Jan 25, 2014; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer (34) sits on the bench after being pulled from the game in the second period at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Shawn Coates-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs Lose to End Disappointing Season


 

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators meet for the final time this season to answer an age old question; is it possible for both teams in a hockey game to lose? The answer remains no for the time being, but as we have all heard there’s always next year. The game started out about how you would expect for two eliminated teams, sluggishly. Clarke MacArthur and former teammate Dion Phaneuf pushed and shoved a little in Toronto’s zone in a halfhearted attempt to get some fire into the bellies of both teams, but nothing came of it.

Tim Gleason had an abysmal start to the game (as I’m typing this Brian Gionta of the Montreal Canadiens got awarded a penalty shot in overtime, hooray for hockey that matters! I’ll let you go to their fansided page to see how things turned out) looking completely immobilized in his own zone and taking a needless penalty on a puck that Phaneuf had anyways.

Within the first ten minutes of the first both teams had a goal taken away from them on a Novak Djokovic inspired overhand smash from the slot by Tyler Bozak and a close goaltender interference call against the Sens forward.

A few minutes into the second Jason Spezza scored on a very nice slapper just inside the post to put the Senators ahead by a goal, which would prove to be enough as the Maple leafs were unable to crack the score sheet for the rest of the game. Despite a few moderately good chances and a post from close in by Cody Franson, the Leafs played hockey’s equivalent of “keep ball” for a sizable portion of the game.

Petter Granberg made his NHL debut tonight. He played very smart, simple and positional hockey in his own end but occasionally got out of position trying to get involved physically. For the massive size of the 21 year old he seemed to move okay (I’ve watched him a fair amount with the Toronto Marlies and he’s not excessively slow) but his awkward footwork especially in the “home plate” zone in front of his own goaltender is still  a weak spot in his game.

The kids on the point once again seemed to be among the better Leafs tonight, with Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner getting over 19 and 23 minutes of ice time respectively. For a game described by Jim Hughson (I think) as having the “intensity of a bubble bath” both of the mobile defenders seemed to have an extra step with Rielly getting in on the forecheck late in the game and Gardiner moving the puck in both directions with authority throughout the game.

Randy Carlyle has almost certainly coached his final Leafs game to a regular season finish as I predicted early in the season, but there has already been more than enough written and said about that.

Finally, unless the currently evolving management group in the front office insists on flexing their power over his restricted status, it is very likely that we’ve seen the last of the now contractless James Reimer in the blue and white. This crushes me to say as I’ve always been vocal about the fact that he’s my favorite Maple Leaf. James played excellently tonight, making another 37 saves to finalize the monumental team total that I’ve long since stopped paying attention to. Hopefully the Leafs can get a decent return on him if/when they do move his rights and hopefully the always modest and rarely frustrated Winnipeger can find success in a new city.

Toronto has officially concluded the season 6th in the wildcard race and with a 38-36-8 record. Here’s to stress free playoff hockey and what’s bound to be a lively and important offseason.

Tags: James Reimer Randy Carlyle Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Mark

    You know I can’t, no wait. I have never seen a team fall apart like this one. Phaneuf is as much of a captain as Clarkson is a positional player who half the time looks lost. Not sure what his role is like many other leafs. Ive seen tyke games better organized then this team. One thing is that I havent ever remembered a coach that had no answers and a GM so afraid to pull the trigger. Other then Reilly, Bernier and Kessel. Not one other leaf is interested in playing for Randy Carlyle. We now see how the cap makes the rest of the players play for longevity and not for the colour of their sweaters. Im officially given up for good on this shit team who allows themselves to be completely embarrassed. This group and I mean all of them have to go besides the three I mentioned above. I have watched tgis team for 49 years and WHY WHY WHY DO WE STILL BUY THEIR SHIT TICKETS. Let the hungry guys who dont play for the Marlies come up and play. I bet even if their half the players of these leafs, by the end of the season they would have more self respect, esteem, whatever. All these young guys know its about longevity and they have abandoned the will to win over the moneyto gain long term. So for all yyou agents. Soon trust me; the salary caps will hit afain for a lousy loosing product. Im done with this ahit team for good and if Torontonians had any balls they would turn their backs on the leafs ir at least wear garbage bags for this team.

    • Tim Bayer

      Hey Mark. I feel your frustration. If Carlyle and Nonis are back again next year, I will be deeply disappointed. But, Shanahan is here, and I think he’s a smart enough dude and will know what it takes to get this team where it needs to be. Keep that head held high!

      • Scottie Smalls

        I hear ya, I wouldn’t expect a whole lot to happen right away, maybe even not much happen, Shanny has to realize this group of players still has a potential to achieve an awful lot in this league (any doubters need simply to think back to the playoffs last year and what may have happened had we won).
        Today I heard a rumour that Kadri and Phaneuf were being shipped to Preds for Shea Weber. Since we all know what can happen to a highly-touted player like Phaneuf was when he was on Calgary, what is it the makes anyone think that someone like Weber could come into the #1 craziest market for fans in the entire NHL, and whip everyone into shape…

  • Scottie Smalls

    I am honestly completely disappointed in the ending to this season, I was one of the ones that shut up about Carlyle all season long, and now his doubters have worn me down, I see no upside to anything that man did, and now feel like he is the ultimate reason why things fell apart over that 8-game stretch.