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Columnist: Maple Leafs on par with Blue Jackets

Mar 20, 2012, 12:37 PM EDT

Maple Leafs

Things are pretty grim in Toronto. The Leafs’ playoff chances are all but snuffed out and last night’s humiliation in Boston — an 8-0 shellacking that included Milan Lucic whaling on Mike Komisarek — has left certain folks disillusioned.

Two of those folk appear to be Mark Zwolinski and Bob Mitchell of the Toronto Star, who recently collaborated on an article titled “Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets in dead heat“.

Zwolinski and Mitchell compared the two organizations — using 30th-place CBJ as the low benchmark, of course — to see just what kind of shape Toronto was in.

The conclusion? Not very good.

This is how bad it’s become for the Maple Leafs: They are on par with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Not in the standings, where the Leafs hold a comfortable edge this season, but when comparing the franchises top to bottom — with what promises to be a busy off-season fast approaching.

The comparison is broken down into five categories:  Goaltending, Prospects, Defence, Forwards and Off-Season. Toronto got the edge in prospects, forwards and off-season (based largely on the assumption the Leafs will go hard after Rick Nash) while Columbus got the nod in defense and goaltending.

PHT Aside: That CBJ is deemed to have better goaltending than any NHL club either 1) throws the entire article’s legitimacy into doubt, or 2) says a more about the Jonas Gustavsson and James Reimer than their pedestrian numbers ever could.

In a related story, the Leafs sit 24th overall in the NHL standings (72 points) with nine games remaining in the regular season. That’s only one point clear of 25th-place Tampa Bay, two clear of 26th-place Minnesota and three clear of New York and Montreal, both on 69 points.

Should the Leafs continue to stagger down the stretch, there’s a very real possibility they’ll be drafting in the top five — something they haven’t done since 2008, when they took Luke Schenn fifth overall.

PHT Related

Burke “inclined” to keep Leafs’ first-round draft pick

  1. jaysfan64 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Since April 1969 this team has had maybe seven total truly competitive seasons….what’s three or four more like it…this whole organization needs to be flushed from the top down…trade vets like Kessel, Lupul, et al and get draft picks…maybe then the “unholy alliance” takes command that’s what they’ll do – starting with a new president, a new general manager, and a new hockey department..if this continues this franchise is in real danger of becoming irrelevant…nobody will care anymore …hell, it’s already happening in some corners….

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      What good will more draft picks do this year? Unless we can get some in the top 3 it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Even then we’d have our choice of Russian prospects that are accused of being to selfish with the puck or taking shifts and games off. No thanks.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Toronto sports media is an unfunny joke.

  3. 2qswing - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Since Jan 1st

    Jackets 13-18-2 ,Leafs 12-16-3

  4. jaysfan64 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Forgot about the Russians…u bring up a good point…burn a high pick on one only to watch him go to the KHL….ha ha can’t win, huh??

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      “Can’t win” pretty much sums up how Leafs fans feel.

    • alecitrullo10 - Mar 20, 2012 at 7:02 PM

      what toronto should do if they pick in the top 2 or 3 is maybe use that as a major piece in trying to aquire a Schneider from Vancouver or a goalie of similar calibre. They would obviously have to give up a little more but it would be a major piece.

  5. east96st - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    As Blue Jacket ticket holder, I have to admit, this really makes me angry. Up to now, I have had a pretty favorable view of our Canadian neighbors. If nothing else, they do a better job of keeping the mentally ill from running for office. But, this crosses a line. This is a clear breach of protocol and common courtesy towards your neighbor. If I was foolish enough to pay to watch the crap that passes for hockey in Columbus, if I dumb enough to buy tickets from an organization that could better run by a brain damaged chimp, if I was idiot enough to support an organization that treats it’s fans like garbage, then I DESERVE the right to say we are the WORST team in the NHL and, we have a legitimate shot at being the worse team in ANY professional sport. Back off Toronto! CBJ sucks donkey a** and you have NO right to try to take our title. We got it the old fashioned way, we EARNED it! You MAY be bad, but we are unwatchable!!!

    • habsman - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      I hope the Jackets turn things around.

      • bruins33 - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        what are your opinions on the sucker punching Bruins habsman? please do tell

      • habsman - Mar 20, 2012 at 6:28 PM

        You don’t know my opinion by now?

  6. jaysfan64 - Mar 20, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    The Leafs need much, much more than a goalie… they need a stud defenseman, they need to get rid of Kessel and Lupul and replace them with players who buy into Carlyle’s system, they need better bottom six forwards, they need a new president, a new general manager, and they have to stop kissing the media’s a$$…would you hear Ken Holland, Sather, Scotty Bowman or any other successful sports executive whining to the media ABOUT the media and blaming the media for his team’s poor performance?? Burke needs to go as soon as the regular season is done…MLSE can afford to eat his contract…and do a THOROUGH search to get a qualified general manager in here to blow up this mess and PROPERLY rebuild….one who will do the right things regardless of what certain beat writers say….

  7. davego6 - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Totally agree with jaysfan64. Burke should man up and do the right thing and resign. Four years and this is all he has to show for the Toronto Maple Leaf Americans. His main guys are scared to take a hit and do the gritty things that get you the puck and keep it. Even Phaneuf, can’t or won’t fight and when he does, he just hangs on for dear life -hoping the refs break it up!

  8. jaysfan64 - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    When Burke traded for Phaneuf he saw a potential Pronger wannabe…he’s a solid #3 or 4 d-man on a true contender, nothing more….where has his captaincy led the Leafs do far? He’s gotten a free tide from the media so far…one that Hall of Famer Larry Murphy or Bryan McCabe didn’t…both better players in my opinion…

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