Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs News & Notes: March 17, 2014

I was busy travelling to Western New York to watch the Buffalo Sabres (unsurprisingly) lay an egg and allow the Montreal Canadiens to pass the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division standings yesterday afternoon, so I missed the Leafs game against the Washington Capitals. Here’s the Game In Six:

From what I can gather, the Leafs basically forgot to show up until the second period. That terrible first period ended up costing the Leafs the win. James Reimer settled in after a rough first and saved every shot he faced the rest of the way. Tyler Bozak fanned on a tap-in and David Clarkson had his close-range attempt dribble frustratingly along the goal line, and the Leafs couldn’t find a way to tie the game up.

It was a missed opportunity for the Leafs to hold down second place in the Atlantic, and it also allowed the Capitals to move within six points of the Leafs and only two points away from a wild card spot. The Leafs still have an 80 per cent chance at making the postseason (as James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail shares in his latest piece, via, but a win against the Detroit Red Wings tomorrow night will give them some much-needed breathing space.

They’ll probably have to do it without Jonathan Bernier, who’s day-to-day with a groin strain, but Reimer has proved himself capable to hold the fort down when called upon.

There isn’t anything Toronto Maple Leafs-related in this week’s 30 Thoughts from CBC Sports’ Elliotte Friedman, but there are plenty of other interesting news and notes from around the league, including a proposed tweak to the draft lottery.

Greg Sutch is a former OHL and Saginaw Spirit player who spent his final year in the O playing alongside Terry Trafford, the 20-year-old who was found dead in his truck six days ago. Sutch writes about the systemic issues rooting from junior hockey, and how tragic suicides like Trafford’s can be prevented in the future on Yahoo! Buzzing The Net.

I featured a piece by Melissa Geschwind for Yahoo! Puck Daddy tackling the issue of institutionalized sexism in the NHL in Friday’s News & Notes. In the same vein, theactivestick of Eyes On The Prize writes that if the NHL wants to attract more female fans, offering gimmicks like free spa visits isn’t going to work. Let the game do the talking.

The Ottawa Senators made a bit of a strange decision to swap the roles of two of their assistant coaches late in the season. When asked about the switch, head coach Paul MacLean abruptly said, “No comment.” There’s been plenty of weird stuff going on in Ottawa with owner Eugene Melnyk, and as Travis Yost of HockeyBuzz writes, it doesn’t look like it’s ending any time soon.

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Tags: James Reimer Jonathan Bernier Paul MacLean Terry Trafford Toronto Maple Leafs

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