It is one day shy of 2 weeks since the Leafs played their final game of the 2019-2020 season and there is still the most horrible taste in my mouth. I suppose the outcome was the perfect topper on what was the most disappointing, boring display of Leafs hockey in some time. Inconsistent. lackadaisical, indifferent. Not the words that should be used when describing what is one of the most talented Leafs teams to be assembled, yet, here we are.
As disgusted by the effort and the outcome of the Maple Leafs qualifying series against the now eliminated Columbus Blue Jackets (who played the Leafs well) as I was, and many of you were, listening to the aftermath in media availability sessions by the players and management is equally if not more disgusting and sickening.
The interviews revealed nothing but more of the same platitudes. The same bullshit about knowing what they have to do, needing to be better, to the ludicrous needed some puck luck, we played well but hot goalie. Do you know why Columbus had such great goaltending numbers, how Columbus was able to shut down the Leafs “incredibly dangerous” offense? They played hockey. That’s it. Plain and simple hockey. Something the Leafs are incapable and/or unwilling to do. How the smartest guy in the room Kyle Dubas fails to see this is mind-blowing.
Content to play on the periphery the Leafs are an easy team to keep off the board for teams that play a heavy, defensively structured game. This is not a secret to anyone, for several seasons, except for the GM and apparently the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs who has signed off on the vision of his GM.
To have a team that has made the playoffs only to lose in the first round each of the preceding 3 seasons miss the playoffs entirely is completely unacceptable. To listen to the people responsible not own it is even more so. The pats on the back and delusional thinking displayed by those in charge is beyond the pale. Good try boys, all is well, here’s a participation ribbon for everyone. Hugs and pats on the bottom for everyone, see you next season. GTFO here with that crap. Going into this season anything less than a solid second-round appearance was the minimum expectation
The very least that was expected to come out of anyone’s mouth was some anger, like even the tiniest bit. Show us that you hate losing. Demonstrate that the outcome is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
While the Leafs key top players may be young in age they are not in experience. Every one of them have played enough games to qualify for an NHL pension (Matthews is only 282 GP, close enough). While Kyle Dubas eluded to those players playing well I disagree almost completely. I think Matthews had some moments that showed growth but that was about it. How many games did you see them dominate in that series, or over the season, any of these top 5 players? $45+ million dollars on the Cap this year and this is what they give? Nope, not good enough. What about Freddy? Yes, sure he could have been sharper on some plays but he still posted a 936 sv% in that series with a 1.82 GAA. Lay your blame where it should be and that is on the group in front of him.
Significant changes need to be made if this Franchise is ever going to be successful. Players crowned kings and paid like it before they have proven or achieved anything is not the way to do it. Being pond hockey kings is not the path to the Cup. Slam the door on this Leafs season, lock it, throw the key away and torch it. Don’t bring back a squad that looks the same next season.
That’s enough of my ramblings. That was as PG as I could keep it and there isn’t much more I can say without going full rage monkey so…..
Here is some video content from the Leafs themselves, and some of the pundits.