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Team Toughness

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Old
10-04-2009, 12:44 AM
  #1
Andrew Mack
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Team Toughness

It is very early in the season but I must say that I was dissappointed in the overall play of the team. Outside of Komisarek, the boys seemed disinterested in physical play tonight, and even vs. Montreal outside of two early scraps, Komisarek was the only one challenging the other team.

I'm not sure if this is a plan to lull the other teams into a false sense of safety, but I must say I am surprised that considering it is one of our team's main mantras that we haven't been nearly as nasty as advertised. Montreal certainly answered the bell physically the other night, and tonight Ovechkin was steamrolling guys, and we didn't have an answer to the physicality of some of Washington's checkers.

In my opinion, I think we should insert Kulemin into the line-up Tuesday. The kid has wheels, can score, and is physical on the forecheck and back-check. He might be inconsistent, but a good game from him might be contagious.

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10-04-2009, 12:53 AM
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What? Orr went looking for a fight, Mayers went looking for a fight.

Who would you take out for Kulemin?

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10-04-2009, 10:10 AM
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The team toughness is there, it's just that Wilson for some unknown reason, isn't using it. Why? This was supposed to be our new identity. A team built on toughness and intimidation.

What do I mean?

In the Montreal game, Komisarek was wild and spent too much time in the box, Beauchemin and Schenn were absolutely brutal, and White had 5 giveaways in limited ice time...so he decides to shake up our defense by sitting..........Exelby. Huh?

Our tough 4th liners (Orr and Rosehill) did what they were supposed to do, but barely saw the ice after the 1st period. Then Wilson decides to sit Rosehill (who can skate) and play Mayers (who is as slow as molasses) against the Caps, a team noted for its blazing speed. Huh?

Burke brought all these guys in here to play a pounding, physical game. To intimidate. To keep heads up and wear the other team down. But for 5 periods Wilson has played the same old gang from last year, and we're seeing the same old game.

Why doesn't he shake things up? Both Orr and Rosehill can skate. Why not give them some turns on the top 2 lines? Give Orr some shifts with Stalberg and Stajan, and put Rosehill on with Grabovski and Hagman. Get a little aggressive forecheck happening. Put some life in the team for Cripe's sake!!!

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10-04-2009, 10:29 AM
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Saul
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I'm saying the life in this team comes back to pre-season form once Alfy gets erased tuesday.

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10-04-2009, 11:16 AM
  #5
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Burke has done what amounts to nothing to address the lack of toughness in the Leafs' forward group. Every change that has been made to address toughness is on the 4th line. This isn't going to magically make the other 3 lines more rugged. Those expecting it to change something with Matt Stajan or Grabovski or Hagman or whoever else were delusional.

On defense, the Leafs have become a less comfortable team to play against. Komisarek is a royal pain in the neck for the opposition. Beauchemin, if he ever gets his bearings, can be a rugged defenseman to have to take on. But defensemen aren't going to soften up the opposition on the forecheck.

One thing I might consider if I'm the Leafs' management: If they're playing a team without heavyweights like Washington last night, I fail to see the benefit in dressing Colton Orr or even Wayne Primeau. Put some youth and vitality on the 4th line for these games, short call ups, we have this luxury this season with waiver exempt players, Bozak, Hanson, Kulemin, whoever you wish to reward. Then when you play teams with heavyweights in their lineups go right back to the usual Neanderthal 4th line....

The Leafs' true team toughness isn't going to be addressed overnight. Rugged forwards who can play are rare and valuable commodities. They aren't usually available through free agency first of all because their teams retain them and second of all because they break down rapidly at an earlier age than other players. This will happen through the draft and through trade.

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10-04-2009, 11:17 AM
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There's a tremendous difference between team toughness, and being goons.

Philadelphia has team toughness. They don't take a lot of unnecessary penalties, they're relatively disciplined, but they love board-work, hitting, and they aren't afraid. That's the concept of team toughness.

Just because you throw together a gluttony of big defensemen, goons, a couple fighters, and some size doesn't mean you suddenly have a tough team. It's never worked that way. There needs to be focus, a reason, and skill for it all to come together.

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10-04-2009, 11:20 AM
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John-Eric Iannicello
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They do need to be tougher. I think they added a good enough blend of toughness on the defensive side of things but offensively they aren't that tough.

Burke doesn't have his 'top 6 - bottom 6' type team that he wants. That third line, as productive as it's been -- shouldn't be the third line I think. You need some spark plug players out there. Some players who are going to take the energy of the game and flip it around. I just don't see any of those types on this team.

..

Burke's style worked in Anaheim because he had two gritty star forwards in Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. He doesn't have that in his top-six here.

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10-04-2009, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owa View Post
There's a tremendous difference between team toughness, and being goons.

Philadelphia has team toughness. They don't take a lot of unnecessary penalties, they're relatively disciplined, but they love board-work, hitting, and they aren't afraid. That's the concept of team toughness.

Just because you throw together a gluttony of big defensemen, goons, a couple fighters, and some size doesn't mean you suddenly have a tough team. It's never worked that way. There needs to be focus, a reason, and skill for it all to come together.
The Philadelphia Flyers can't be who you are talking about.

Washington has a big team, there is no way any team in the league is going to run them out of the rink. Just can't let them do it to you.

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10-04-2009, 11:21 AM
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Tough does not mean taking stupid penalties or being left behind on the play.

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10-04-2009, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Th4thurt View Post
Tough does not mean taking stupid penalties or being left behind on the play.
I'd love to meet the person who said that, or possibly not.

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10-04-2009, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mooseOAK View Post
The Philadelphia Flyers can't be who you are talking about.

Washington has a big team, there is no way any team in the league is going to run them out of the rink. Just can't let them do it to you.
"relatively disciplined" was a poor choice of words, but I mean they don't have a dman taking 15 PIMs in one game, or bunch of players who you can depend on to take a lot of hooking and holding penalties.

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10-04-2009, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mooseOAK View Post
I'd love to meet the person who said that, or possibly not.
You can shake my hand at the corner of Yonge and Bloor tomorrow around 1 PM

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10-04-2009, 01:30 PM
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I think the one thing that most people forgot about is that this is essentially Burke's FIRST season as the GM. Remember he took over last year during the second half of the season basically. He also signed what was basically a 5 year deal. It took Burke longer than a year to accomplish what he did in Anaheim and the same goes for us. Burke addressed the defence situation this offseason and look for him to address the forwards starting the trade deadline.

The team currently needs to gel together and find chemistry with the new players. Give them a few more games to see how the perform. Although it's quite sad that I found the Blues being more tough than us when they played Detroit yesterday.

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10-04-2009, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by LeafsInSeven View Post
Burke has done what amounts to nothing to address the lack of toughness in the Leafs' forward group. Every change that has been made to address toughness is on the 4th line. This isn't going to magically make the other 3 lines more rugged. Those expecting it to change something with Matt Stajan or Grabovski or Hagman or whoever else were delusional.
You are correct. They didn't add anybody to the top 9 who are going to bang bodies & do the dirty work. The 4th liners are just that & they don't play. You got to add guys who can play consistent minutes in the top 9 forwards that can play with grit. All the forwards the Leafs have in the top 9 are small/soft.

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10-04-2009, 02:15 PM
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You are correct. They didn't add anybody to the top 9 who are going to bang bodies & do the dirty work. The 4th liners are just that & they don't play. You got to add guys who can play consistent minutes in the top 9 forwards that can play with grit. All the forwards the Leafs have in the top 9 are small/soft.
Think back to when the Leafs really did have gritty teams.

In 1992-1993, we had Osbourne, Zezel, Clark and Glenn Anderson in the top 9. We don't have even one top 9 forward on the team right now as gritty/nasty as those guys.

In 2001-2004, we had top 9 forwards like Roberts, Thomas, Tucker, Corson and Domi (sometimes top 9).

This current group is butter soft compared to those teams.

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10-04-2009, 02:17 PM
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Yeah, guys like Poni Grabo or Stajan aren't going to scare anybody. Komisarek went as ******* as he can go in the game against Montreal, and it didn't do squat other than taking penalty minutes...the habs continued to run Toskala with impunity and weren't intimidated in the least.

And nobody, least of all a team that is small up front like the Leafs, is going to run the Caps out of the building this year. Aside from their very high skill level they are plenty big and fast.

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10-04-2009, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by YLC View Post
I think the one thing that most people forgot about is that this is essentially Burke's FIRST season as the GM. Remember he took over last year during the second half of the season basically. He also signed what was basically a 5 year deal. It took Burke longer than a year to accomplish what he did in Anaheim and the same goes for us. Burke addressed the defence situation this offseason and look for him to address the forwards starting the trade deadline.

The team currently needs to gel together and find chemistry with the new players. Give them a few more games to see how the perform. Although it's quite sad that I found the Blues being more tough than us when they played Detroit yesterday.
Indeed. Good post.

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Old
10-04-2009, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Volcanologist View Post
Yeah, guys like Poni Grabo or Stajan aren't going to scare anybody. Komisarek went as ******* as he can go in the game against Montreal, and it didn't do squat other than taking penalty minutes...the habs continued to run Toskala with impunity and weren't intimidated in the least.

And nobody, least of all a team that is small up front like the Leafs, is going to run the Caps out of the building this year. Aside from their very high skill level they are plenty big and fast.
What the Leafs should have done is run Price. Tit for tat. You hit our goalie or cheap shot one of our offensive players(erskine hit on blake) and than don't want to fight(Erskine declining the fight with Orr)than go out and wack Semin. Staged fights do nothing.

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Old
10-04-2009, 03:40 PM
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Burke himself has even acknowledged that the current offensive setup isn't completely to his liking, we're going to have to give him more time to complete the puzzle because as of right now it's still a work in progress.

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10-04-2009, 03:52 PM
  #20
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If in a week things don't change, shake it up. Orr and Rosehill on 1st and 2nd line.

Orr-Mitchell-Hagman
Rosehill-Stajan-Grabovski/Blake/Poni

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