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Randy Carlyle’s advice to Leafs to avoid collapse: ‘Just breathe’

Apr 4, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs Getty Images

TORONTO — Everything about the Toronto Maple Leafs blowing a 3-1 lead to the Boston Bruins in the third period of their game Thursday night reeked of familiarity.

All you have to do is think back to the Leafs’ Game 7 collapse in the third period against the Bruins in last season’s playoffs to know just what was running through the heads of fans in Toronto.

But last night a collapse didn’t happen. Instead, Nazem Kadri scored a power play goal in overtime to give the Maple Leafs a desperately needed 4-3 victory to keep themselves in the playoff race.

While Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said last season’s Game 7 failure never entered his mind during last night’s game, he provided a bit of advice for his team when things turned heavily in the Bruins favor in the third.

“I tell them to breathe. That’s been our catchphrase now,” Carlyle said. “Because you can’t do anything if you don’t breathe and that’s what’s happened to our hockey club is when we’re freezing, we’re just paralyzed. Just breathe. Just breathe. Take it easy, breathe. We’ll get through it. Do the things that you’re accustomed to doing. Believe in the system, commit to it, and just breathe. Relax.

“You can’t do anything tense. You can’t be all tensed up to play the game.”

It may have been just a regular season game, and one that didn’t really mean a lot to the Bruins, but everything about it was tense from the Toronto perspective.

A loss against Boston would’ve forced Toronto to run the table the rest of the way to have a hope of making the playoffs. Never mind all the psychological bogeymen that losing to the Bruins in such a fashion would’ve brought about.

Instead, the Leafs carry on and perhaps more “breathing” is what they need going into the final four games of the season. They can’t afford to lose now or else another collapse will be added to their legacy.


  1. patthehockeyfan - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I like Carlyle. He’s got a tense group of guys whose every move is examined in detail – by coaching, by management, by fans, by each other. Good for Carlyle to know how to lead. Really like the guy. Oh. And the fact that he’s a Led Zeppelin fan has nothing to do with it. 😉

    “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

  2. terrier92 - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Watched the game last evening and Toronto is awful. Bruins had nothing to play for and competed harder than leafs. Too much standing around I feel for Leafs fans you deserve better . My suggestion is you do what loyal fans here did. Give up seats stop going management responds to empty seats trust me. In my case when I renewed my season tickets I paid 75 less a ticket per game. It’s tough but if fans keep going you will get same old product and no cup

    • enollatsknarf - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      Is this satire or are you actually seriously calling for a leafs boycott?

    • dueman - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      If management didn’t care, as you say, they wouldn’t be spending to the cap like they do. I think that your view of last nights game is quite distorted as well…

    • 11111111111a22 - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      Dude, read your comment in your head and then study punctuation. Jesus…what is going on in those Canadian elementary schools? Did Grammar class get cut in order to fun Maple Syrup harvesting 101?

      • withseidelinn - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        Did you actually just try and state that Americans were a more intelligent group of people?

      • imleftcoast - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        If you did a close read 1111a22, you’d realize terrier is a Boston fan (BU Terriers). Maybe grammar (notice the lowercase) class was cut to fund Wall Street billionaires, GM bonuses or pay for democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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