May 14, 2017
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I think there's a big difference between what Peters did using slurs and what Babcock did to Marner.
The Babcock controversy reminds me of the moral dilemma in the film Whiplash. The big question is, can coaches (or teachers, or parents) push players out of their comfort zone, "break" them, to get the best of their potential? In some cases, someone doing that to you can have positive effects in the long run. I don't like this psychological exercise myself, but is it worse than shouting at the player in the dressing room? It's more difficult to judge than what people think.
The racial slurs, on the other hand, have no place whatsoever from a coach. This case is completely different.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we changed the coach in Toronto, and players are much better off with Keefe. Just saying, the three cases mentioned in the post are not a trend. They're distinct incidents without the same implications.
People repeat the same bits all over the place on social media: Babcock played a defensive style, Babcock wants a system where players wait for opponents to mess up, Babcock believed in an outdated style of play.
Not the case. It's the opposite. Babcock always preached an offensive style. He's the one who introduced the trademark North-South stretch pass system we used all these years, with Gardiner at QB. His "defensive system" had nothing conventional. He wanted players to put intense pressure along the boards to regain possession (read: puck chasing), by outnumbering the puck carrier, with the hope of generating fast counter-attacks. Instead of a more conservative, positional play.
We are the second worst defensive team in the league! If Babcock taught a defensive style, we would lose games 2-1. Not the case. The problem is, the defensive system was lacking in the first place, and he couldn't find a solution to it this year.
My guess: this run and gun system, with intense pressure on puck carriers, worked in the past because the lineup was more balanced. And we had players who had been trained with that system for years. They knew Gardiner would reach them with a pass if they cheated. Change the lineup, and new players are not used to that. They don't know where to go, make errors, which leads to silly looking goals.
1. ".. he doesn't play to the Leafs skills. The leafs are a fast and skilled team and yet are playing a defensive style game."
I've heard that line many times on social media. I don't know where that idea comes from. The Leafs don't play defensively. We are among the very worst teams in goals allowed. And we have been for years. Yesterday against the Isles, the Leafs were playing offensively during the first two periods, and dominating. They lost because they make fatal mistakes in their own zone. Defensive play is their weakness.
What I don't like about Babcock is line/TOI usage. Matthews didn't play enough last year, and should have more time this year. Maybe that's what you mean by "playing defensively", but that's not the same.
2. PPs around the league score on one-timers, or because of the threat of one-timers. We have only one player on the team who can take one timers: Barrie. Aside from Matthews who has been developing it but doesn't use it consistently. The solution is simple.
3. Glad that Dubas spoke on the Ceci case. Leaf fans' subjective appreciation of our D has become preposterous. Holl is doing great, but placing him against top opposition is not going to help him, or the team. Meanwhile, Ceci has proven to be very reliable, and plays above expectations. He's not elite, and not great at zone exits. But he's the best defensive player on the roster this year. Can't afford to lose him.