The Leafs are winning hockey games, but the manner in which they’re doing so has to be slightly concerning. Randy Carlyle basically said after last night’s game that giving up 37 shots isn’t a viable winning strategy. I couldn’t agree more, but how does he plan on improving that aspect of the Leafs’ game? The Leafs had the same problem last year, and the defense remains a work in progress, to put it politely. I think David Clarkson and Nikolai Kulemin will help somewhat, but how much? I don’t think the return of Mark Fraser will help the defense much, if at all. I think this team’s puck-possession troubles are systemic, but at least they’re winning hockey games. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, though.
Just some food for thought; now on to the links:
Phil Birnbaum makes the case that Carlyle and the Leafs have found a way to consistently have high shooting percentages without generating many shots.
Draglikepull of Pension Plan Puppets takes a look at Carlyle’s history to see if Birnbaum’s hypothesis rings true.
This is from August, but it’s a great piece on what Trevor Smith can bring to the Leafs. From Justin Bourne of Backhand Shelf.
Steve Dangle of The Leafs Nation on the Clarkson suspension and how it actually might be a good thing.