Tag: Toronto Maple Leafs

Phil Kessel

Leafs scoring slump hits historical low


January, 2015, was a horrible month for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Utterly disastrous, actually.

It ended with a 1-0 shutout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The Leafs peppered goalie Steve Mason with 30 shots — they had 60 shot attempts to Philadelphia’s 42, according to hockeystats.ca — and still couldn’t get one to go in the net.

Maybe February will be better?

Exactly how bad a month was this for the Leafs?

— They recorded one win in 13 games. That victory came Jan. 9 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

— On Jan. 1, the Leafs held onto the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, and were only four points back of the Detroit Red Wings in the Atlantic Division.

— The Leafs have undergone a coaching change, with the firing of Randy Carlyle. The storm continued when former Leafs bench boss Ron Wilson, speaking on radio, called out Phil Kessel for being too inconsistent, which eventually led to a confrontation between Kessel and a Toronto reporter.

— They’re currently on a nine-game losing streak, and have been shut out in four of those games. Scoring, as you’ll see below, has been an issue.

— Then there’s this one, and it stings. This was the Leafs’ lowest scoring month in franchise history, with a paltry 1.23 goals per game, according to Sportsnet Stats.

Anything else?

Goalie nods: Smith gets shot at revenge vs. Senators

Ottawa Senators v Arizona Coyotes

All the latest from the blue paint…

Smith seeks better showing against Ottawa

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith surrendered five goals on 33 shots on Jan. 10 against the Senators, but he’ll be back between the pipes tonight in Ottawa. Smith has started in every game since Devan Dubnyk was traded to Minnesota.

Smith has struggled mightily this season, posting a 3.41 GAA and .890 save percentage in 33 contests, but he held Toronto to a single goal on Thursday, so this is an opportunity for him to string a couple good games together.

Ottawa will counter with Robin Lehner.


Islanders at Red Wings: Chad Johnson vs. Petr Mrazek

Kings at Bruins: Jonathan Quick is the probable goaltender against Tuukka Rask.

Panthers at Devils: Roberto Luongo vs. Keith Kinkaid

Canes at Rangers: Neither goaltender is confirmed, but it will probably be Cam Ward facing Henrik Lundqvist.

Leafs at Flyers: James Reimer vs. Steve Mason

Stars at Jets: It’s believed that Kari Lehtonen will play against Michael Hutchinson.

Blue Jackets at Lightning: Curtis McElhinney and Ben Bishop are both considered probable.

Oilers at Flames: No word on who Edmonton will go with, but Calgary will send out Jonas Hiller.

Hawks at Sharks: Chicago will start Antti Raanta. San Jose’s starter remains a mystery, although odds are it will end up being Antti Niemi.

Report: Rob Blake would be Brendan Shanahan’s first choice to replace Dave Nonis

Rob Blake Peter Forsberg; Dominik Hasek; Mike Modano; Pat Burns; Lynn Burns; Bill McCreary

In a perfect world, Brendan Shanahan would get permission from the L.A. Kings and hire Rob Blake as the next general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to hockey insider Bob McKenzie, Mark Hunter, who was hired as the Leafs’ Director of Player Personnel earlier this season, is another rumored replacement for Dave Nonis.

However, if possible, Shanahan would like Blake to be the guy. McKenzie was on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto Friday afternoon and had this to say on the matter:

There’s always been speculation about the future of Nonis and whether he’s Shanahan’s guy and what he’s going to do here.

When Mark Hunter got hired, I think there was a widespread presumption that he could be a general manager in waiting if and when Brendan Shanahan makes a move to terminate or put Dave Nonis out to pasture – whatever the case may be.

I’ve also heard, over the course of time, that Brendan Shanahan’s first choice, if he were to hire a general manager other than Dave Nonis, would be Rob Blake, who worked with Shanahan at player safety and now of course works for the Los Angeles Kings under the Dean Lombardi regime.

I personally don’t think Rob Blake has any interest in leaving Southern California. He’s a surfer, he likes working with the Kings, and as much as he one day maybe wants to be a general manager, I’d be absolutely shocked if he wanted to do it in Toronto.

For now, Nonis remains the general manager of the club, which is in the middle of an eight-game losing streak. According to reports, Nonis was in Manchester, NH Friday night scouting Kings’ property Mike Richards. Nonis will likely be the general manager till the end of the season, but it appears his days are numbered.

Leafs won’t turn to prospect William Nylander for help

William Nylander

Despite scoring just seven goals in eight games (all losses) the Toronto Maple Leafs won’t recall 18-year-old prospect William Nylander for help offensively.

Nylander, who joined the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies in mid-January, scored his first AHL goal in Utica Friday night.

“It’s not time to call up William at all,” Leafs general manager Dave Nonis told the Toronto Star.

Nonis’ statement echoed that of his assistant Kyle Dubas.

Dubas addressed the plan for Nylander on Jan. 12 and was asked about the possibility of a recall at some point during the final months of the regular season.

“Right now, there’s not a chance,” said Dubas. “We need to be patient. We can’t live and die with if he has a good weekend.

“I know the media will continue to ask every good weekend that he has and the answer will be ‘no’. We need to be patient, develop him properly and have him come up when he’s able to sustain being an NHL player versus come up and then go back down.”

Nylander made his AHL debut on Jan. 23 and played in his third game Friday night.

The forward, who was Toronto’s first-round selection (eighth overall) in 2014, had eight goals and 20 points in 21 games with Modo in the SHL prior to joining the Marlies.

Related: Leafs’ prospect Nylander using Bruins’ Pastrnak as motivation

Leafs’ luck: Bernier gives up long distance goal, things unravel in third

Jonathan Bernier

Yikes. Sometimes that’s all you can really say about an especially bad goal.

Every tally has been precious for the offense-starved Toronto Maple Leafs, so giving up a soft one hurts that much more. That’s exactly what happened early in the third period tonight, as Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored from his own blue line on a sleepy Jonathan Bernier:

Rule of thumb: when people are bringing up Vesa Toskala’s name in Toronto, you know things are going poorly.

Update: Yep, the third period ended up being pretty rough for the Maple Leafs overall.

Phil Kessel first-period goal wasn’t nearly enough for the Maple Leafs to secure a standings point. Martin Hanzal scored the game-winner at the 3:47 mark of the third period and Sam Gagner found the net for an insurance tally with three-and-a-half minutes left.

Almost as disturbing for Toronto is that a flailing Arizona team hogged the puck. The Coyotes generated a 45-25 shot advantage on Thursday with a 21-6 second period being most glaring (even without featuring a single goal).

It’s one thing to be dominated by a contending team; it’s another to be handled thoroughly by a squad seemingly in free-fall mode. Bad times for the Maple Leafs.