but again, I am not sure it would devistate the Leafs and making them a sub-.500 team. It's just not how the Leafs play. The Leafs have been devastated by injuries in previous seasons but they always manage to overcome those injuries. Pat Quinn has a way with getting more out of his team in adversity than it should probably be capable of and even as a Senators fan you must admit that.

  12. Relativley shallow depth of the Leafs?

    Who are the "impact" players on the third and fourth lines for the Senators?

    Varada? Neil? Kelly? Vermette?
    Fisher would be the only one I can think of.

    Come to think of it, the leafs have just as much depth and possibly more talent on their third and fourth lines than the sens.

    Steen, Stajan, Wellwood, Ponikarovsky, Antropov...

    Maybe at the devensive position.

    Take away Alfreddson, Fisher and Chara for two playoff rounds and see how they do...
    Historically, that's what the leafs have had to deal with!

  13. I'd think that Domi felt first hand the 'impact' McGratton has.


  14. In any case, I think it's a bit premature to consider young guys like Steen, Stajan, and Wellwood as 'depth'. Give them more than a month of NHL time before you start comparing them to other players/lines. Too early.

    That's fine so long as you consider the same for Vermette, Kelly, Bochenski, Eaves, Schubert, and Meszaros.

    You're right. I wrote that the Leafs are incredibly resilient, and I admire/hate them for it, but I simply wonder if they could pull off the same kind of effort in the dog-days of the season (which they're likely going to need to make the playoffs).

    They have had injuries in the dog days of the season too.

    In 2003-04 Nieuwendyk missed 18 games, Roberts 10, Nolan 17, Antropov 20, Mogilny 45, Tucker 18, Kaberle 11, Klee 16 and certainly not all of them were in October and April.

  15. Not quite the same as the "impact" Spezza feels from McGratton in the showers after each game!


    True enough adam... Good point!

    They are definitely lacking "depth" on D... I don't think any Leafs fan will argue with that!

  16. Typically it's the average Sens fan that spends more time talking about the Leafs.
    (Re: several articles in this blog by sens fans that have absolutley nothing to do wiht the Sens)

    But it's o.k., I understand.

    They're a much more interesting team.

  17. There is one Injury the Sens can't take and that would be to Hasek. If Hasek goes down which has been quite often in his career the Sens would be screwed. Emery is a decent goalie but he ain't going to do anything in the Playoffs for the let alone win a cup.

    I'd be afraid of that if I'm a Sens fan. The sens have flashier Players but the Leafs have more depth by far.

  18. Its all 5-0 has left. 5-0, HA! sounds like a sens-leafs game.

    Dec. 17th can't come soon enough.

  19. What happens to the Devils if Martin Brodeur goes down?

    Hmmm. He did go down and Clemmensen has done as good as Brodeur did before he was injured. I just had to point that out.

    But yes, pretty much any team will be in tough should they lose their #1 goalie for any length of time. And yes, Emery is a good young goalie but he is still young. The difference between Emery and Kiprusoff is that Kiprusoff was 27 years old and had played backup in San Jose for a couple years playing in 47 games before his breakout in 2003-04. Emery is just 23 and only played a handful of games in the NHL. Goalies take longer to develop than forwards or defensemen.

    Could Emery play well enough to lead the Sens to a Stanley Cup should Hasek get injured? Sure, anything is possible. If I were a Sens fan would I be comfortable having an unproven Emery try to do just that? Probably not.

    Oh, and Emery hasn't been overly successful in the last 2 AHL playoffs either.

  20. There's room enough for analysis, trash talk and cheap shots. Hell, you've got to be able to poke fun at somebody, might as well be a leafs fan.

    As Mcmurty points put, the loss of a goal tender cuts both ways. I'd have more faith in Emery between the pipes than Tellqvist. Emery hasn't played alot, but he hasn't lost a game he has started in (admittadly only 9 starts). How does tellqvist fair? 7-6-2.

    Furthermore, I suspect Emery will get plenty more starts this year than Tellqvist. On the whole, I think the Leafs better hope Belfour stays healthy.

  21. Yeah, 5-0.

    More like the Leafs-Sens playoff record after the 05-06 season is through. Spring can come soon enough!

    CMCmurtry... I was takling about McGratton's lathering techniques!
    It has a tremendous "impact" on Spezza's post game hair-do!

    I apologize... there's no place for a sense of humour in this blog!

    I should expect this from fans who watched Jacques Martin hockey for 8 years...

  22. cmcmurty, you talk about gay jokes but you go ahead and swear. What can't take a little ribbing, "If you can't take the heat get out of the Kitchen". If Hasek goes down then yes the Sens are Screwed I'll put any amount of Money says Emery can't win a playoff series. Being a goaltender is the toughest position in Sports.

    "argument is so fucking retarded, I can't believe anyone can actually spew this nonsense with a straight face" That is the stupidest "Fucking retarded" comment I have heard, it's a valid point that if Hasek goes down the Sens chances decrease tremendously. If my memory serves me correct the only team to win a cup with a Rookie goalie was the Montreal Canadiens. I believe they did it twice, what were those goalies names?? I think one was called Roy and the other Dryden?? Musn't have been good goalies or I would've remember them

    I've played nets all my life and You can shine for a while but you can drop off just as quickly. Could Emery do it? Sure he probably could but the Odds are very stacked against him.


  23. Good job stirring the pot Don...

    Shit disturber!

  24. That's Don, stirring shit, he comes from a farming area in Southwestern part of the country, where cow tipping and cow patty toss are the favorite past times.

    "Oh give me a home, where the Leafs fans roam, and the Sens choke all playoffs long"