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Toronto Maple Leafs News & Notes: January 11, 2014

I didn’t watch the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals last night, so I better do some quick research before writing this post:

Hey, that wasn’t terrible. Phil Kessel scored a nice goal and the Leafs even had a brief third-period lead. They also blew a third-period lead, but who’s counting?

Some might chalk up Nicklas Backstrom’s goal to bad luck, but I disagree. Sure, the puck ricocheted off Jay McClement’s skate, so there was an element of luck. But the only reason Backstrom was able to get possession of the puck behind the net, then had the time and space to move into position to throw the puck in front, was the horrid defense of the slower-than-molasses pairing of Tim Gleason and Cody Franson.

The game-winning goal came via another patented “to the line but not out” play by the Leafs penalty kill. And nobody decided to cover Joel Ward in the slot, who one-timed a bullet past Jonathan Bernier.

OK, so the Leafs didn’t get embarrassed. Is that supposed to be a positive? At what point do the players, coaching staff and management become sick of losing and decide to do something about it? (Hint: That something is to fire Randy Carlyle.)

You can read some quotes and stats in Jonas Siegel’s piece from last night. I’ll throw Bower Power’s recap up here as well.

Moving on from the Leafs, I always wondered what it would be like to cheer for a competently run hockey team. Like, say, the Los Angeles Kings. What makes them so good? Eric T. compiles some numbers and shares what he learned.

There are still many questions to be answered around the NHL as we enter the second-half of the season. Sean McIndoe provides many answers for only a few questions, like only he can.

This last piece doesn’t really have anything to do with the NHL, but I thought it was a very thoughtful take on being a fan and writing about sports by Dustin Parkes. It definitely made me take another hard look at how and why I write.

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Tags: Cody Franson Phil Kessel Randy Carlyle Tim Gleason Toronto Maple Leafs

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