LEAFS POSTGAME: No Gusts of Win-d


Who would have thought that this would be one of the biggest games of the year? Sure enough, the Leafs and Hurricanes are in a race for the bottom, and a big zero points tonight would be a big boost to the tank. Thankfully, that’s exactly what they got.

The Rundown

This was a period of brotherly love, as both Staals contributed to get the Hurricanes the lead. The first goal saw Justin Faulk take a point shot, only to be redirected by Eric. Brandon Kozun tied up the game three minutes later with his first NHL goal, beating Brad Malone (filling in while Cam Ward drifted several feet way) with a rebound. On the next shift, however, Jordan tipped Eric’s shot to restore the advantage for Carolina with two minutes to go in the third period.

Not much happened in the second period. The Leafs had three powerplay opportunities in the first ten minutes, but didn’t convert on any of them. Phil Kessel eventually headed to the box, but the Leafs killed it off. Carolina had the better period overall, but it wasn’t anything to phone home about overall.

The same could be said about the third period. The Leafs didn’t score on the lone powerplay, the two teams half-heartedly tried to score, and the buzzer sounded eventually. Yawn. Cool.

Blue Warrior

Lets go with Brandon Kozun! I don’t think he’s been particularly amazing since his ankle injury, but at the same time, it’s still nice to see him score his first NHL goal. As long as he doesn’t go all Boyd Devereaux and cost the Leafs spots in the draft rankings, he’s got a story that makes you want to root for him down the stretch.


  • Fourteen road losses in a row!
  • The Leafs are just two points ahead of Carolina now!
  • Edmonton is probably going to lose tonight and so are the Sabres, so that’s a shame.
  • Making 24 saves on 26 shots is a pretty solid showing for Jonathan Bernier.
  • Despite that goal, Kozun played a team low 5:20; five minutes less than any forward. Morgan Rielly, on the other hand, was on the ice for 26:23.
  • This really wasn’t a particularly bad game overall; most of the team was somewhat competitive in possession and there was no point where this game wasn’t close. The two teams combined for just 48 shots. 
  • Toronto will take a second swing at losing tomorrow night, against the Jets.

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      • Dawgfan1980

        I did indeed, they’re killing it this year. Always feel like the raps have a chance to win no matter who they play. I’m still afraid to jinx it though, my sports teams never win haha.

        • Dawgfan1980

          Entertaining, exciting and dominating does describe the Raptors. A remarkable turn around in a hurry. As you watch the team more you will realize that this is a team that plays as a unit. The old cliche of each guy looking out for his brother is very evident with this squad. The catalyst being Kyle Lowry who proved a leopard can indeed change its spots.

          The only leader of any Toronto team admitted that he had matured as a person on and off the court. He was a family man now and knew that thanks to his negative attitude and me first mentality he came close to being traded to the Knicks. But fortunately for Raptor fans James Dolan the owner of the Knicks is even more incompetent than M.L.S.E. and thus nixed his Knicks making the trade.

          Lowry became the man, the leader on the team giving his all every night. The reward so far has been a trip to the all-star game and a good chance for the Raptors to go deep into the playoffs.

          Sadly Fitz I’ve tried in vain to point out the absolute importance of leadership on a team, of every one being on the same page. But which you gonna do when they can’t comprehend this and just want to remain cheerleaders for management.

          I deliberately tossed out the Oakland A’s and eventually the baseball discussion got a round to one John Gibbons who in 7 seasons with the Jays has never gotten a sniff of the playoffs even though there has been the addition of extra wild card teams. When you have individuals posting in here that Gibbons is a great manager you realize the level of intelligence you are dealing with.

          Fitz there are people in here that just accept 48 and 21 years of being in the wilderness. They are happy go lucky Chicago Cub fans. Well not so happy when individuals such as Stan and I point out some of the major problems that the ownership and management have caused over the years. As I stated before rather than getting your leaf knickers tied in a knot, simply ignore Stan, myself and others who don’t genuflect to leaf ownership and management.

          • TGT23

            There is a big difference between being a “cheerleader for management” and not being able to “comprehend” things and being intelligent enough to notice you haven’t posted one single intelligent, substantiated thought. Nobody here has said management is great, what we have done is pointed out how many of your points make absolutely no sense based on what they have done.

            Raps leadership group is bigger than just Kyle Lowry. Amir Johnson, Chuck Hayes, even James Johnson have been leaders.

            David Bolland was brought in for his “leadership”. Worked so well, didn’t it?

            And the conversation didn’t come around to Gibby, YOU brought up Gibby. Intentionally. So you could make another unsubstantiated point and claim sports understanding you don’t have.

            Just keep ignoring all of the opinions and stats/information you are too simple minded to wrap your head around.

            We’re not the ones with trouble comprehending simple things. Since simple math, logic, and basic rational thinking skills seem to elude you.

  • Just another outstanding tanking job as the leafs gave their loyal fans another 3 hours of entertaining excitement.

    Good to see that Jiri gave up his career of sending out pictures of himself as he got two big assists tonight.

    Exciting news that the N.H.L. has swallowed hook , line and sinker the enhanced statistics up your yin yang. Shortly after the announcement veteran hockey broadcaster, ex coach one Pierre Maguire went off on a tirade of how he felt this new fanatical desire of creating incredulous new statistics did sweet d!ck all on whether a team would improve.

    He proceeded to explain how many areas of the game couldn’t be properly gauged by trying to create pie in the sky statistics.

    As an example he pointed out do you measure whether a player on the p.k. covers a zone properly, how do you measure the toughness of a player in the corners, does he shy away from the physical play, does he take a hit to avoid an icing. He talked about how against certain teams with a certain line up by both teams that a club would deliberately try to lose a face off. HEH THE USUAL SUSPECTS, this isn’t me stating this but a guy who has been in the game for close to 50 years.

    Finally Pierre told a fascinating story of a guy who got signed by the Montreal Junior Canadians. It turns out that Scotty Bowman, Cliff Fletcher didn’t think this guy did a lot of the things that our stat geeks swear decides whether a player is successful or not.

    They wanted to release him from the junior club. But Sam Pollock stepped in and the younster was allowed to play with the jr. Canadians and soon joined the Habs. Who is he is?? Well Pierre stated a guy who went on to a hall of fame career. Serge Savard.

    Some people try to point out to Bill James and the development of money ball and the Oakland A’s. As Pierre Maguire pointed out the A’s over the years have numerous times gone to the dance but they never have taken the girl home after the dance.

    In other words stats carries you only so far, just good common sense and gut feelings about a player, namely does he have heart, passion, leadership etc SHOULD BE A MAJOR CRITERIA IN YOUR DECISION TO GET HIME ON YOUR TEAM. Yep no statistical analysis will be able to decipher those key ingredients of a winning hockey player.

    Btw I hope some of you were intelligent enough to watch two games at the same time as the ONLY PLAYOFF BOUND TEAM IN TORONTO for the third time in four tries simply anihilated the Atlanta Hawks tonight 105 to 85 to move within 5 and one haf games of the number one Hawks. The Raptors 9th win in the last 11. Seriously folks enjoy the leafs tanking and enjoy watching a Toronto bound exciting, entertaining and improving basketball team go out and WIN , WIN, WIN.

    • Dawgfan1980

      You still don’t get it do you? No one ever said that we were replacing the eye test or leadership characteristics.

      You want to mock anyone who references any data that is based on what happens on the ice. That’s what is the most amazing thing about this. You have people who watch the game, took time to find a correlation (definition for you: a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things) between attempts and success of teams. The prevailing thought being that more attempts should mean that one team is driving possession and shots more.

      No one once said that the management team doesn’t scout, in fact I’m pretty certain that the entire group of “Jerry Jones wannabe’s” (sic) as you have labeled them have been at multiple games.

      You never once explain to any of us though why we shouldn’t do both, use any stats that are based on what happens on the ice, and our eyes? That’s what really confuses me. For someone who talks about experience, talks about knowledge, you stopped wanting to learn and instead mock and deride what is confusing to you.

      Still though, tell me how you measure “leadership”? Create some more strawman arguments that no one here ever said.

      The A’s model is interesting though. They were a team who chose to play under a self-imposed budget and had to maximize their dollars by using stats. They lost to the Yankees twice, Minnesota once, Boston once, Detroit three times and KC this last year. They also beat Minnesota once.

      They lost 6 out of 8 times to teams who had no budgetary constraints on payroll. Oh, and they took those teams to five games, save the year they beat Minnesota (Det swept in 4).

      In a league where you are constrained in your payroll of your players, you should be as efficient with every dollar spent. You deride the same stats that show Winnik to be a good third liner, that showed Santorelli was a good bottom guy who could kill penalties.

      I feel like I would need to sit and discuss outliers and what statistics are there for in a mathematical sense. They don’t predict the future, but show trends and allow for better analysis and understanding for what we see. You are correct, there is no empirical formula to find the perfect hockey player, everyone has roles to play.

      The NHL isn’t shoving stats up your yin-yang, they are providing them to those who choose to educate themselves. Those who scoff at the opportunity to educate themselves for free are those who are usually labeled a fool.

      • Dawg you truly are the perfect leaf fan for M.L.S.E. I as I pain stakingly tried to explain quoting one of the more knowledgable observers of the game, Pierre Maguire, those who think all the statistical analysis is going to be the panacea to lead the leafs to respectablity lives in a dream world. Regarding the A’s, as I stated lots of appearances at the dance but never capping the night off with the pretty lady.

        Bottom line is that for years they played in a division where they played both Seattle and Texas two bottom feeders who didn’t care about winning. That was close to one quarter of their season. They nickle and dimed because management simply wanted to similar to the Jays who have the richest owner in baseball.

        The point that obviously you can’t grasp is that M.L.S.E. has jumped on this band wagon as it will pacify a lot of leaf fans. I recall how the bull in a china shop Burke had his media lap poodle favorites telling us that the leafs had more scouts than anyone. How did the scouting work out during the Burke era, oh so wise one.
        Heh democracy is all about having different opinions. We agree to disagree. But I’ll trust the Pierre Maguires over your thinking and a couple of your other comrades in here who sadly have never seen a winning Stanley Cup leaf team. Trust me M.L.S.E. similar to the teachers pension fund, Stravos and crazy old Harold could care less about winning on the ice. It is filling up that Loomis truck. At that as Forbes magazine points out the leafs are numero uno every year.

        On a serious note, speaking of winning why don’t you jump on the Raptors band wagon and watch a true winning team that has the major characteristics of true winning clubs. Namely LEADERSHIP. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan don’t allow for non team play or floaters.

        The Raptors totally turned their program around when they got rid of the N.B.A.’s version of Phil Kessel, namely Rudy Gay. But heh sadly you are incapable of comprehending that.

        Look rather than venting your spleen on my pontifications, simply ignore them, then you will be able to sleep at night.

        • TGT23

          You did it again. Instead of answering his questions you instead belittled his way of thinking, referenced other sports for no reason (and stupidly you reference the A’s who used Analytics to compete), and ignored all his points entirely.

          Do you just not understand advanced stats or are you willfully ignorant?

          You insult the intelligence of others but have never shown any yourself.

          And, you trash Burke but Burke has a HISTORY OF WINNING, which you said the Leafs need just yesterday. Burke and Carlyle are exactly the guys you want for the Leafs because they have that history of winning…

          • TGT23

            The bottom line T.G. is that a lot of people think the stat analysis is way over rated. It is the latest flavour of the month. Speaking of not answering questions. How about one of you stat worshippers explain to Snowman why the stats graphs have not been shown since Carlyle was fired. Stan nailed it because the stats will show supposably the leafs are improved but they are LOSING. What can’t you comprehend about that. Look I’m sure you are similar to Steve Dangle. Stevo showed his intelligence of sports by suggesting that Rudy Gay was the best Raptor player when he was on the team.

            Seriously man as I suggested to one of your compatriots ignore me if it is causing you to toss and turn all night. Stan truly nailed it with his comment that the leafs are right up there at the top with beauticians, sports mic holders, new age fans, dance instructors and psychics. Speaking of psychics I guarantee 5 years from now you will still be spewing the stats all over the place. Watch how a team really wins, watch the Raptors and their leadership on the team, the pride, the heart the hustle, the antithesis of the leafs. But sadly you can’t comprehend that.

            I got to know Brian Burke personally. He truly had a split personality as he would be generous and charitable to some people while on the other hand phoning up a media outlet and using every foul word invented on a poor secretary as he tried to get a journalist fired for having the audacity to criticize him. He did this to a friend of mine in the media. It was the work of a gutless punk. He was a bully who was a fourth line goon in the a.h.l. for a short time. His whole mentality of hockey is based on truculence. Which led to his bringing in numerous pylons to the leafs, Komisarek, Exelby, Orr, McClaren the list goes on. His theory is that these good old boys are real competitors who give a team that grit, that toughness. What he did was set the leafs back five more years.

            For some bizarre reason Toronto seems to produce a lot of sports fans who actually think people like John Gibbons is a good manager, that Phil Kessel’s style and attitude of a one way game is quite all right for a team. Why do you think he was picked last in the all star game a few years ago. Why do you think N.H.L. players have ranked Dion Phaneuf twice as the most over rated player in the league. HOW ABOUT ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS.

            Look I’m sure Chicago Cub fans, Jacksonville Jaguar fans, have a similar philosophy that it isn’t the ownership that is the problem, it isn’t the management, it isn’t the players. Yep it is those negative media people and fans who actually have the audacity to criticize a club that has been in the wilderness for 48 years. Like I said you have been bred on losing. Those of us who remember the 1960’s have actually tasted the sweet success of winning by their hockey team.

            Quite frankly I’m sadden that toronto kids in 10 years of their school life have watched 7 playoff games. But heh I’m sure they will be future whiz kids on stats and that’s what it is all about RIGHT???

          • TGT23

            Whether stats are overrated is not an issue. You’re incredibly dumb if you think that.

            Analytics, if used correctly, can be an incredibly efficient and effective tool for scouts and team builders. Coaches too. A tool, not a magic wand, not a cure all.

            Neither stats nor the eye test are 100% accurate or effective, and they certainly will not tell you everything, but if used together properly it can only help.

            All you seem to be saying is that you need as little information as possible, because that’s what stats are… Information… And you are saying information is bad. A long con.

            That makes you sound stupid.

          • TGT23

            Frankly, you look like nothing more than a ranting old fool.

            You trash Burke but you want someone who has a history of winning in Toronto, just like him. Just like Carlyle. You said it. History of winning. They had it. Leafs got them. What happened next?

            You can’t have it both ways. You want history of winning. That was them. You got it, now you say they need to go back to it?

            And yeah, Leafs are losing. Try were losing before, too. They lost last year, too. Stats show they are improved in ONE ASPECT of the game. One. Stats also show their goaltending isn’t as good, they are scoring less, and their possession is improved but still BAD. Analytics say the Leafs are bad BECAUSE THEY ARE.

            Do you think them losing playing Carlyle’s system is better long term than them long playing Horechek’s system?

            Do you think finishing 10th again is better than finishing at the bottom and having a shot at a top two draft picks?

            Answer that.

            I’ll answer your questions. You never answer anyone else’s but I’ll answer yours.

            A player poll is b.s. They all know each other and hate Dion. So, of course they trash him. Like they vote Crosby the biggest whiner. Who cares? Teams like Detroit and LA want Dion, that should tell you something. Anyone with a brain stem can see Dion is disliked but that doesn’t mean he isn’t at least an above average player.

            Rudy Gay was, at the time, considered the Raps best player. That is why he was the focal point on offense. That is why they brought him in in the first place. Your great messiah got extremely lucky to get what he did for him. AND Ujiri nearly traded Lowry too. So what’s your point?

            Oh, and also, I’ve NEVER said Gibby is a good manager, no one on this site railed against Phil’s attitude more than I have (go back and look), no one has pushed for him to be traded more than I have. You are just making things up to fuel your fire at this point.

            You know absolutely nothing about the Leafs, Raptors, and Jays it seems. But keep pretending you are some great sports mind all you want. Your ignorant and addled brain is showing

        • Dawgfan1980

          I’m the perfect fan? I’d love to hear why on this one. Because I still watch the team? Or is it because you think I buy merchandise (which I don’t) or watch and want to learn about the team more and more, using what tools are around me.

          No one is discounting Pierre McGuire and his hockey knowledge. I would point out his record as a coach was 23-37-7 and he forfeited half of his salary as coach of the Whalers after giving the Oilers confidential coaching evaluations. When he was let go, the captain of the team, Pat Verbeek said it was “the best thing that could have happened to the Whalers”. I’m not saying I don’t respect Pierre McGuire, but why do we respect him? It isn’t for his winning as a player or coach or builder of teams. He is also a person firmly entrenched in the mainstream media.

          How many years do you think that the Athletics payroll was more than the Rangers in the past fifteen years? 3. Do you know how many times the Oakland A’s had a higher payroll than the Mariners in that time? 0. For teams who “didn’t care about winning”, they sure spent a lot of money, to the point where I’d expect they expected to finish higher than Oakland. Living here in Seattle, I can tell you that most Mariner fans thought they’d compete. They overvalued prospects and didn’t utilize deeper statistics or look at things in an innovative way. (http://www.stevetheump.com/Payrolls.htm for payroll info by team)

          I don’t think the pacification of the fans is the most important thing in their minds. Do you think they are sitting in ivory towers, sweating that this empire will crumble if they don’t do something to pacify the angry hordes? You yourself have said that Leafs fans are dumb for rooting for this team. The bottom line fiscally is that this team will be in the black and they’d be smarter to get to the salary floor and continue to rake in a profit. If you think owners care about anything other than that, including Mike Ilitch, you probably haven’t owned a large business.

          I also remember Burke stating that they didn’t utilize their analytics budget. Do they draft high prospects well? Outside of Biggs, I’d say they did okay (Percy, Kadri, Reilly) and missed on Ross (who was a malcontent but showed “leadership” in the WHL playoffs) with a second and Tyler Biggs. Newsflash, teams miss on draft picks. You use scouts and analysis to get a complete picture.

          You dismiss me because I’m not Pierre McGuire. Maybe I’m the fool for treating you with respect and trying to show where your logic might be incorrect. Instead, you provide anecdotes and nothing based in fact. You should write for the Sun.

          I don’t follow basketball as my team was taken from me. It would be germane if we were on a basketball website, but as we are on a hockey website, I’m not sure why your posts veer toward baseball and basketball. I think that the Raptors lack the top end talent though to win the Larry O’brien Trophy. If you think though that Lowery and DeRozan have the locker room and everyone follows them, cool. You’re wrong, but cool. The dynamics of a basketball team are more complex than “best player is our leader”. There’s someone like a Chuck Hayes who sets the tone in the room. I’m not saying its him, but someone that level who is respected.

          I do understand that the team got better by getting rid of Rudy Gay, who doesn’t compare to Phil Kessel in any tangible way. Is it because you dislike them that they are comparable? You do realize they tried to move Lowery right after that? Like, they openly were trying to move him. But, hey, don’t let facts get in the way of your narrative.

          I slept fine last night, and it wasn’t to educate you, for you decided long ago you didn’t want to learn. You realize that I research and learn from these posts, just like those who read these do. You now know that your statement that the Rangers and Mariners didn’t care about winning is false, if we go by payroll on opening day. But, why research a narrative when you can just keep talking about it and hoping enough people won’t do their due diligence and just parrot it until its true.

  • I’d really like a serious answer to the question of why under Carlyle there was always a Corsi/ Possession graph in the game summary and since he was fired there never is? Could someone at Leafs Nation tell me why that is?

    • STAN

      …because the improved numbers would look silly and inexplicable with the team still losing.

      As for the reams of new and crucial decision-making data now available to head coaches, assistant coaches, trainers, massage therapists, psychologists, consultants, dieticians, agents, GMs, assistant GMs, Presidents, special assistants to Presidents, owners, young nerdy fans, young cool fans, old fans, eye test fans, new age fans, mathematicians, astrophysicists, Stephen Hawking, sports mic holders, sports writers, sports pundits, capologists, cheerleaders, fan clubs, Corsi bloggers, Fenwick bloggers, Corsi/Fenwick bloggers and Stephen Harper…. THIS JUST IN…. David Clarkson remains a bad hockey player. Always really was and still is.

      Just check the numbers.

      • Dawgfan1980

        Stan that truly was classic. Trust me the leafs lead all the teams in staff numbers of 95% of those numerous positions you pontificated on.

        I’m glad you included the brilliant astrophysicist Stephen Hawkins as I’m pulling for the theory of everything to win the best picture oscar. The actor who portrayed him certainly will win the oscar.

        Sadly another great student of the skies, the late great communicator of astronomy Carl Sagan would have been hired by the current M.L.S.E. ownership as Carl always loved to talk about billions and billions of stars. Very similar to the billions and billions of excuses that leaf ownership and the poor sad cheerleaders of that management spew out.

        Your satire is brilliant but even a few months ago there were people in here who thought David Clarkson was a talented N.H.L. player who was just having a second straight off year.

        These are the same lost souls who think Bernier is the goalie to build this team around. They will tell you as they do have all the stats up the yin yang except the stat that he and Reimer allow soft goals most games. These are the same fools who through their sophistocated Corsi and Fenwick will point out that Jake Gardiner has major pluses in puck possesion. Why he will wheel and deal with the puck on his stick like he had a string attached to it from his blue line to the opposition blue line where he will cough it up or take his infamous 45 m.p.h. shot that has led to a scintilating 2 freaking goals this season. But the stats don’t lie he controlled the puck more than any defenceman in a lot of games. See how stupid that analysis truly is.

        Stan you and I know five years from now what ever the latest but greatest flavour out there is the leafs will be leading the way. Sadly the current flavour is b.s.

  • Dawgfan1980

    The only people who think Gibbons is a terrible manager are those that don’t understand baseball. He uses creative platoons (Not just standard 3B vs RHP and LHP, but using Lawrie/Tolleson/Francisco at different positions and vs RHP/LHP) that maximize the effectiveness of each player and puts them in a position where they’re most likely to succeed. He uses his bullpen effectively, and his relievers have generally been awful over the past few years save for 2013 – which should be a criticism against AA for giving him lousy pitchers, and not Gibbons (it’s like blaming the Leafs coach that Polak has to be used as a #1/2 D on this Leafs team).

    Beyond that, he pulls his starters around the right time, doesn’t waste outs on sacrifice bunts (which, generally speaking, are poor plays and reduce your odds of having multiple runs scored in an inning), and puts uses his lineups effectively by not putting lousy hitters in the 2 spot, which is one of the key run production spots in the lineup. When injuries happened, he moved Bautista there, something most managers wouldn’t have even considered.

    The Jays are very lucky to have Gibbons, and not some fool of a manager who has lots of sacrifice bunts, refuses to platoons, and can’t figure out what spots in the lineup come up the most # of times in high leverage situations (that would be #2 & #4 in case you’re wondering).