Monday, April 5, 2010

One Man Show?

Yes, the Leafs have proved, in the last 18 games since the Olympic break, that they can succeed without the point production of Tomas Kaberle. An impressive 10-5-3 record has been put together, with Kaberle only contributing a meagre and well-documented 3 points to the offence.

So, is the scoring more dynamic then? Are the Leafs finding different ways to win every night, with different guys stepping up and chipping in? Are the Leafs less dependant upon one player's performance to succeed? Are we winning as a team?

Not so sure. One thing I've noticed that suggests otherwise is that when Kessel is on, so are the Leafs. In fact, since the break, the Leafs fortunes seem to be entirely tied to Kessel's output.

Over the last 18 games, when Kessel scores a goal or gets an assist, the Leafs are 9-0-1, yet when Kessel is held off the scoresheet, the record is 1-5-2.

That seems kinda significant to me. Seems like we need Phil Kessel to score or we're fucked.
Now there's concern that Kessel may have an injury. With just 3 games left and nothing on the line, will the Leafs push their leading scorer into the line-up if he's less then a hundred percent? With Kessel out of the line-up, could Kaberle score 7 points in 3 games? Wouldn't that be dramatic...

MONSTER for MASTERTON

Last year I successfully predicted that Ian White would earn the Masterton nominee from the Leafs, and while he didn't win the award that Jason Blake made famous, I was proud that he got the nod from the team after his breakout season.

This year I'm nominating rookie goaltender Jonas Gusatvsson and I wouldn't be surprised if the Leafs did too. If not, I'm very curious as to who they might select. It might be unusual for a rookie to be nominated for the Masterton, but I think Jonas has been a excellent and deserving example of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication. The Monster faced a lot of adversity this year but battled through it to post some amazing numbers down the stretch.

10 comments:

eyebleaf said...

In a way it makes sense to shut Kessel down for the year, and see who can step up in his absence. Like you've pointed out, when Kessel's not scoring, we're not winning.

Chuck Diesel said...

Your post is on point. Kessel has been our only real threat and maybe Kulemin. Bozak is doing mostly set up work. Risking Kessel right now would be crazy. We could probably catch Florida if Kessel played but I'd rather just have him for all of next year. Hopefully Kulemin can step up in Kessel's absence. Either way I'm proud of the kids and how they finished out the season even if we probably won't catch anyone now.

Anonymous said...

Hey General, I always look forward to reading your post. Your thoughts are insightful and come straight from the heart. I feel compelled to tell you, however, that you habitually mistake the word "then" for "than". In today's post, for example, you said "if he's less then 100%..." when it should be "if he's less than 100%"

general borschevsky said...

@eyebleaf: I think Wilson and Co. have been trying to figure out who can play with Kessel but it may be time to figure out who can play without him.

@Diesel: Amazingly, there's still as many as 4 teams we could catch in the final 3 games, but it's a huge longshot. Our best hope now is a lucky bounce at the draft lottery.

@Anonymous: Thanks for the awesome comment! It made me really laugh out loud. I am aware that I misuse then for than but it's actually deliberate and would take too much mental effort to reverse the habit. I never say "than" when I talk, I say "then". I think the word than should be eliminated from the English vocubulary 'cause it's useless. Then works just fine, better then than. Maybe it's kind of a funny quirk - I hope it doesn't annoy you too much. Cheers!

general borschevsky said...

"Vocubulary" is a typo.

Sullivan_Fan said...

Great post. It wouldn't be that much of a stretch for a rookie to win the masterson, kessel did it in his rookie year. That said, the trend seems to be a player coming back from a serious injury/ cancer battle and playing at a competitive level who gets the final nod. Let's see, too bad there's no most improved award, monster would be a lock IMO.

general borschevsky said...

Hey Sullivan Fan! Welcome. Gustavsson has had 2 heart ablation surgeries disrupt his progress. Maybe doesn't count as an "injury" exactly, but it still seems like kind of a serious concern. Mostly I think he's shown great mental toughness this season.

Sullivan_Fan said...

Touché, I had completely forgot about that, the first couple months of the season are kind of a blur to me.

general borschevsky said...

Yes, I've been repressing the memories as well.

By the way, Gustavsson was in fact selected this morning as the Leafs Masterton nominee .

Congratulations Jonas!

Anonymous said...

General, where have you been buddy? We miss you over at PPP.