The Toronto Maple Leafs are threatening to spiral out of control.
Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to right the ship against the Buffalo Sabres after a couple of horrible games this past week.
First, the Leafs lost to the LA Kings in the worst game this city has seen since Ron Wilson got himself fired in 2012.
Then, they had an embarrassing response against the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Sure, the Leafs managed one good period, and for a lot of people who only look at the score, that was acceptable.
But dig down, and the Leafs were out-chanced 19-5 in high-danger scoring chances. The Bruins kept the Leafs stars in check for most of the night, and almost everyone on the Leafs had a bad game other than Matthews, Marner, Samsonov and Lagesson.
Or, more likely, six to eight weeks from now.
Tonight the Leafs will try to get a win against Buffalo, but more importantly, they need to play a good game.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Be Desperate Tonight
The worst part about the Toronto Maple Leafs current predicament (an unbalanced lineup that is a nightmare for the coach, non-existent defensive depth/talent and not bottom-six to speak of) isn’t how predictable it was, but rather, that there doesn’t appear to be a way out.
Is the coach going to scratch the new GM’s first signings?
Is the GM going to admit he was wrong, and get rid of everything he did this summer after ten games?
Is the GM going to fire a coach he just extended, or is the President going to fire a GM he just hired?
Are the owners going to bail on Shanahan, a guy they just backed over Dubas not 11 games ago?
Of course the answer to all these questions is no. And worse, even if they wanted to, NHL teams consider it a terrible social faux pas to make trades early in the season.
Should the Leafs have looked at the most basic analytics before signing guys like Kampf, Reaves, Klingberg and Domi? Of course they should have, but they were desperate to create an illusion of difference between themselves and the Kyle Dubas regime.
An underrated aspect of the Kyle Dubas Regime was that, as far as I know, he was the only GM in the history of this team that didn’t let the media act as a de facto assistant GM. That’s why he was unpopular (the Leafs maintain one of the league’s biggest analytics staffs and have most of the same people running the club, and Brendan Shanahan has always had the last word anyways, so….)
Anyways, it’s Toronto Maple Leafs vs the Buffalo Sabres tonight, and in case you couldn’t have easily guessed it, Sheldon Keefe is once again going back to the same lineup (minus Timothy Liljegren, obviously) that he used in each of the last two games.