On Monday, the Toronto Maple Leafs took on the Chicago Blackhawks. A team so dysfunctional that last season one of the few things they won was the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery where they selected superstar (and possibly generational talent) Connor Bedard from the WHL’s Regina Pats.
Bedard was there but he didn’t contribute much to the success of the Hawks’ 4-1 thrashing of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“They shut down the NHL’s newest prized possession, surely this was a stroke of bad breaks for them” you are probably saying to yourself silently as you try to justify this loss. Nope. “Well, I bet they had a really good Vezina-caliber goalie in the net!” as you scramble for an excuse.
Oh, I wish there were my fellow Leaf Loyalists.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Need To Be Held Accountable
Instead, what Leafs fans were treated to was (at times) an all-out bombardment of pressure and weak defensive plays (both by our offense and defense) that ultimately cost them the game.
Joseph Woll, was often left hung out to dry like the Sunday laundry. Why is this a surprise for us? We saw this coming, didn’t we? (stats naturalstattrick.com).
You’re right, we did see this coming, but we all chose to ignore it. We all saw the poor defensive play of the Leafs the prior two games and instead chose to all look at our moustache-dawning hero with awe as he netted not one, but two consecutive hat-tricks. It was only a matter of time before the defense was exploited.
With that being said, I do have some positives that we can take out of it. The way I see it, this game is very much like vegetables. No one wants to eat the vegetables but eventually, whether we like it or not, the meat and potatoes are not sustainable. The Leafs need some vitamins and minerals. It’s time for them to suck it up, eat it, and stop playing with their food.
The defense needs to be held more accountable. The forwards need to be held more accountable. The criticism and blame shouldn’t be placed on the shoulders of a goalie who has twelve NHL games played. Albeit, in those twelve games Woll has won nine (boasting a 2.45 GAA). I’m not a mathematician, but nine out of twelve games is like seventy-five percent, that’s not too bad for a young goalie.
The Leafs need to wake up and start the games on time. This could be a season where we see the core players together for the last time. The Leafs need to come together and buy into the program. This is a team sport, you either win as a team or you lose as a team.
The ultimate test will be on Thursday when the Leafs take on the Panthers. The Panthers dominated the Leafs last season and will be looking to repeat that come Thursday. It’s time for the Leafs to eat their vegetables, learn and get stronger.
It’s time for them to win.