Randy Carlyle

‘We know we can play to a higher level,’ says coach of team with very good record


Depending where you stand on these things, the Toronto Maple Leafs were either admirable in their opportunism or plain old lucky to beat the Wild, 4-1, last night despite getting outshot by a huge margin, 37-14.

Or, if you’re Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle, you can stand somewhere in the middle.

“We know we can play to a higher level and play a better puck-possession game than what we have so far,” said Carlyle, per TSN’s Jonas Siegel.

“We’re happy to take 6-1, but there’s a but,” he added, per Michael Traikos of the National Post.

The Leafs may be 6-1-0 and tied for the most points in the NHL, but there remain doubts about their ability to keep winning the way they’re currently doing it — which is with a combination of great goaltending, timely scoring, and excellent special teams.

A couple of stats to consider: 1) Toronto has won four of the fives games in which its opponent has registered more shots. 2) Only four teams have surrendered more shots on average than the Leafs (34.6).

It all makes for a compelling narrative, especially if you’ve been following the whole “advanced stats” debate surrounding the Leafs.

Toronto’s next game is Thursday at home to Carolina.

Sharks name Pavelski captain; Thornton, Couture alternates

Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton
Leave a comment

Joe Pavelski is the new captain of the San Jose Sharks. The club made the announcement today via Twitter.

The former captain, Joe Thornton, will be an alternate captain, along with Logan Couture.

Pavelski, 31, was the Sharks’ leading scorer last season, finishing with 37 goals and 33 assists. He’s also signed through 2018-19, so giving him the ‘C’ makes sense from a long-term stability perspective.

Couture, 26, is also signed through 2018-19, while Thornton, 36, only has two years left on his contract.

The Sharks had four alternate captains (Thornton, Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic) in 2014-15, but no captain.

Related: DeBoer says Sharks will have a captain next season

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
Leave a comment

Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.