Roundtable: We're not crazy, just disappointed - again

Roundtable: We’re not crazy, just disappointed – again

Here we are, postmortem examination again.

Open Question: What do you think/feel/want to say today?

Volemin: Win a round, win a round, win a round. But if you’re losing a round, it’s much better to crash against the Bolts than to collapse in front of the Habs. As annoying as it is to lose again, I still feel better as a result.

Arvind: Losing is always annoying, and unlike most things, it doesn’t get any easier with experience. The Leafs have exonerated themselves well, but the moral victories have long since been good for us. I am reasonably confident that the Leafs are unlikely to be blown by any team in the playoff series. But I’m still not sure that the Leafs will blow the doors of any team that should actually beat them, because we haven’t seen them do that before. And with that, it’s very difficult to view the Leafs as real competitors until they do.

Hardif: It’s so weird because I usually have something to stick with and complain about all summer long. This year was none of that, only the score. It feels kind of empty, heartless, but there’s nothing else to do but wake up the next day/season and try again.

I think Lightning wasn’t ready at the start of the series, but he figured out their strength, neutral zone defense, and defensive hurdles by the end. They won 2-1 and that’s exactly what happened. Matthews was strangled and never got the disc or could do anything with it. They can basically only close the game for two periods, which is when you have to score your goals. Leaf did, but they didn’t either.

At the end of the day, chances are that first period didn’t happen. Boomerang. Results.

Bridgest: I pretty much explained my immediate feelings at FTB on Sunday, and nothing has changed since then. I hope the Leafs will not make drastic changes to the team or the organization. Now I’m looking forward to the draft, and see what Dubas (if he’s still around) can take off to improve the team and restart next year.

Katya: I think the Leafs won the 5on5 match, lost the special teams battle, and goalkeepers weren’t a factor. Which makes this a lot like the Boston Series II in a long time since they were really coins to decide who was the better team. I don’t think this was close, I think the Leafs are better than Tampa for sure. I also agree with Hardev above, and after watching Tampa’s win the past two years, he’s also right when he said John Cooper is good at adapting. I don’t think Sheldon is how it is.

Kick a VIP (so not the thirteenth name down the org chart)?

Volemin: If you think you can upgrade to Sheldon Keefe (and everyone wants Barry Trotz), go for it. I wouldn’t fire Keefe just because he was fired. Dobas remains. I think that was the only kind of loss in the first round that could have saved his job.

Hardif: You know very well that the thirteenth man on the organizational depth chart is Greg Moore. He still has to be expelled. There are a lot of assistant coaches behind the bench at the moment, if you can cut back on that and get Daniel Jewett in there, that would be a positive. The Trotz Ovechkin and Washington trail, it might be worth a try. At the end of the day, I can’t blame Dupas for the guys he put on the ice. It was a deep and well-built team. I loved the way it was put together, and I think it works with this set. They just need to keep messing around.

Bridgest: If I have one soreness, it’s my qualitative one. But it’s a small ache. I don’t fire anyone.

Katya: I got mad during Match 7 and fired this hot shot: The Leafs have no flexibility, not in the nerves of the goalkeeper, not behind the bench, nor in who plays in the top line. Keefe and Dubas are men of operations, men of order. They are slow to respond, which is probably fine most of the time. The NHL is getting a bit of a jerk, and people are getting fired very quickly. But Tampa steadied itself from game one into game seven, and even the five-on-five increased time hasn’t helped the foliage in the last two games. Having said all that, I’m with Fulemin conceptually, but I don’t like Trotz for the Leafs. If you can find someone who doesn’t need two years to figure out that the Leafs need dash opportunities along with a course game, maybe you will.

Trading a VIP (so not Justin Hall)?

Volemin: Shop for Jake Muzzin and see if someone will pay you for a decent cut-off tour. I love this guy and at his best he is the type of guy you want, but the Leafs have a jam-packed record in defense right now and they need to unlock the money somewhere.

Arvind: I think you listen to Nylander, and see if you can get a player that matches better with John Tavares (read: better defense). Definitely don’t trade it in for peanuts or anything like that, and don’t commit to getting rid of it. But there may be options that may make sense.

Hardif: I think people are wrong about Tavares. I think people are wrong about Muzin. I’m sure of Marner’s fate. I don’t know Nylander’s fate, but I don’t think it’s smart to trade it in to accommodate Tavares, you’re getting different supporting players for that. No one is instinctively angry with him and I want to replace him. Marner put me back in more than I thought he could get. My arguments from the T25 still stand, especially now that the Nylander lineup is up in the air (third line, second line, first line?). In Nylander it feels eerily like Kadri’s situation to me where the coach couldn’t find a role for him. I hope Dubas doesn’t make the same mistake twice.

Bridgest: They will have to trade someone to make the cap work, filling in the gaps in the expected lineup. Campbell is a UFA, they have some RFA. Hall, Kerfoot, Muzin are the obvious choices for guys who earn more than the minimum league and who can trade without affecting the core. Far from that, you are looking at Nylander as the only realistic option to trade.

Katya: Most of the really important players cannot be traded. I also don’t think they should trade anyone, that’s not how max decisions are made, but I’ll trade Muzzin if he agrees. His contract doesn’t have a full trade so this is almost as much a topic of discussion as the Tavares talks really bother me and it’s only been a day. Muzzin had a great closeout which makes him valuable in the trade right now.

Ocean: “Razak for sale! Leg missing, otherwise okay. Choose the seventh round, or the best show.”

People keep using “reboot” as a shorthand for not blowing up the team, but how different will this team be next year?

Volemin: I expect Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Tavares, Riley and Campbell to stay here. (If any of them move, it’s a Nylander.) Obviously the bunting will come back and I’ll come back Think Engvall will too, but plenty of supportive attackers will be on the move. I think the base six in defense will include Sandin and Allegrine, and I think Jack will get a new platoon partner.

Arvind: Obviously, Tavares, Matthews, Marner, Riley and Campbell are still stuck. Brody almost certainly is, too. Probably Nylander. I think as in the past few years, most additions will be on the sidelines.

Hardif: Between Kerfoot, Mikheyev, Kämpf, Engvall, Kaše and Blackwell, I think Kerfoot and Mikheyev are gone, simply because they need to find someone who can stand up to the competition that Tavares had in the playoffs. I would be happy to bring back Kämpf, Engvall, Kaše and Blackwell in similar roles. It’s time to go shopping again.

Bridgest: Moderate. Some changes about margins, role player locations and that’s it.

Katya: Yes, I think Fulemin has that. The goalkeeper will be fun, but it will all be in marginal roles. A suspicious person might be wondering if Kyle Dupas made the deals he made to make this summer tough to get him fired. He tied his hands too tightly, and no new GM was able to cut the rope.

Unusual opinion: Ilya Mikheev (UFA), Ilya Lyubushkin (UFA) and Pierre Engvall (RFA with Arb rights) – who is re-signed?

Volemin: Mikheev is gone, perhaps Lyubushkin is gone, I think Engfal is more likely to survive, but I will not guarantee it.

Arvind: Engvall will stick, and the rest is gone. While we’re here, Kervot is likely gone, too.

Hardif: Mikheyev is gone (I don’t pay for a hot shooting year from a poor shooter), Lyubushkin is gone (I don’t have strong feelings here), Engvall stays (usually betting on RFA staying). I want Cash and Blackwell back, while we talk about free agents. Giordano, obviously, too. I really like this team, dang.

Bridgest: With all of them, I would say it really depends on two things. First, what every player wants in free agency. If they ask for too much, the Leafs will have to walk away. Second, other moves the Leafs will make that can affect their ability and willingness to keep it or not. My guess now would be the same as Fulemin and Arvind.

Katya: Well, I think Hall is gone, and so I think one of Giordano or Lyubushkin will come back and it could boil down to asking for contracts. I don’t think this team would assume Sanden (22) and Allegreen (23) would have full-time roles, but they would want to if their playing required it. Mikheev is gone, Engvall will be back, and I almost understand the value of his transition game. approx. I would still put the shooter in the third line, though. It’s okay to have someone other than Matthews with shooting skill.

Closing remarks?

Volemin: Be as angry as you should be. I get it. We wanted more success in the final now and we didn’t get it, which is bad. In spite of myself, I got something out of this qualifying round, and I’m proud of this team in a way I haven’t since 2016-2017. This is not winning quality. But this is something.

Hardif: I feel so empty now. Now will be the season for hot shots, controversial comments, and the quest for attention. But aside from TV breakfast announcers, I don’t want to hear it this summer. Instead, I’ll be here with the masthead, putting words that actually have ideas behind it like we always do. I hope you will join us.

Bridgest: This is hockey – the sport as a whole, but especially hockey with how random it is. It’s bad, we’ve been through it before and much worse before. The sun will rise the next morning, and we’ll continue to watch The Leafs and worry about them during the off-season and into next season and every season after.

Katya: There were some moments in the playoff series that were just amazing performances. The matches were very fast in five against five, and they were very intense. It would be really sad to see that ruined, and I don’t think the Leafs would (because they don’t hire Trotz). I don’t hate Sheldon How Systems. I also loved Mike Babcock. They both have different flaws in how they respond to adversity. I think they built the grinding spirit in the team, and the players turned that into “there’s always a game ahead”. Now they know why this is a trap. But I really think The Leafs need someone who can do some of what Keefe does, some of what Babcock does, some of what Jon Cooper does. Otherwise, the play here is to wait for the schedule and rebounds to go their way. And perhaps none of these three men is on the outside. Nobody wants it anyway.

Ocean: Anyone know how to travel forward in time so I can skip watching this long and grueling regular season?

2022-05-16 13:00:00

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