The mainstream press in Toronto (and across Canada) often has a bit of an axe to grind when it comes to things Maple Leaf. They dislike the way the team is built, or the people running it, or the coach, or the fans, or the colour of their uniforms, etc. They also seem to have a hard time with the fact that the team is the wealthiest in Canada, and most likely the entire NHL, and apparently they enjoy nipping at the hand that feeds them.
Unfortunately this often leads to them writing or saying stupid things about the Leafs that don't make a lot of sense. Follow the jump for a few examples from the past couple of days of the pre-season:
1. Mike Brophy's take on Phil Kessel's production.
Start with Kessel. He's the marquee player on the line; a trigger man who is supposed to be one of the elite goal-scorers in the NHL. But is he? Not really. Just 23 years old, Kessel has massive offensive instincts. He wants the puck and he wants to score. In his last three seasons he has 98 goals which is not bad. But considering he has no interest whatsoever in playing defence and the majority of his shots hit the opposing goalie in the crest, it's hard to imagine him being a player that will carry a team deep into the playoffs.
Yes, I can see how 98 goals "is not bad". In fact it's SO "not bad" that only fifteen players have managed to produce that many goals in the past 3 seasons. Only eight NHL players have managed to produce over 105 goals, and NONE of the guys ahead of Kessel (the other fourteen skaters) managed to produce over 98 goals in fewer games.
On a goal per game rating, Kessel actually ranks 12th in the entire NHL over the past three seasons. The only players ahead of him are Ovechkin, Semin, Marleau, Stamkos, Carter, Kovalchuk, Nash, Iginla, Perry, Vanek, and Daniel Sedin. So out of the 299 skaters that played in at least 200 NHL games over the past three years, there are like 5-10 "not bad" goal scorers, and about 289 "bad" goal scorers. I guess producing goals in the 96th percentile amongst skaters to play in 200 games over 3 years is closer to average than I thought it was.
Oh and he's 23... the only guy that's younger than him on that list is Stamkos. So 2nd best young goal scorer in the NHL = "not bad". What the hell is Brophy on?
2. Rosie DiManno forgets the new guy.
It can be argued that Toronto’s top-four rearguards shouldn’t be seeded, per value, exactly as routinely characterized, with captain Dion Phaneuf the purported ace. Luke Schenn is the real horse, Carl Gunnarsson the unfussy ballast on the back-end and Mike Komisarek a heart-and-soul dressing room veteran, with lanky Keith Aulie presumably matriculating to a sure job and Cody Franson touted to make an impact in his first full season with Toronto, after arriving from Nashville.
Something tells me Rosie won't be getting a Christmas card from the Liles household this December. I guess being the Leafs oldest defender (31), with the most points (275) and games played (523) makes you kind of easy to forget? Hopefully the fact that JM escaped her notice means he won't have to deal with an interview.
This does beg the question of why there's any sort of log jam on defense. Ms. DiManno has solved Ron Wilson's problem... TRADE or DEMOTE JM Liles... duh. Why did we bring him in again?
3. Dave Shoalts ignores Ron Wilson's assertion that Matt Lombardi can play the wing.
If Lombardi is healthy, he will likely get the No. 3 centre’s job, which makes the competition for the fourth-line centre a three-man race between Bozak, Darryl Boyce and Phillipe Dupuis.
Ron was pretty clear about this... Matt Lombardi can also play the wing, which would be nice to add some speed and offense. Which means he doesn't automatically become the 3rd line C. It also means that the Matt Frattin/Nazem Kadri headlines could all be for naught... but such is the world of an NHL training camp.
I wonder why Phillipe Dupuis, Darryl Boyce, and Tyler Bozak are all feeling MORE pressure to make the team than Frattin and Kadri, neither of whom have played a full NHL season yet. Oh right... because they are young and obviously NHL caliber 3rd line wingers? Wasn't Kadri a C earlier in his career? Why are we demoting Bozak from the 1st line to the 4th line... particularly when Tim Connolly has done squat so far in camp, and Lombardi is coming off a concussion that saw him miss like 95% of last season?
I'm not sure Ron Wilson is going to demote guys with NHL experience in favour of kids who have played about 1 pro season so far, and don't need to pass through waivers to go down to the farm.
There will be many more examples of this type of illogic before the season begins, I hope everyone else finds it as amusing as I do.