Sunday, November 2, 2008

Some questions for Ron

So we blew a lead, blew a game that should have been ours, Cujo was mediocre and the Curse of Kerry Fraser lives on. I don't particularly blame Cujo, Kerry, or most of the Leafs, but I would like same answers from our coach.

1. Why did Cujo start the third?

The 'Canes' first goal was a fluke, they knew it, we knew it, and we responded strongly with two more. The second was a five on three, Cujo made some initial saves that were great, except poor technique kicked the rebound straight onto Whitney's stick. Fine. We lost the scrums in front of the net for the third, but that fourth goal by Ruutu should never happen. That's an AHL-class goal, and Cujo watches the puck all the way above his shoulder.

Despite the fact that he wasn't the only reason we were down in that game, he needed to go. You can't let in a softie like that after the team has already given up the lead with marginal goals. The goalie needs to calm down the guys in front of him, Joseph had been flying around his crease all game and sending out rebounds. By the time the fifth goal went in it was obvious the boys had lost their confidence in the Cat, and they needed Toskala in to get them focused on their game. Would we have won with Toskala in for the last 20? I'm not so sure, I don't pin this loss solely on goaltending, but it would have been the right move for the rest of the players.

2. Why put the Stajan line on after the five-on-three was over in the second period?

Stajan had been killing penalties with the rest of the PK corps, Antro and Poni had been sitting cold. I know that the kind of offensive zone control that line provides is what the Leafs needed, but Antro isn't the strongest skater on the team and Stajan was pretty obviously gassed. Plus, didn't Stajan take a tired-looking tripping call to start off the penalty parade of the second?

Why not the Grabovski line, the strongest skating line on the team and the one that had spent almost no time killing penalties? The one that offensively dominated earlier in the period? The guys that weren't on the ice for a goal against all game?

3. Why break up the Man-Grabs-Lemon line in the third?


4. Why Carlo?

I know he's been pushing for ice time, and I also know that a back-to-back is a decent time to rotate in two players who are fresh to add some life to our team. But with Pitkanen and Kaberle out, the only person on that 'Canes team with a point shot is Joe Corvo. Meaning a lot of their offense comes from the front and down low. Meaning Frogren would have been a much better choice.

Final Thoughts

I think we all know where we'll be seeing Carlo in the near future. And it won't be on the ice in blue and white. It's a shame, because like all suffering Leafs fans I like Carlo, I honestly believed that if he had been healthy the past two years we would have made the playoffs, as opposed to suffering through the Woz era. Then he showed us all exactly why we didn't make the playoffs with him in the roster.

Shitty penalty (and believe me, after seeing enough replays I know exactly why that call was made, as ticky as it looked it was probably the most legitimate call on us that period), argues it, then sits out the third after taking a puck to the leg, shortening our bench that already had an injured Finger on it. Isn't this the kind of stuff that we thought was gone in the new era of the Leafs? Isn't the fact that this crap was missing the reason that these games were fun to watch, win or lose?

White filled in for Hollweg and did great, as I think we knew he would. But please, I know we had injuries, no more White on defense. He completely disappeared when put there and we could have used his checking down low.

Mayers has been brutal, too many penalties, not enough good. Wishing we had that third rounder back.

Poor Schenn. Rough birthday for the kid.


puckbuddy said...

3 things:
First, nice post.
Second, "its not about winning or losing, its a process"
Third, not to say I make this connection, but I'm sure people with limited IQ like a cox or berger will look at this post like this one and say, "see Toronto fans don't have the patience to rebuild."

Scott Baker said...

haha, thanks.

I know we're going to lose games, but Wilson's intention all along is to play competitively and coach these guys to win. I just think these guys would have competed better had some things been changed. If they're going to buy into his system then that system needs to produce results.

This was a Carolina team that was both awful in it's own end and was missing key offensive parts. Our young guys were not the reason this team lost, and if the errors that happened this game continue through the season then who cares about that process?

I don't actually mind the loss, the boys played alright and were obviously tired, and though I know this isn't your intent I resent the notion that we can't think critically about this team while it rebuilds. This isn't a "FIRE RON WILSON OMG THE CUP PARADE!" post.

Scott Baker said...

Actually, on second thought, I think advocating we sit our 41 year old backup, play Grabs and Kulemin in vital situations, play our new Swede who needs acclimating still, while saying "fun... win or lose" and pining for a third rounder back would make Cox and Berger wrong if they think this is an anti-rebuild post.


eyebleaf said...

I think it's pretty early to be giving up on Carlo. How long did we wait for Antropov? And Carlo hasn't exactly been given a fair shot by this coaching staff.

Scott Baker said...

I'm not suggesting we give up on him entirely, just that he'll be benched again for a game or two. Also, considering the time Mitchell's gotten and the benchings of former roster players, I find it hard to believe that Wilson isn't giving guys the shots they deserve.

puckbuddy said...

In regards with Carlo, I think he is a talented player and still has some upside to him as we have seen on many occasions last year.I think in his case, he just might not be able to adjust to Ron's system. It might be as simple as that. Certain people can only work a certain way and if yo try to change that they don't work as effectively. It happens in other fields so why not in hockey as well.
Well if they do end up trading him, like someone mentioned on their blog over the summer that the one thing the Leafs do poorly is trade good players at their lowest point rather than when they are actually worth something worthwhile.