Breaking News: Maple Leafsand#039; a recent check shows that Brad Treliving may know………


Damien Cox: Maple Leafsand#039; a recent run shows that Brad Treliving may know what he’s doing

Christopher Katsarov Brad Treliving can probably breathe now. At least until the next crisis. Until the Maple Leafs lose a game and the usual suspects scream that the Leafs aren’t strong enough or will never win with their elite offensive players.

Or that if only Auston Matthews had dropped the gloves, the team would have been much better. In his first season in Toronto’s hockey operations, Treliving can be satisfied that after a rough start, the team hasn’t taken a step back under his watch.

Even better, many of the player transfers he made after taking over are starting to bear fruit.


It didn’t seem like a while. Ryan Reaves was terrible, John Klingberg was a threat in his own zone and not in a good way, Max Domi looked lost and Tyler Bertuzzi seemed to struggle to stick with his new team.

The team was briefly in the wild card spot. Then came a demanding streak of six games in 10 days, during which the team came together and played explosive, fun hockey.

The Leafs won 10 points out of a possible 12 and are now on pace for 111 points. They have the best offense in the Eastern Conference and also lead the conference in scoring, which undermines the endless and tiresome narrative that they are not physical enough.

The Leafs have shown the ability to both blow teams out and fight back against losses. Last week, Morgan Reilly earned a save for Long Island with seven seconds left in the third period.

The next night, the offense went up against the defensively strong New York Rangers with seven goals. Two days after that, the Leafs lost 5-0 to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets, then scored five goals in the third period to earn another point despite losing in overtime.

Then came Saturday night against Pittsburgh, arguably the most significant game of the season so far. With former GM Kyle “You ain’t gonna see me show up anywhere else” Dubas in town, the Leafs ran wild and pulled out their most convincing win of the season.

The final score was 7-0, but it could easily have gone into double figures. The Leafs hit four posts and didn’t bother protesting a third-period disallowed goal that should have stood.

A big factor was the terrible performance of the visitors. Despite the flu-ridden Leafs being without Matthews and T.J. Thanks to Brodie and third baseman Martin Jones, the Penguins were never in the game. Bernhard Langer and son won the PNC Championship.

Woods hopes to retire next year 15 hours ago Some in the Pittsburgh media considered Dubas a “genius” when he was hired, but the results are worse under him now than they were last season when Ron Hextall was GM.

His risky decision to add 33-year-old defenseman Erik Karlsson to the $10 million (US) cap on a team with four core players over 36 is starting to look questionable at best. Pittsburgh allowed 13 odd on Saturday and generally looked like a team that had little interest in playing for coach Mike Sullivan.

Sullivan has been in his job for eight years, a long time as an NHL coach. He can, like Craig Berube St. Louis, to be a faller with a defective list. Treliving, meanwhile, had to relax Saturday night and watch Domi and Bertuzzi each enjoy a three-point night. Jones, another Public-across-the-world, ahead of Samsonov on the goaltending depth chart on the goaltending depth chart of the team.

Noah Gregor, brought as a free agent in the summer, scored again and gave the team momentum on the fourth line. In the back end, Simon Benoit and William Lagesson, both low-profile free agent signings, played 17:11 and 15:30 respectively.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW Interestingly, only eight players dressed for the Leafs on Saturday, who also dressed when the team was eliminated by Florida last spring. Treliving didn’t touch the core of Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Morgan Reilly despite hysterical demands, and he appears to have done a commendable job of replacing the departed players with more than adequate replacements despite limited cap flexibility.

That’s partly why Saturday night was such a significant game. Dubas, who would still be managing the Leafs if he hadn’t decided to call a press conference that president Brendan Shanahan didn’t ask him to call, no doubt hoped for the triumphant return that Punch Imlach enjoyed in November 1970.

Just months after being fired by the Leafs, Imlach returned to Maple Leaf Gardens as G and head coach of the expansion Buffalo Sabres, beating his former team 7-2. Related stories Kyle Dubas is popular with the Penguins. Now the former Leafs GM just has to win it Instead, Saturday’s result and a solid performance from Treliving’s players undermined any suggestion that the Leafs made a mistake by letting Dubas go. In addition, Sheldon Keefe no longer believes that he will coach only in the NHL, because his friend Dubas is managing. Keefe showed a strong understanding of his team’s needs by giving them the day off on Friday, despite the roller-coaster game the night before against Columbus. His players stormed out of the gate on Saturday as if they appreciated the decision.

Any lingering doubts about Dubas leaving are history. The adaptation of the players acquired by Treliving suggests that the management of the team is in good hands. The trade deadline and re-signing Nylander are the next big challenges. It’s too early to draw any firm conclusions about the 16-6-6 Leafs or any NHL club.

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