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Episode 9 of "The Maple Leaf Hangout"

With what should be an entertaining (and possibly instructive) match-up on tap for this evening against the Anaheim Ducks, I got together Monday evening with the good folks at the Maple Leaf Hot Stove site for Episode 9 of "The Maple Leaf Hangout".  We cover off a number of topics, including the Leaf team identity (such as it is at the moment), a former player who may be missed, Paul Ranger, puck possession and some Leaf prospects blossoming in the junior ranks- as well as a few guys to watch for from the Ducks.


  1. Hi Michael. Again you've managed to bring up topics that concern your readers and posters. We've all noticed that forwards are often at the blueline while defensemen are left still in the Leafs zone.
    As we are all missing Komorov I thought I would mention the fact that he stated in the summer he wasn't finished with the NHL. A return is still possible, even to the Leafs if money can be found. The KHL season including post-season is finished April 30th. It would be good for Kulemin especially. Komorov hasn't had the opportunity to "introduce" himself to Western teams yet. I'd love to see him do so in a Leafs jersey. C.N.

    1. I know some Leaf supporters weren't particularly concerned that Komarov left but I do miss the edginess that he brought. (And yes, those Western clubs deserve to meet Komarov, for sure...) Thanks C.N.

  2. Michael,

    That was a great episode of the Hangout. I really enjoyed Anthony's contributions. He was critical of the team while being thoughtful as well. I too don't feel that guys in the minors are going to save the team, TJ Brennan included. You can really tell that he is unwilling to blow smoke, that is refreshing in Leafworld.

    Man o man what a hockey game we witnessed tonight. From an abysmal first period, it really was as disinterested a period of hockey as I have ever seen a team play. To a magical last two frames, where the good guys got the win. It truly was an outhouse to penthouse kind of game. I even took the time to bemoan the state of the team to a friend during the first period intermission. I got the impression that he really was expecting more from the team, and I'm glad that the Leafs delivered. I am also happy that my friend puts up with my rants about the team. He is one of the most level headed fans I know, as well as being very insightful.

    There was lots of talk on the broadcast about the turning point of the game. Unlike our broadcasters, I saw Colton Orr drawing a penalty in the opposition zone as the point on which the game hinged. Up until that PP, the Leafs had no momentum and no jam at all. With that little dive by Orr, the Leafs got some offensive zone time, and some confidence. On a side note, I would have called Orr for diving, but that may be because I don't like him.

    Until Dion laid the body in the second period along the boards in his own zone, I was beginning to think that the team really did need Komorov to show them how to hit again.

    Clarkson is back on Friday, and if you had told me the Leafs would win 7 out of the 10 games that he was suspended for I would have been thrilled. So here I am, thrilled that the Leafs can play better, and still have 14 points thru ten games. Players will come back from injury soon, and if we go 1 and 1 on Friday and Saturday we are going to be just fine in the weeks ahead. That is if the team can recapture the truculence that was so abundant last year. I really do believe that they play better when they are pounding the opposition, both along the boards, and in the face.

  3. It is indeed hard to argue with a 7 and 3 record, Jim, given the Clarkson suspension and various injuries (and so many Marlies in the lineup) as you mentioned. That the team has not played well consistently and yet has earned these points suggests they should be very good- if they play to their potential.

    I'm with you- I believe they need to have all aspects of their game going. Goaltending, of course, but in addition to secondary scoring and strong special team play, they have to be consistently gritty and hard to play against. In the East, they should be capable of a lot. They have some front-line talent and some grit. The defense could stand to be shored up, but we'll likely have a better sense of where we are 10 games down the road. Thanks Jim.

  4. Hi Michael.

    We needed everyone to step up and it was great to see that our Captain contributed six hits ( the one was a doozie!) and the tying goal. We seldom lose a game when Phaneuf scores. A hat-trick for Kessel, good chances for McClemment and Raymond, Gardiner skating very well, killing a 5on3 without Jay.
    I see Ranger slowly improving and the two assists he's gotten so far were lone assists. To me that says he's captured the puck and has moved it up effectively. Though he's certainly not old, he's not a 23 year old. He may just need a little longer to get up to speed.

    While the first period wasn't great I did see the forwards holding back to support their defensemen much better. It wasn't all bad. We didn't get shots but we did hold the Ducks back fairly well. There was often a three player wall set up on our blueline by our forwards. I don't remember seeing the Leaf forwards do that before ( they're usually somewhere else) and it certainly slowed the Ducks down.

    On the whole I found this game encouraging. And two points against a very good team = Yipeee! C.N.

    1. Not the best start, C.N., but as you note, some hopeful signs. There are no guarantees but the Leafs should be better in the weeks ahead, once people return. All in all, an encouraging result after 10 games. If Ranger can find his stride, that would certainly help.

  5. Hey Michael,

    Thanks for the (kind of) mention on this episode! I don't usually drive to work, as traffic and parking are often the nightmare you can imagine. So there I was on the train listening to the latest hang out when you mentioned my comment about audio-only. I laughed out loud and got a few sideways looks from my fellow passengers, since relative silence is the expected norm on trains over here. Thanks for making my day!

    As the other posters mentioned, that was a really good episode. Gotta agree with Jim that Anthony had some great comments. I was 100% on board with his opinions on how to manage Reimer, Gardiner, Ranger, and Komorov (three guys I'd like to stay in Toronto, one I'd like back).

    Great (40 minutes of a) game too!

    Please keep up the fine work here and on the hang out.



    1. Thank you for taking the time to write, Matt. I loved your earlier comment here and wanted to share it with the the other panelists on the show. I agree that Anthony's observations were seemingly spot on.

  6. hey michael, i bet you had a smile on your face learning about phil kessel's generosity at the acc.. bringing in the children suffering from cancer... and how about that, he scores three goals during that game. between that and dave nonis writing that nice letter to the family of a long-time maple leaf fan, i think the organization is collecting some 'good karma' you know? looking forward to your next report michael! ~alex