The Toronto Maple Leafs have won nine of the past 11 games (going 9-1-1 in that stretch) and are one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They’ve been scoring goals in bunches, Phil Kessel is on fire, Nazem Kadri’s production has picked up, and Jonathan Bernier has been playing outstanding in goal.
But was it GM Dave Nonis who lit a fire under the team? According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, that might just be the case.
Johnston reports Nonis threatened major changes would happen (trades, firings, the works) if the team didn’t snap out of the three-game funk they’d fallen into after a 6-1 loss to Carolina on Jan. 9. Neither Nonis nor any players spoke about it on the record about the apparent meeting, but it was intimated that it did happen.
While the Leafs lost the next game against Washington, the Leafs have been on a torrid pace since then and have jumped the Montreal Canadiens in the standings and are threatening the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Winning cures all ills, and that’s certainly the case in Toronto right now, but if it was a stern warning from Nonis that lit the fire, credit is shared all around for the Leafs’ latest run.