Custom Search

Devils recap

Individual game results don’t matter at this point as much as how players who may actually be with the team in two years are playing.

So an OT loss doesn’t move me one way or another. It’s always good to see a team come back late, as the Leafs did, but that was more a function of the Devils making sloppy mistakes than the Leafs playing with a great deal of inspiration or urgency. While I really like Parise, New Jersey is still a boring team to watch with a lead. You can tell Lemaire is back behind the bench.

Some questions and observations:

• While Leaf fans would love to look at Gunnarson and feel he’s going to be a top four defenseman, it’s too early to really know. But it’s better to see good signs than not.

• Kessel’s lack of overall productivity is quite stunning. He’s still skating, working and putting up some points. While 15 goals is a perfectly acceptable number given his early-season injuries and lack of training camp, even if he gets hot now it will be past the point where it matters in terms of the team’s performance.

• Most Leaf fans would agree that Ian White has had a fine season, despite the team’s lack of success. It will be interesting to see how White finishes the season and if he can keep up his generally steady play right through to the end of the season.

• I wonder if Kulemin, as he grows in confidence, might be able to double his offensive production next season?

• I also wonder if Leaf fans believe Schenn is playing much better of late, or is it wishful thinking?

• Sometimes the way some TV analysts talk about the Leafs you get the impression that White is playing well, Schenn is playing well, Kaberle is playing well, Gunnarson is playing well and Beauchemin is playing well. The thing is, if everyone is indeed playing so well, why do the Leafs give up more goals than any team in the NHL?

• Most nights Bozak makes an offensive move that demonstrates he has the ability to create and play at this level

• Given Ponikarovsky’s increasing point totals, the timing would seem to be right for Burke to get what he can. The question may be: are we seeing the best Poni has to offer? Is he a player that can still be valuable when (if) the team turns a corner, or can he draw a much younger asset that will eventually provide more than Poni can at 32 or 33?

• The same question can be asked about Hagman. Impressive goal-scoring total so far this season. Decent plus-minus. But how productive will he be when the team is ready to be a contender?

All this said, there are glaring issues that you have to believe management is more than aware of. Who will be the shut-down defense pair next season? Will we have six “top six” forwards? Will we have three? How many wingers will we have that can consistently win battles in the corners and along the boards?

On to face Vancouver.

No comments:

Post a Comment