09-21-2019, 01:01 AM
TORONTO – Claimed off waivers from Tampa at the start of the regular season, Richard Panik has scored three times as many even-strength goals as Phil Kessel since the middle of November. Kessel trails only Steven Stamkos with 81 even-strength goals since the start of the 2011-12 campaign, but he has just one during the Leafs booming 9-1-1 run. Eight players on the Leafs actually have more such goals than Kessel in that span (including one defenceman), indicative of the new wave of depth thats come to rise in Toronto. The Leafs are the highest scoring team in hockey right now and, while the 27-year-old Kessel still leads that bunch with 31 points in 30 games, hes gotten a whole lot of help, a dramatic change from seasons past. Its been a strength of our team all year, said Joffrey Lupul, who has six goals in 18 games. In wins over Detroit and L.A. over the weekend, the Leafs had six different players score seven goals. The group has boomed with nearly four goals per game since they were thrashed at home by Nashville in mid-November, riding that offence to the edge of an Atlantic division lead. Good teams have depth, Peter Horachek, one of the teams assistant coaches said Monday. You need secondary scoring. You need secondary play through everybody. Thats what pushes you. Its a good, healthy kind of pressure coming from everybody, that people are pushing and going in the right direction and theyre all providing something to the team. Even Strength Offence Since Nov. 18 Player Goals Points Richard Panik 3 3 Leo Komarov 3 3 Peter Holland 3 4 Joffrey Lupul 3 5 Morgan Rielly 2 2 Mike Santorelli 2 9 David Clarkson 2 4 James van Riemsdyk 2 4 Nazem Kadri 1 5 Cody Franson 1 4 Jake Gardiner 1 3 Phil Kessel 1 2 Tyler Bozak 1 4 *Not including empty-net goals This was not the Leafs model last season or in recent years. But in opting for a balanced, four-line approach under a revamped management team (and coaching staff), the club has gotten away from leaning entirely on Kessel and the teams top line for offence. The Leafs fizzled out when that line cooled off down the stretch of last season. That unit, oddly, has actually been the clubs worst in recent weeks, both in terms of production and possession. Much of the offence from Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak has come on a power play unit thats pushing the top-10 in hockey this season with nine goals during the month-long hot streak. The trio has a paltry possession mark of less than 40 per cent in the past 11 games. Instead, the Leafs continue to find contributions from those like Panik, Mike Santorelli and Peter Holland. Teams that rely on scoring from one line dont usually have success at the end of the year, Horachek said. Its good growth. Its healthy for our team. Panik is a prime example of a player pushing for more ice-time. The 23-year-old has already set a career-high with six goals, doing so in fewer than nine minutes per game with not a lick of power play time. Santorelli, too, is pushing Kessel for an unlikely share of the team-lead in even-strength offence, already with 18 such points. Luck has certainly worked in the Leafs favour. Toronto has the highest on-ice shooting percentage at even-strength during the month-long run – well above 13 per cent – while boasting the second-worst possession in the league. Such luck is likely to turn in the other direction at some point. But with improved depth, a potent power play and a top unit that figures to get going at some point (though perhaps in need of a tweak), theres no reason the Leafs wont remain a dangerous offensive team. Its all the other stuff that remains a question. 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Shoes Australia Outlet . - Considering where Jeff Gordon was after Richmond, left out of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in part due to some late-race shenanigans, he couldnt have been happier on Sunday. Fake Shoes Australia . This week, topics cover the Blue Jays rotation, the futures John Gibbons and Alex Anthopoulos, protecting pitchers and a bonus question on his predictions for the MLB playoffs.Dear CFL and CFLPA, Lets get this deal done gentlemen. Trying to keep the CBA negotiations private just hasnt happened, and it sounds like these discussions are going nowhere fast! This letter is in no way an attempt to take sides on the issues, but just a reminder to both sides to stay focused on the big picture. The season must start on time. It is better for the teams, better for the players, and most importantly, better for the fans. First to the CFL head office. You guys know better than anyone that the players for years have made sacrifices to keep the league alive and are grossly underpaid in comparison to the rest of the world of professional sports. So when you make a final offer, rather than tell the other side what they wont get, tell them what they do get...which is a real nice raise in the form of the cap being pushed up substantially. By doing so you show the players that while you may think it is too early to go back to revenue sharing, you do want to give the players an increase in the cap they cant refuse, a real increase. Secondly, to the players association. Lets not get obsessive about revenue sharing; if you can see that the offer, and increase in the cap, shows that the league is making the players the priority, get the deal signed. I understand you are playing the "so many players sacrificed in the past so now it is time to draw a line in the sand" card, however, as one of those players that back years ago took over a thirty per cent pay cut on a signed contract, I can tell you going on strike would in no way honour those players. Back then we never thought we would take pay cuts so that future players could shut the league down, and in doing so put it in jeopardy. In fact it was just the opposite. We put the game first back then, and wanted to avoid any chance of a work stoppage. So if you want to be a voice for the players of the past that sacrificed, then make sure the league kicks off on time. The facts are that years ago players knew, due to the shaky financial ground that the league was on, that our contracts were barely worth the paper they were written on because at any time a GM could say, "I know you have a signed deal but we are ripping it up and you have to play for less money!" However, what was also true at the time was owners like David Braley stepped up and put millions into the league to make sure that this great Canadian tradition would ccontinue on for years to come.dddddddddddd So yes, the players got paid less than their contracts read, but while that was happening owners were losing, at times, millions of their own hard earned dollars. Players deserve more money, and owners like David Braley and Bob Wetenhall deserve to go a few years where they actually make a profit and make some of the money they have lost back. A new television contract has changed the financial landscape of the game. It should all but guarantee that teams can be profitable no matter what their win/loss record looks like in any given year. Owners and in the case of community-owned teams, the taxpayers, will start to see the fruits of their labour and players will be compensated better for putting it all on the line when they cross the stripes. All of which is a given and may be over-simplifying. However, once again to the league, make the salary cap bump substantial and reflect how much you respect the importance of the players. And to the players, there may be a time down the road when you can hold tough on revenue sharing, but that time is not now. So get a good raise, take care of some other issues, kick off the season on time, and support your families. My father once told me that if someone starts slinging mud in the gutter, dont head to the gutter and start slinging mud back, because all that happens then is that everyone gets muddy. To both sides in these negotiations, this cant be about greed, about the sacrifices of past players, or about egos. The game is too important and the league is realizing momentum like never before in its history. Most importantly, remember none of this is possible without the fans. Right now people are looking at buying their season tickets and trying to make plans for their summer holidays, and those plans are on hold. Fans in our Nations Capital cant wait to have a home team again, and this time with owners that are in it for the long haul. Those fans are now putting their plans on hold while these negotiations continue. It is time to end the, "I go high, you go low," negotiation strategy and sit down and hammer out a deal. Negotiating privately was a massive fail, and it looks like both sides are now trying to sway public opinion, and that is when egos get involved. If it gets to that, shame on both sides, because at that point you are both just covered in mud. Sincerely, Glen Suitor ' ' '