Saturday, April 27, 2024

A radical theory on why the Leafs are losing another series: The Bruins are better

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. It’s the playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t show up on time, they briefly got going with an offensive outburst, and then came the stupid penalties and the defensive miscues and the non-existent big save when it was needed most. Now they’re embarrassed, in disarray and looking over their shoulders at ghosts.

OK, I’ll admit you have heard it before, from me, because that’s almost exactly how I started my column after Game 1 of last year’s a postseason, a 7-2 loss in front of the same fans who just booed them off the ice. So yes, you’ve heard it, from me and everyone else, in some for or another. But I don’t need you to stop me this time, because I’m stopping myself. For one night at least, after a humiliating home loss to the Bruins that put them down 3-1 in the series, I’m going to do the opposite of what you might expect. I’m hitting pause on all those Maple Leafs narratives we’ve all run into the ground over the last few years.

You know the ones: The Leafs don’t want it bad enough. The not-so-young-anymore core is overpaid and entitled. The leaders and the coaches don’t have the right message, and if they do then nobody’s listening. You need all-star numbers in January, they’ve got you covered, but if you need the sort of heart-and-soul shift that can tilt a series, look elsewhere. No killer instinct. They don’t show up, they don’t start on time, and they don’t want any part of the big kid hockey that gets played in the postseason.

Sure. Some of that could be true. Maybe even all of it.

But maybe it doesn’t matter, at least not this time. Maybe the Bruins are just better.

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