Forcing ourselves to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs play these past couple of games has us either shaking our heads in disbelief on how a team with great expectations can play so good one night and come back the next night and stink the joint out. It almost makes you want you to go and start cheering for the Ha.. no wait lets not get carried away here!
But back to the thought of what great expectations the Leafs had going into this season. As of right now the Leafs are heading in the wrong direction and going down fast.
They started out of the gate playing really well and winning some games (10-4 in Oct) then some injuries started to happen and the spiral effect started to show. What we are seeing with this Leaf team is that there is no showing of any improvement, but why?
Is it the absence of David Bolland and Tyler Bozak to long term injury? – Is it finally the goal-tending dual of James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier starting to look normal? or is it the coaching of Randy Carlyle, have some players started tuning him out?
Other points to ponder here are the lack of showing intensity and the urgency of getting the puck out of the defensive zone. The look of being ill-prepared to start the game and then playing catch up hockey for the remainder of a game. This way of playing is hard on any team especially one like the Leafs who have top players out and top players who are not performing as they should be.
Coach Carlyle had the team in the video room most of the day on Friday, running through game tapes of the Kings and the Blues games. You could of called the session, ” The Good, Bad and the Ugly” leaning more towards the bad and ugly part as video would of shown, a lot of defensive zone down low battles being lost and pucks being turned over and eventually turning into goals.
I think the session would of also have shown that the Leafs squad comes out flat and not playing with any type of urgency. You won’t win many games playing this way that’s for sure.
Now for the $50,000 question – Does General Manager Dave Nonis search out for a trade? Does he look for a high end center-man or a high end defense-man? Or both? My humble opinion is no. Why trade now. You have players coming back from injury soon. If you trade now you are trading from a position of weakness which will likely cost you more in the long term. The Leafs are 16-14-3 in 33 games with 49 games to go. Do you panic and pull the trigger or do you wait it out for the players from injury to return?
I think you guess is as good as anyone else’s but I sure bet GM Nonis had wished he had done some things differently in the off season then what he actually did.
Well only time will tell if that is true or not.