Toronto Maple Leafs: Playoff Emotions Make Us Foolish

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 14: Leo Komarov
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 14: Leo Komarov /

It’s the Playoffs and you want your team – the Toronto Maple Leafs – to win.

Understandable that when they don’t win, you get mad.  But with twitter right there allowing you to vent, things get crazy fast.  Dumb.  Insane.  Brutal even.  Yes, the Toronto Maple Leafs now face almost certain elimination – but let me tell you this playa, the sun still came up this morning.

I get the frustration.  It sucks.  But guess what?  There is reason for optimism.  The Leafs controlled 66% of the play last night – they dominated the game.  Sure, their high-danger scoring chances were low, but regardless, they are winning that game 9 times out of 10.

The Leafs lost because Tukka Rask had an awesome game.  That’s it.   The Leafs had 18 more scoring chances than the Bruins.  They controlled nearly 70% of the play.  Boston scored one fluke goal, the Leafs did not get a lucky bounce.  Oh well.

The team you love gave a solid effort and by all rights, the series should be tied today.

And even though it’s not, it’s still not bad that they went 1-2 without Kadri, which probably represents a best case scenario.

Here are some bad takes people should probably re-think, because there is nothing – nothing – to be upset about.

Auston Matthews Sucks:

Matthews has one goal on 17 shots this series.

That is 6% shooting.  Half of his career average.

The Leafs are down, but if they were down despite Matthews playing his best, they’d be in trouble. As it is, history suggests that when Matthews gets one goal in four games he’s due for an explosion.

While we’d all like to see him do better, but we’ve seen a million hockey games, we know how this stuff works:  Fans and analysts put too much emphasis on results while ignoring the fact that the randomness of the game guarantees that you don’t always get the results you deserve.

For this series – which includes one game where the Bergeron line absolutely dominated the Matthews line – Matthews is a 55% player averaging nearly five shots per game.  That’s actually pretty good, so relax.  We’re lucky to have him.

Nikita Zaitsev Also Sucks

$4.5 million for your fourth best defenseman isn’t all that bad.  He almost scored 40  points as a rookie and he’s right handed.  He’s completely fine.  But, a couple noticeable bad plays is all it takes and he’s the new Jake Gardiner – by which I mean the player everyone gangs up on for no reason. Like Jake Gardiner, Zaitsev is about 100x better than people give him credit for being

In four games he’s a 57% player and the Leafs have a + 20 scoring chance differential when he’s on the ice.

More from Editor In Leaf

Newsflash:  it’s hard to defend a 2 on 1 in the NHL.  You know how I know that?  Because no one would ever score on one if it wasn’t.

Cut this guy some slack, he’s actually pretty good.

Mike Babcock Is Too Mean

I am all for criticizing Babcock.  The Leafs should definitely play Carrick over Polak and I don’t think the they needed to play such a risky game last night either – but when it comes to crying over the fact that he was critical of his team’s two best players after the game, just shut up.

If you are capable of succeeding in the NHL, you can handle your coach criticizing your game to the public.  If you can’t handle that, there is no way you will survive the rigors of professional sports.  I’d like to write what I really think here, but it would include a lot of bad language and insults.

Bottom line is this: If you feel you need to stick up for millionaire pro athletes because their coach is a big meany, you got problems I can’t help you with.

Next: 1992-93 Similarities to Now

To recap:  Losing makes people emotional and emotions make lead to bad takes.  It’s hockey; lighten up.  The Toronto Maple Leafs could be tied 2-2 and they could still make a comeback.  I’ll call it: they will come back.  Their luck is due to turn, Kadri will be back, and Andersen still has a couple insane games left in him.   And even if the Leafs do lose, up to this point, they haven’t been half bad and first round exit in a stupid system where two of the best teams in the league play each other in the first round is nothing to feel too upset about.

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