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Lack of Team Identity

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02-06-2013, 12:22 AM
  #1
Snip Genos
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Lack of Team Identity

The transition from the run and gun Wilson era has been tougher than it should be because most of the roster was built specifically for that style of hockey. Now with Carlyle behind the bench, you expect a defence first physical hard to play against team and thats not really what I see. I think everyone could agree this roster doesnt fit Carlyles coaching style very well and by now Nonis has a much better idea of what he has to work with.

For one thing, having our top 9 bottom 3 is not really ideal for a coach that likes to play line match-ups so much. All 3 top lines are too similar in the way they are designed if this makes sense. Why would it matter who goes up against who? IMO you need 2 or 3 different types of lines in your top 9 to play some teams. Wouldnt it be nice to be able to put out a great cycling line with size that could just hold the puck down low in the offensive zone for a long time and probably dominate many shifts like we used to against the habs with the Antro Sundin Poni line a few years ago. Then you could have a line like any of our top 3 and then a shutdown line plus your average 4th line.

One of the teams biggest weakness has to be the lack of strength at winning battles. Speedy forwards like we have are nice and all but if you cant win puck battles more then you lose you have to be very good offensively to capitalize on your chances and have good goaltending to bail you out because you will most likely be out chanced. This also goes for defensemen but our defensemen are average at this and our forwards are weak.

This team should also be tougher, at least be able to compete with teams like Boston and Philly. Playoff hockey gets rough no matter who you play but these teams would kill us. Just about any team thats been considered cup contenders lately has lots of toughness and it could be debated what toughness really means but I dont think you could argue that this team has it.

I know it will take time to revamp this roster and a perfect team is pretty impossible to build without getting lucky but it should have an identity and these players dont really do it. Do you see this team just keep going the way it is and build through the draft very slowly or do you think we could see a tough team to play against as early as next year? Either way, I don't think we could be a contender with these forwards or similar ones.

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02-06-2013, 12:51 AM
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AuGsY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinkorswim View Post
The transition from the run and gun Wilson era has been tougher than it should be because most of the roster was built specifically for that style of hockey. Now with Carlyle behind the bench, you expect a defence first physical hard to play against team and thats not really what I see. I think everyone could agree this roster doesnt fit Carlyles coaching style very well and by now Nonis has a much better idea of what he has to work with.

For one thing, having our top 9 bottom 3 is not really ideal for a coach that likes to play line match-ups so much. All 3 top lines are too similar in the way they are designed if this makes sense. Why would it matter who goes up against who? IMO you need 2 or 3 different types of lines in your top 9 to play some teams. Wouldnt it be nice to be able to put out a great cycling line with size that could just hold the puck down low in the offensive zone for a long time and probably dominate many shifts like we used to against the habs with the Antro Sundin Poni line a few years ago. Then you could have a line like any of our top 3 and then a shutdown line plus your average 4th line.

One of the teams biggest weakness has to be the lack of strength at winning battles. Speedy forwards like we have are nice and all but if you cant win puck battles more then you lose you have to be very good offensively to capitalize on your chances and have good goaltending to bail you out because you will most likely be out chanced. This also goes for defensemen but our defensemen are average at this and our forwards are weak.

This team should also be tougher, at least be able to compete with teams like Boston and Philly. Playoff hockey gets rough no matter who you play but these teams would kill us. Just about any team thats been considered cup contenders lately has lots of toughness and it could be debated what toughness really means but I dont think you could argue that this team has it.

I know it will take time to revamp this roster and a perfect team is pretty impossible to build without getting lucky but it should have an identity and these players dont really do it. Do you see this team just keep going the way it is and build through the draft very slowly or do you think we could see a tough team to play against as early as next year? Either way, I don't think we could be a contender with these forwards or similar ones.
I agree, it's funny when Burke would use the word "truculence", to describe his vision for the Leafs. In his entire reign as GM he has managed to build a team that is the complete opposite of truculent.

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02-06-2013, 12:52 AM
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This year is to see what everyone can do... then next year


Scoring line 1 - JVR - GETZLAF - KESSEL = Legit 1st line potentially one of the best.
Scoring line 2 - KADRI - GRABO - LUPUL = Elite 2nd line.
shut down line 3 - KULE - MCLEMENT - KOMAROV = fantastic shutdown unit

Not sure where you have Frattin it's hard to see him beat out one of Lupul or Kadri but he's still very good maybe put him on the 3rd but than you loose Komorav who brings a lot of Jam which you want in a shutdown guy.

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02-06-2013, 01:31 AM
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charliolemieux
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Team Identity?


I thought they were the Maple LEafs?

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02-06-2013, 01:40 AM
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the team identity is 5 wins and 5 losses = consistently inconsistent

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02-06-2013, 02:03 AM
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Machinae
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Carlyle chose this team and made these lines. He could have easily kept Connolly and built a defense first 3rd line with players like Kulemin, Steckel, McClement, and chose not to.

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02-06-2013, 07:12 AM
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We do lack an identity, a brand, a style of hockey we are associated with.

When you hear some one say Detroit Red Wings hopefully you think of a team who rely heavily on 2-way smartness and offensive oriented puck possession. You can even see a player on another team then DRW and think to your self, well that guy would suit Detroit perfectly.

The same can be said about Boston, who have in a few years transformed them self from being a similar team to us to becoming the poster boys of though 2-way hockey with pest and pugilistic tendencies. When we drafted Biggs for instance, my first thought was "Cool, finally a Boston type of player".

New Jersey Devils previously was famous for their rather boring but very effective trap hockey. You knew that they relied heavily on giving their star goalie an easier job by having smart defenders. Their offensive stars where not really allowed to become stars but was part of a efficient collective. Now they have started to change their style even do much of the fundamentals are the same.

St Louis Blues are also a team who have their own identity and very similar to Boston they rely on out muscling their opponents in both zones. I even read a Blues fan saying they had difficulties fitting Steward in even do he is a power forward mainly because he was more of a run and gun type of player. But he had worked on his game and seemed to have adopted this season. I mean, that is rather telling when a really good player like Stewart who physically seem to fit their criteria perfectly struggle because his style does not match the style of the team.

Flyers, not the broad street bullies anymore but more of a run and gun team who can play physical. You know that when you are about to see them play there will be a lot of goals in both ends. 3rd in goals for in the last couple of seasons. But I dont think they really have an identity just yet. Not like the teams mentioned above.

Even do I rarely watch Nashville I know what to expect from them when I do see them play. The same can be said about several other teams.

So what and who are we? Hard to tell. We have some skill but not enough to be a skilled team. We have some toughness but far from being a tough team. We do have above average speed through out the team so that is perhaps one thing that separate us from many others. But I do think that once our prospects are ready to step up we will get a more homogenous style seeing we have picked a lot of speedy hard workers with character who most of them are said to lack some skill but make up for it by being responsible in both zones. Perhaps that will be our style?

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02-06-2013, 07:17 AM
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This is still Brian Burkes team.

Until that changes - well, you can use the last 5 years to form your own opinion

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02-06-2013, 08:10 AM
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Pierre Gotye
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Had this problem for a while. Even prior to JFJ.

The team is still a run and gun, high skilled offensive style. Not a grinding, committed to defense kind of team.

Although I will say the bottom 6 is much better than maybe it's ever been.

But RC needs to decide to keep one heavyweight on line 3, not two.

You need a grinder, ***t disturber on that line/energy guy. Plus a faceoff specialist who's physical. Kind of sort of have that.

But not two enforcers on the ice at the same time.

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02-06-2013, 08:17 AM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bozak View Post
This year is to see what everyone can do... then next year


Scoring line 1 - JVR - GETZLAF - KESSEL = Legit 1st line potentially one of the best.
Scoring line 2 - KADRI - GRABO - LUPUL = Elite 2nd line.
shut down line 3 - KULE - MCLEMENT - KOMAROV = fantastic shutdown unit

Not sure where you have Frattin it's hard to see him beat out one of Lupul or Kadri but he's still very good maybe put him on the 3rd but than you loose Komorav who brings a lot of Jam which you want in a shutdown guy.
Kadri won't move to wing, not since he's been doing so well at C.

We won't get Getzlaf, he's made it pretty clear he wants to be in Anaheim, and his family is growing up there.

If he does by some weird, miracle, like all of a sudden his family wants to move to Toronto.

JvR - Getzlaf - Kessel
Frattin - Kadri - Lupul (because of the contract)
Kulemin - McClement - Komarov
PLUGS x 3 (unfortuanetly)

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02-06-2013, 08:19 AM
  #11
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need to get tougher. I've grown tired of watching Kessel, Bozak, Liles, and MacArthur

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02-06-2013, 08:21 AM
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highoffglass
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As far as Defence goes, with top prospect Rielly, and current Leafs Gardiner and Gunnarsson, as well as other solid players in the minors (Percy, Finn, & Blacker) I think this team's identity will still take some time to find, but in the next 2-3 years, your going to see a transition on the back-end to these smooth-skating, smart hockey players.

As for up front, I really like Bozak and Mcclement as bottom 6 guys going forward. With the young players (Frattin, Kadri, Kule, Kessel and JVR) and some good drafting in this years and next years draft, we may still be lacking a star, but certainly not good core pieces.

I remain highly optimistic that Dave Nonis will put his imprint on this team PATIENTLY, and with the solid play of Reimer, I think we should all be very excited.

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02-06-2013, 09:41 AM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinae View Post
Carlyle chose this team and made these lines. He could have easily kept Connolly and built a defense first 3rd line with players like Kulemin, Steckel, McClement, and chose not to.
Connolly himself admitted that he didn't show up to camp in fit condition. There's a reason why he was cut from the roster and I think it has more to do with his poor choices and not Carlyle seeing no room at all for him on the roster.

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02-06-2013, 10:09 AM
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Who cares about identity, just win some damn games, that way our identity will be "that winning team"

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02-06-2013, 10:59 AM
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johnny_rudeboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewsky View Post
Who cares about identity, just win some damn games, that way our identity will be "that winning team"
Thanks for contributing exactly nothing.

But seriously. All successful teams have a strong identity who is personalized by their key players. There is no formula on what type of persons or types of character the team have to consist of (even do some types have a clear advantage) but it is important there is something/someones that keeps the team together.

Right now Phaneuf and Kessel is the main guys on this team and they shape the whole structure/identity of the team whether they want to or not. And if you want their charisma or lack of, the type of characters they are and the style of play and the level of skill they have be what is associated with TML then fine, but I dont.

How can we build our offensive game around a soft, inconsistent sniper who play the wing? How can we let a defender who lacks hockey sense be the main guy on D and also captain of the team? How will they rally the troops, how will they be able to correct teammates who makes mistakes when they them self keeps making them over and over again? Iīm not talking about an error every once in a while but I am talking about our two "best" players either going long periods with out helping out much either offensively or defensively, I am talking about a defender who still, in his 8th season make rookie errors, I am talking about a winger who gets applauded when he crosses his own blue line when the team have lost possession, thatīs how poor his defensive game have been. When he does, or try to do, the little things that are required of every other player he gets praise. And he is a young veteran forward?!?!?

No, this team desperately needs a new direction, a new identity. We need players with higher hockey IQ and a higher work rate, this path that Brian lead us in to is taking us nowhere fast.

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02-06-2013, 12:13 PM
  #16
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Burke was the Teams identity. That hasn't been replaced yet.

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02-06-2013, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewsky View Post
Who cares about identity, just win some damn games, that way our identity will be "that winning team"
I agree totally, start winning and the need for an identity disappears, winning is an identity. Generally a team will be known by the players on it and the coach. Give a team the right smattering of talent and support players and you instantly have an identity.

Pittsburg is known as an offensive team, why, because of the players and a coach who supports their style of play.

Detroit has always been known as a puck possession team, why, because Zetterburg, Datsyuk and Lidstrom allowed them to play that way and the management had built around that core.

TO has the beginnings of a core (the identity ?) with Kessel, JVR, Kadri and maybe Reilly but until we have a firm foundation our identity will remain in flux.

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02-06-2013, 01:44 PM
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02-06-2013, 01:45 PM
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Start by sitting Kessel for a game. He's not part of any identity I'd want the team to have.

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02-06-2013, 01:55 PM
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I think this team has an identity and that is "we're hard to play against", we battle a full 60 minutes and most players are committed to playing a 200 foot game. Kadri who has always been a one dimensional offensive player is now backchecking with authority, strong along the walls and has been blocking a lot of shots. Kessel who is soft as pudding is much more committed to backchecking as well, a year ago that NEVER would have happened. We've played 10 games so far, and only 2 of them we've stunk the joint up, the other 8 have been close hard games.

The problem is we're still a bit smallish upfront, and goaltending needs an upgrade, but other then that we're on the right track.

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02-06-2013, 02:01 PM
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When i think of a team identity I tend to think of the teams top players. Teams with an identity are usually defined by the overall play style of the whole team and the persona of the top players.

Unfortunatly, the Leafs havent settled on a consistent style of play yet for more than a season and when people think of the Leafs they think of Kessel and Phaneuf.
Phaneuf has a good persona about him, hes a solid piece to build an identity with.

Although, Kessel, while being extremely talented and pretty unique goal scoring wise, has like zero personality and only adds to the joke image the Leafs carry. The constant whiny faces about not scoring and the lack of any aggression at all is what the Leafs are represented by now. I really feel in order to build a respectable identity we need a different face for the franchise.

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02-06-2013, 02:16 PM
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It will take some time to develop an identity. They've played under 30 games with Carlyle as coach and only 10 games with Nonis as GM.

By this time next year I think we'll see some identity. That's if nothing else changes or a significant amount of player movement doesn't take place.

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02-06-2013, 02:17 PM
  #23
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The Maple Leafs will have to recover from the destruction caused by the worst general manager in team history, Brian Burke.

It will take some time to re-establish a 'team identity', or in truth, actually get one.

Be patient, people.

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02-06-2013, 03:30 PM
  #24
highoffglass
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Originally Posted by Epictetus View Post
The Maple Leafs will have to recover from the destruction caused by the worst general manager in team history, Brian Burke.

It will take some time to re-establish a 'team identity', or in truth, actually get one.

Be patient, people.
Worst GM in history? you clearly haven't been following this team for more than 4 years, or know absolutely nothing about hockey

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02-06-2013, 05:01 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny_rudeboy View Post
Thanks for contributing exactly nothing.

But seriously. All successful teams have a strong identity who is personalized by their key players. There is no formula on what type of persons or types of character the team have to consist of (even do some types have a clear advantage) but it is important there is something/someones that keeps the team together.

Right now Phaneuf and Kessel is the main guys on this team and they shape the whole structure/identity of the team whether they want to or not. And if you want their charisma or lack of, the type of characters they are and the style of play and the level of skill they have be what is associated with TML then fine, but I dont.

How can we build our offensive game around a soft, inconsistent sniper who play the wing? How can we let a defender who lacks hockey sense be the main guy on D and also captain of the team? How will they rally the troops, how will they be able to correct teammates who makes mistakes when they them self keeps making them over and over again? Iīm not talking about an error every once in a while but I am talking about our two "best" players either going long periods with out helping out much either offensively or defensively, I am talking about a defender who still, in his 8th season make rookie errors, I am talking about a winger who gets applauded when he crosses his own blue line when the team have lost possession, thatīs how poor his defensive game have been. When he does, or try to do, the little things that are required of every other player he gets praise. And he is a young veteran forward?!?!?

No, this team desperately needs a new direction, a new identity. We need players with higher hockey IQ and a higher work rate, this path that Brian lead us in to is taking us nowhere fast.
I contributed, just takes a smarter person to see what was contributed.

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