The Toronto Maple Leafs Loss to the Flames
In the Calgary game, where the Leafs were credited for a whopping 7 hits, Calgary was credited with 18 hits in the game and several of them were of the bone-crunching variety. Kase literally left the game after getting rocked by Zadorov and did not return.
Let me be clear, it’s not just the number of hits in the game, it’s the fact that players were getting bullied in corners and in scrums. Tavares, Matthews, Nylander, Muzzin, all of which, like Kase, were relentlessly harassed and challenged physically.
I fully understand that Toronto had the puck a lot in this game, which means they don’t have to hit, but it still begs the question: If a team is getting bullied, is 7 hits enough of a response to stick up for yourself? No. No it’s not.
Would it have been different if Simmonds and Ritchie were dressed for the game? I have no doubt the Flames would have received a cordial greeting or two in response to their physicality, but it honestly doesn’t change the narrative.
Seriously, outside of Simmonds, none of our regular forwards really hit anybody (Ritchie is not a regular forward). A 21-year-old Rasmus Sandin is our most physical defenseman (he’s 5’11 and 180 lbs), and yes, he leads our defensemen in hits with 5.78/60 (tied with Muzzin).
I’m not asking this team to become the Barry Trotz Islanders, I’m just looking for some kind of physicality in a game that is very physical.
Let’s go back to the moments in recent history that set people off when they watch a Leaf game like the one Thursday night in Calgary.