Wither the Leafs?

The hockey team, of course.

Here’s my take on it.

I seriously think the talent on this team is over rated. Having said that, there is no excuse for their apparent lack of preparation for games except to single out Ron Wilson as a culprit. It truly is time for him to go.

It’s a brand new team that has had some promising talent that have not performed. Who can we blame? I can think of no one better to shoulder that responsibility than Wilson. When the players are making the same mistakes over and over and they appear groggy and lazy……

While we’re at it, how about Allaire (the goalie coach). Both Reimer and Gustaffson came with great promise. Neither have lived up to their billing. Reimer, in particular, looks so uncomfortable in the crease. More so than last season when he arrived without Allaire’s tutoring. Either Reimer or the coach have to go. I’d sack the coach at this point.

On defense, I like Gardiner and I think he may have a bright future. I  think he is a keeper. I can’t see any other defenseman that I feel strongly about, except Komisarek who I think we would have dealt if anyone else was interested in him.

Schenn is passable but I don’t see him ever becoming a top NHL player. Phaneuf is also greatly over rated. I still like Gunnarson but he isn’t special either. None of these guys are irreplaceable. But what a dumb mistake making Phaneuf captain!

On forward I think Connolly is totally useless. While Lupul is having a good year, I’d bet that next year he doesn’t perform nearly as well.

I don’t know what is happening with Kulemin except that he is Russian. Are they all nuts? Every Russian in the NHL seems to be a flake (except maybe Malkin). I still like Grabovski and think he is a keeper but he too has gone to sleep…is it him or Wilson?

I still think Kessel is not a special player. He isn’t playing both ways and he just doesn’t seem to dig for the puck. He’s got a great shot and feeds off opportunities but I still am not keen on his play. However, he does give us 30+ goals so I guess I can’t complain. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to try hard enough.

The rest of the forwards are….well… just there.

And the entire team is a bunch of pushovers. When the Leafs go into the corners chances are the opposition is going to come up with the puck. If this team does make it to the playoffs, the tighter checking and more physical game is going to kill them.

The Leafs, after four years under Burke and an entire remake are still in need of gritty forwards, talented defensemen, goaltending and a coach. I hate to agree with Burke, but the Leafs do need some size and ‘presence’. Certainly Phaneuf and Kessel aren’t providing it. And, quite contrary to Burke’s idea of the ideal player, adding more Americans isn’t going to do it either.

Wow, way to go Burke!


3 Comments to “Wither the Leafs?”

  1. I don’t want to be a bigot, but I think you’ve got something there when you mention Burke’s fondness for American players as a possible source of the Leafs’ troubles.

    Like his fellow American Gary Bettman, Burke doesn’t seem to understand the difference between truculence and grit.

    Tuculence is a superficial and showy sort of toughness–a quickness to drop gloves, give a facewash, and talk trash. Grit–a quality the Leafs totally lack– is that thoroughly Canadian quality where a player and a team, by sheer force of will and determination, just refuse to lose ,regardless of the sacrifice it takes.

  2. A few mistakes: Reimer has been under Allaire’s tutelage for quite some time. Reimer himself credits Allaire for his performance last year.

    Grabbo has been turning it on as of late. It seems every time he has a kid he plays better (he had his second in late December I think, and his game picked up).

    And its hard to call Datsyuk a flake. Really really hard.

    Otherwise, yes the Leafs are missing out on some true grit. Armstrong was providing some of that, but his injuries have hampered that. The D is looking for big hits, rather than grinding it out in the corner where they should be doing better given their size. And I do agree that Canadian players usually have more grit. Except for Gardiner. He seems to just appear out of the corner with the puck more often than not. For his size, I don’t know how he does it, and the rest of them don’t.

  3. Moles: well expressed.

    Potvin: Re: Reimer: He did indeed do well last year but hasn’t performed well from day one…although since his head injury (which I don’t for a minute think has anything to do with it) he has been really terrible. It’s a coach’s responsibility to work with a player and feed off his strengths, not push a rote system that may not be right for that player. In that respect I think Allaire has not filled the bill.

    Grabbo has indeed had a good season but has gone to sleep the past 10 games–like the rest of the team.

    I didn’t call Datsyuk a flake. He may be the exception that makes the rule. You don’t think most of the Russian NHLers are a bit ‘strange’, from Semin to Ovechkin?

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