Maple Leafs News & Notes: Kessel’s Shot, A New System and Connor McDavid


Let’s take a look at the hottest Toronto Maple Leafs headlines from around the web on November 14th, 2014.

Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun talks about the Leafs needing to remain on an even keel after going 6-1-1 over their past eight games.

Longley’s right. This is a story that we know too well. The Leafs heat up, go on a great run and then crash and burn. Optimism is high in Leaf Nation right now but there’s also recent memory in the back of everyone’s mind that reminds them what happened the last two seasons.

It’s up to the current group to continue their strong play while remaining grounded during extended winning streaks. They have to prove that things have changed before people will believe them, and that will take 82 games.

Phil Kessel‘s shot release is somewhat of a wonder. It’s lightning quick and it seems that he can find a way to put the puck in from anywhere. Stephen Whyno of the Canadian Press, through CTV News, has a great article that compares Kessel’s shot to former Maple Leaf Rick Kehoe.

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Kessel is known for taking low-percentage shots and having them go in and that quick release is part of his success. The faster a player can get the puck off the blade of their stick the less time a goalie has a chance to react and shift into a different position.

James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail has a fantastic read on the Leafs’ new system and what the coaching staff is trying to get into the players. The system the Leafs are playing right now is clearly working, going 6-1-1 over the past eight games, so whatever the coaches are doing needs to remain the same.

The Boston game was probably the Leafs most complete game of hockey all season long.

It took a few games for the new design to kick in, though, with the Leafs not getting off to a fantastic start to the season. Now that it’s in high gear the coaching staff is getting the credit they deserve.

Michael Traikos has an article for the National Post that talks about the Leafs’ point of view on public humiliation, referencing the 4-1 loss to Boston on October 25th of this season.

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I’ll agree that you can use an old-fashioned drubbing every now and again to wake you up or bring you back to earth, but I’m not sure I want to see the Leafs subjected to that too much more this season.

Until they prove their over the major collapse’s of their recent past I’d very much like them to just continue along with a few stumbles rather than be torched every 7-8 games to keep them fresh.

Bruce Arthur has an interesting article for The Star that begs the question of whether or not hockey needs fighting. It’s based off the recent injury to Connor McDavid, that several Leaf players publicly defended.

I’m with the Leafs. I thought McDavid dropping the mitts was great. At some point, as a star player, you have to say enough is enough with the chipping and stick-work. The OHL has rules in place for the last few seasons that extremely deter fighting, so protection for Connor McDavid is at a minimum.

I think it’s great that he’s emotional and stood up for himself when he didn’t like the hit. He’s been taking a lot of extra’s this season while he was on pace to challenge OHL scoring records so it shouldn’t surprise everyone that he finally had enough. Even Sidney Crosby has enough every now and again.

The biggest problem I have with the debate over fighting in hockey right now isn’t the debate itself. It’s that it’s being fired up because of a fluke hand injury to a superstar prospect instead of  head injuries, which should be the real fire starter for the debate, although I like it in the game and I doubt it’s going anywhere anytime soon.