About a week or so ago, I wrote an article talking about how the Toronto Maple Leafs could be take advantage of the status of their current opposition in this stretch of games. Obviously, the Leafs have not taken advantage of their last two opponents, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders and who knows what will happen in the next three or so games.
Well, there might be something that will happen in one month that could help the Maple Leafs: The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
That could be beneficial to the Leafs. To give you a bigger picture on how it could help the Leafs, here are the number of Olympians each team is sending.
Teams That Are Sending 10 Players: Chicago Blackhawks & Detroit Red Wings
Team That Is Sending 9 Players: St. Louis Blues
Team That is Sending 8 Players: Montreal Canadiens
Teams That Are Sending 7 Players: New York Rangers & Pittsburgh Penguins
Teams That Are Sending 6 Players: Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings & Tampa Bay Lightning
Teams That Are Sending 5 players: Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers & Phoenix Coyotes
Teams That Are Sending 4 Players: Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks & Winnipeg Jets
Teams That Are Sending 3 Players: Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs & Washington Capitals
Teams That Are Sending 2 Players: Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators & Ottawa Senators
Now, I’m not saying that the amount of players a team sends makes a difference. Obviously Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit are teams that will be a threat no matter what. However, remember the 2005-06 season and who made it to the Stanley Cup Finals that year.
The finalists were Carolina and Edmonton, teams that had little Olympic representation. Playoff teams that get the rest in Olympic years could hold an advantage in the playoffs. Now, it doesn’t always happen. Detroit and Chicago have made the Stanley Cup Finals in Olympic years.
In the Eastern Conference, Carolina and Washington have the same number of Olympic representatives and only Florida and Ottawa have less players going to the Olympics then the Leafs. Only Washington and Toronto are currently holding down playoff spots.
With the the way the Leafs are playing, they need something to reinvigorate them. The Olympic break could do just that. Let’s just hope they can play well until they get to that break.