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Maple Leafs' mid-summer report - Toronto Star/Hunter

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08-06-2009, 08:12 AM
  #1
LTL
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Maple Leafs' mid-summer report - Toronto Star/Hunter

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From the moment Burke thundered into town last November, announcing he wanted the Leafs to have "proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence," he has started to rebuild the team to match his image of a Stanley Cup contender.

And, after muscling up with the summertime additions of Mike Komisarek, Colton Orr, Garnet Exelby, Francois Beauchemin and Wayne Primeau, we'll soon get to see if Burke's vision is on track.

On paper, it certainly appears to be a much-improved team, particularly on the blue line. Komisarek is as hard-nosed as they come, while the steady Beauchemin often plays a close to flawless game.

Combine those two with Tomas Kaberle, if Toronto keeps him, a healthy Mike Van Ryn and a maturing Luke Schenn, and the Leafs' group of defenders should be among the best in the league.

Up front, a big-time scorer didn't materialize through trade or free agency but only nine teams finished ahead of Toronto in scoring last season and perhaps the likes of Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin can produce more when surrounded by more toughness.

The big question is in goal, which at this time last season was assumed to be the one area that was solid. Toronto has placed a lot of faith in Vesa Toskala's surgeon and Jonas Gustavsson's numbers from the Swedish league.

Both will need to play well for an extended stretch to remove any lingering doubts.
Quote:
Unfinished business
  • Will general manager Brian Burke move Kaberle before his no-trade clause kicks in again on Aug.15? Will Burke fulfill his promise to Justin Pogge and trade the netminder?
  • Can Burke add some offensive punch to his lineup by moving a D-man? He'd like to move one of his nine NHL-calibre blueliners.
Quote:
Key dates
  • Aug. 15 Tomas Kaberle's no-trade clause kicks in
  • Sept. 6 Rookie tournament starts at Kitchener
  • Sept. 12 Training camp opens
  • Sept. 16 Pre-season opener at ACC vs. Boston
  • Oct. 1 Regular season opens at home vs. Montreal
Quote:
Eight to watch
  • Jiri Tlusty - Finished very strong with the Marlies. Will either crack lineup or play himself out of picture.
  • Lee Stempniak - Was horrible after arriving from Blues. Is that all there is? Once scored 27 goals in a season. Really, he did.
  • Mikhail Grabovski - Got big-raise extension, but can he become a bigger scorer surrounded by more toughness?
  • Rickard Wallin - We'll learn quickly whether Swede's solid two-way international play translates to NHL.
  • Tyler Bozak - Free agent college man could augment offence if he can find net at NHL level.
  • Mike Van Ryn - Plays smart game at both ends of ice when healthy, but healthy games were rare last year.
  • Luke Schenn - Coming off solid rookie campaign but faded slightly toward end; must avoid sophomore let down.
  • Vesa Toskala - Everyone seems to assume groin surgeries will put him on track; no guarantee of that.
Full Article

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Old
08-06-2009, 08:19 AM
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there's not much toughness or physicality up front.

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08-06-2009, 08:30 AM
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That's a decent, objective summary so far. Can't really disagree with much written here. Of course all of these points have already been analyzed to death on these boards, so it seems like old news

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Old
08-06-2009, 08:44 AM
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"Luke Schenn - Coming off solid rookie campaign but faded slightly toward end; must avoid sophomore let down."

Not sure I can agree with that.

Last 14 games:

14 GP 1 G 7 A 8 Pts +4

First 56 games:

56 GP 1 G 5 A 6 Pts -16

If Luke kept the pace of his last 14 games over an 82 game schedule, he'd be a 47 point +23 defenseman. If we ever get that out of Luke, we've hit gold.

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08-06-2009, 09:11 AM
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Burke needs to add a few tenacious forecheckers (with speed) up front that can cause a few turnovers. Without them the "in your face hockey" is impossible to implement. One on the top two lines and one on the bottom two.

Desired setup:

<Power Forward> <Playmaker> <Sniper>
<Forechecker> <Two-way> <Big Scorer>
<Defensive Guru> <Big Shutdown> <Forechecker>
<Defensive Fighter> <Faceoff/PK> <PK expert>
<Scraper>

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08-06-2009, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeball11 View Post
"Luke Schenn - Coming off solid rookie campaign but faded slightly toward end; must avoid sophomore let down."

Not sure I can agree with that.

Last 14 games:

14 GP 1 G 7 A 8 Pts +4

First 56 games:

56 GP 1 G 5 A 6 Pts -16

If Luke kept the pace of his last 14 games over an 82 game schedule, he'd be a 47 point +23 defenseman. If we ever get that out of Luke, we've hit gold.
That's what I was thinking too when I read that...

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Old
08-06-2009, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ugotmybeef View Post
there's not much toughness or physicality up front.
Orr. Primeau. Mayers. etc....*cough*

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Old
08-06-2009, 11:32 AM
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im surprised gustavsson wasnt included on the eight to watch.

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Old
08-06-2009, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeball11 View Post
"Luke Schenn - Coming off solid rookie campaign but faded slightly toward end; must avoid sophomore let down."

Not sure I can agree with that.

Last 14 games:

14 GP 1 G 7 A 8 Pts +4

First 56 games:

56 GP 1 G 5 A 6 Pts -16

If Luke kept the pace of his last 14 games over an 82 game schedule, he'd be a 47 point +23 defenseman. If we ever get that out of Luke, we've hit gold.
I guess he was on a hot streak but even if we can get 25-35points off him next year, man I will be one happy leaf fan.

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08-06-2009, 12:18 PM
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Found it surprising that he had White pencilled in as a reserve.

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08-06-2009, 12:39 PM
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Sergei Berezin
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that depth chart really killed it for me

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08-06-2009, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeball11 View Post
"Luke Schenn - Coming off solid rookie campaign but faded slightly toward end; must avoid sophomore let down."

Not sure I can agree with that.

Last 14 games:

14 GP 1 G 7 A 8 Pts +4

First 56 games:

56 GP 1 G 5 A 6 Pts -16

If Luke kept the pace of his last 14 games over an 82 game schedule, he'd be a 47 point +23 defenseman. If we ever get that out of Luke, we've hit gold.
They meant February, I think.


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Old
08-06-2009, 03:31 PM
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They meant February, I think.

Eb and flow. I don't think many expected his rookie season to be flawless. D is the hardest position in the sport to become proficient at (maybe goaltending). The fact he had a down month surely won't take away from the fact he had a great year overall, and proved it was the right decision to keep him up.

I don't see him taking a step back.

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08-06-2009, 03:34 PM
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^ Agreed with LeafErikson.

I also wouldn't be shocked if Schenn steps up this year. Its appears that he's stayed in Toronto for most of the offseason which is good to see. I think that he'll show a bit of his offensive game next season, and his shot release should be much quicker.

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08-06-2009, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by bobermay View Post
^ Agreed with LeafErikson.

I also wouldn't be shocked if Schenn steps up this year. Its appears that he's stayed in Toronto for most of the offseason which is good to see. I think that he'll show a bit of his offensive game next season, and his shot release should be much quicker.
I think Schenns offensive game is very underrated. I don't think he has the upside of a Drew Doughty, not close. But I think he's going to eventually be good for around 40 points a season.

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08-06-2009, 04:10 PM
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Schenn will hit everything that moves from game#1 on. He'll show the doubters exactly why we selected him 5th overall this year. Not buying into the whole sophomore slump bit in this case.

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08-06-2009, 04:36 PM
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Schenn will hit everything that moves from game#1 on. He'll show the doubters exactly why we selected him 5th overall this year. Not buying into the whole sophomore slump bit in this case.
Me either. I think he's too mature of a kid for him to allow himself to become complacent, and take a step back.

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08-06-2009, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeafErikson View Post
Me either. I think he's too mature of a kid for him to allow himself to become complacent, and take a step back.
I've noticed that the Sophomore Jinx applies to offensive players for the most part. Running hot and cold can easily occur and play with a players mind but Schenn is all about defense and brute force. The potential for the jinx is almost minimized in that respect.

Quite a few Hab players will leave the rink crying (besides Price) because of the mental trauma inflicted by our defence.

Is it October yet??????

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08-06-2009, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTL View Post
I've noticed that the Sophomore Jinx applies to offensive players for the most part. Running hot and cold can easily occur and play with a players mind but Schenn is all about defense and brute force. The potential for the jinx is almost minimized in that respect.

Quite a few Hab players will leave the rink crying (besides Price) because of the mental trauma inflicted by our defence.

Is it October yet??????
http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/580244

Quote:
"You have to test people and see what they can do, and how they bounce back. That's probably more important than anything: being mentally tough in this league."

Wilson expects Schenn to have an easier development curve than Grabovski. "Luke's a physical player," said Wilson. "If things aren't going well, he can always give a big hit and feel like he accomplished something. Mikhail is all about making plays, scoring goals and setting up his linemates. You have to be a little more patient with Grabovski than Schenn."
At least the season starts two weeks early this year..

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Old
08-06-2009, 05:06 PM
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Paul Hunter should do more Leafs stuff for the Star. He sucks far less than Cox.

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Old
08-06-2009, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheli View Post
http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/580244

At least the season starts two weeks early this year..
Definitely agree with Wilson.

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08-06-2009, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTL View Post
Burke needs to add a few tenacious forecheckers (with speed) up front that can cause a few turnovers. Without them the "in your face hockey" is impossible to implement. One on the top two lines and one on the bottom two.

Desired setup:

<Power Forward> <Playmaker> <Sniper>
<Forechecker> <Two-way> <Big Scorer>
<Defensive Guru> <Big Shutdown> <Forechecker>
<Defensive Fighter> <Faceoff/PK> <PK expert>
<Scraper>
You dont' drive a car with a Leafs license plate: "LTLLEAFS" do you?

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Old
08-06-2009, 06:36 PM
  #23
LTL
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You dont' drive a car with a Leafs license plate: "LTLLEAFS" do you?


Not that hard core.

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Old
08-06-2009, 06:36 PM
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" the Leafs' group of defenders should be among the best in the league"

Sorry tank nation. That seems to be the objective view of the Leaf defence, which translates to fighting for a playoff spot. That was by far, our biggest weakness, and the goaltending will automatically improve too. You don't get lottery picks with a good defence.

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Old
08-06-2009, 06:37 PM
  #25
LTL
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Originally Posted by SteveV View Post
" the Leafs' group of defenders should be among the best in the league"

Sorry tank nation. That seems to be the objective view of the Leaf defence, which translates to fighting for a playoff spot. That was by far, our biggest weakness, and the goaltending will automatically improve too. You don't get lottery picks with a good defence.
I doubt anyone was expecting a lottery pick this season.

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