November 15, 2009

All Is Not Lost

Most of it. But not all.

Some thoughts:
  • If you look close enough, you can actually see the fear in Olli Jokinen's eyes. Francois Beauchemin is crazy, and I find it utterly enrapturing.
  • After a disappointing goalless performance on Saturday night, Phil Kessel is now on pace for only 46 goals and 81 points.
  • Where have you been all my life, Carl Gunnarsson?
  • So, according to Don Cherry, Rickard Wallin doesn't belong in the NHL because he wears a gold chain. It's got nothing to do with the fact he's Swedish, and wears a visor. Nothing at all. It's because of the chain. Just when I thought Cherry couldn't possibly reach a new low, he's gone and proved me wrong. Because only terrible hockey players wear gold chains.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs remain the NHL's most abominable defensive team (67 GA), with the 29th-best save percentage (.878), and league's worst penalty killing success rate (71.5%). It all goes back to the question that has haunted mankind since the beginning: what came first, the goaltender or the coach?
Scribes are busy claiming we are already in the midst of a lost season. Yet here we are, in November. It's far too early to write off the playoffs. (You know me, I think it's never too late.) With 64 games left on the docket, my plan involves conveniently ignoring the standings, and believing that this club will somehow flick the switch and get it.

I believe in the proverbial on/off switch that is found in the realm of professional sports.

If all else fails, Brian Burke can fire Ron Wilson. That'd be nice.


kidkawartha said...

I can't for the life of me think what Roly-Poly Olli was thinking. He must have seen what Beauchemin did to his captain, right?
Whatever else he's lacking or good at, he's got a nasty left hook.

Rock said...

I couldn't believe it when Olli wanted to throw down with Francois Beauchemin last night. I still can't. Didn't he know the last time someone did that they were eating their meals through a straw for a few weeks?

Hungry Leafs Fan said...

Respect to Olli for stepping in but what was he thinking? He should really start using youtube to scout opponents. Beauchemin might not fight much but dude is a beast.

looshV said...

What can you say about Blake now brah? This is a total disgrace. He's getting paid four mill per ffs! Phil Kessel is making 1.4 mill more than this guy and you can see the fundamental difference between the two in not just the mammoth gap of talent, but also the desire to take middle ice and sacrifice the body for the best chances at the net. Sick of JB's wagon circling bullshit. He took the money and ran away. This team is in desperate need of a leader, someone who takes the team by the bullhorns and makes big plays when we need them. It just seems everyone is standing around waiting for someone else to do something while JB should be looking no further than himself. Earn your money for crissake.

Anthony Woods said...

I'm with LooshV on Blake and usually say as much on my site. As far as needing a leader, that's a given. I blame Ron for not manning up and choosing someone. How much more does Kabby need to do to prove he deserves it? Don't agree with Kaberle getting the "C", how about Beauchemin? Does he need to know out some more teethe and score a few more momentum changing goals?

MF37 said...

I think 90% of coaching is having a good goalie.

The Leafs PP is smoking hot, mostly because it doesn't need Toskala or Gustavsson to function.

If the PP had a role for the goalie, I'd have little doubt that the Leafs PP would be in 25th place.

Mattt said...

Don't think that Ron Wilson has anything to do with the win loss record. Goaltending has been pretty terrible and when it's good they don't score. You can't really blame the coach for their anemic offense when you only have two or three scoring threats on the whole team. They desperately need a couple of real offensive threats including at least one centre.

eyebleaf said...

@ KK: I've got to admit, I didn't think Beauchemin was much of a fighter until he got here, and dealt with cats. That fight against Iginla was unreal. Francois is a leader, period.

@ Rock: The best part was, Beauchemin gave Jokinen a chance to walk away. Olli had a nice welt to show for his troubles.

@ Hungry: I have to admit, I've got to give Jokinen props for stepping in, too. He knew he was out of his weight class. I guess he felt like he had to, since he's doing a whole lot of nothing on the scoresheet.

@ Loosh: It's tough to support Blake right now. Even for me. He's been pretty brutal, but I think you can see the gap between Kessel and all the Leafs forwards, not just Blake. I get why you're singling him out, because he is very well paid, but in his two seasons as a Leaf, Blake has produced as a $4 million per season man should. There's still 64 games to go, let's see what happens with him. As for the team needing a leader, I agree, but I don't think Blake was signed to fill that void when he was brought in. But I feel you; that .033 shooting percentage is a shame.

@ Anthony: Jeff Blair had a piece in The Globe a few days back, saying that even without the "C," Kabby is the leader of this team. He's the face. He's doing so much more media these days. By all accounts and purposes, he's the captain. And I'm with you, I'd like for Wilson to make it official. At least give the team some fucking sense of direction.

@ MF: Clearly your answer to the question is: goaltender. I'm torn, because I know what a good goalie can bring, but I also think Wilson has shown nothing of substance since he's taken over.

@ Mattt: When does Ron Wilson get held accountable? We're looking at almost 100 games now of coaching the worst defensive team in the league, with the worst penalty killing. I know talent goes a long way, especially in net, but sooner or later we're going to have to look at the coach. Like they say, you can't get rid of all the players. Three wins in 18 games is downright pathetic.

Mattt said...

I agree it's pathetic but the goaltending has been 90% awful and 10% good which gets you about three wins out of 18 games.

I think Ron Wilson needs at least this season to try and get this subpar bunch of players to play. The funny thing is that when the Leafs played the Flames on Saturday Toronto looked pretty good. There were several giveaways that were not good but they actually looked ok.

The margin of error in pro sports is so low that a few mistakes in a game is all it takes. None of that in this case is a coaching mistake. It's easier to see in game managing mistakes in a slow game like baseball but the mistakes I'm seeing are just player brain cramps.