The Maple Leafs completed a three-game sweep of their mini-series against the Vancouver Canucks last night, despite not appearing to try very hard for the first two periods. The Canucks might look for some consolation in the fact they did play better for those 40 minutes than they ever did in the first two games, but “we didn’t lose that badly one of the three times” is not exactly a firm emotional foundation. Vancouver is now heading towards a four-game series against the Calgary Flames, and if they can’t keep up against their Alberta rivals, the Canucks’ playoff hopes might be snuffed out five weeks into the season. I wouldn’t be sleeping too soundly if I were Jim Benning or Travis Green.
On to the links!
Recap: Leafs save it for later, win with a 3rd period push over the Canucks by Katya Knappe. You’d have liked the Leafs to show a bit better in the first 40, but on reflection, they did own seven periods of nine against Vancouver and picked up six points. Can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, I guess.
Who will become the Canadian division champs? by Elseldo. This mostly reflects that the Leafs are winning, but I think the Canadian division has been a lot of fun so far. Everyone hates everyone! It’s great!
Other Leaf Stuff
The Leafs Nation: What lines should the Leafs roll with all these injuries? by Scott Maxwell. I’m most intrigued by Scott’s idea of putting Pierre Engvall at 3LW with Alex Kerfoot and Ilya Mikheyev. I’d love to get Kerfoot going a bit more, and Engvall has played well enough to deserve some more ice.
Maple Leafs Hot Stove: Maple Leafs Notebook by Anthony Petrielli. Petrielli is always an interesting read. I agree with his point that it might be time to start rotating Jimmy Vesey’s spot out like Keefe has done with other depth lines. Vesey’s a fine enough complementary goal-scorer and his penalty-killing is decent, but he doesn’t seem to bring anything else, and this is a good time to see what the team has.
Fredericton small business gets assist from Leafs defenceman - CTV
A Fredericton company has scored big with an Instagram endorsement from Zach Bogosian.
Around The League
Look at this goal. Look at it!
Gorgeous work. Roslovic seems glad to be in Columbus. As for the other party coming to Ohio in that trade, though...if you had “friction between John Tortorella and Patrik Laine” on your bingo card, mark it off, although that ought to be a free space.
#CBJ coach John Tortorella would not say why he benched Patrik Laine for the final 26:19 of Monday’s 3-2 win over Carolina. But wasn’t just about the “blown assignment” on the ‘Canes 2-2 goal. pic.twitter.com/C3ZAsCWTXl— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) February 9, 2021
Tortorella’s contract with CBJ is up at the end of this season as per CapFriendly. He’s had success beyond what most people thought possible for a perennial underdog team in Columbus...but the relationship with Laine is an important one for the Blue Jackets, and if he ends up mismanaging it, I wouldn’t be surprised if it costs him his job.
The Athletic: Inside The Strategies And Stats From The NHL’s 3-on-3 Overtime by Dom Luszczyszyn. Fascinating deep dive into 3-on-3. Some of the conclusions—-possession is king being the biggest—line up with what you’d expect from having seen a lot of these overtime periods, but it’s very cool seeing a detailed look at how 3-on-3 differs from 5-on-5.
Habs Eyes On The Prize: Canadiens Send Fleury, Poehling to AHL by Jared Book. The tone over at HEOTP is pretty satisfied, all considered, and it’s hard to blame them; the Canadiens have been legitimately very good this season, even if their hot streak was more than they can likely sustain. But Poehling seems to have hit a developmental speedbump in the last year—after showing up in dazzling fashion with a first-game hat trick against the Leafs, he scuffled to a whopping two points in 27 NHL games the next year before turning in middling AHL production. The Habs could really use some more premiere forward talent to complete their picture, and at one point it looked like Poehling could provide some. Not so much of late, but he is only 22.
Ontario permits indoor dining for NHL teams - CBC Sports
“The league will submit a plan that will specify a full list of Ontario businesses and places that will be used by the NHL.” This comes shortly after the NHLPA dispatched Andrew Copp to complain very loudly about their frustrations over new rules imposed by the league limiting time at the arena before a game. He noted “we’re not supposed to go to each other’s houses, we’re not going to restaurants, we’ve not pretty much doing anything, so the one place we’ve made a safe space is the locker room and the rink.” Now, suddenly, Ontario will let players go to restaurants.
Here’s a post-punk song to get you rolling for the day, if that’s your thing like it is mine.
Have a good Tuesday, y’all.