If starting their 15th goalie of the post-lockout era wasn’t a strong enough sign that things are bad for the Toronto Maple Leafs, then Thursday’s humorous chant clinched it. During various points in a 7-1 drubbing by the Philadelphia Flyers, Buds fans sarcastically (and at times, quite loudly) chanted “Let’s go Blue Jays.”
While there are times when fans will promote local teams when times are good (usually when a given squad’s success is unusual), it’s often the comical barometer of especially bad times for a franchise.
James Mirtle points out that the team is 5-17-3 in their last 25 games, which would be a 43-point pace during a full season. It’s pretty tough to blame fans for getting sardonic about the whole situation – especially since the one plus (improving draft lottery odds) probably falls upon deaf ears considering the franchise’s lengthy struggles – but the bad times aren’t lost on players.
Phil Kessel was almost at a loss for words while discussing the defeat with Mirtle.
“I don’t know if you guys have seen something like this before because I haven’t,” Kessel said. “We just can’t figure it out. We’re trying.”
The merciful news is that the Maple Leafs only have four games left this season, with two at home. That’s plenty of time for fans to come up with another round of funny chants, but at least the suffering will end … or at least will be paused until next season, depending upon who you ask.
On the bright side: baseball season is right around the corner.
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.
It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.
Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.
Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.
“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”
Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: