One game by itself doesn’t say a whole hell of a lot does it? So I am not going to hit the alarm or panic button as many of the Toronto media suggest we nutty Leaf fans do. However, watching tonight’s game was like going in back in time to when the Maple Leafs were coached by Paul Maurice. They looked totally disinterested in the game, unprepared and unwilling to do whatever it took to win. From my seats at the ACC, it was a sad effort by the blue and white to say the least.
A couple of weeks ago, a Boston Red Sox pitcher plunked Adam Lind with a pitch. The next night Roy Halladay plunked David Ortiz. Payback, the code or whatever else you want to call it. You hit one of ours, we hit one of yours.
Brian Burke said his teams would have: “Proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence” there wasn’t evidence of that tonight.
Viktor Stalberg get laid out by Anton Volchekno and who payed him back???????? I mean every kid who ever played hockey knows that when one of your guys gets hit, someone goes after that guy or another skill guy on the other side. It’s just the way it works. Doesn’t mean you have to kill someone, or injury them. Rosehill, Exleby, Orr, Komisarek were all in the lineup tonight- none delivered. The guys who Burke identified as the plumbers clearly left their plungers at home tonight.
From the stands, and it is one game, 2 things were very evident. First, their is a leadership void so far. The Leafs still lack an identity. They still don’t have the one guy who can pick them up and put them on their backs. They don’t have the guy who can throw the big hit and get them going. Second, for whatever reason, Luke Schenn is wound up sooooooooooooo tight. No idea why but it looks like he is feeling the stress big time. He is clearly fighting the puck, and a result he is turning it over repeatedly.
My overall take away. Despite a lengthy training camp, the new guys aren’t yet comfortable and the team doesn’t yet have leaders. Until those two issues are addressed, it’s going to be difficult to win games like tonight. With Stalberg out, we really had no offensive spark. Gustavsson played well enough to win. The Leafs did look very comfortable in front of him, way more so than in front of Toskala.
A trend? A pattern? Time to panic? No… Something to keep an eye on? ABSOLUTELY. As I said when they acquired Kessel, the pressure on Ron Wilson just got amped up a notch or three. A few more efforts (or lack there of) like tonight and, well you know…..
By the way, little TSM had the time of his life. He soaked it all in and can’t wait to go back. He, of course wants to see the Penguings play the Leafs next time. Anyone interested in a road trip to Pittsburgh???