Mailbag: No-Loss November


I’m not saying that the Toronto Maple Leafs will never lose a hockey game again. That’s crazy talk. I’m just saying that the Toronto Maple Leafs will probably never lose a hockey game again. Gotta leave a variable in for an outlier, you know.

In seriousness, this win streak has injected new life into the fanbase. But will that be reflected in the tone of this week’s questions?

To submit your Leafs or Marlies questions, tweet myself (@Jeffler) or the site (@TLNdc).

@shasan22 asked: Do you think Steve Spott would be an upgrade on Randy Carlyle, or would it be more of the same. Seem to be philosophically similar coaches?

I think this depends on whether you think Carlyle’s struggles are in systems or in morale. Spott and Carlyle seem to like the same types of players and don’t differ a ton systematically. Spott is a bit more adaptive and didn’t use the same breakout with the Marlies as Carlyle did/does with the Leafs, so maybe there’s a bit of a benefit. If you think it’s morale (aka, the players have given up on him), Spott would be an immediate improvement. His prior players speak very highly of him as a “player’s coach”.

@BlakeInWylde asked: If you could only keep one of Bernier and Reimer in the upcoming offseason who would it be? 

They’re both incredibly talented goaltenders, and as long as they’re both healthy, they’re basically interchangeable. I think this comes down to injury status and salary expectation. If both stay fully healthy for the entire year and ask the same amount of money, while playing to their expected potential, it will be a tough choice. PR comes into play at that point, and at this stage, you probably pick Bernier to stay. Chunks of the fanbase have “moved on” from Reimer a couple of times already, and would accept walking away from him or moving him as an inevitability rather than a shocker.

They should still try to keep both, though. Stopping pucks is good for a team’s help.

@cgaragan6 asked: What will it take for Carlyle to start using his fourth line more? It seems that even when they play well, he still holds off.

Probably a bunch of cold streaks that force him to shake up the lineup more. I have to imagine he’s so used to not playing that line that he still keeps the same routines, even with better hockey players at his disposal. 

@Synsensa asked: Three game win streak. Fluke or signs of actual improvement?

At the end of the day, it’s three games, but there are a lot of bright spots to take out of it. The game against Buffalo was probably one of their best in a long time, even if it was against a team that seems to be trying to lose. The game against Chicago was also incredibly even until the third period; I’m not going to stress a trailing elite team overpowering the Leafs too much in the closing minutes.

Overall, the Leafs seem to be doing a bit better than last year in driving play. Cautious optimism is at play right now.

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  • FlareKnight

    The three game win streak is a sign of improvement but they should get an asterisk next to the Chicago game.

    If Chicago played the whole game like the third period, the game would have been completely different. 26 shots in the third shows Toronto was completely outplayed for the third.

    It seems that Toronto got a little bit away from their game at times and played a free wheeling game. Sure they kept up with Chicago through 2 periods but they cannot lose focus over a 82 game season.