Monday, January 23, 2012
Leafs lack of attention to defense is their downfall
If you look at the Leafs defensive record you can only describe it as deplorable. They are 30th in penalty killing percentage and 25th in giving up goals. Their offense stats are quite good. The Leafs are 5th in powerplay percentage and in powerplay goals scored and 8th in total goals scored.
At the end of the day the offense and defense are a wash 141 goals scored and 142 goals given up. Except you need to score more goals then you let in to win games so their record isn't good enough. In fact even their offense is suspect because two players, Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul have scored one-third of the teams goals. Without these guys in the lineup every game they would be struggling to score.
But the most disturbing observation is the team's lack of commitment to defense. It's about holding leads and playing boring road games to squeak out wins. When Brian Burke and Ron Wilson arrived in Toronto 3 years ago they were very critical of the team. They felt they were soft and very casual about the defensive part of the game. Well nothing has changed really. The team is younger and faster and still play back defensive hockey. Except there isn't a player that Burke and Wilson can say they inherited. This is their team. So either they built a weak defensive team or the coaching is inadequate.
Burke and Wilson talk about accountability but don't really like to be held accountable. They have some explaining to do nonetheless.