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What they’re saying about the slumping (collapsing?) Leafs, Part 2

Mar 26, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT

Randy Carlyle AP

When it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs, there’s never a shortage of hockey opinions, even in the most tedious of times. Well, these are not tedious times in T.O., as the Leafs have dropped six straight and are verging on yet another epic collapse.

The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle thinks the team’s problems with puck possession, as evidenced by its 29th-ranked Corsi rating, is an issue that needs addressing by both coach Randy Carlyle and general manager Dave Nonis:

Why the coaching staff hasn’t been able to correct this issue should create some very tough questions around both Carlyle and those above him that continue to come up with excuses for the team’s lack of success, whether the Leafs somehow find a way to squeak into the postseason or not.

The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons had this scathing indictment of the Leafs’ performance last night at home to St. Louis:

Once again, they came out nervous and out-worked in the first period. They may have won a puck battle against the impressive St. Louis Blues Tuesday night but I can’t remember it. They didn’t accept or take on the challenge of playing a great team. They had no fight — and, no, I’m not talking about the punching kind.

They were out-worked, out-thought, out-positioned, out-coached and out-structured by a Stanley Cup contender.

If they ever did, the Leafs no longer look like a playoff team.

The National Post’s Bruce Arthur describes the scene inside the ACC, as well as what’s ahead:

By the end of the second period the fans were chanting “Let’s go Blue Jays!” on a day the Jays lost a spring training game 22-5. The Leafs had brought back goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who was not believed to be 100% healed from his groin injury. Desperate times. But he ran out of miracles early, and miracles were required. More will be required now.

And finally, the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox comes to the rescue of coach Carlyle:

Perspective is always helpful. Six of seven Canadian NHL teams look likely to miss the playoffs this season, or would if the playoffs began today.

Of those six, five are worse than the Leafs. So should all those teams fire their coaches as well? Paul MacLean? Bob Hartley? Dallas Eakins? John Tortorella?

We’d note that Tortorella may well be fired after the season, even though he’s still in his first year of a reported five-year contract; Eakins has been a major disappointment and probably would be fired, if he weren’t in his first year; Hartley has gotten more out of his team than anyone expected; and MacLean is the reigning coach of the year, so he gets some leeway.

Otherwise, all apt comparisons.

Related: What they’re saying about the slumping (collapsing?) Leafs

  1. lowenni - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Phaneuf had one of his worst games I’ve ever seen and the worst I’ve seen by any defender all season, let alone a captain. He was directly responsible for 3 Blues goals and is simply still trying to do too much. Leafs should trade him in the offseason and make a respected veteran like Lupul, or even Bolland or Raymond if they resign them, captain. It’s not worth paying Phaneuf the huge salary they do for his mistakes. At the time of the signing I supported it but he’s awful. There will be more than enough teams willing to pony up for him, however, and the Leafs could get a more responsible top-4 D in return along with prospects/picks. Gardiner looks really good, recently, by the way.

    • nobandwagoners - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      Ah, Raymond – do you mean Mason Raymond? Because, if so, are you joking? Don’t get me wrong; I like Mason Raymond as he seems like a genuinely nice guy and overcame the huge challenge of coming back after a broken vertebrae but after many years of watching him play I cannot see him as a Captain. Maybe he’s grown exponentially as a leader after having left the Canucks?

    • hockey412 - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      Do you think there’d me a big market for him? That’s a big, long contract. If they did find a taker, I wonder if they’d get much in return.

    • kaptaanamerica - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      you lost credibility when you said there would be lots of teams interested in Phaneuf. Not for 7 mill per season and not for that term. the guy would be a 5-6 d man on the Canucks if that, maybe even 7. On an AV team, he’d be in the presser for sure or AHL. if you can’t be responsible in your own end you end up like Ballard, sitting in the press box.

    • michemai - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      Lupul is a black hole and has a terrible contract. Raymond goes bye, bye after this year since Nonis pooched the cap. Bolland is crippled but he has so much heart that him and Clarkson will bring you to the promised land if you believe enough.

      Phaneuf has been bad but when the rest of your defense is a tire fire you can’t blame him for trying to do everything because Gleason and Franson are useless. Gardiner is getting better but not good and Reilly can skate but is 20 and a terrible defenseman which isn’t an insult, but on a team with real defensemen he looks much better.

    • imleftcoast - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      Wow, perpetually-on-the-perimeter-Raymond as captain? As a Canucks fan, that is shocking. Can we trade you Hansen to go with Raymond?

      Phaneuf looks terrible in the clips. He definitely needs to keep it simple – giving up the puck at the blue line on the PK instead of just shooting out? Ugh

      • mikebel11 - Mar 26, 2014 at 2:43 PM

        The problem with the Leafs goes far beyond Phaneuf. They’re a one line team with horrible team defense. No one back checks, no one clears rebounds, defensemen (read: Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly) are routinely the last man out of the offensive zone on the back check, they give up an absurd amount of shots and a large percentage of their wins have come from winning the skills competition. Blaming the goaltending or the coaching in a game where they give up 30 shots in the first 28 minutes is asinine. People shouldn’t be wondering why they’re collapsing. They should be wondering how they possibly won as many games as they did early in the season. The chanting for other teams thing is a typical Toronto quitter sports fan thing. They do it every year to all of their teams when they’ve given up.

  2. Jefe - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    What’s with the hair on the guy to the right of Carlyle?

    • guitarhunterdude - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair…

    • kingcobraman - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      yes … but you can pick both guys…

    • desertfan - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      Thats either Peter Nygard or Brian Engblom!!!

    • imleftcoast - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      A Canadian Richard Branson out for a rip?

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Bernier was ok. Just ok.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      Kidding of course, but that third goal was beyond embarrassing. Obviously the Leafs need to address the shots allowed, and for me that starts with the coach’s system. Their D may not be great but it’s not so atrocious that they should be giving up the most shots in a season ever. Time for a new approach.

      In other words, as if it needs repeating, Damien Cox is a moron. Between the shots against and the utter mismanagement of his goalie situation, Carlyle’s is one head that needs to roll this golf season.

      • kaptaanamerica - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        Yes, Damien Cox is an idiot. So he thinks the Canucks are worse than the Leafs and only the Jets and Habs are better? that’s hilarious. I’d rather take the Canucks, Flames or Sens ahead of the Leafs. In the case of the Canucks and Sens it’s coaching/ injuries that have torpedoed the season for the most part. They have players who as early as a season or two ago showed they can compete and win in the regular season at least. The Flames show up every night and work hard. There’s no give up in the Flames locker room and they bring it every night.

        The Leafs had been the butt of every joke and the laughingstock of the league, and with their early play had seemed to put it behind them. The Oilers after their recent 8-1 beating by the Flames started to take over as the butt of jokes and laughingstock, until this recent slide. Now the Leafs are full on, the butt of jokes and a laughingstock again, only this time they have the Oilers to keep them company.

      • kaptaanamerica - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:24 PM

        how a team, like the Oilers, can have 10 or 20 top five picks, including 6-7 first overall picks and not compete is mind boggling…. how can one team be so consistently bad, year in and out. This is literally the second rebuild in the last 10-15 years or so. only separated by the miracle run to the finals, which was a total anomaly considering their regular season play that year. (same could be said about being consistently bad when it comes to the Leafs, it’s just they trade away their top picks or prospects)…

  4. davebabychreturns - Mar 26, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    What I’m saying about the slumping (collapsing?) Leafs: ha ha ha ha

    • elvispocomo - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      *insert most interesting guy in the world meme here*

      I don’t like to revel in other team’s misfortune, but when I do it’s the Leafs.

  5. rockyspond - Mar 26, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    hey, kaptaanamerica
    As an Oiler fan I am also baffled and often embarrassed by their lack of “compete”. There is plenty of legitimate criticism to levy at the player roster and at management. But your exaggerations do not exactly cast you as the brightest bulb in the room. Other than Hall, RNH and Yak (who are still kids learning the game), can you name any of those 6-7 first overall picks or even one of the 10 or 20 top five picks in their system ? I don’t think so, because there aren’t any!

    • kaptaanamerica - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      lols, it’s called exaggeration to make a point. the fact is they have more top five or top 10 picks including 3 number one overall picks than a lot of teams that started their rebuild at the same time or later than them. those other teams are farther ahead. look at columbus, colorado, for example… the exaggeration is there because of the perception of the Oilers as perennial lottery candidates… all these prospects and picks mean nothing when the culture is one of losing… having kevin lowe and the 80’s gang there does nothing except give those guys a steady paycheque…

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