March 28: Show In Review

The Canadian Press

Mike and Dave Bastl are joined by Pierre McGuire, Darren Dreger and Jeff O’Neill to tee up tonight’s Leafs/Flyers matchup and debate whether Randy Carlyle can get the team turned around in the right direction.

Audio:

Hour 1:

Mike and Dave talk Leafs and Jays and do Bastl's Bytes. Hour 1 Audio

Hour 2:

Mike and Dave were joined by Pierre McGuire and Darren Dreger and in-studio by Patrick Merrill of the Toronto Rock. Hour 2 Audio

Hour 3:

Mike and Dave were joined by Bob Weeks,Tim Saunders, and Jeff O'Neill. Hour 3 Audio


Recap:

7:15 Pierre McGuire – NHL on NBC Analyst

The Maple Leafs have to approach these next two games as “six periods” & must ratchet up the intensity because they have reached the desperation point of the season. Sean Couturier vs. Tyler Bozak should present a difficult match up for Toronto & as well as the defensive prowess of Kimmo Timonen & Braydon Coburn. The Leafs must also be leery of Philadephia’s second line of Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, & Vincent Lecavalier. It’s also worth noting that the Claude Giroux line might be one of the best in hockey. The Montreal Canadiens should be commended for not folding & finding a way to push back last night vs. the Detroit Red Wings. The New York Islanders have some good building blocks in place however the team won’t be able to make an impact until they invest in a legitimate number one goaltender. Is Garth Snow’s job in jeopardy if the Islanders employ new management next season?

7:30 Patrick Merrill – Toronto Rock Player (In-Studio)

Patrick Merrill joined Mike Richards & David Bastl in-studio to discuss Sunday’s upcoming game on Sunday March 30th vs. the Edmonton Rush.



7:45 Leafs Breakfast: Darren Dreger – NHL Insider

The Maple Leafs can’t worry about what’s going on around them & instead must focus on the task at hand tonight vs. the Philadelphia Flyers. There are several teams that are feeling the same amount of pressure as the Maple Leafs therefore Toronto must be prepared for a hard fought match up. Toronto’s poor play can be broken down into many different categories: poor defensive play, lack of secondary scoring, & suspect goaltending. Forward David Bolland has been inched back into the lineup & has made some mental blunders however the Leafs shouldn’t rely on Bolland to be saviour at this point in the season. Boland brings a stabilizing presence that will be imperative down the stretch & could see his minutes increase as we approach the playoffs. Philadelphia is a very solid team & has played with a different mentality since Craig Berube took over for Peter Laviolette & seem to be peaking at the right time.

8:15 Bob Weeks – Host Score Golf

The Texas Open might not be a “marquee tournament” however it is an important precursor to the Masters at Augusta. Phil Mickelson had a disastrous first round thanks to some awful putting yesterday & shot a 77. Tiger Woods’ situation regarding Augusta remains tenuous & at this point he appears to be a 50/50 split to participate in the Masters.


8:30 Tim Saunders – Philadelphia Flyers Play-By-Play Voice

Tonight’s game is a battle of two desperate teams. The Flyers were riding an emotional high after beating some of the elite teams before back to back losses vs. the Kings & Rangers. Philadelphia appears to be a tired bunch at this point in the season however Wayne Simmonds has had a breakout year & is on the cusp of becoming a premiere power forward. Some people in Philadelphia feel that the season started to turn around after a closed door meeting held by Captain Claude Giroux. Defenseman Luke Schenn continues to be a work in progress & right now slots in as the teams 5-6th defenseman. Goaltender Steve Mason has had an up & down season however he has really picked up steam heading into the home stretch & after signing a contract extension mid-season.

8:45 Jeff O’Neill – TSN 1050 Leafs Lunch Co-Host

The Maple Leafs need to find a way to figure things tonight vs. the Philadelphia Flyers because we’ve pretty much reached the “do or die” point of the season. The Maple Leafs spent the bulk of practice working of defensive zone coverage however it’s strange that Randy Carlyle & company are practicing these habits this late in the season…. Toronto either needs to acquire a top end defenseman or figure out a new system for their players. It doesn’t even matter if the Leafs make the playoffs because even if they do “how long will they last?”





March 27: Show In Review

The Canadian Press

Mike and Dave Bastl discuss who and what's to blame for the Leafs six-game slide and their tough matchup on the road versus the Flyers on Friday, and Dan Shulman checks in to tee up Thursday’s Sweet 16 games.

Audio:

Hour 1:

Mike and Dave rehash last night's Raptors game, do Bastl's Bytes and go around the NHL. Hour 1 Audio

Hour 2:

Mike and Dave were joined by Pierre McGuire and Darren Dreger. Hour 2 Audio

Hour 3:

Mike and Dave were joined by Dan Shulman, Steve Simmons and Jim Ralph. Hour 3 Audio


Recap:

7:15 Pierre McGuire – NHL on NBC Analyst

Henrik Lundqvist was huge during the first period & the New York Rangers were able to escape with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers last night. The Rangers are a very good team & are driven by players such as Dan Girardi & Ryan McDonagh. The Maple Leafs will have their work cut out for them tomorrow night vs. the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers have lots of depth down the middle & goaltender Steve Mason appears to have rediscovered his Calder Trophy winning form from 2009. Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin broke a twenty three game goal drought vs. the Minnesota Wild but the team still has a long hill to climb. The Phoenix Coyotes will have to make do without the services of starting goaltender Mike Smith however backup Thomas Greiss has filled in admirably. Another team that could “make some noise” come playoff time includes the San Jose Sharks.

7:45 Leafs Breakfast: Darren Dreger – NHL Insider

For the first thirty games of this season captain Dion Phaneuf was borderline terrific. Phaneuf’s game has slipped dramatically over the past few weeks culminating with an all-time low performance on Tuesday vs. St. Louis. Dion Phaneuf’s “media tour” yesterday could’ve been driven by Maple Leafs PR however let’s give him credit for “facing the music” after not speaking to the media on Tuesday night. At this point Jonathan Bernier’s groin appears to be “ok” & should be good to go vs. the Philadelphia Flyers.

8:00 Dan Shulman – ESPN MLB & NCAA Voice

There are plenty of interesting games tonight as we get set for “Sweet 16 March Madness” on TSN 1050. Not many “experts” predicted that Stanford & Dayton would make it this far in the tournament. This match up should be viewed as a “pick em” because at this point in the tournament anything’s possible. Florida vs. UCLA is intriguing because both teams are evenly matched & sometimes these games come down to “who’s best on a particular night.” Michigan State was the best team coming into the tournament & should be able to defeat Virginia on Friday. Tennessee has the ability to beat Michigan & have adopted an “us against the world mentality.” Kentucky vs. Louisville & Baylor vs. Wisconsin are other interesting games worth keeping an eye on.

8:15 Steve Simmons – Sun Media & The Reporters

The biggest question surrounding the Maple Leafs is “will the real David Clarkson please stand up?” Clarkson’s stat line this season has been appalling & no one really seems to have a reason why. Are Clarkson’s struggles the result of a poor system that has been implemented by head coach Randy Carlyle? Another problem for Leafs management is that Clarkson’s seven year contract makes him virtually untradeable. Dion Phaneuf’s tenure as captain as been suspect however there is no ideal candidate to replace him during the offseason. The Toronto Blue Jays will have a very difficult 2014 season however the return of Dustin McGowan has been a very positive story.

8:45 Jim Ralph – TSN 1050 Maple Leafs Colour Commentator

The Maple Leafs might be guilty of “paralysis by analysis” as they search for answers in the midst of a six game losing streak. Toronto is a baffling team right now & doesn’t seem to play with desperation until they are down by two goals in the third period. The Philadelphia Flyers are also vying for a playoff spot & will present a difficult test tomorrow night vs. the Maple Leafs. It’s very difficult to determine if Toronto makes the playoffs because “if they win one game they could rattle off seven/eight wins in a row.” Dion Phaneuf’s decision to not face the media after a rough performance wasn’t impressive however “what did we expect him to say?”





March 26: Show In Review

The Canadian Press

Mike and Dave Bastl chat with Darren Dreger and Pierre McGuire about what the fallout could be if the Leafs miss the playoffs following their sixth straight loss versus the Blues, and the Dufour-Lapointe sisters and Mikael Kingsbury join the guys in-studio.

Audio:

Hour 1:

Mike and Dave do Bastl's Bytes and rehash last night's Leafs game. Hour 1 Audio

Hour 2:

Mike and Dave were joined by Pierre McGuire and Darren Dreger along with Justine, Chloe, and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe and Mikael Kingsbury in-studio. Hour 2 Audio

Hour 3:

Mike and Dave were joined by Richard Griffin and in-studio by Eli Young Band. Hour 3 Audio


Recap:

7:15 Pierre McGuire – NHL on NBC Analyst

It’s difficult to determine whether or not head coach Randy Carlyle’s job is in jeopardy. The bottom line is that the Maple Leafs can’t keep giving up 40+ shots per night & must improve their play in the defensive zone. Goaltender Jonathan Bernier played well however it’s worth noting the game wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Columbus & Washington picked up some valuable points last night & it’s becoming painfully obvious that there “isn’t much wiggle room left.” It’s also worth noting that Maple Leafs management inherited a colossal mess just five years ago. The biggest question surrounding Toronto is why their level of play dropped off so significantly after the Olympic break.

7:30 Dufour-Lapointe Sisters & Mikael Kingsbury (In-Studio)

Justine, Chloe, Maxime Dufour-Lapointe & Mikael Kingsbury joined Mike Richards & David Bastl in-studio to discuss their most memorable moments from Sochi.



7:45 Leafs Breakfast: Darren Dreger – NHL Insider

It’s difficult to determine whether Randy Carlyle’s head is on the chopping block. Management made several upgrades during the off-season (Clarkson/Bolland/Bernier) however this team seems to have taken several steps backwards since last years epic game seven collapse vs. the Boston Bruins. Captain Dion Phaneuf had a horrendous performance last night vs. the Blues & it’s hard to fault goaltender Jonathan Bernier (who returned after a two week groin injury) Toronto’s defensive core simply hasn’t been good enough & the team has relied for too heavily on Phaneuf to play the “tough minutes.”

8:30 Richard Griffin – Toronto Star MLB Columnist

The Blue Jays are only as good as their starting pitcher…perhaps it’s time to take J.A. Happ out of the rotation? The Blue Jays might be better off sending Happ to Buffalo in order to try and rectify the problem. The biggest difference between this year & last has been the performance of Drew Hutchison during training camp. The decision to have Josh Thole as the starting catcher could help R.A. Dickey return to Cy Young form. This team might be too insulated & need some “tougher guys” inside the clubhouse in order to shake things up. The Blue Jays probably don’t have interest in Stephen Drew because he is a “prickly situation” due to his affiliation with agent Scott Boras.





March 25: Show In Review

The Canadian Press

Mike and Dave Bastl discuss the perfect storm that has the Leafs in the midst of a five game losing streak with the potential of their no. 3 goalie starting in net versus the Blues tonight on TSN 1050 with Pierre McGuire, Darren Dreger, Steve Simmons and Mike Johnson.

Audio:

Hour 1:

Mike and Dave do Bastl's Bytes, go around the NHL and discuss the Blue Jays. Hour 1 Audio

Hour 2:

Mike and Dave were joined by Pierre McGuire, and Darren Dreger and Steve Simmons for Leafs Breakfast. Hour 2 Audio

Hour 3:

Mike and Dave were joined by Mike Johnson to discuss the Leafs goaltending situation. Hour 3 Audio


Recap:

7:15 Pierre McGuire – NHL on NBC Analyst

Last night’s game between the Montreal Canadiens & Boston Bruins showed once again why this is “one of the best rivalries in the NHL.” Let’s give some credit to Montreal for battling hard & overcoming injuries to Travis Moen & Alexei Emelin. The Canadiens had very solid penalty killing last night & were buoyed by a strong performance from backup goaltender Peter Budaj. Montreal basically “found a way to get under the Bruins skin” perhaps this is the best way to beat Boston in a playoff series? At this point the Bruins appear to be the cream of the crop however it’s important to not discount the other teams in the east. The Maple Leafs should start James Reimer tonight vs. St. Louis because he has always shown a lot of composure/willingness to battle through tough times. Backup goaltender Drew McIntyre isn’t exactly a “spring chicken” & has bounced around the league therefore you have to wonder if he really is the answer in net?

7:45 Leafs Breakfast: Darren Dreger & Steve Simmons

At this point all signs point to James Reimer being the Maple Leafs starting goaltender tonight vs. St. Louis. Drew MacIntyre is a “well travelled veteran” however he probably is not a viable option at this point. Reimer has lost his last six starts & won only four of his last seventeen games. Sometime fear is a great motivator & could help provide the Leafs with a sense of motivation prior to tonight’s match up. The latest on the Jonathan Bernier saga is that he had a “mild setback on Friday” however his condition won’t be updated until after the morning skate. At this point San Jose, Chicago, Boston, & St. Louis appear to be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.

8:00 Mike Johnson – NHL on TSN Analyst

The Maple Leafs are desperately seeking a goaltender that is able to step in & stop the puck. At this point in the season Toronto pretty much has to go with James Reimer. This isn’t the best time to “experiment with goaltending” especially with a potential playoff berth on the horizon. The Maple Leafs have been able to win numerous games despite getting severely outshot however this style of play isn’t sustainable over the course of an eighty two game season. Head coach Randy Carlyle must find a way to keep this team upbeat/positive because after all “the playoffs are still within reach.” If the Maple Leafs don’t make the postseason perhaps this is the end of Randy Carlyle?





March 24: Show In Review

The Canadian Press

Mike recaps the Leafs tough weekendand and is joined by Pierre McGuire and Darren Dreger to discuss a goalie situation that is unraveling following the injury to Jonthan Bernier and the struggles of James Reimer.

Audio:

Hour 1:

Mike does Bastl's Bytes, the Werner Ladder Co's NHL Power Rankings, and he rehashes the weekend's March Madness games. Hour 1 Audio

Hour 2:

Mike talks NCAA basketball, Leafs Breakfast with Darren Dreger and Pierre McGuire. Hour 2 Audio

Hour 3:

Mike Richards is joined by Bob Weeks, Bud Poliquin and Rustin Dodd. Hour 3 Audio


Recap:

5:45 Pierre McGuire – NHL on NBC Analyst

The Maple Leafs are having major problems with their goaltending/secondary scoring & now have to look ahead to tomorrow’s game vs. the St. Louis Blues. Toronto is facing lots of adversity right now & it should be interesting to see how they respond to the challenge. The Maple Leafs still have the ability to “control their own destiny” however a loss vs. the Blues on Tuesday would put their playoff chances in serious jeopardy. Perhaps Toronto can take a page from Mike Babcock & the Detroit Red Wings who continue to win despite numerous injuries. The Ottawa Senators have easily been one of the NHL’s biggest disappointments this season & one has to wonder if management will make sweeping changes during the offseason. Minnesota Wild winger Matt Moulson had a huge overtime goal last night against the Detroit Red Wings & has really helped his team remain in the thick of the wildcard playoff race.

7:45 Leafs Breakfast: Darren Dreger – NHL Insider

Last night loss vs. the New Jersey Devils shows once again why the Maple Leafs are a “Jekyll & Hyde” type of team. The bottom line is that the Maple Leafs need stellar goaltending & secondary scoring in order to be successful, however they aren’t getting much of either right now. The criticism of backup goaltender James Reimer isn’t unfair because after all “he is paid to stop pucks.” Toronto is a very tight knit group & the team seems to be using Reimer’s poor play as a rallying point…time will tell if this is a good or bad idea. It will also be interesting to see if management decides to start Drew McIntyre on Tuesday vs. the St. Louis Blues. Management is also concerned that Jonathan Bernier’s groin injury is worse than initially feared.

8:00 Bud Poliquin – Columnist Syracuse.com

Syracuse’s 55-53 loss vs. the Dayton Flyers was disheartening however the fact of the matter is that they lost to a very good team. The fans clearly had “higher expectations” & are very upset that their team didn’t even make it to the second weekend. Syracuse lost six of their last nine games & scored sixty three points only twice over the last thirteen games therefore the warning signs were prevalent. The bottom line is that Syracuse had trouble scoring which eventually proved to be their undoing on Saturday night in Buffalo.

8:37 Bob Weeks – Host Score Golf

Poor putting led to Adam Scott’s epic collapse (leading by seven strokes before throwing the tournament away) over the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The future of Tiger Woods remains questionable & there is a chance that the “shuts it down for 3-4 months” in order to get this problem rectified. Woods remains relentless in his pursuit of Jack Nickalus’ eighteen majors which could prevent him from getting the required rest. Not much is known about Matt Every however he did win his first PGA Tour title on Sunday & finally managed to back up his “smack talk.”

8:45 Rustin Dodd – Kansas City Star & Wichita Eagle Basketball/Football Writer

It’s definitely a day of mourning today in Kansas after last night’s 60-57 second round defeat vs. the Stanford Cardinals. Kansas didn’t play very well & had a difficult time adapting to Stanford’s zone defense. The Jayhawks really struggled without Joel Embiid in the lineup & Wiggins was not able to compensate for his absence. Wichita State’s 78-76 loss vs. Kentucky “kind of validated how good this team actually is.” The most maddening thing about the Shockers is how wildly inconsistent this team has been all year. The Louisville Cardinals are a team worth keeping an eye on as the tournament progresses & seem to have benefited from last year’s championship experience.



Mike Richards In The Morning, March 17-21

Mike Richards In The Morning, March 10-14

Mike Richards In The Morning, March 4-7



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