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.