Are The Maple Leafs Suffering the Sophomore Jinx?

November 3rd, 2017 No Comments

When the Toronto Maple Leafs entered the 2016-17 NHL season they did so with a slew of new faces, many of which were rookies. William Nylander, Austin Matthews, Mitch Marner, Zach Hyman, Nikita Soshnikov, Connor Brown, Nikita Zaitsev, and to a lesser extent Frederik Gauthier and Kasperi Kapanen, came with a combination of excitement and question marks, and a measure of hope. When it comes to rookie players, most of them come with the same concerns- How will they adjust to the NHL game? Can they handle the grind of an NHL season? How will they handle their first slump? Can they play consistent defense? How will they respond to all the travel? Will they have anything left for the playoffs? Looking back on the performance of Toronto’s key rookies in 2016-17 we can confidently say that all of them

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Maple Leafs Beat Red Wings, Earn Top Spot In The Standings

October 19th, 2017 No Comments

Coming off a hard fought 2-0 win against the Washington Capitals Tuesday night the Toronto Maple Leafs headed into their match against the Detroit Red Wings with tons of confidence. Head coach Mike Babcock didn’t mess with his lineup much, but he did opt to make the customary change between the pipes in back-to-back games which saw backup netminder Curtis McIlhenney get his first start of the season. The Maple Leafs cruised to an early lead with Nazem Kadri netting his fourth of the season at 05:56 of the first period with Zach Hyman quickly following Kadri up with his third goal of the season at 06:39. Henrik Zetterberg answered for the Red Wings at 12:10 of the first. Austin Matthews scored his sixth at the 15:46 mark and the recently promoted Connor Brown continued with his hot streak, scoring

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Maple Leafs Need To Be Wary Of Red Wings

October 18th, 2017 No Comments

Heading into the 2017-18 NHL season, few, if any, of the “experts” gave the Detroit Red Wings a chance at earning a playoff spot. Too old, too slow, too battle tested and in a rebuild mode were all used to describe the Red Wings. So, how are those accolades holding up thus far? To say that the Red Wings are the biggest early season surprise might be pushing it, but it’s not far from the truth. Detroit currently owns a 4-2 record with wins over the Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, Arizona Coyotes and Las Vegas Golden Knights, not an overly impressive list of victories, but four wins nonetheless. Leading the way for the Red Wings has been the usual suspects with a few new faces mixed in. Henrik Zetterberg (3 G, 4A, 7P) has been the Red Wings most consistent forward, veteran

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Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals: Game Notes

October 17th, 2017 No Comments

Heading into tonight’s tilt, the Toronto Maple Leafs landed in Washington with the top ranked offense in the NHL. At the other end, a combination of off-season roster losses due to salary cap issues which saw the likes of defensemen Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk leave Washington and an injury to veteran defenseman Matt Niskanen contributed to the Washington Capitals icing what resembled an AHL defense. From our point of view, it was the perfect storm for a team of Toronto’s offensive ilk to strut their stuff and beat up on the Capitals. True to form, the Maple Leafs shredded the Capitals defense early on Tuesday night, creating eight quality scoring chances in the first nine minutes of play. Trouble is, despite their spirited start, the Maple Leafs failed to beat Capitals netminder Brayden Holtby. When your team comes out

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Mitch Marner Practices On Fourth Line. Is Mike Babcock Sending a Message?

October 16th, 2017 No Comments

With TSN’s Kristen Shilton reporting that Toronto Maple Leafs right winger Mitch Marner was practicing on the fourth line this morning there are sure to be a number of stories emerging suggesting that Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is sending a message. While there could be some truth to that story, it is important to note that Marner has four points (1G, 3 A) through the first five games of the season. So, everything is good, right? Ummm, not exactly! Perhaps it is Marner’s team leading minus-6 rating through those five games that is troubling Babcock? Facts are facts and Marner has been on the ice for three even strength goals scored, but he has also been on the ice for seven even strength goals against…not great. Of course, Marner’s line mates (James van Reimsdyk and Tyler Bozak) should not escape

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Defense Continues To Be Maple Leafs’ Achilles Heel.

October 15th, 2017 No Comments
Toronto Maple Leafs

Throughout the 2016-17 NHL season, the biggest question facing the Toronto Maple Leafs continued to be defensive depth. Sure, this team could skate. Yes, this team could score. But the Leafs struggled to keep shots on goal down and pucks out of the net. Shift to  game two of the 2016-17 NHL Playoffs against the Washington Capitals and things got worse for the Maple Leafs when veteran defenseman Roman Polak went Flying into the air, breaking his leg on impact. Some say the Maple Leafs Playoff fortunes changed when Polak went down, I happen to agree. Polak, 32, was not the Leafs’ best defenseman on most nights, but he might just be the defenseman with the most heart and his fearless pursuit of the big hit made him popular with fans and teammates alike. Polak isn’t flashy. Polak will only score

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