The Leafs need to get Frederik Andersen out of the net right now

Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS

Late in the third period of last night’s game, Frederik Andersen made a routine pad save. The crowd gave him a sarcastic “Bronx Cheer.” A person behind me yells “I can’t believe they’re paying $5 million for this”, and another calls him the worst investment since Vesa Toskala.

I turn around, as I’ve been talking back and forth between the group throughout the game, and note that I’m not ready to write the guy off after six games, given his history. The one who made the latter statement agreed, but stressed that, since he’s paying good money for these seats, he’s going to vent some in-the-moment frustration in the meantime.

Hard to argue with that logic, really. If I didn’t get the tickets as a gift, I probably wouldn’t have been thrilled at the idea of paying lower bowl prices to watch the Leafs put some of their weaker shots of the year towards the net in hopes of getting a lucky bounce or two to stop the goal bleeding on the other end. It was undoubtedly Andersen’s roughest night on the job since coming here, and the whole ordeal got me to thinking: the Leafs should probably pull him away from the pipes for a little bit.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t me saying that he needs to be traded, or waived, or sent on a plane to his native Denmark and reprogrammed as a midfielder for Toronto FC. While I was skeptical about investing assets in a mid-twenties goaltender when the trade was made, I’m confident that there’s a good goaltender hidden behind that man’s pads. But something is wrong.

There are three trains of thought as to why the team’s starter has, through five appearances, put up a 0.851 save percentage; a result that would be close to acceptable forty years ago, but is nothing short of catastrophic in 2016.

Not His Fault?

The first is that this isn’t his fault and that the blame should be placed on the defence for not bailing him out. To be honest, while some good arguments have been made, I’m not sold on this at all. It’s a common bias from fans who, outside of highlight reel circumstances, will only generally pick up on defensive breakdowns from their own team, creating an exaggerated belief that their own defenders are the only ones capable of routine mistakes. When watching “your” team play, you’ll be too distracted by the forwards to notice much of what the opponents are doing to defend, and when watching a neutral game, most every-day fans aren’t invested enough to worry about the Xs and Os of it all.

Every goal, save for long distance dumps that go in by accident, usually has a mistake maker. The goaltender’s job is, by design, to bail those mistakes out. If the defence were doing their job properly, the goaltender would face zero shots against per game.

Even with score effects at play, the Leafs are giving up the seventh-fewest shots per game in the National Hockey League at even strength. I might have my heroes and goats on the point, and the process can be made more efficient no doubt, but the net result so far is a team that’s supporting him enough.

The fancy data backs this up as well. I looked at every goalie who has played 120 minutes at even-strength (35 of them thus far) and found that…

  • Andersen is 34th in save percentage at evens. If you want to give his positioning the credit (rather than the defence) for missed shots, he’s 32nd in Fenwick-included save percentage, and if you want to add blocked shots to the equation, he’s 30th in Corsi-included save percentage.
  • Breaking it down into danger areas, Andersen still only ranks 19th at stopping low danger shots, dead last by over 5% at medium danger shots, and 28th at stopping high danger shots. He’s dead last in the league in goals saved above average; an average goaltender stops 5.63 more shots at 5-on-5. Toronto’s even strength goal differential is -1.

Now, there is the possibility that “shot quality” might be coming into play. Over the long run, quality tends to be statistical noise, but just for the heck of it, here’s a look at whether, from a statistical standpoint, Andersen is facing a rougher type of shot on net than his peers. Looking at the same 35 goalies…

  • Andersen’s shots against aren’t exactly coming from up close. Averaging a distance of slightly over 35 feet, only 12 of these goalies are seeing their shots come from further away. Ben Bishop, who the Leafs faced last night, sees his shots come in from ten feet closer on average.
  • Of shots attempted by Andersen’s opponents, only 47% of them actually hit the net. Score effects likely come into play here, as the Leafs have had a lot of leads with him in goal, meaning that teams are more likely to throw whatever they can on net. Only two goaltenders, Carey Price and Jake Allen have had to be in a save-making position for fewer of their attempted shots aginst.
  • Similarly, 29% of attempts against Andersen were blocked before they got to the net; this could be used to say that the Leafs might be screening him too hard, but the point is that only eight goalies had a lower ratio of shots even get to their general area.
  • As for where the shots are taken, 43% of what Andersen has had to stop has come from a low-danger area, 12th highest in the league. 39% of them have come from medium-danger areas (28th), and 19% have come in a high danger spot (8th-fewest). For those concerned about rebounds, 8% of his shots against have come off them (20th), and, a bit more concerning, 15% of shots against have come off the rush (5th highest, though it seems like this is more from teams shooting at him as they cross into the blue line rather than them cutting to the slot). 

As much as I’d like to say the situation isn’t on him, the data is pretty damning. The defence may break down at times, but so does every group of six in the league, and relatively speaking, they’ve been affording him an easier workload than the rest of the league has.

Don’t Turn Him Into Reimer

There’s been a lot of talk about the possibility of a stylistic change in Andersen’s game. Okay, there’s not much talk about that; even the most casual of game-watcher can see that he’s coming much further out of the crease than he did in Anaheim and that he’s defaulting to the butterfly. It’s more about the reasoning behind it.

My suspicion, as it’s been all year, is that Andersen is still hurting from his shoulder injury from at the Olympic qualifiers before the World Cup. From my understanding, the injury was a full-on separation, though I could be misled there. Andersen came back into the lineup a little quicker than everyone expected, and he hasn’t been particularly great since.

It’s not just the fact the results, but the process as well. As pointed out in this clever post on /r/Leafs, true over-aggression would likely lead to a lag behind in play tracking as well; what we’re seeing here is more likely a stance that is being used to minimize pain. Andersen appears to come out and drop down to give him an equal footprint while minimizing the strain on his shoulders if he needs to lift his glove or blocker. This is a likely reason that he’s getting caught looking on so many high shots. Sure, the second Stamkos goal from last night isn’t one very many goalies will stop, but let’s not pretend that every Blackhawks shooter in the shootout didn’t know to pick his newfound weak spot on Saturday.

If this is the case, they risk running the road they had with James Reimer. Granted, Reimer’s injuries were likely concussion-based, but there was a clear drop-off in performance from him during his time in Toronto shortly in stretches after coming back quickly from an ailment compared to when he’d get some time to rest up and get back to 100%.

With Andersen, maybe he isn’t admitting that he isn’t quite painless yet. From an outsider’s perspective, it definitely gives that visual impression. I sympathize with him; he wants to make an impression with his new team, and he doesn’t want to give the impression that he’s weak, but simultaneously dragging the team down while burning your first impression to the fanbase isn’t going to do you many favours. Nobody wants to risk further physically breaking a player and shattering his reputation five games into a five-year contract; perhaps it’s not worth the risk.

Don’t Turn Him Into Bernier

Some believe that this is a Mike Babcock and Steve Briere initiative, as Babcock supposedly likes more “aggressive” goaltenders. Babcock has flatly denied this as of last night:

As much as I can be a skeptic of some of the Head Coach’s decisions from afar, I do believe this to be a genuine thought. Our early looks at Jhonas Enroth don’t show the same degree of pushing out of the crease; he plays about as deep as Andersen used to. If both are by design, it almost seems backward. The main benefit of playing “aggressive” is to create extra size and cut off shooting angles, which Andersen needs less at 6’4 than Enroth needs at 5’11. 

If this is a case of Andersen coming out and going down because he feels pressured and unconfident of his ability to stop the puck in close, and it’s impacting his play, then the mental side of the game is impacting him. If that’s the case, something has to give.

If Babcock is lying to the media and he and Briere really are tinkering with his game, perhaps that needs to stick to the practice rink for now. Clearly, he’s not comfortable and up-to-speed with it right now, and it’s impacting his game on the ice. With that in mind, you can train him in the new methods during practice and have Freddy “be Freddy” during the games to get his confidence back up, or you can keep him out of the lineup until he’s prepared.

We saw Jonathan Bernier’s swift downward spiral in Toronto. He followed up perhaps the statistically best “starter-length” season in team history in 2013/14, done in spite of an awful team in front of him, with a string of bad games in the following year that took him a whole calendar year to recover from. A combination of James Reimer taking the bulk of the starts for a stretch and a confidence-boosting conditioning stint with the Marlies is what got Bernier back in gear, though at that point, any goodwill he had left wih the fanbase and organization was lost. 

Give Him A Break

That’s the thing. You don’t want Andersen to have the fall from grace that either of those two goaltenders had; especially because he hasn’t had any local grace to start off with. At least in both the prior cases, both netminders got to start off with a half to full season of fantastic hockey to buy them time to have some growing pains.

Andersen doesn’t have that. The Leafs do; most of the fanbase is unconvinced that this offensively dominant and defensively good enough roster is good enough to do damage, and have allowed for this season to be a write-off with potential for a pleasant surprise. But he’s the big money goalie that cost the team assets to get and has been committed to for five years. He’s young enough at 26, but a veteran in this group of stupendously good young players.

So, knowing that he’s not performing well despite decent enough support, and with speculation that either over-coaching or injury is the reason for a sudden change of style, there is some reason for concern. Is he playing through pain when he shouldn’t be? Is he publicly showing that he isn’t yet prepared for his new system? Is it all just blind luck?

We don’t know. What we do know is that he’s on his way to becoming the next in a long list of blamed starting goaltenders in Toronto. This city is capable of backing its netminder, but considering the fact that just four goalies (Potvin, Joseph, Belfour, Bernier) in the past 30 years have played 50 games in a season and walked away with an above-average save percentage, fans are skeptical to buy in and quick to judge.

Toronto has six games in the next ten days. It’s a heavy workload. Don’t continue to toss him under the pressure cooker for this one; let Enroth carry as much of the load as he’s able to while Andersen rests up, learns up, and preps up. Give him the training camp that he lost to his injury and re-release him to the wolves as a new man in a week and a half.

It’s one thing to have a rough five games. That’s excusable, and I believe that Andersen can get through it. But if this situation isn’t approached delicately, it could lead to a rough five years, and nobody wants that.

  • Bryan

    Get him out of town, is even tradeable right now?

    This should be up there is all other disaster contracts of the cap era. The numbers don’t lie, he’s the worst.

    • HockeyKeeperKit

      … currently. And your short-term frustrations aren’t helping solve the problem by recommending that we dump him at a considerable loss (lost draft picks, prospects, etc.).

  • joekool

    Andersen, Bernier came from big west coast Teams that played well defensively, and in Toronto they were faced with something quite different (Nightmare on Front Street). Could it be that both of them, Bernier and Andersen are not suited to play in a system that relies on random panic and disruption by small to average sized players, including D-Men, in the defensive zone. I get the feeling that young guys like Marner, Brown, Nylander, even Matthews haven’t come close to mastering the defensive system yet. Leafs also seem to need some better D-Men. Hunwick really hasn’t helped this year, so why not trade a prospect like Bracco for a functioning, sizeable defender. In last nights game, Marner really took an inopportune double minor, with the outcome being two PP goals which made poor Andersen look so much worse. I try to never judge someone on his worst day or game, better days lie ahead most certainly for Andersen. Another better defender, more time with the system, and things may get much better.

    • Ian

      Except as Jeff wrote in this article, the Leafs aren’t all that terrible defensively. They give up the seventh-lowest shots in the league. There is obviously room for improvement, but bad defense isn’t the reason for Andersen’s play.
      I don’t think there’s any need to rush into a trade, This year is about development and riding out the kids (and hey another 1st overall pick wouldn’t hurt).
      Andersen needs to figure it out, but there is no miracle trade, and trading long term prospects for short term solutions is rarely a good idea.

      • joekool

        Hunwick is a drag according to his stats, they need to find someone better for the long run to shore up the defense. Because the Leafs have so many prospects, some of whom may not fit into the Leafs plans, they can easily afford to make a trade (suggest Bracco but there are others) for a mature and useful D Man. Replacing Hunwick should be a priority imo, the Leafs need someone to step up and put a stop to late collapses, and help prevent disasters like the game last night.

          • Stan Smith

            You are correct, Hunwick was on for 5 of the goals. The first one was caused by errors made by Matthews and Carrick. Hunwick was actually able to recover and make it back to get his stick on the shot, which in turn bounced off of Stamkos chest and in the net. On the second, Matthews and Carrick lost a battle for the puck behind the net, Hyman wasn’t able to get to his man on time to stop him from relaying the puck to Stamkos, and Nylander failed to block the shot. Hunwick actually had his man tied up in front of the net like he should. On the third Carrick missed his man once again. (At this point in time I wonder why you aren’t complaining about Carrick). The last two were scored on the power play. Yes it was not a good game for Hunwick, but there are always factors, and other players, involved.

  • Tigon

    I think it’s probably a combination of playing too aggressive and still feeling the injury effects, while playing behind an inexperienced team. Aggressiveness can be corrected. If still hurting he needs to sit.

    I’m surprised Andersen is getting Thursday’s game after that .806 he just put up versus Tampa Bay; I would have given Enroth the net and revisit Saturday. The 4 days off would only help mentally and physically.

  • Jaker

    Wow, he’s had 5 starts so far, and only 1 regulation loss… Leafs were the last place team last year. His worst game was against Tampa, who are cup favourites. Maybe we shouldn’t panic just yet? How about we support our team, cheer for them when they struggle, have some hope? Seems like some are so quick to find something wrong, like they just CRAVE and NEED something to be critical about.

    • fermanaghlad

      What do you mean “quick to find”…how old are you. I was 17 when they last won the Cup. I have been supporting this team since 1955….I have been patient and I have seen lots of messes, backing the team is one thing being “Naïve” is another

      • HockeyKeeperKit

        Implying that your age and “patience” somehow makes your viewpoint more valid is not a sound argument. If anything, your long-term frustrations make your emotionally-based viewpoint less valid. You’d think you’d have learned that by now, given your obvious age and wisdom…

        • Ron K

          HockeyKeeperKit. You seem to have a negative viewpoint on every post made on here. You sound like a fucking doctor making a diagnosis on what’s wrong with everything they have to say. Respect your elders dummy!
          From what I’ve seen from your posts you know very little about anything when it comes to hockey so take your bullshit attitude elsewhere jerk.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            Apparently, anyone who disagrees with you must be young, eh? “Us” young whippersnappers should know our place! I think the only person I’ve been outright negative towards is you and it is literally a negative comment to your already negative article comment. If anything, a negative times a negative should be a positive but, right, you don’t like math. One comment I have simply says trading Andersen is poor asset management, one is a statement of agreeance about a comment on Hunwick, and the other is a physics item. Have I re-sorted to name calling? No. But you have. If anyone isn’t showing respect it’s you. I do agree with one thing you’ve said though… you obviously need a doctor. I just can’t decide if it’s for the early onset dementia or for that bummed hip of yours, old man.

          • Ron K

            Punks like you think you have all the right answers. The man said he’s watched the Leafs for over 55 years and you insult him? What kind of MORON are you? You analyse every comment like you’re the fucking doctor with a prescription to heal what’s wrong a person’s comments.
            And let’s get one thing straight……old men like me have forgotten more than you will ever know. You’re so far behind you think you’re first, boy.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            I insulted a person (well two) who, unprovoked, insulted another. What can I say? I don’t like bullies. I also don’t like people who think that an unearned status, such as their age, somehow makes their viewpoint more important. Personally, I’d be more concerned about level of past education, ability to think critically (of one’s self as well as others), or willingness to continue learning regardless of the source. It makes me wonder why you’re even on a site like this is you already have all the answers. I’d almost like to know how old you think I actually am but, frankly, I don’t care because it’s still not a valid point. I’m only playing the part you made for me. It’s truly telling that in one breath you compare me to a doctor, a person with considerable training and education, and the next you call me a moron. I feel bad for your teachers but I can at least take solace in the fact that you probably only had the bare minimum.

          • Ron K

            A better question is why a brainiac like you has any interest in a manly sport known for it’s brawn. Sissies like you know only what they’re taught by others or get from other sources whom you think know the answers. It’s very easy to tell that you have never actually played a game of hockey. This is a man’s game, boy, so I suggest you go back to playing with your dolls. I’m sure you have plenty of teachings to pass on to them or some statistical facts that you have read online. You should just admit that you’re a pussy and you don’t have any actual experience to form any opinions of your own that may actually be worthy of some consideration by others.
            As far as me having the bare minimum of education? I have a professional designation stooge. Go play with your dolls……

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            I’m here to learn buddy; that’s why I’m here. I’m seeing a trend. Jeff’s intelligence and “numbers” intimidates you so you assume he never played the game. I’d say do some research before you make a claim like that but we both know that’s a tall ask. Jeff, in fact, is quite an established hockey player. It might be hard for you to comprehend but, like Jeff, I’ve been a multi-sport athlete all my life in addition to my education. I currently still play goalie in hockey and soccer (you know, the position this blog post is specifically about…). And before you call that a “pussy” position, I’ve chosen the one position that requires you to literally stand in the way of projectiles. I take more hits each night and come home with more cuts and bruises than your average NHL enforcer, a dying breed just like you in case you haven’t noticed (that must also “burn your ass”). You must be watching the historic games on LeafsTV because it’s a young man’s game now where “skill” outweighs “brawn”. By the way, all that professional designation of yours tells me is that you achieved enough experience doing one thing to become a professional at it. Given your age (pre-cambrian?), I would expect you’d achieve at least that eventually. That’s more an achievement of attrition rather than proof of education or critical-thinking. On that note, I’ll stop playing with my food and let you go back to your miserable life. I’m better than you and I have better things to do with my time.

          • Ron K

            You goalies are all the same……..completely out of touch with reality. Seems like you’ve taken one too many projectiles to the head. It completely explains your lack of observational skills which has forced you to rely solely on statistical information.
            Your assessment that an “investment of time” or “attrition” is the only quality needed to attain professional status is further proof that you are unfit to make any judgement calls and is a clear acknowledgement that you lack a similar dignified status. Any fool can stand in a shooting gallery hoping to get hit. You certainly have the requirements to fit that role. Dumb as a brick you are…….
            Like I said earlier, it’s clear that you never really “played” a game of hockey as the only participation you had was to stand between the pipes to take projectiles off your noggin. What a “punchie” fool you are. It totally explains your lack of capabilities and precludes you from any further consideration of your horrendous insinuations and/or opinions. Stick to your dolls Kitty.
            The fact you are a goalie is ample proof that you know very little about the game and the fact you are “punchie” is verified by what you have said.
            But, the thing that absolutely makes me detest you the most is your final comment “I’m better than you”. That is the exact tone of all your posts on this site. You think you are better than everyone else and talk down to other people even when those other people are twice your age.
            That fact in and of it’s self, sums up what kind of person you really are. Just another stupid moron who does NOT have ANY respect for others. You have a prototypical “juvenile mentality” which is a predominant symptom of a brain-damaged individual. You should have been a hockey player instead of a goalie…….

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            You’re adorable. I like you. You clearly didn’t read my first reply about not first assuming everyone is an idiot. I went into this conversation assuming you weren’t, but I have all the data I need to come to a suitable conclusion. I know I am better than YOU. This has been fun. Let’s do it again sometime, ok? – SS M.Sc.

          • Ron K

            Adorable? You’re either a female or a sexual pervert. If you’re a female I can overlook your knowledgeable shortcomings on the intricacies of the game. Otherwise, I suggest you find a gay website instead of camouflaging your true identity on a blog that has nothing to do with such gay slanted verbiage.
            If you truly came on here to gain knowledge I suggest you defer to observing the discussions instead of throwing out mindless insults and comments. Your masters in social studies doesn’t earn you any standing in the jock community nor should it.
            And, as I originally stated; stats only help point out what has transpired on the ice. They do very little to tell you why things transpired or what caused those things to happen. Only an experienced set of eyes can tell you those things.
            Stats are only a compliation of history and are almost meaningless in any attempts to change that history going forward based solely on the numbers. They mostly offer ammunition for contractual discussions or a measure of success or failure of changes that have been made moving forward from a certain point of playing history. Stats do have their place but are very limited in being a source of success or failure on their own.
            Consider this a free lesson……..

          • Ron K

            You’re sooo cute Kitty. Maybe we should share a wet one and I’m not referring to swimming. I might be able to teach you a thing or 2…….Even Everest was eventually conquered so there is still a little hope for you sweet cheeks.

          • Ron K

            Sorry Kitty. Lesbians don’t turn me on. It’s wishful thinking on your part as I was referring to going for drinks. But, I really don’t think I could sit and listen to you that long………Cheers!

  • Brent Wisken

    Babcock cramping Andersen’s style? Martin Biron also tweeted on twitter (October 19th) that Bernier told him last year that the Leafs wanted him to play aggressively, and Biron now sees it with Andersen. Biron stated that Andersen is playing differently than he was in Anaheim, his style has now changed. More aggressive now, whereas in Anaheim he played a bit deeper and he was more under control. Another person pointed out to Biron that Babcock likes his goalie to play outside the blue ice, and the system and D-Men are to handle the backdoor, and also stated that Reimer said last year it was the most aggressive he has played.

  • WP

    This is exactly why people hate and make fun of this fan base. Five games and we are ready to put our new goalie in front of the firing squad. No overreaction there. Completely reasonable. He may in the end justify your angst, but man… at least give the guy some time. We are not winning anything this year, does anyone expect to? Lets have this conversation in the off-season if warranted. Find something else to write about in the meantime, please.

  • Trevor5555

    I thought Andersen looked to be favoring his glove hand on a few goals. Missing most of training camp hurt too. You can see he has problems tracking the puck and finding it in traffic.

    I think a conditioning stint in the AHL is the best option. Whether its lingering effects of his injury or difficulties adjusting to a new style, new teammates or new defensive system, a few AHL games could be a way to build up his confidence, allow him to work through lingering pain/stiffness or gradually get back up to speed reading and reacting to the game.

    Enroth is good enough to hold the fort while Andersen finds his game. We cant afford to keep losing. If the goaltending is even average this team looks good enough to fight for a playoff spot.

  • dabber

    Riemer had been with toronto his entire career so he knew that it was a shit show defensively. I swear he played better being left hung out to dry and facing 40+ shots a game. guy was 1st in save% and 3rd in GAA on the LEAFS last year before we started trading everyone away. wish we could have held on to him, even tho i blame the defense half way, it would be nice to get a save or two at least. #startenroth

  • ChinookArchYYC

    There is no way that the Leafs went out and traded a first and a second round pick and signed a5yr 5mil contract for a goalie just to change his game. I hope! Lets just give our guy till the 20 game mark before we think about throwing this guy under the bus Andersen needs support not jeers !!!GROW LEAFS GO!!!

  • LukeDaDrifter

    At no time was Andersen ever out of the blue paint on any of the goals Tampa scored.

    1st goal – Turnover at the blue line puts Stamkos on a breakaway. Andersen poke checks him. The puck bounces up hits Stamkos on the chest and bounces into the net. –
    Andersen did not look too far our of the net.

    Second goal: Point shot trickles through five hole. Killorn fights off Polak and pushes the loose puck over the line. – Andersen top of the crease, did not look too far our of the net for a point shot.

    Third goal: Three Leafs lose the battle for the puck behind the net. With two Leafs and one Tampa player screening the goalie. Stamkos fired a patented one timer from the high slot, off the post into the net. – Andersen did not look too far our of the net.

    Fourth goal: Headman comes in all alone, from the blue line, to punch a rebound over top of the goalie to score. – Andersen did not look too far our of the net.

    Fifth goal: Stamkos took the puck down the boards, around the net, threads a pass cross-ice to Kucherov, who fires it into net. – Andersen did not look too far our of the net.

    Sixth goal: Power play shot from the point. Three Leafs and one Tampa player screen the goalie. Andersen makes initial save but Nesterov puts the rebound in. – Andersen was out at the top of his crease. I think that is where a goalie is supposed to be for a point shot.

    Seventh goal: Power play. – Lightening on a 3 on 1. Drouin from 15 feet out, fires a blistering shot just under the bar. – Andersen was at the top of his crease. Even the commentator says Andersen played the angle well.

    Here is a hot link to the highlights:

    • Brent Wisken

      He looks aggressive on the goals to me, and also throughout the game, and the games beforehand. Even if he wasn’t immediately aggressive prior to a goal allowed, if a goalie is forced to play a style throughout the game that is contrary to their playing style then that could affect his mindset and comfort zone, thereby throwing them off their game.

      • Brent Wisken

        Moreover, given how important the goalie position is, I would have the D-men adapt to the goalie’s strengths and weaknesses rather than have the goalie substantially alter his/her playing style.

    • HockeyKeeperKit

      Still there are several feet worth of distance between playing at the top of the crease and basically playing from the goal-line (ala, how larger goalies like Lundqvist or Andersen can afford to play). When you are talking about a puck that is 3 inches in diameter, a couple feet between the top of the crease and the goal-line converts to a country mile. The extra couple milliseconds to track the a shot puck is also vastly different between the two positions. I had to revert back to my physics 101 formulas, but given a shot from the blueline (~64 feet) and an average slapshot of 90mph, you are looking at about a half second of travel time. That’s from the blueline! Again, a few extra milliseconds is a big deal.

  • Ron K

    It burns my ass when a columnist relies on nothing but statistics to support his opinions. Statistics should ONLY be used to support OBSERVATIONS which formed his opinions!!!!

    It’s very obvious to me that you’ve never played the game much Jeff. Andersson’s problems have been a lack of defensive support in clearing rebounds and his own inability to prevent them. There’s also been the glaring inability of Leaf defenders to clear the front of the net to give the goalie a clear look at the shots. How many opposition players have you seen that have been knocked on their ass around the Leaf net? If you said zero you would be correct.

    There have only been 2 or 3 goals against this year that you can pin on Andersson directly although his lack of rebound control has resulted in the many others. However, in the latter cases he hasn’t had ANY defensive help. I have yet to see ONE scenario this year where a defenceman or any other Leaf have cleared away a rebound!!! There has either been no one within 10 miles to do so or the Leafs have been out muscled for the puck.
    If you had any hockey knowledge or had actually watched what’s really going on in the games, you would have been writing a column on the ineptitude of the Leaf defence which has been the root problem of the goalie’s poor statistics. Statistics are only a measurement of what HAS transpired. They are not going to give you any insight as to WHY things transpired.

    • HockeyKeeperKit

      Why is it always assumed that one person’s statistical-based analysis = never watched/played the game? It’s such a cliche by this point that I automatically throw out any part of your following argument. Do yourself a favour and assume that everyone isn’t an idiot, but rather, they simply have a slightly differing opinion before starting your argument or else you end up looking like one yourself.

      • Ron K

        To HockeyKeeperKit. When someone relies on statistics alone without relying on the actual events that took place, I can only arrive at the conclusion that they don’t know the game. Any fool can spout off a stream of analytics and/or statistics. It takes mental engagement, a keen eye and knowledge of the game to support the stats with REAL REASONS as to why things ARE the way they ARE.
        If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then………..
        It’s not a matter of having a different opinion but the fact that opinion is SOLELY being based on statistics/analytics. That’s where I have a problem.

        • joekool

          Jeff was at the Lightning game as his article states, so he gave Andersen the ‘eye’ test as well. I do agree completely with you, however, that the D Men and the forwards coming back to play defensively are doing a very poor job. Too many rebounds that don’t get cleared, way too many opposing players who set up in leveraged positions in front of Andersen, making it difficult to clear them or get to pucks before they do. Those guys have to be prevented from getting into those scoring areas or manhandled out of position, not just stick checked.

          • Ron K

            Jeff may have had eyes on the game but his article didn’t mention any insight he formed from his observations, only statistics.
            However, I’m glad you see the same things that I do joekool. I see tonight they have Hunwick sitting and Marincin draws in. His size should help in clearing out the trash from in front of the net. The Leafs sorely need more size on the back end which I see as a major flaw in the near term. They drafted some big d men in this past draft but they’re a few years away………
            Polak needs to be more engaged going forward as I haven’t seen him throw a good body check yet.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            And yes, Hunwick has been bad. He was apparently out for 5 of the 7 goals against the other night. But Marincin, despite his size hasn’t been great either. I’d much rather give Corrado a try as he hasn’t played a single game and therefore is at no fault for the current defensive play.

        • HockeyKeeperKit

          Ron K, there is no “stream of analytics and/or statistics” though. There are a few bullet points supplemented with written observations and analysis. Even if the whole article was just a few statistical bullet-points, there is no considerable difference between you, yourself, solely looking at the goals against alone rather than looking at every defensive zone play. A goal against is a worst case scenario and you’ve use those plays that caused these goals as your sole proof. Jeff uses statistics that summarize all defensive plays as a whole to prove that, overall, the defense, for instance, haven’t been as bad as the goals themselves indicate beside the odd gaff. Again, these are just for the bullet point stats. As you say, any fool can spout out analytics which is, in fact, not true. Do you know the formula by memory to calculate Corsi? What is fact, is that anyone can use their self-perceived “keen eye” to make their own flawed judgments. Everyone thinks their **** is the best smelling **** regardless of proof otherwise. Math normalizes our judgments. Again, start your argument by not assuming that you are the smartest, keenest-eyed person in the room and you won’t end up looking like the opposite.

          • LukeDaDrifter

            Re – statistics show “overall, the defense, for instance, haven’t been as bad as the goals themselves indicate” If statistics show that, something is wrong. Defensively the Leafs have been diabolical. The forwards are coming back to backcheck but they have been ineffective for the most part. It should come as no surprise with six rookies in the lineup. We can’t seem to get possession of the puck in our own end. Teams have been allowed to skate around in our own end until they generate a great scoring chance.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            I don’t disagree with you. I just meant that according to the stats that Jeff initially had shown moreso lean to uncharacteristic bad goaltending rather than simply bad defensive play during this stint. The defense is allowing fewer shots relative to the rest of the NHL and they are, overall, from poorer shot locations. That’s not to say the defense has been elite, just that when they fail, they look like chicken with their heads’ cut off.

          • LukeDaDrifter

            Re- the Tampa game. One of the on air sports guys during the Montreal game stated he went back over the Tampa game. Out of the 24 shots Toronto allowed Tampa 18 would be considered top quality scoring chances. A team like Tampa was able to easily score on 7 of them. It should have been reversed. 18 low percenters and six top quality shots. This is more or less what I was referring to. The Leafs need to force teams to take more of those low percentage shots. Then quickly clear the rebounds. I am sure it will come in the future. It takes time for the rookies learn this at the NHL level. Likely one of the reasons people say Babcock prefers veterans.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            That’s fair. I think we can all agree that they were not good that night. Playing from behind like that means you take more risks on defense to try to get back into the game and often forego the systems in place. Quick fixes and all that. I assume the statistics Jeff provided included the Lightning game so assuming for your numbers, that means the defense have been even better at limiting shots in all the other games to even them out. You seem to be a consistent contributor on here so I can easily assume you’ve already got to Jeff’s latest article that seems to expand on this article. I’d really like to see how things change a little later in the season when, like you said, the rookies have time to learn at the NHL level.

          • Ron K

            At least we know you can read with some comprehension. I have yet to see ONE post from you based on your observations of watching the games. What’s the problem Kitty? Can’t afford your cable or you don’t really have any opinions about the games that you can form on your own?
            Even the homeless find ways to watch the Leafs so that isn’t the problem……….Fair to say that you really don’t have enough knowledge of the game to form your own opinion so you rely on statistics provided to you by others. How do you manage to provide soooo much insight Kitty?

          • Ron K

            Blog shmog…….We all know you can copy and paste statistics Kitty. Why don’t you READ the FULL comment and reply to the REAL issue? The fact is, you can’t provide any in-depth analysis that isn’t a statistic because you don’t know enough about the game. Face it Kitty……..

          • Ron K

            You can’t produce Kitty. You would never be able to discuss the game of hockey based solely on your observations of watching the games. No testosterone and no balls Kitty. Only historical stats……lol
            I like your word selection; idiots and analysis go really well together. There ya go stickin that big, stinky foot in your mouth again Kitty. I’ll bet the missus can’t wait to swap spit with you……..hahahahahahaha

          • Ron K

            Ya, I like cold and tasty things unlike you. If you want to quit your toe sucking and don’t like popsicles I can suggest something else you can suck on……..

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            No implication. You said “ya” after I asked if it was an innuendo. You also expanded by implying you like cold cadavers. Apparently you have a different definition of “stiff”. To each their own I guess…

          • Ron K

            Hot and hard Kitty……Think hot and hard. Get modern and with the times Kitty. If you tried it you may actually enjoy it but it appears you’ve never had much of chance to land a man. Too bad sooo sad……..

      • Ron K

        When you start posting comments about what you have actually observed by WATCHING the games then I will quit assuming you are nothing more than beached wood with a bunch of graphs. I don’t need graphs to tell me what my eyes have already told me.

        • HockeyKeeperKit

          Ok. Here’s one. What was Polak doing on the first goal last night? Polak skated to the corner even though Gardiner was headed there first, stopped to watch the player intercept the puck from Andersen and neither initiated contact nor closed off the passing lane to the front of the net. Too bad stats didn’t tell us he was bad ahead of time…

          • Ron K

            So you’re blaming Polak for a giveaway by Andersen because Polak couldn’t get to him quick enough to cut off the passing lane? You’re hilarious Kitty!
            Gardiner was on his wrong side of the ice by the way, but nice try. You really do make me laugh sweetheart………

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            A. Andersen couldn’t touch the puck because of the trapezoid. I thought I was the one not watching…
            B. In a dump or icing situation, it’s first man back. The second defender, regardless of side, supports. You don’t just wait around for the offender to challenge the goalie.
            C. I am certan Gardiner either called Andersen off or expected Andersen to retreat which is why they nearly occupied the same space. Otherwise Gardiner would have stopped to wait for the pass or cut off the offender.

            It’s getting tiresome explaining rudimentary hockey plays to you…

          • Ron K

            You said “Polak skated to the corner even though Gardiner was headed there first,
            stopped to watch the player intercept the puck from Andersen”. So now you’re saying that Andersen couldn’t touch the puck because of the trapezoid and you make no mention of Polak at all. You’re a beauty Kitty. A real Beauty……….
            You don’t have the first clue about what you are talking about and neither does anyone else! Dumb as a brick you are……..
            Stick to your fantasy world girl.

          • Ron K

            You’ve been lost with any train of thought about anything for a long time Kitty. Christ, you can’t even follow your own train of thought if you ever have one. You’re as thick as brick you are……….It’s past your bedtime child.

  • Stan Smith

    I agree that Andersen should sit for a bit. Whether his problem stems from the injury, his technical game, or his head, the Leafs are in danger of doing, if not permanent damage, damage that might take an extended period of time to recover from. If any other player was struggling as much as he was, they would have their ice time cut, or would find themselves in the press box. Maybe watching a few games, getting to work on technique in practice, without the game pressure, might be the best thing to happen to him. There is no rush for the rebuild, they have $25 M invested in him over 5 years. They can afford to give him time to get his game straightened out without throwing him to the wolves.

    As for the defence. Seeing as there are tons of stats out there, maybe they need one for how bad a player’s errors are. Giving up fewer shots is great, but a player can make 5 good plays and one glaring bad play, that ends up in the back of their net. The Leaf’s defence has to take some responsibility for Andersen’s problems, and by defence I mean everyone on the ice. If the 2 dmen are stuck trying to stop a 3 on 2, someone else made the mistake, and while you would like to see them stop the play, you can’t blame them if they don’t.