Inside the Numbers: Leafs vs Sens

In honour of the start of the new season and another Leaf-Sens rivalry game, here are some interesting, maybe surprising, stats related to the Leafs-Sens rivalry (mostly ammo for Leaf fans)

Leafs top 6 forwards: Sundin, Blake, Antropov, Tucker, Wellwood, Ponikarovsky
Sens top 6 forwards: Heatley, Spezza, Alfredsson, Fisher, Vermette, Kelly (based on points last year, not projected lineup)

Goals scored by Leafs top 6 last year: 142 in 386 games or 0.37 goals per game
Goals scored by Sens top 6 last year: 169 in 453 games or 0.37 goals per game

Next 3 forwards:
Stajan, Steen, Pohl: 103 points in 238 games
Eaves, McAmmond, Neil: 89 points in 236 games

Shots on goal last season:
Leafs: 2681 (3rd in NHL)
Sens: 2651 (4th in NHL)

I better not hear any more about the Leafs mediocre offensvie punch while the Sens are an offensive powerhouse.

Shots Allowed last season:
Leafs: 2330 (7th fewest in NHL)
Sens: 2479 (11th most in NHL)

Must be that crappy Leaf defense eh?

And now for an interesting player comparison of two players drafted in 1998.
Career stats:
Fisher: 384GP, 92g, 192pts, +49
Antropov: 374GP, 78g, 189pts, +57

But somehow Fisher is a $4.2 million hero in Ottawa and Antropov is (more often than not) a $2 million underachieving flop of a first round pick (though that seems to be changing).

This article has 49 Comments

  1. More interesting numbers.

    Senators: 13 post season wins(over PITS, JERSEY AND BUFFALO), 1 stanley cup appearance.

    Leafs: 0 playoff games plays

  2. I certainly don’t want to get into a battle of Ontario here, but Ottawa Goals for: 286, Toronto: 254. Goal Against, Ottawa: 216, Toronto: 262. In addition, if you watched the game tonight, 2 goals against for Toronto were direct result of bad plays by the TO defense. You can toss around shot totals all you want, but you’re not measuring the quality of the shots which is ultimately most important. I’m not one to say that TO has an anemic offense, but their defense is not strong. I know you’ve presented numbers that refute this based on SOG, but that’s not the ultimate measure of a defense corp. Based on what I see game in and game out, the TO defense makes sloppy plays and poor choices that lead to quality scoring chances. In all fairness, I think the TO penalty kill was their worst feature last year.

  3. Ottawa Goals for: 286, Toronto: 254

    Injuries can explain most of that difference.

    Goal Against, Ottawa: 216, Toronto: 262

    And goaltending can explain most (if not all) of that.

    I did watch tonights game and I saw Ottawa’s defense lose far more battles and give up as many quality chances as the Leafs defense did. Antropov, Sundin and Blake completely dominated the boards for the first two periods and Steen and Stajan generated a number of chances too. The Leafs had at least as many odd man rushes as the Sens did. People like to focus on every little mistake any Leaf player, particularly the defense, make, but if you look at the big picture, they are no worse than most of the other teams. They just look worse because their goalies are worse. This was a very very close game that could have gone either way just like the Leafs-Sens preseason game. In reality there isn’t a lot differentiating these two teams outside of goaltending and Leaf fans hope Toskala can close that gap a bit too.

  4. So what you’re saying is that the only big difference between Ottawa and Toronto on the ice is goaltending.

    You may have a point. Toronto has improved their team this year, while Ottawa basically stayed put. They lost Preissing (+40); that has to hurt. Personally, I think few teams can touch the Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson combination. But I’m impressed by what Ferguson did in the offseason.

    What also differentiates between the two are “intangibles”. Many Toronto fans & media are way too critial — that can demoralize players and drive free agents away. (Ditto for the Canadiens.) Management has been a weak point for a lot of years (with the exception of this last one).

    Finally, I and a lot of other people can’t figure out why you’d bring playoff-proven Toskala in to start and then sit him in the home opener. Maybe Paul Maurice wants to get into his head. With that sort of mental sabotage, the Leafs may miss the playoffs yet again.

  5. while Ottawa basically stayed put.

    I don’t know how many times I have read this but it is complete hogwash. The Senators lost Preissing who was their top scoring defenseman and a +40. They also lost Peter Schaefer who was their 5th leading point producer in each of the past two seasons and they also lost Mike Comrie who actually gave them some depth down the middle. Now those are not star players, but they are good complementary players who provided secondary scoring. The Senators now have Luke Richardson on the roster who wasn’t even good enough to make Tampa Bay’s defense last year. The core of the Sens team is back, but they are not as good or as deep as they were last year.

    Personally, I think few teams can touch the Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson combination

    No doubt, but if you shut them down like the Ducks did last year the Sens are a mediocre squad and the Senators are really going to have to be careful not to recreate a Tampa Bay Lightning syndrome: Too much money going to one line and not enough to depth, defense and goaltending.

    What also differentiates between the two are “intangibles”. Many Toronto fans & media are way too critial — that can demoralize players and drive free agents away.

    Some will but it generally hasn’t been a problem and there are enough Toronto-born players who grew up as Leaf fans who would love to play for the Leafs for that not to be a problem. Jason Blake is a prime example.

    I think the opposite can be true too. I think for years Ottawa media and fans believed that their team was the best in the league and came up with every excuse in the book for them not winning (from the rules, to referees allowing the Leafs to play dirty hockey to Tie Domi’s bad balance) rather than blame their own players for not putting in enough effort. Sometimes the media have to lay blame to keep the players honest. Some of that happened a year ago when the Sens got off to a bad start and I think it helped turn the team around and tough them a lesson.

    BTW, it is easy to win over the fans in Toronto: Work hard, hit hard and play with energy and enthusiasm. If you do that you will stave off a lot of criticism.

    Finally, I and a lot of other people can’t figure out why you’d bring playoff-proven Toskala in to start

    They didn’t. They brought him in to fight for the starting role, it was the media that assumed that he would automatically be appointed the starter. Now I think JFJ and Maurice believe that Toskala will become the starter (otherwise they don’t give him the contract extension for big money) but to appoint him the starter when he hasn’t earned the role, either in San Jose or in Toronto, would be a mistake (see my other post).

  6. Antropov vs. Fisher is intriguing but Ottawa has NEVER depended on Fisher to score, but the Leafs have been after Antropov to become the 1st line player they drafted him to be.

    Fisher plays his role with Ottawa perfectly, Antropov does NOT fill his role with Toronto, and never has.

    Until last night perhaps.

  7. “You may have a point. Toronto has improved their team this year, while Ottawa basically stayed put. They lost Preissing (+40); that has to hurt. Personally, I think few teams can touch the Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson combination. But I’m impressed by what Ferguson did in the offseason.”

    Do I wish they still had Tom Preissing? Sure, he’s an OK defenseman. However, he played only 15 minutes/game. Schubert will be a more than adequate replacement, but that then means that they will be without the flexibility that playing Schubert on the 4th line gives them. So, that is how losing Preissing affects the Sens. I really want to barf when people start throwing around +- stats as if they really mean all that much. Watch Preissing’s +- fall to earth this year and everyone will be asking “what happened to Tom Preissing?”. He’s the exact same player, just on a different team.

    David, I’d really like to sit down and watch a Toronto game with you and dissect it a bit on Tiva. I don’t look for Toronto’s mistakes any more than I look for any other team’s mistakes and I see TO making more than most. In all honesty, the defenseman that I saw make a ton of mistakes last year that you never hear about??? Dion Phaneuf. He was so intent on looking for hits at times that he really opened up opportunities for the opponents a lot.

    Toskala had a .915 Sv% and 2.35 GAA in 38 games last year. I’ll bet you right now that his numbers are going to be much worse this year. I’ll go with 2.60 GAA and .905. If I’m right, will you acknowledge some responsibility for the TO defensive corp.

  8. Dion Phaneuf. He was so intent on looking for hits at times that he really opened up opportunities for the opponents a lot.

    Yes, and you know what? Nik Lidstrom, Chris Phillips, Chris Pronger all make mistakes too.

    Is the Leaf defense mistake free? No. They have their faults, but they have their strengths too. They are a big defense and not necessarilly the most mobile, but did you see how well they shut down the Senators on that 5 on 3 PP? Hal Gill, Pavel Kubina and Nik Antropov have such huge reaches that they all but cut off the dangerous cross ice passes that kill teams on the 5 on 3. The Leafs were great on the 5 on 3 last year too. The same benefits occur in 5 on 5 play too. It isn’t easy to set up that cross ice pass against Gill, Kubina and to a lesser extent McCabe because their reach is so large. But people don’t consider that benefit and how that helps out the team defensively. The cross ice pass is every bit as dangerous as Vermette’s rush yesterday. Shutting down passing lanes and keeping teams on the perimeter is a huge benefit. If you analyzed shot distance you will find the Leafs give up fewer than normal shots from 10-25′ probably in large part because of this. The other benefit of good size (along with their puck moving ability) is you more often win the battle for the puck along the boards and can get the puck out of your own zone. Again, if you crunch the numbers, the Leafs give up fewer shots and fewer high quality shots.

    Why is Heatley good against the Leafs? It is not his blazing speed (since he isn’t considered fast) it is because he has a good shot that he shoots high and Raycroft is horrific at stopping the high shot especially on his glove side. Get a good stand-up goalie that challenges the shooter in goal and Heatley doesn’t do near as good. You can’t blame the Leaf defense for that.

    Toskala had a .915 Sv% and 2.35 GAA in 38 games last year. I’ll bet you right now that his numbers are going to be much worse this year. I’ll go with 2.60 GAA and .905. If I’m right, will you acknowledge some responsibility for the TO defensive corp.

    No because we don’t know that is the case. Toskala played the majority of his games against weak teams (Columbus 3 times, Kings 5 times, Phoenix 6 times, Blues 3 times, etc.) last year and the east has more offensive talent so their may very well be a reason why his stats might drop. I would have to look into that before I concede anything. But I will tell you that if he has a .905 save% and plays 55 games the Leafs make the playoffs easily and might approach 100 points.

    And yes, Jason Blake isn’t from Toronto but he wanted to play here. Mike Peca, Eric Lindros, Jeff O’Neill are some examples.

  9. then why was the TO PK so gawdawful? Goaltending right? Let’s talk about the Toskala comparison at the end of the year. I hope I’m wrong, for Toskala’s sake. I like him.

    I’m not saying other defensemen don’t make mistakes, but the sheer numbers that Phaneuf made last year left a substantial negative impression on me. He makes up for it in other ways, to be sure. I’d want him on my team because he’s still young enough to develop further.

  10. I don’t watch a lot of Calgary games so I can’t comment too much on Phaneuf but let’s remember, he was only 21 and in his second year in the NHL last year. Mistakes of overagression aren’t unusual for defensemen that young. I suspect Keenan will get him to change his ways and really help him develop just as he did with Pronger in St. Louis.

  11. Your “analysis” leaves alot to be desired. If we believe you, Ottawa fluked it’s way to leading the league in goal differential and then reaching the SCF. But that is, IMHO, an absurd idea, as Ottawa has no led the league in goal differential in BOTH post-lockout seasons. This isn’t some flukey result that has just “happened”, but a certifiable trend. It is that goal differential that has produced numerous high +/- third pairing defenseman, and everything else you are trying to claim.

  12. Darrell:

    First off, I am not looking at last years team, I am looking at the team going forward. From last year they lost their top point producing defenseman, their 5th leading scorer overall for the past two seasons, and a pretty nice secondary player in Mike Comrie. To replace them they have added 4th liner Shean Donovan and Luke Richardson, who couldn’t make the Tampa defense, and a hope that Nick Foligno can be a serviceable player as a rookie. They are no doubt a worse team this year.

    Next year they will certainly lose Wade Redden, their top defenseman in ice time last year and again early on this year. They may also lose Chris Kelly. Those guys are going to be replaced by Brian Lee and either an aging veteren or a raw rookie in Kelly’s case.

    Is a defense of Volchenkov, Phillips, Corvo, Schubert, Meszaros and Lee really going to be that good? Volchenkov and Phillips are good defensive defensemen but not puck moving guys. Schubert kind of fills that same role. Corvo and Meszaros are puck moving defensemen but neither have shown an ability to play good defensive hockey and are a liability on the ice at all times and who knows what you are going to get from Brian Lee. Maybe if Meszaros and Lee can develop really nicely they could be a good defense, but never a great one.

    And what happens three years down the road when Emery wants a new big contract? Can the Sens afford that if they are spending $15 million on Heatley and Spezza. And what happens when Daniel Alfredsson’s career begins to fade as he is now entering his mid 30’s.

    Remember, I am not saying that the Senators are going to stink as a team any time soon, but the question is can you spend $15 million on two forwards and still have enough money left to build a perennial staney cup contender around them.

    New Jersey and Detroit are the recent examples of teams enjoying long time success and in New Jersey’s case they built around a top goaltender and a top defense crew. Detroit built around a huge budget that few other teams came close to competing with and star players at all positions so I am not sure the Detroit model would apply in the current cap era but they did always have an elite group of six defensemen anchored by Lidstrom.

    Tampa and Carolina have built their team around their forwards and they have both been huge flops post Stanley Cups.

  13. Phaneuf: I’m cutting him some slack. He’s only going to get better defensively. He’s a kid and a smart one, so he’ll figure it out so long as he doesn’t get a big head and thinks he has nothing to learn. Like I said, I’d love to have him on my team, but there were people making arguments for him as a Norris candidate (Cherry and others) last year and that’s preposterous given the number of mistakes he made.

    Wow!! The TO defense was awful tonight against the Canes.

    I’ll stop beating this dead horse now, because the Toronto media will take over for me.

  14. David:

    Can you spend 11 million on aging, overrated defensemen and still win?

    Just about every team in the NHL is in a similar spot to the Senators – I really don’t understand your point here at all, unless it’s to raise panic about the Senators. The problem is simply that unless you want to overpay by a large amount in either years, dollars, or both, re-signing your own players, almost regardless of their position, makes more sense than signing someone else’s.

    With all of these long-term deals being signed, these players who have these deals become more tradeable. I’d be very surprised if the Senators gave Jason Spezza a no-movement clause.

    Tampa and Carolina have been flops because their defensemen were aging and much more importantly, their prospect depth was totally shot even during their Cup runs. Carolina made it worse by dealing Jack Johnson for 2 average NHLers. Regardless, if Tampa still had 2004 Khabibulin, they’d’ve won the South last year. This whole ‘building your team around forwards’ nonsense seems to me a crock – or have I forgotten that the Avalanche, aside from Adam Foote and renting Ray Bourque, built from the crease and through the forward lines?

  15. [Ottawa is] no doubt a worse team this year.

    Whoah, David – be careful here. This is still a young team with all of its key guys still on the upside of their careers. Heatley, Spezza, Philips, Meszaros, Volchenkov, and Fisher are all a year older, and a bit better, with the experience of a Cup run under their belts. None of these players has hit the point of diminishing returns yet. Alfie has, but he’s still obviously a dominant player who provides leadership. Redden – well, he can only get better after last year.

    Also, keep in mind that Comrie was a rent-a-player. He didn’t contribute to Ottawa’s productivity last year in any meaningful way. There will be more rent-a-players available at the trade deadline this year, happy to skate for a contender and provide some secondary scoring.

    Goalies? Glass and Elliott are both on the farm, and both show potential. Emery will be pushed for his job before he demands his big raise – and I’m still not convinced that he will warrant that raise.

    I’m with you on Toronto – even an average goalie gets T.O. in the play-offs last year. But follow the numbers – the Leafs are still not as gifted a team as the Sens. But don’t worry – the Sens’ cupboard is bare. There’s not a single impact player in the pipeline. In 5 years time, the Sens will be in re-building mode. It’s just a question of whether management recognizes it in 3-4 years time and ships the expensive help out in return for prospects and high draft picks that will speed the rebuilding process.

  16. Meszaros hasn’t impressed me at all. He has a good shot and decent puck handling skills but his defense has been horrible. It looked decent as a rookie but he was playing with Chara and a lot of people would look good playing with him. He stunk last year and he hasn’t looked good this year and has taken a lot of penalties. I wouldn’t count on him developing into anything better than a 5/6 defenseman who can play a bit on the PP.

    Comrie played half the season for the Senators and the more productive/winning half as well. He had 13 goals and 25 points and added some much needed depth when the #1/#2 injury prone centers got injured. They lack that insurance policy this year.

    Mike Fisher is 27 and I wouldn’t expect him to get any better. In fact, being an injury prone player who depends a fair amount on speed he might not age well if the injuries continue. I don’t expect him to fall off the map anytime soon, but I wouldn’t expect much improvement from him.

    Phillips and Volchenkov have probably hit their peaks as well.

    The biggest concern I might have if I were a Sens fan is generally Spezza and Heatley haven’t played near as well without Alfredsson on their line. If/when Alfredsson fades a bit in the next couple years, how will that affect Spezza/Heatley?

    The Sens have played well this year but I am not completely impressed with them. Their defense has been shoddy at times (outside of Phillips and Volchenkov especially) and they have given up a lot of shots and scoring opportunities. But most importantly, I really don’t see them able to sustain any significant injuries very well. If they stay healthy they will be fine, but if they suffer some injuries they could have some issues to deal with.

  17. After last night’s loss to Carolina all I keep hearing in the media is that the Leafs “lack skill” and how it’s been proven by this 1 loss. Frankly that’s a load of crap, and is entirely attributable to the poor showing thus far of McCabe, Kaberle, Tucker, and Blake.

    McCabe over the past 2 seasons = 34 goals, 91 assists; Kaberle over the last 2 = 20 goals, 105 assists; Tucker over the last 2 = 52 goals, 52 assists; Blake over the last 2 = 68 goals, 58 assists.

    Compare those numbers with the following supporting (not necessarily the top guy i.e. Sundin equivalent) players on some other “skilled” teams over the past couple of seasons.

    Detroit: Holmstrom = 59 goals, 52 assists; Lidstrom = 29 goals, 113 assists; Rafalski = 14 goals, 90 assists; Zetterberg = 72 goals, 81 assists.

    Rangers: Drury = 67G, 69A; Gomez = 46G, 98A; Straka = 51G, 95A; Prucha = 52G, 35A

    Carolina: Cullen = 41G, 49A; Stillman = 46G, 110A; Cole = 59G, 61A; Walker = 26G, 41A

    Ottawa: Fisher = 44G, 48A; Redden = 17G, 69A; Corvo = 22G, 55A

    Buffalo: Campbell = 18G, 74A; Kotalik = 41G, 59A; Pominville = 52G, 46A; Roy = 39G, 70A

    Frankly I think the bashing of Leaf Skill is a bit of a reach. They have skilled players, they just played poorly. Considering that Wellwood and Colaiacovo are injured it isn’t THAT shocking they’re offensively missing something… I just find it funny how they suddenly lack “skill” and “speed” after playing 3 games against Ottawa and Montreal and running along quite well with 2 of the fastest teams in the NHL.

    You don’t get slow overnight, and this is a bit retarded on the part of the Toronto media.

  18. Yup. I wonder how many people were saying that the Sens were a horrid team with no skill after they lost 6-0 to the Leafs in the second game of last season. The Canucks are losing 8-2 tonight as I write this. What a horrible team they must be without any skill. They better go out and get a real goalie and a real defense. The Rangers have only scored 1 goal in their last 2 games. What a lack of skill they have. On the flip side, the Capitals are 2-0 and have only given up 2 goals on the season. What a defensive juggernaught they are. John Erskine for the Norris!!

    Everyone needs to take a deep breath, wait until we are 15 or so games into the season, and then you can start making realistic evaluations.

  19. As I write this, the Leafs are currently beating the Islanders 8-1. The Islanders were 3-1 going into tonight’s game, and happen to be leading their division. I guess this means the Leafs are suddenly going to win the Stanley Cup… best start preparing the parade for the most skilled team in the NHL.

    Or perhaps everyone should take a sip of some chamomile tea and realise that the Leafs are pretty much just as skilled as most of the other NHL teams, and they’ll have both good and bad games. The issue is how it pans out over the course of the season… not how they look after 5 games.

    p.s. The leafs should be either leading the league or in the top 5 in scoring after this game with 18 goals. Guess they’re super duper skilled.

  20. The reality is the Leafs have played 4 pretty solid games out of the five they have played. They are 2-2-1 in those 5 games but could easily have been 4-1 with a bit of luck. The media will always focus on the one bad loss but if they were objective they would realize they have played pretty well.

  21. I’m sick of your bias views david. You compare antropov with Fisher? Are you serious. please tell me your joking, becuase if you knew as much as a donkey knew about hockey, you would know that fisher is a MONSTER. David, are you serious. Cause that doesn’t make any sense. Antropov is good, but fisher is one of the tops in hits in the league, he plays great 5 on 5, Power play, penatly kill, short-handed, he hits, he block shots, he FIGHTS ( the only thing antropov fights with, is his fear of get in the shooting lanes). Don’t compare the two. and stop using all these narrow-minded views.

    The defense IS THE problem in toronto. The goaltending is #1, then defense a close #2. McCabe is getting checked by the nets. You got Kubina who got a 4 year $20 M contract the same time that Boston gave Marc Sacrd the same contract. Are you kidding me, who’s the winner there. I guess you’ll say kubina, after you find some crazy statistic to proof some theory.

  22. hey david, i got a stat for you- Senators: 4th place in the East, Toronto 9th place.I hope you get the golfing channel pal.

  23. Antropov and Fisher are different players (Fisher is speedy, Antropov is big) but they are both solid 2-way players. Antropov currently sits at 4 goals, 7 points and a +7 in 6 games. Fisher is 1 goals, 3 points and +1 in 7 games. Both kill penalties and both are similarly effective offensively. Fisher’s speed probably makes him better and more of a threat on the rush but Antropov is good in the corners and probably has a better shot and good in front of the net potting rebounds. For $2 million less, I’ll take Antropov thank you very much.

    As for Savard, how many playoff games has he played? He is a skilled player offensively but his net value overall (particularly 5-on-5) is minimal.

  24. Don’t compare the two. A more complete hockey player, as he was a KEY player in bringing the sens to the cup final. Any GM would pay $ 2M more for a guy like fisher. Let’s talk at the end of the season. Fisher is a MONSTER.. simply, u can’t compare the two.

  25. AJ, you are right. I shouldn’t compare a guy who has 5 goals, 9 points and leads the league with a +9 to a guy who has 1 goal, 3 points and a +1. Simply, you can’t compare the two. It wouldn’t be fair to Antropov.

  26. Fisher isn’t worth $2 million more than Antropov. He’s just as injury prone as Antropov. He’s never produced a lot more offence. And when it comes to penalty killing he isn’t the monster player people make him out to be… and certainly no more of a security blanket than Antropov is.

    As DJ is noting, Antropov’s red hot start is making the Fisher deal look bad. Ottawa needs to realize they can’t pay everyone big bucks and maintain the depth they’ve relied upon the past few seasons.

  27. antropov’s stats since the lockout

    2005-06 57 12 19 31 +13
    2006-07 54 18 15 33 +8
    2007-08 7 5 4 9 +9

    fisher’s stats since the lockout

    2005-06 68 22 22 44 +23
    2006-07 68 22 26 48 +15
    2007-08 7 1 2 3 +1

    Ant- 35 goals, 73 points, +30 (Not bad)
    Fisher- 45 goals, 95 points, +48- ALOT BETTER

    Fisher is more healthy, scores more, and COMEPETES SOOO MUCH HARDER. antropov is good, but a compared to fisher is a little girl (big girl actually cuz of his monster size).

    Oh lets compare what really matters- Playoff points. Oh too bad, since the lookout, anti hasn’t been in the playoffs.

    FISHER is kinda guy that pushes a team into the playoffs, and brings it each game. Antropov, production wise, is comparable, other than, your compared a big boy versus a MONSTER.
    (check out the 2nd vid)

    Canadian grit, heart, power, skill, speed, determination) He’s worth EVERY penny.

  28. DJ, Unfortunately, I am as big a leaf fan as they come. Today The leafs lead the league in GF 26 (Sens have 22 in same number of games played). Offensivley the leafs are doing great, despite that Blake and Tucker are yet to produce at their potential, and despite having Wellwood and Bell being out of play. This bodes really well for the leafs.

    But ofcourse the story is that the leafs also lead the league in GA 29 (second to LA’s 30)

    The leafs need a couple of *good* defencement to replace Kubina and McCabe then they will become a contender. But so long as they continue to allow 40+ shots per game they will struggle to make it out of the bottom 5 of the league, nevermind making the playoffs.

  29. AJ:

    Antropov: 0.29 goals/game, 0.62pts/game, +0.25/game

    Fisher: 0.21 goals/game, 0.66pts/game, +0.34/game

    A pretty marginal difference really and considering Fisher generally gets more ice time per game (18:25 vs 16:35 last year and 17:09 vs 15:33 in 2005-06) and on a better team you could argue that Antropov really has the slight edge in production at both ends of the rink.

  30. the leaf bias here is sickening. the sens are a much better team than the leafs in every deprtment. sure this year the leafs have scored more goals, buts were 5 games in. the leafs have always played an offensive style. but their D is nowhere near near ottawas and goaltending is miles apart.

    i dont understand why your so intent on ripping ottawa? you must be jealous. i mean theyve been around what, 15 years, and already theyre more succesful than the leafs in the last 40. the sens made the cup final, and lost some marginal players in the offseason, nothing they can add back at the deadline. theyre still a powerhouse, while the leafs are a bubble team. the leaf have a LOOOOOONG way to go before they can compate themselves to ottawa. and dont say goaltending. because sundin is playing the last few years of hockey he has left, the toronto D is older and will start to decline, and raycroft sucks and toskala is totally unproven as a starter.

    and please dont use antropovs current stats to compare to fisher. we all know hes off to a ot start and its just as likely he wil get injured or go on a massive slump. all players do. what i do know is in the past fisher has been a much better player and antropov has been a flop.

  31. and please dont use antropovs current stats to compare to fisher. we all know hes off to a ot start and its just as likely he wil get injured or go on a massive slump. all players do.

    Whether you look at his current stats or his historic stats, the difference between Antropov and Fisher is not that great. Go check the numbers and you will see. They get the job done differently, but the results are quite similar and Antropov has done it on a lesser team with less ice time.

    what i do know is in the past fisher has been a much better player and antropov has been a flop.

    Really? Why is that? Prove it. Tell me why he is so much better than Antropov.

    the toronto D is older and will start to decline

    McCabe 32
    Gill 32
    Kubina 30
    Kaberle 29
    Wozniewski 27
    White 23
    Colaiacovo 24

    That is not exactly an old defense and not much older than the Senators crew.

    You really need to take your head out of the newspapers that perpetuate nonsense and half truths and start looking at the situation in an objective and unbiased way.

  32. Ottawa’s playoff success in comparison to Toronto over the past 15 years is also sort of belied in head-to-head match ups. Last I checked the Leafs were 4-0 in 7 game playoff series against Ottawa, over the past 15 years of course.

    Speaking of biases… why must we consistently rate Ottawa as the best team in the East to be considered “objective” by Ottawa fans?

    They have 1 seriously threatening offensive unit, 2 good goalies, and a solid system that they stick to. Their D isn’t awe inspiring, especially when you consider their penchance to vanish when the chips are on the line.

    Ask most Leafs fans who they have a problem with on the Leafs, and they’ll happily rattle off a series of players who are stinking out the joint. In fact, most of the PRO Leaf commentary on this website is actually against the typical grain of most Leaf fan commentary. The majority of Leaf fans like to wallow in how bad the team is and how much they suck and how many players they need to get rid of… Ottawa fans don’t read the situation as accurately as they might think.

  33. Alright. Leaf fans, (this means your David), I have one piece of advice. Put down your defenses for once, alright. The reason why I went from a person that loved leaf fans to someone who realize s that leaf fans are the worst in the NHL, is for one reason plain reason- Leaf fans before were all about sticking behind their team, now some are still like that, but every single leaf fan defends their team and ALL of it’s players to death. They’ll boo their own players but when someone attacks them, their all defensive.

    Listen to the facts here both Sens fans and Leaf fans.

    Yes the senators lost to Toronto every time they played them. The leafs had heart, a great captain (still do), and a great goaltending whether felix potvin, ed belfour, or curtis Joseph.

    Yes the Senators lost in the Cup Final, and Yes they do have 1 less stanley cup that Toronto. And yes Toronto hasn’t won a stanley cup in over 40 years. Whatever.

    The fact is, Toronto right now is not comparable to the Senators. The Sens have a fantastic mix of different players from- Alot of canadians, euro’s, and Americans. If u look at their defense from the cup run- 2 Canadians, 2 Americans, 2 non-north American. Great goaltenders, and a Captain who should be respected by anyone, supporting any team. He is THE ONLY euro captain TO EVER take his team to the cup final. Daniel Alfredsson is the example of what a player should be under pressure situations. Everyone was calling him out in the playoffs, and boy, did he deliver. and so too did the Senators, they proved to everyone, that playoff success was bound to happen. Sure they didn’t win the cup, WHICH IS INDEED THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, they did however, pave the way to for the future. They know how to get there now. They have a lot of the same guys. So they’ll have chance after chance unless their goaltending goes south, their D start to play shaky, or their specialty teams are not playing well.

    As for the leafs, what can you say? The heart and grit is gone with guys like gary roberts, joe nue., tie domi, and other guys that USE to make the senators scared to come into that building. I would hate to be a leaf fan now and watch my team go out and lose to ottawa in such a routinely fashion. So WHAT NOW?

    well, the leafs have to swallow a BIG pill. Get JFJ out of there for starters. Hire Pat Quinn to take over as GM and trade Sudin, WHILE U CAN STILL GET SOMETHING OUT OF HIM. No one is going to want him in 2-3 years when he’s only good in the corners and is slow as a tractor. THE TEAM’S ALLEGIANCE IS NOT WITH THE PLAYERS, BUT WITH THE FANS. Take a few good players out (Raycroft, McCabe, Sundin, KUBINA) and bring in some young talent. Or else, keep playing these useless seasons with no hope of drafting high, and barely missing the playoffs. There are still leaf fans out there, that are good fans- that support their team, and just want to see a Stanley cup in toronto. But you gotta go through a little rain before the sun comes out on this franchise

  34. Uh, pick a team better than Ottawa in the East please. They have 1 seriously threatening offensive unit who no one can stop, and a solid system that shuts down the opposition.

    As for the Leafs’ defense, while their corps is not that old, the defenseman they do have signed long-term are ones who figure to decline fast. McCabe and Kubina type players do not age well, and Hal Gill – if he gets any slower he’ll be standing still. Right now they’re fine, but it’s going to get ugly at the end of that McCabe deal.

  35. hey about antropov- So WHAT? pts per game. Wrap that up in a napkin and throw it out. It means NOTHING. Jason Spezza played 87 points in 67 games last season. If he played a full season he would have got 106-107 points. That would have been 4th in league, but guess what, he finished 15th. And you don’t get paid for pts per game there buddy, you get paid for what you do, while you healthy!

    I will admit that Antropov has impressed me thus far this season, but there’s very few Mike Fisher’s left in this league. Like someone said on a diff. website “If players weren’t measured by points, Mike Fisher would be the best player in the NHL”.

  36. AJ:
    “If players weren’t measured by points, Mike Fisher would be the best player in the NHL”.

    That’s pure crap spewed by the stupid Ottawa crowd. I’d rather have Chris Kelly on my team than Mike Fisher. He is healthier, plays just as hard if not harder, is a better penalty killer, and if he played with the same quality of players his offense wouldn’t be that much different than Fisher. Fisher just seems to get way too much fan recognition in Ottawa because for the longest time he was the only hard working Senator who would hit. He’s good, but far from the best in the league whether points are your primary measurment tool or some other non-stat.

    They have 1 seriously threatening offensive unit who no one can stop

    Not true. Anaheim did. You just have to play them hard, hit them hard, and wear them down. Problem is (or luckily if you are a Sens fan) not too many teams play that way anymore, particularly in the east.

  37. AJ.

    Alfredsson is the reason I can’t stand the Sens. True, he wasn’t completely useless for the Sens in the playoffs last year, for a change. But he showed his true colors with his dirty shot against Niedermayer, or his dirty hit and callous attitude about Tallinder. He has a history of dirty shots and plays. I don’t know why he gets away with them.

  38. I have to agree with David on most of these points. The Sens top unit CAN be stopped, you just have to skate with them and punish them with solid checking. Knock them around and they wilt or turn to cheap shot trickery, a la Alfie. Heatley and Spezza are amazingly skilled, but neither one is particularly “tough” when it comes to mixing it up with defenders in the corners or in front of the net.

    As for arguments against PPG scoring and Fisher vs. Antropov… Fisher and Antropov are COMPLETELY different types of players. Antropov is a highly skilled stick handler and passer, with a hard shot, that has the wingspan of two players put together. Fisher is a banger and a crasher with speed that gets in on the forecheck well and goes to the net. They end up having similar stat lines, but it’s not because they play similar games. If you were to compare Fisher to a Leaf, Tucker would make more sense. If you were to compare Antropov to a (current or EX) Senator, than a player like Radek Bonk would be more logical. If Antropov and Fisher both played a full season to their full potential, I have zero doubts that Antropov would come out ahead in the vast majority of statistical categories, just based on pure skill. Fisher sort of plateaus at the 15-20 goal, 15-20 assist range, and provides you with solid speed and grit. He’s a 2nd line checking centre in the vein of Gilmour or Hunter from years gone by… without the same high quality skill set for scoring.

    Antropov on the other hand has developed inconsistently due to injuries and frankly it’s hard to tell where his numbers should top out. He often has stretches of games… 5 to 10 games long, where he displays jaw dropping passing ability, stick handling, defensive awareness, and a booming shot. Then he gets injured and spends 20 games working himself back into shape and finding a spot in the lineup, to his AND the team’s detriment. If he plays a full year up to his prodigious abilities, he could easily be a point per game player. Scoff all you like but he DOES have that skill level. He might not be speedy but he’s extremely hard to knock off the puck, and his range gets him a lot of take aways at the defensive blue-line. As a trailer on offensive zone rushes he’s quite good at picking up rebounds, and behind the net and in the corners in the O-zone he’s a force. Barring injury this season he will hopefully continue to improve.

    I’m bound to be accused of huge bias here based on those comments I just made, but as much as I love the Leafs, I have to say they’re going to again struggle to make the playoffs. Their offence is actually quite solid, but until they all stick to their assignments defensively they’re basically up the creek without a paddle in their own end.

  39. The Fisher-Tucker comparison is reasonable but not a perfect comparison. Tucker is a winger and has more pure goal scorer abilities (great shot, especially on the one-timer). I’d compare Fisher more to Joe Niewendyk late in his career minus some leadership/experience intangibles than Nieuwendyk had at that point. Good speed, good work ethic, good all round player but somewhat injury prone. Nieuwendyk would have a bit more offensive potential even late in his career (scored 56 points for Florida in 05-06), but Fisher plays a bit more physical.

    It is hard to compate Antropov with many other players because not many players have his size and still have skilled hands. Bonk had a bit of both but didn’t put in enough of an effort all the time. In general Antropov is more physical than Bonk was. Antropov enjoys going into the corners and in front of the goal where as Bonk too often took nights off avoided those ‘hard working’ spots. Decent comparison though.

  40. WOW thanks Dave, showing your true colours there in tarring all Ottawa people with one brush. It is obvious that your logic has left your arguments.

    Analyze this: 1967

  41. There are exceptions to every rule, and trust me, I am equally critical of the Leafs crowd. They are quite different though. The Ottawa group generally thinks too highly of their players and team while the Leafs crowd generally thinks too low of their team.

    As for 1967, it’s a nice number that Ottawa fans (and pessimistic Leaf fans) like to throw out but is pretty meaningless with respect to evaluating the current team and the current situation.

  42. You know what david. I like the way u handeled yourself there. A sens fan came on and said 1967 just to get something started, and you didn’t retaliate. I like that. As for antropov, he is indeed impressing me. BUT, and here’s the big but, Antropov will NOT be in the top 20 in points this season. Just like Mike Fisher won’t. Players go through hot streaks and cold streaks, and as fans, we really become critical of a player really fast, and forget about what they did the night before.

    Prime Example: Jarome Iginla. At one point this guy was called the best player in hockey, now people won’t consider him top 5. The fact is that if Sidney Crosby had a bad season, he would no longer be called the best player in hockey. Just like if Brian McCabe scroed the OT winner the next game, ppl in t.o would love him.

    Some ppl were calling out alfie last season at this time. I called in a radio station and defending Alfredsson, because Alfredsson will always be a player that i WILL NEVER TRADE.

    So antropov is doing well right now, BUT u guys better remember that when things aren’t going so bright

  43. I never said Antropov would finish in the top 20 in scoring. I’d be surprised if he did though stranger things have happened. The point I am trying to make is that Fisher isn’t dramatically better than Antropov. Dramatically different playing styles yes, but not dramatically better.

    Jarome Iginla is an interesting case. He has had two elite level years, 2001-02 when he got 52 goals and 96 points and last year when he had 94 points. He is a good goal scorer who plays the game hard and is definitely a top 20-25 player in the game but most years not really a top 5 or even top 10 player.

    Vincent Lecavalier is another interesting player because he really has only had one elite level year and that was last year. He had 52 goals and 108 points last year but his best season prior to that was 2002-03 when he had 33 goals and 78 points. I am interested to see what he does this year. Was last year a breakout season or his sole career year and he will drop back to 30-35 goals and 75-80 points.

  44. I’m pretty firmly in the group of Antropov supporters, and have been since he came into the league. Heck, I’ve even gone so far as to proclaim man-love for the guy to my friends… I think he’s hugely underrated.

    Alternatively, Bryan McCabe is one of my most despised players in the NHL, not just the Leafs. The guy has zero vision to read plays, regularly pinches when he shouldn’t, misses assignments to go for body checks that often miss, tries to pound point shots through defender shin pads way too often, and generally makes my life a nauseating hell whenever he’s on the ice. When he has the puck in his own end it’s like watching someone running around with a hand grenade with the pin pulled.

    Iginla is great when he has a capable centre. Lecavalier is still growing as a player and as a leader, big minutes for team Canada helped push him forwards. I expect both to maintain the level of elite status.

  45. “There are exceptions to every rule, and trust me, I am equally critical of the Leafs crowd. They are quite different though. The Ottawa group generally thinks too highly of their players and team while the Leafs crowd generally thinks too low of their team.”

    Way to knife the Ottawa crowd as well as the Toronto crowd. Not so bright.

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