Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jiri Tlusty's time to step up

Jiri Tlusty has once again been called up by the Toronto Maple Leafs who decided that his play in the AHL merited a call up. Tlusty played in his first game last night replacing Viktor Stalberg in the lineup after he was sent to the Marlies to make room for him and in 13:58 minutes of ice time managed a couple of shots on net. The Leafs 1st round pick 13th Overall in the 2006 draft is ready to make his move permanent into the NHL, with his performance in the AHL this season and his big second half last season for the Marlies, he has earned his promotion. Jiri Tlusty will now need to take his game to another level in the NHL to remain a regular stalwart in the Maple Leafs lineup. The Czech native's offensive skills would be a welcome addition to this squad who has trouble scoring goals. Tlusty should be given a long look with the Leafs and fans should not be surprised to see the winger on the same line as sniper Phil Kessel once he makes his Maple Leaf and season debut in the next week or so, for the Maple Leafs and Tlusty lets hope this audition works out because the time has come for Tlusty to step up and make a statement and for all Leaf fans to just hope that his AHL play can continue at the NHL level.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Would you swap Beauchemin & Komisarek for McCabe & Kubina now?

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue on their winless streak after losing yesterdays game to the Vancouver Canucks and setting the all time team mark for worst start in franchise history. Lets hope as fans that this is the only negative mark that we are part of this season but i wouldn't hold my breathe on this matter. The big question now is would the Maple Leafs be better off if they had kept Bryan McCabe and Pavel Kubina? The Leafs would then not have had to go out an sign Francois Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek this off season. Bryan McCabe had become the whipping boy of the franchise and his move before the start of last season for the brittle Mike Van Ryn was seen as a no brainer, now just over a year later are Leaf fans wondering if this was a smart trade? Then Pavel Kubina was sent packing in the summer in a trade that brought Toronto Garnet Exelby, a player who is rotating in and out of the lineup. The Leafs moved to dump some high salaries and by moving McCabe and Kubina got rid of $10.75 million off the books and the cap. The signings of Beauchemin & Komisarek brough back $8.3 million dollars to the Maple Leafs cap. We gave up a Stanley Cup winner in Kubina and got one back in Beauchemin.

Legend to Numbers GP= Games Played, G= Goals, A= Assists, PTS= Points, PIM= Penalty Minutes, SH= Shots on goal, P/M= Plus/Minus

Bryan McCabe stats

2009-10 GP 9 G 0 A 3 PTS 3 PIM 4 SH 16 P/M +3
2008-09 GP 69 G 15 A 24 PTS 39 PIM 41 SH 153 P/M -1

Pavel Kubina stats

2009-10 GP 8 G 0 A 5 PTS 5 PIM 6 SH 8 P/M +4
2008-09 GP 82 G 14 A 26 PTS 40 PIM 94 P/M -15

Mike Komisarek stats

2009-10 GP 8 G 0 A 0 PTS 0 PIM 23 SH 7 P/M -4
2008-09 GP 66 G 2 A 9 PTS 11 PIM 121 SH 56 P/M 0

Francois Beauchemin stats

2009-10 GP 8 G 1 A 2 PTS 3 PIM 0 SH 19 P/M -5
2008-09 GP 20 G 4 A 1 PTS 5 PIM 12 SH 45 P/M -3

This season all four defensemen have averaged over 21:00 minutes a game of total ice time, the main difference the seperates these two players it seems is their ages with McCabe and Kubina at 34 and 32 years of age while Beauchemin and Komisarek are 29 and 27. The big question for Maple Leaf fans is. Would you want to have McCabe and Kubina in the back end right now or do you prefer Beauchemin and Komisarek that is a question that seems to be going through quite a few fans minds especially with the Leafs yet to win with the latter.

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.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lets smile Leafs Nation, its a long season

The Maple Leafs are winless in five games and counting, what is there to say that alot of people are not already thinking, saying or screaming so i though it might be a great time to have a look at some funny Maple Leaf cartoon pics from artist I find they are the best pics that are appropriate at this stage in the season to bring a smile or a least a smirk to peoples faces and remember lets not panic yet Leafs Nation its five games in and the Leafs could still go 77-0-0 the rest of the way with a small goaltending change.

Could change this to 2009/10 season
Might need a bit more magic

Ron Wilson is in hot water
The haunting number

Top 2 Cup winners in for long year

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Monster pulls up lame with groin injury

The Toronto Maple Leafs Swedish content has taken a blow over the last couple of days as Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson will be out of action for 7 to 10 days with a groin injury, its not clear where Gustavsson sustained the injury but we do know it was not during the Senators game, the same game that Viktor Stalberg suffered a concussion in the first period and is out indefinetly at the moment. The Leafs have recalled Joey McDonald to back up Vesa Toskala while Gustavsson recovers.

Though some Maple Leafs fans would enjoy this cartoon pic that I saw in the Toronto Sun this week.

Maple Leafs forwards are pretty lousy bunch

The Toronto Maple Leafs have started the season as many non Maple Leaf fans would have hoped for losing their first three games with the possibility of making it four when the defending Stanley Cup Champions come to town on Saturday. The Maple Leafs have scored eight goals in these three games but is their any forward on the Leafs that scares any opposing team that faces them? Maple Leaf fans might say that Phil Kessel brings this fear but he wont be around until mid November at the earliest and the Leafs would be about a quarter of a way through the season. The Maple Leafs need to find a player or even a line that can be consistent just about each and every night, sure the defense has played lousy and the goaltending could be better but this team will need to score and perform better on home ice if they want to have any chance of making the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since the lockout. The Maple Leafs do not have a player on their current roster who has ever hit 70 points in a season and this includes Kessel, Jason Blake has had the highest point total of 69 the year he scored 40 just before joining Toronto. The Leafs will be hard pressed to make the post season without at least someone hitting this plateau. Looking back over the last two post seasons out of 32 playoff teams only 3 did not have a player that hit the 70 point mark during the season and not surprisingly all three clubs went out in the first round of action. The Maple Leafs need to find someone or line that will strike fear into opposing teams because if they dont then this could turn out to be another futile season for the Buds, we are three games in and Leafs Nation is already feeling the heat of another springtime on the sidelines and with a few more lackluster performances by the Buds as the had against Ottawa this past Tuesday and its only a matter of time before Ron Wilson's and Brian Burke's temperatures start to rise.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Maple Leafs facing a goaltending problem two games in?

The Leafs have played two games this season and already fans are screaming about the teams goaltending. Vesa Toskala has looked average at best in four periods of play as the Leafs dropped both their games to start the season. Jonas Gustavsson didnt look out of place in his relief appearance and some might say looked better in the third period but lets not kid ourselves the Capitals took their foot off the gas in that period after being up 6-1 after two so the score was a little deceiving. Then there is Joey McDonald who played superb in the Toronto Marlies debut a shootout victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs. Brian Burke and Ron Wilson were said to be huddling at this game yesterday to discuss the matter between the pipes. Toronto Maple Leafs fans want to see the "The Monster" get his shot at starting tomorrow night against the Leafs hated provincial rivals the Ottawa Senators but is it not a little too early to give up on Vesa Toskala for a keeper who has proved nothing? The Leafs defensive play has been poor and Toskala has been left out to dry on many of the oppositions team goals in these first two games, besides the first goal in Washington can we honestly say any of these other goals are his fault or more in tune with poor defensive coverage? Luke Schenn has looked slow and sluggish, Mike Komisarek is parading to the box more times then necessary and Francois Beauchemin is making poor decisions on his play reading. There is nothing a goalkeeper can do about that. The season is two games in and with eighty games to go, its fair to say that the Monster will get his shot between the pipes, possibly even tomorrow night but it is too early to throw Toskala to the wolves he deserves better then that and some leeway for now and if Joey McDonald plays like he did yesterday this goaltending controversy will get a whole lot interesting.