Thoughts Recorded At the Conclusion of the Leafs/Kings Game

It is 1:23 AM and I just finished watching the Los Angeles Kings defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 in what I thought was a very entertaining game.  Here are some thoughts I had while watching it:

– I wish I had of bought beer.

– I’m Glad I taped this thing so I don’t have to watch these guys talk.

– Expletive deleted that was a bad beginning(although, truth be told, I was more concerned about Bernier’s GAA/S% vis-à-vis my hockey pool).

-Holy $#$# Drew Doughty is amazing.


– I thought the game was exciting. Though there weren’t a lot of scoring chances either way, it seemed to me a fast paced game with a lot of hits. I like high scoring games, but for a regular season game in January, this was a good game to watch.

– I have been critical of Roman Polak and everyone tells me he’s so great, so I tried to pay special attention to him tonight and I thought he was good. I especially enjoyed his hit on Gaborik behind the Leafs net and there was a play in the third when he could have just done the typical no-look desperate rifle-it-out-of-the-zone, but he skated it up and got it out.

– I thought both Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner had great games. Perhaps inspired by  the play of Doughty, they both seemed to me to be flying out there and confident rushing the puck.

– I felt nervous for Gardiner in the third when he made a bad give-away and was greatly relieved when the Leafs cleared the puck. Gardiner was having such a good game and I knew if that puck went in all anyone would remember was that.

– I think on the power-play that Gardiner and Rielly are either already better than Franson and Phaneuf or well on their way. They seem more creative, even if they can’t match the rockets Franson and Phaneuf are capable of firing (and maybe they can, who knows?).

Trade Bait
(Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

– I think now that Kadri is on the second power-play unit to balance the scoring talent as opposed to the coach not realizing that Kadri is the obvious choice for the top unit. A power-play line of Clarkson-Bozak-Panik does not inspire much fear.

-Perhaps Clarkson is on the power-play since they’re stuck with him and are desperate to get him going. It is clearly not a reward for solid play.

-I must admit I feel bad ripping on the guy. But then I remember that he makes five million dollars and I owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and recently ate a grape that fell on the floor.

-I thought that five billion dollars (too late to fact check the real number, let’s go with that) could buy you at least one analytics guy for your TV station. Advanced stats are not a fad or a some kind of stupid lark, they really do give you a more realistic and nuanced understanding of the game and that is undeniable. That is not to say that there is only one way to view or understand the game – because no serious person thinks that. You clearly, do not need advanced stats to understand 99% of the game, so it’s not like any of the regular analysts are in danger of becoming irrelevant, but they do reveal interesting contrasts with traditional conventions.

The either/or mentality of the “stats vs eye-test” debate is ridiculous. Numbers give you a better understanding of everything. Period. But science is based on observation. Both ways are relevant and interesting, but I think if you’re going to broadcast a hockey game in 2015, once virtually every NHL team is on board with this, you have to at least acknowledge the concepts as more than a joke that “most Leafs fans aren’t interested in.”

-Basically I am just saying that Sportsnet having Kypreos and Cox argue about nothing and use the word Corsi in italics with sarcastic implications could easily be improved upon by having Kypreos (a great hockey analyst who knows the game as good as anyone) debate an expert in analytics about what they saw each period. I’d not lean on my FF button if that was an option.

-They should also have a segment each game of a guy explaining various terms – CF%, Corsi, PDO etc.

– When this happens – and it will – all I want from Sportsnet is Gene Principes autograph.

(John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
(John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

– Bernier played good. The leafs played good. They could easily be 3-0 in Horachek’s first three games and I am impressed.

-Oh, and also I think Kopitar might be the best player in the world.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts Recorded At the Conclusion of the Leafs/Kings Game”

  1. Kopitar IS the best payer in the world, except for all the others. Doughty is the best player on LA,and I dream of the day we can see him and Shea Weber together on defence again as they were in the Olympics. Best defence pairing on the planet.

  2. My hope for you is to come out to LA, and experience the guys out here calling games. Bob Miller, Jim Fox, Daryl Evans, Sean O’Donnell. OK, a couple Ontario Natives… but more importantly, you have a HOF caliber broadcaster (Miller), and 3 incredible hockey minds, all of whom had stellar NHL careers. I truly believe that they are one of the premiere play by play, and commentary teams in the league.

  3. Great Analysis, James…I came away from this game feeling almost exactly the same as did you…and I thought Leaf nation would be most proud of their team, as it has made some real strides towards doing an about face while also aiming towards working on some of those inimitable stats that seem to fade in and out of relevance, yet are always there and do seem to point fingers at certain weaknesses every team is bound to have at some point. The Leafs only gave up 19 shots and that-alone-deserves fan notice. If they keep this up (and they certainly have the fire power), the rest will fall in to place…just give them some time. The hitting was both outstanding and scary. But it represented a terrific nod to old tyme hockey! So there it was, Bernier is still a potentially world-class goal tender…Jones works well with/when his teammates do their jobs correctly. Doughty has been carrying the team-through thick and thin-for quite some time now. And Kopi has great hands and movement for such a big guy. He’s definitely among the elite…but there are so many others out there, I admit to still being totally impressed each time I get a chance to see some of them play live!!! I used to think the early ’70’s were the greatest of days to watch “the greatest” playing…but early 1990’s and even now have had some real heroins excite the game and carry it forward. The talent out there is awesome and the game just keeps getting better. Heck, Fox Sports had a special (after the game) showing a Jr. league game right out here in L.A. between the Jr. Kings and Jr. Ducks…and they surprised the players for an important game by bringing in Fox cameras, real cheerleaders/announcers and there was even a party in the upstairs unit where a number of the Kings’ players stepped over to watch a part of said game. The players played a really entertaining/hard checking/great skating game in which suddenly local hockey looked terrific!!! God Bless Hockey! ;-)

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