Monday, October 19, 2009
Maple Leafs fortunes on the back of defense?
The Toronto Maple Leafs get a whole week off, so we know that when Saturday arrives we will still be sitting pretty in last spot. The Leafs are not as bad a team as it seems but far from how good we think they can be. The Maple Leafs fortunes could all come down to the back end, a back end that was suppose to be the teams strength and backbone and has been nothing but its achilles heel in the first seven games. Brian Burke has stated he wouldn't change a thing and as the season progresses he could be correct but Leaf Nation is an impatient bunch. The key to the Leafs turn around though lies in the back end, the goalie needs to make the first save but the defense need to clear the crease, get some key take aways and block some shots. The Toronto Maple Leafs defense have no one in the Top 30 in blocked shots for defensemen, the Maple Leafs leader is Mike Komisarek who sits tied in 38th place in the league with 13 blocks but the Maple Leafs defense does have two players in the Top 10 in the league in giveaways Ian White sits tied for 5th with nine and Francois Beauchemin is tied for 9th with eight. The Leafs can also add Luke Schenn tied for 14th with seven and Tomas Kaberle tied for 25th with six to the list. These two statistics don't work well together for our Buds as they give the puck away too often and yet don't block shots to assist their goalkeepers when this is done. The Maple Leafs do have the league leader in penalty minors in Mike Komisarek who has taken eight so far this season, when you throw in the Leafs pathetic PK who sit dead last chugging along at 60%, a good idea might be to stay out of the box. The Maple Leafs back end also have just one player who is positive on the plus/minus side. Ian White is a some how a +3, while the other six Maple Leaf defense are a combined -27. These statistics don't lie Leaf fans the team is playing lousy in many areas but the defense and not the goaltending may be the weakest point of all and until this area improves, Leafs Nation is in for a long season.