Saturday, 31 March 2012

Are the Leafs the worst team in the league?

Leafs are dominated by the Flyers

The Toronto Maple Leafs suffer yet another humiliating loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers and all is lost for many Leaf fans. While some fans are calling for General Manager Brian Burke to be fired, others are calling the Leafs the worst team in the league.

The harsh words and opinions may simply be the aftermath of another disappointing season, which showcased a rather significant debacle. Regardless of anything, the fact of the matter is that the Leafs haven't appeared in the playoffs in eight years.

But let's be honest, everyone calling for Burke's head and running around saying the Leafs are the worst team in the league, are the same people that were claiming to be the #1 Leaf fan a few months ago. So, sometimes things didn't go as planned. In fact, things went terribly. This season ends as a completely failure for the Maple Leafs, but why is everyone blowing up over how bad the team plays in meaningless games?

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Leafs Aren't Nearly As Bad As Their Record Suggests

James Reimer and Phil Kessel celebrate after their victory
Quite possibly one of the worst collapses in recent memory is that of the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. Two months ago the Leafs were in a respectable playoff position with hopes of playing in the post-season for the first time in almost a decade. However, a monumental collapse in February, that has continued into March as well, has left the Leafs stranded far from a playoff spot as they currently sit seventh last in the entire league. With the win yesterday, Toronto's record is 31-32-8 with only 11 games left in the season. But are the Maple Leafs really as bad as their record suggests?

The Leafs only have three wins in their last 15 games, and many fans who were praising the team just a few months ago, are now turning against Brian Burke, with complaints that he hasn't assembled a good enough roster. In my opinion, such criticism is not fair to Brian Burke. Many are quick to judge, but have short memories. Before Brian Burke became the General Manager in Toronto, the teams top three forwards were Matt Stajan, Alex Ponikarovski and Nik Antropov. Now, our top three forwards are Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, and Mikhail Grabovski, a big improvement from the previous three players listed.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Bruins beat Leafs 5-4, Leafs playoff hopes fade

Bruins celebrate second period goal vs Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs were host to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night in search of a win to revive their playoff aspirations, but things didn't go their way. As has been the tradition in the past, the Bruins dominated the majority of the game, especially the second period. The Leafs would lose the game by a score of 5-4.

Toronto scored first and stayed in the game early, as the both teams bounced goals back and forth. The momentum began to seriously shift in Boston's direction late in the first period and continued in the second. A pair of quick goals from the Bruins in the second period was the turning point in this game. The Leafs would gain some momentum back in the third as Mikhail Grabovski, who just signed a 5-year contract extension, scored to cut the Bruins' lead in half. In the end though, some collapses in the Leafs defensive zone in the second period lost them the game.

Randy Carlyle mentioned earlier this week that each player will have a specific role on the team under his coaching. That was evident as Jay Rosehill was inserted back into the Leafs starting line-up and fought Shawn Thornton. Colby Armstrong and Tim Connolly also dropped the gloves, although Tim Connolly and Brad Marchand were only given minor roughing penalties for their short tussle.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Leafs Win in Carlyle's debut as Head Coach

Randy Carlyle during practice
Randy Carlyle made his debut as Leafs coach tonight in Montreal. The Leafs won the game by a score of 3-1. The Leafs came out with some jump tonight, but the Habs quickly matches their pace and slowed down the team in blue.

Montreal got on the board in the first period and really took the momentum from there. In the second though, the Leafs started to get their game going. Matt Frattin tied the game as he pulled the puck off a scrummed face-off and threw it at the net, over the glove of Carey Price. The third period was a little dull compared to the first two, until Mikhail Grabovski broke the deadlock with a beautifully placed shot into the top corner. The game really heated up after that goal as Montreal pressed for the equalizer, but late in the game Frattin fed the puck to Grabovski, who was wide open in front, and he put his second of the game past Carey Price.

This was the first win for the Leafs since February 15th, and their second win in just under a month. It might be too late for the Leafs to rejuvenate a playoff run, but this win gives a glimmer of hope. The Leafs are three points behind the Jets for the last playoff spot, but will have to jump Tampa Bay, Washington, and Buffalo, assuming the Sabres convert their lead into a win tonight.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Leafs Fire Coach Ron Wilson, Hire Randy Carlyle

Ron Wilson, former Leafs coach

The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired their coach, Ron Wilson. TSN's Darren Dreger broke the news just after 8pm EST today. Following a dreadful month of February, where the Leafs playoff aspirations fell from a near certainty to next to impossible, the move that many expected has been made, and the Leafs fire Wilson.

Wilson has been the coach of the Maple Leafs since the beginning of the 2008-2009 NHL season. He coached the Maple Leafs for just less than four full seasons. His cumulative record with the Leafs was 130-135-45. The Leafs are in a terrible stretch where they have only won once in their last 11 games, with a record of 1-9-1 that seems to have crippled any hope for the post season.

It's being reported that former Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle is new coach for the Maple Leafs. In six full seasons with the Ducks, Carlyle never had a losing season and won the Stanley cup in 2007. Carylye was fired earlier in the season after his Ducks only amassed seven wins in 24 games to open the season. Carlyle has only coached the Ducks in his career. His all time coaching record is 273-182-61. He has also won 36 of the 62 playoffs games for a 0.581 winning percentage.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

NEW VIDEO! Fire Wilson!

Simply put, Brian Burke was noted as saying that he believes the current team he has built is a playoff team. Some may agree, some may disagree, the fact of the matter is that they're on the edge of becoming a lottery team. If it's not the players on the team he has built, it must be the coach. Yet, he still hasn't fired his buddy Ron Wilson. Something doesn't add up.