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Messages - hockeyfan1

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LOL...Kessel deserves credit for his performance (as do Bozak and JVR) tonight, pretty much the most inspired effort from them I've seen since...December?Which leaves the obvious question...where has that been for the past 40 games?

The mind works in strange ways when motivated.  They were perfect in this game.  Hadn't lost their touch at all. 

Obviously, they couldn't do it for the fans, they couldn't do it for Horachek.  But they did it for the boy Gamble (in which they can commended for that).

We win!  The 'boys' are back! Let's have a party!  ;D

MotM:   Bozak (and his hat-trick)
Hm:       Kessel (here you are)

Good efforts by JVR, Brewer, Lindstrom... and of course, the G-Man Garrett Gamble (that was the best part of the game).

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: So, about Phil Kessel...
« on: March 28, 2015, 07:01:02 PM »
Brian Burke thought he was going to sign the Sedin twins in their UFA year of 2008 or 09, whenever it was. Then, he was going to trade Thomas Kaberle for Phil Kessel.

But it didn't work out quite that way, did it? Instead, Kessel has come in with the baggage of being part of an ill-advised trade. He has played with Tyler "found wallet" Bozak as his centerman for most of his time with the Leafs instead of the Sedins. Kessel and Bozak have clicked together at times, but not in a way that's building toward team success. No matter what numbers Kessel has put up as a Leaf, it's always been in a vacuum. There's not enough else happening to make Kessel's scoring mean anything.

The rest of the team has been patch-worked together year by year and finally it's coming to a crashing halt. It's not at all surprising that it's happening now.

Kessel is the best player on the Leafs right now, but he's never been the right player to build a team around. Neither is Phaneuf. The best case scenario for the Leafs is to find a way to move these guys on to teams who could really use them.

This idea of building a team around a player, be it a franchise player or your best player, etc., has been done by teams to a certain extent, but not completely or totally.

Take the 1980s Cup-winning Islanders team.  Sure they had scoring sniper Mike Bossy, who as we know, was often called a "pure scorer."  Bossy was no checker (even though he did get checked -- the eventual cause over the years of his back problems), and he more often than not waited for Trottier to pass him the puck.  As dangerous and precise as Bossy was with the puck (whether he was fed the pass or picked up the puck himself),  the Islanders at the time had a very well-balanced team with solid goaltending, solid defence, a solid group of two-way forwards and of course some exceptional talent as well as mentioned.  Plus, not to mention an excellent system incorporated by Arbour & his assistants.

Take the Cup-winning Gretzky-led Oilers of the '80's.  Gretzky used to feed his teammates/linemales a multitude of passes,  many them missed.  All these potential goals & scoring opportunities missed.  So the team began to put in place a system and players who could not only assimilate with Gretzky's style of play, but also those who could adapt and provide the team with what it needed to create a balanced system.  The Oilers would go on to have solid netminding, solid defence, a solid group of two-way forwards including incredible #99 himself.

Remember how Mats Sundin was able to make any of his teammates look like  scoring geniuses?  No, the Leafs never built around Mats, but they could adapt to him and let him do his thing.

Which is why to rebuild the team around Kessel is doubtful on the direction the Leafs seem to be taking.  As we've seen, the they have figuratively risen and fallen oommensurate with Kessel's offensive prowess these past two seasons and now all that's remained of it.  New system, difficult for a one-dimensionsal such as Phil to adapt to.  If the Maple Leafs had had a well-balanced system and team instead of a rag-tag group as you mention, perhaps then having Kessel doing what he does best, scoring goals while being paired with a goad set of quality linemates could then be the exception.

As things stand, IMHO with the Leafs in rebuilding mode, it shouldn't come as no surprise to anyone if #81 will no longer be a Leaf come next season.

4 Ottawa             - Ottawa @ Toronto                   7PM
3 Minnesota       - Los Angeles @ Minnesota     8PM

2  NYRangers      - Washington @ NYRangers    3PM
5 NYIslanders      - Detroit @ NYIslanders           5PM
6 Pittsburgh         - San Jose @ Pittsburgh          7:30PM
1 Winnipeg           - Chicago @ Winnipeg              7:30PM

Motm:   Carrick (for scoring his first NHL goal)
Hm:      Reilly

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: Horachek's impact on the team
« on: March 25, 2015, 03:51:18 AM »
An interview with Rick Vaive. (Article dales to 2014).  Vaive, who was the first Maple Leaf to score 50 goals in three straight seasons, and whose career as a Leaf spanned seven years,  gives his thoughts on the current team,  his experiences as an NHLer, and the like:

"Nobody goes to the rink with the intention of not working hard. But for many they have to learn how to do it, or be brought along properly..."

"...a team that hasnít really figured out how to win as a group yet. Itís something you have to learn together. When you look at an organization like the Detroit Red Wings, they had people to show you how itís done.

If you remember, when Datsyuk and Zetterberg first come up in the playoffs they did nothing. Everybody was all over them. They had to figure it out and mature into the players they are now. Maybe we are seeing some of that with guys like Kadri. It takes time...thereís no guarantees..."

"Winning has to be developed as well, and for this team there is a big learning curve. Typically, what you want to do is build your team through the draft. Then what you do is you let guys grow together until they are ready. Toronto has not had the best draft record until recently, but the best organizations backbone is proper development. "

..."You need skill, sure, but it takes character to win..."

For the full-scale interview:

Thought I'd mix & match this weekend's games.  Some really interesting matchups on both days.

All times Eastern.  Deadline is Saturday 7PM.  Good luck all!  :)

Saturday March 28th
Ottawa @ Toronto                     - 7PM
Los Angeles @ Minnesota       - 8PM

Sunday March 29th
Washington @ NY Rangers      - 3PM
Detroit @ NYIslanders               - 5PM
San Jose @ Pittsburgh             - 7:30PM
Chicago @ Winnipeg                 - 7:30PM

MotM:   Bernier
Hm:       Gardiner

hockeyfan1 - 15
Tigger - 14
seahawk - 12
BarMutt - 12

I'll be posting the games for the next round by mid-week at the latest.  :)

MotM:  Sill
Hm:    Komarov

All Sports But Hockey / Re: 2015 Toronto Blue Jays thread
« on: March 21, 2015, 02:25:05 PM »
Meet the "Van Man & Shaggy" a.k.a. Blue Jays pitching prospect Daniel Norris...unorthodox indeed:

6 Calgary       - Columbus @ Calgary          4pm
4 Montreal     - San Jose @ Montreal          7pm
3 Ottawa       - Toronto @ Ottawa              7pm
2 Winnipeg    - Washington @ Winnipeg     7pm
1 Dallas         - Chicago @ Dallas                8pm
5 Pittsburgh   - Pittsburgh @ Arizona          9pm

General NHL News & Views / Re: 2014-2015 NHL Thread
« on: March 20, 2015, 02:19:26 PM »
I think they should just keep what they have.  The idea of having 3-on-3 or even 4-on-4 somehow isn't that appealing, maybe not even quite fair -- I would want all of my 5 players out there.

Do you watch hockey?

This reads like you don't know they've hade 4-on-4 OT for quite some time.

Of course I watch hockey, which is why I'm saying my preference isn't 4-on-4 (or even 3-on-3).

General NHL News & Views / Re: 2014-2015 NHL Thread
« on: March 19, 2015, 11:31:39 AM »
I want to watch a 3 period hockey game.  After 60 you are done.  Want to stop teams playing for ties, follow the EPL and award 3pts for a win.  To all those "tradition" dissenters to 3pt wins, we just watched a decade of shootouts with points handed out to the losers.

That would probably be good motivation for teams to avoid a tie.

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