Well wasn’t that a fun one.
What we saw last night was one of those gems so rare that you only get to watch them once or twice a year. That was without a doubt a coach’s game because now Wilson can talk to the team and discuss the do’s and don’ts while referring to a single game, no more splicing clips together.
Okay, okay it was pretty much all don’ts… maybe ALL don’ts. That isn’t a problem though, next game can’t possibly be worse right? I mean, all the Leafs did was offer a helping hand to every single slumping Ranger and give them the confidence needed to score a few dozen more. There’s no way a team on a hot streak will obliterate these Boys in Blue… right?
Is 10am to early to start pre game drinking?
So what can we take from last night’s… loss…
Cycle the puck in offensive end to open lanes and get shots through
Pass the damn puck into your teammates skates.
It is a little known fact that accurate passes can lead to increased scoring opportunities, so I suggest the Leafs attempt accurate passes. That sounds to easy, I know, so tonight let’s make it a little more difficult and add: Attempt accurate passes to teammates ONLY. It is a break from the usual game plan of pass to anyone with a stick, but that seems to be hampering this team’s efforts to put the puck in the correct net.
Aid teammates attempting to break out of slumps.
Aid opponents attempting to break out of slumps.
The assistance provided to the struggling Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle, Ruslan Fedotenko, Artem Anisimov and Sean Avery, while noble is not conducive to winning a game. Correction: not conducive to helping your own team winning a game.
Press hard on the puck in the defensive zone to help prevent extended pressure by opponents.
Attack puck carrier in full force.
This has a nasty habit of leaving star players alone in front of the net. While I am sure The Monster appreciates the one-on-one face time he gets with today’s biggest stars, fans are a little less excited about the results of these chance encounters.
Create chances, move around defenders and drive the net.
Have one player do it all at the same time.
I must admit, it is exciting when a forward dekes a defender out of his socks but let’s get one thing clear, if you get with arm’s reach of the man you are trying to beat you have already lost. You can try it over and over, like Phil Kessel did last night, but the result will always be the same turn over at the blueline. You have better options, dump it in, pass it off or use your speed and agility to beat the defender while you still have space. NHL defensemen will own you 99 times out of 100 if you try to dangle from 2 feet away.
I could go on and address powerplay, urgency, responding to a goal against, stupid penalties, important faceoff wins, defensive/neutral zone turnovers and the entire team’s inability to properly set up a one timer but my heart can’t take it, please excuse my while a weep manly tears of games lost and blow my nose on a sens jersey.