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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