Hey everybody, I’m back with another week in review. I think this is the week where reality is starting to kick in. Reality in terms of having a better idea where the team is heading.
Yes, I realize that the team has a good record of 7 and 4, but I have some concerns that there may be a few bad trends coming. Trends that will cause their record to get closer to 500 if they don’t get things under control. Of course as this is the week in review, I’m just basing my the past three games. First, I’ll focus on Andersen.
Last year Andersen was hurt and didn’t get off to a great start. This year, he’s healthy and not getting off to a great start. So maybe he just doesn’t get off to great starts? I remember last year he seemed a bit streaky, hot and cold, and then finishing off the season and playoffs strong. If that’s going to be a yearly pattern, then fine. The team can adjust. If the team had a slightly worse record, a lot more fans would be freaking out about his performance. Now, it’s not just on him, the team definitely needs to help him out more.
I get the feeling that some of the players seem to think that they can outscore their way out of any game. After their game vs Flyers, they have an overall goal differential of plus 5. Which after 11 games is decent but for a team that can score a ton of goals, not so much.
Lately what I’ve noticed is that the team is playing up or down to the competition. They have a great game against a team like the Kings but then crap the bed against the Hurricanes. Really? Really? I know the Hurricanes are improving but c’mon man!
So looking back at each individual game, they had a great one against LA. Marner’s line was super effective, with Martin and Moore. Even though the team was outplayed in the first period they found a way and held on to win it 3-2. Some well deserved love for Matt Martin right here:
The second game, oh my God, from the start I knew they were in trouble. Those first two goals I just thought were laughable. It showed how unprepared they were to play. They kept trying to come back and made it 3-3 at one point but then fell apart. To listen to Babcock’s post game presser, he was deflated. You could tell that he found it really hard to not come down on the team and their poor performance. You just know he wanted to lose his shit. Leafs had maybe 6/7 players that were playing the game they should be, the others were pretty much hot garbage.
Until the team fixes this trend of playing up or down to the competition, I was worried before they played the Flyers. I don’t worry about games vs the Pens, Tampa or even CBJ, but I do worry about games vs the Flyers, the Sabres or the Islanders.
So now onto the Flyers’ game, well more of the same as we saw when they played Carolina. I’m really starting to get concerned about Andersen. I’m so hoping that he gets his shit together soon like he did last year. He got a lot better once November came along. Here’s an encouraging stat from last year.
What I see is a group of players, not all obviously, that somehow think that what they’re doing is good enough and they’re convinced they’ll outscore their problems. I don’t see problems with the first line, or with Kadri or Marner. Leivo and Kapanen looked fine in their first game.
It would be nice if the Leafs did have more depth at C. If it was up to me, I would move Bozak and put in someone that is much more defensively responsible. Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing them at least try Marner at 3C for a while and see how that goes.
Grit Grinder of the week goes to Hyman?
Nobody really stands out to me as the grit grinder of the week. I could chose Leivo because he’s been a soldier and hasn’t said anything negative and finally got his chance but I’m not. This week it will be Nazem Kadri.
Even though he hasn’t been as greasy this year as he was last year, a quality I love by the way, he’s been very consistent. AND he popped in two goals against the Flyers. He’s been very consistent defensively, not perfect, and has been been playing his role as checking 2C very well.
Hopefully by this week, the team can get over this overconfidence. After the past couple of games, how could they not. I hope they play a gritter, hard working and more competitive type of hockey. Otherwise, they are going to blow this great start and they’ll be closer to 7-7 by next Saturday. Some people might think that I’m overreacting, but I don’t give a fuck. I’m a passionate fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Also, Babcock gets paid 6 million a year to figure these things out, so I’m sure he will.
Some positive individual stats:
- Matthews has 8 goals and 7 assists for 15 points and on pace for 112 points
- Kadri has 6 goals and 5 assists for 11 points and on pace for 82 points.
- Rielly has 1 goal and 8 assists for 9 points and on pace for 67 points.
- Nylander is a +10
- Gardiner and Zaisev are averaging more than 22 of ice time.
This upcoming week the Leafs go out west to play San Jose on Monday, Anaheim on Wednesday, LA on Thursday and finish at St Louis on Saturday. IF they can finish this week 2 and 2, I think that would be a decent trip.
Have a great week.
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