TLN Monday Mailbag: November 21st


I was asleep this morning, but then I woke up and was up for several hours. I wasn’t supposed to be awake, though, so if you ask my bosses, they’ll tell you that I’m asleep until I get sufficient rest.

I’m not too stressed about it just yet. Ideally, you want the team to be taking more shots than it gives up, and I think that’ll be something that Babcock works towards with this line if they stay united, but they’re a trio that’s designed to be able to capitalize on opportunity. Both Marner and Bozak are good at carrying the puck into the zone and distributing it, and both JVR and Bozak can get into danger areas to finish plays. They often don’t need too many cracks at it to get the puck into the net, and that’s a good thing to have.

The downside is that if they ever go cold, the line becomes a huge detriment. Hence the need to keep working. I think Marner is the least of my concerns defensively, though; JVR and Bozak have historically been problematic in this regard and Marner’s positioning and eagerness to close gaps imply that he should fare better at shot suppression with better suited linemates.

I don’t think there’s a need to re-shuffle the deck chairs. Defence is obviously an issue with this team, but all you do in making a sideways step is lose a well-liked young player who is already familiar with your system. I don’t think Hamilton or Trouba big enough upgrades (if upgrades at all) to warrant that.

The goal is to get players to go with the Rielly’s, Zaitsev’s, and Gardiner’s, not swap them for others.

Frederik Gauthier has been a pleasant surprise. While he’s not ripping up the scoresheet, his mobility is night-and-day better than last year, to the point that where I’ve regained confidence that he can find a role even in today’s NHL. Not an immense one, it would have to be on a low minute but play-driving fourth line, but there’s hope for him yet.

I’d walk into the Air Canada Centre, declare that I own the place, steal all the Sushi Burritos from Edo before every game, use the corporate contact list to harass Drake during every intermission, and then demand to know what exactly happened at the Stamkos meetings.

After that, I’d mostly just bounce ideas around in the war rooms and group emails with no demands to have the last call. I have a lot of ideas bout this team based on the information I have. I’d like to hear why their ideas are sometimes to the contrary and learn from them. Maybe I find out that I was definitely onto something. Maybe I find out I was nowhere close.

Oh, and I invite Frank Corrado to play ball hockey with me every night so he can feel like he’s drawing into a lineup.

I’m very much on team “offer Burns and Thornton massive one-year deals if they leave the Sharks”, and I never considered this.

Let me go back to the last question. I’d consider firing Lou if he didn’t let me have a Sharks beard exemption. Those things are untamable national treasures.