The Leafs Geeks Podcast – Zoning Out with Sean Tierney

This week we’re joined by one of my favourite writers (and human beings in general), Sean Tierney from The Athletic. We really wanted to take a deep dive into transitional play, breaking down the importance of zone exits, zone entries, and zone denials when it comes to driving results.

Corey Sznajder has been manually tracking zone entries & exits for every team from the 2016-2017 season. Sean has some amazing graphics visualizing the data that I HIGHLY recommend you check out. Here’s a link to his visuals on zone exits/denials, and here’s the link to the zone entry visuals. If you don’t feel like opening a new tab though, here’s a quick look at the Leafs’ zone exit & entry numbers from last season:


We make a lot of references to this data, so I wanted to make sure everyone could easily access it all if they’re interested! So without further ado, here’s a list of the topics we discuss in the podcast:

1:51 – Why Zone Exits & Entries matter.
6:00 – Jake Gardiner’s excellent transitional play.
13:44 – Morgan Rielly’s interesting results.
15:56 – Ron Hainsey.
20:51 – “Positionless” hockey.
26:12 – Nikita Zaitsev’s weird numbers.
35:22 – Why Roman Polak doesn’t drive results.
40:52 – Zone Entries & Toronto’s style of play.
54:37 – Optimizing the Leafs lineup.

You can find the podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play.

Thanks again to Sean Tierney for joining us, he’s such a great guy, super smart too. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode, cheers! 🍻

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