Thread: Leafs Hockey IQ
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02-16-2012, 08:25 AM
  #14
Newfie John
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I think the IQ is fine. Positionally the Leafs are leaps and bounds better than previous years (Calgary game notwithstanding). They make a lot of clever passes as well as they cross the blue line, and criss cross well when entering the zone. Other than Kadri and at times Connolly, there are hardly ever any giveaways at the blueline.

The problem I have with this team is it's boardsplay. Not enough grit down low. In both ends, when the puck goes to the boards, the Leafs lose the battle almost every time. Last night Armstrong was great in this regard. Kulemin is also valuable here. The Kessel line is terrible. MacArthur loses a lot of battles, and so does Lombardi (I like him much better at center).

What the Leafs truly need is another winger or 2 with great size. Everyone points to the center spot, but to be honest I'm fine with having three second line centers. Our production from the center position is one of the strongest in the league.

Right now the fourth line is a bit too small on the wings (though Brown and Boyce provide great effort). I think at some point down the line Lupul and Kessel have to be split up. I'd like to see a Dustin Penner (who has a big body but at times is lazy) or Rick Nash on the opposite wing of Kessel. That allows Kulemin to help on the boards on the Grabovski line, and allows Armstrong to work with Lupul and Connolly.

BIG SKILLED WINGER - Bozak - Kessel
Kulemin - Grabovski - MacArthur
Lupul - Connolly - Armstrong

I'd like to see that as our top line. We maintain our counter attack game, but can also have some retention in the offensive zone which is sorely lacking.

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