Fresh off a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders — which came fresh off an 8-0 loss to the Boston Bruins — the Toronto Maple Leafs held a closed-door meeting that goalie James Reimer called a “heart-to-heart.”
While players took the opportunity to air their grievances (before competing in the feats of strength) head coach Randy Carlyle stayed mostly out of this hearty affair.
“It wasn’t my message, I was listening to what they had to say,” Carlyle told the Toronto Sun. “I didn’t deliver any message, I was kind of asking the questions and I wanted to hear how they felt about what was going on.”
The answers Carlyle got weren’t especially original. The standard “gripping the sticks too hard” quote was issued (by defenseman John-Michael Liles) and the consensus seemed to be the Leafs lack confidence.
That confidence bit isn’t especially surprising. The Leafs are 3-6-1 in 10 games under Carlyle…and were 1-8-1 in the final 10 games of the Ron Wilson regime. It’s a slight uptick in victories, though two of them came against Eastern Conference bottom-feeders in Montreal and Tampa Bay — so there’s no real reason for the group to have much faith in itself. The Leafs seem no better under Carlyle than they did under Wilson, which has raised a lot of questions about how good the team really is.
Or, how bad the team actually is.