Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What's gone wrong with the Toronto Maple Leafs?

This is how literally every
Korbinian Holzer shift ends.

The last few weeks haven't exactly been kind to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

At the season's halfway mark, the Leafs were 15-9-0 and seemed like they'd easily end the franchise's postseason drought. But since then they've dropped five straight games, and they now find themselves dangerously close to losing their grip on a Eastern Conference playoff spot.

What's gone wrong? I reached out my sources embedded in the Leafs organization, and they supplied a list of issues that the team and its players are facing right now.

  • As a traditional franchise, are still struggling to adapt to modern cutting-edge strategies like carefully monitoring zone entries and focusing on newly developed possession metrics and actually putting their best players in the god damned lineup sometimes.

  • Stupid official scorers refuse to add more goals to our total no matter how many times we send Frazer McLaren over to punch them.

  • Despite our coaching staff spending the entire offseason crafting their strategy by carefully studying the team's media coverage, every time they yell "Getzlaf and Luongo, get out there!" the whole bench just stares back at them like idiots.

  • Heard an unconfirmed report about some Maple Leaf fan somewhere in the world being happy; had to nip that in the bud.

  • Oh sure, Nazem Kadri has looked great in the offensive zone, as well as the neutral zone and the defensive zone, but he no matter how much opportunity we give him he still never seems to produce in crucial situations when he's on the bench.

  • These days everyone in Toronto keeps talking about an 18-wheeler going over a cliff, and to be honest our young players think that sounds kind of awesome and really want to see it.

  • One of the players from the Raptors accidentally wandered into our dressing room for a few seconds, so now the entire team has a bad case of the loser cooties.

  • Dion Phaneuf still demonstrates his leadership by cranking up the volume on the dressing room stereo, but this year all the songs sound mysteriously like they're being sung by him and always include lyrics about how nice it would be to play with an NHL-caliber defense partner for a change.

  • Several players admit to being distracted by the constant barrage of offer sheets they keep receiving from a confused Jay Feaster.

  • Heard that rumor a few weeks ago about Mike Komisarek telling the Leafs he'd be open to a trade, and it's kind of hard to play hockey when you're laughing so much your stomach hurts.

  • Every time we start to feel like we've hit rock bottom, James van Riemsdyk gets off the phone with one of his ex-teammates and reassures us that it could be way, way worse.

  • While we appreciate that Mikhael Grabovski is a notorious practical joker who tries to keep the mood light during practice, in hindsight switching jerseys with Cody Franson during last week's shootout drills was probably a bad idea.

  • While Mark Fraser has been a solid third-pairing defensemen, every Maple Leaf fan knows that when it comes down to the really crucial pressure situation you can never rely on a guy named Fraser to do his job.

  • After watching him play 10 or 12 minutes every night all season long, are starting to get the sinking feeling that all those hockey experts who are always going on about "Orr is the greatest player of all time" were talking about somebody else.

  • To be honest, everyone is still kind of creeped out by that shadowy figure lurking in the ACC rafters, laughing ominously while wearing a half-mask and loosened tie.

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16 comments:

  1. Great as ever. Love the Fraser comment.

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  2. Every time we start to feel like we've hit rock bottom, James van Riemsdyk gets off the phone with one of his ex-teammates and reassures us that it could be way, way worse.

    Like Claude Giroux, the future mvp, hart, richard, selke and norris winner?

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    Replies
    1. Can't forget the Vezina.

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    2. Mike, this is Claude. I thought we talked about this.

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    3. Mike from Philly?March 19, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Mike? Is it really you? The legendary Mike who once crafted this classic comment?

      Philadelphia Flyers - Were unable to draft a player to fill their most glaring roster hole, a #1 center (Claude Giroux) who can score (Claude Giroux), kill penalties (Claude Giroux), play physically (Claude Giroux) and provide leadership (Claude Giroux). Real big losers.

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    4. He's in the running for the Jack Adams and the Mastertron, too. After all, the best player in the world should have some recognition for playing on a team so fraught with incompetence from top to bottom. Damnit, Pronger, you leave and the team falls apart!

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  3. Correct as usual, because Russians that do things like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYfZXU2NTiY don't make the first ten freaking rounds of the shootout... and the Fraser remark made me belly laugh... and cry on the inside.

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  4. Laughed out loud at my work desk at the Brian Burke joke.. Great stuff as usual

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  5. The moment you realize that Ryan Spooner has made the top line on one of the deepest teams at center quicker than Nazem Kadri...

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  6. "One of the players from the Raptors "

    The What-tors?

    (I do know what the Raptors are. They are the National Basketball Association franchise in Toronto. They were established in 1995 along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, who eventually moved to Memphis, TN. The Raptors were very popular and successful in the early 2000's when Vince Carter brought "Vinsanity" to the league. But have struggled to regain that prominence since trading Carter in 2004, even as Chris Bosh emerged as a superstar. I am making a joke that they are not a very popular team in Toronto, Canada and the United States of America.)

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    1. " I am making a joke that they are not a very popular team in Toronto, Canada"

      Well, you'd be wrong about that, since the Raps draw better-than-average NBA crowds for a team that in no way deserves it. If they sold 30 tickets more / game they'd be outdrawing the Thunder.

      They're popular, it's just that they stink. But sold-out Raptors crowds are by far the best sports atmosphere in the city.

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    2. They may be the best of the major sports but I highly suggest you check out a Toronto Rock game. The crowd is awesome.

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    3. The raps draw large crowds because every lower bowl Maple Leafs season ticket also comes with the stipulation that a raptors season ticket must also be purchased.

      If companies weren't forced to buy the tickets, attendance would be dismal. The Raptors ride on the coattails of the Maple Leafs, big time.

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    4. "If they sold 30 tickets more / game they'd be outdrawing the Thunder."

      Population of Toronto: 2,700,000
      Population of Oklahoma City: 600,000

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  7. "•As a traditional franchise, are still struggling to adapt to modern cutting-edge strategies like carefully monitoring zone entries and focusing on newly developed possession metrics and actually putting their best players in the god damned lineup sometimes."

    The Penguins, although not quite as traditioned as the Maple Leafs, seem so have a hard time grasping this concept as well, thus they keep scratching Simon Despres.

    And yes, I am complaining about my 1st place team on a 10 game winning streak, because I'm a hockey fan and that is just how we are built.

    ReplyDelete