It’s not so much the loss that leaves Leafs fans shaking their heads today – it’s the way the loss occurred.
Blame the goalie? Nope, Monster played pretty good if you ask me, and the score could have been a lot worse in favour of ‘the other’ Blue Shirts if he wasn’t on his game.
Can’t blame the refs.
You could blame Marty Biron for standing on his head on a couple of occasions, but that’s not going to cut it either.
The lackadaisical attitude that permeated the roster of skater’s – with a few exceptions – seems to be the way I want to go with this. Someone must have brought in some old newspapers that talked about the Leafs strong start, because the all out hustle, crisp puck movement and team defence that staked the Leafs to a 4-0-1 start was not in evidence at the ACC last night.
Neither was Tyler Bozak. Maybe he brought in the paper? Maybe he was tired from staying up late giving shout outs to his newly ‘Twitter-joined’ Marlies mates Luca Caputi and Dale Mitchell Wednesday night? Whatever it was, it was not the effort required from a first line centre in the National Hockey League. (Yes, some bitterness – I took a flyer on Bozak as my 3rd fantasy C…Stamkos and H. Sedin the other two BTW…reigning champ in a keeper league too, but I digress)
Save for the Grabovski line – who had some step all night and were dangerous on numerous occasions – the effort level just wasn’t there. This isn’t cause for panic – yet – but if that same effort is given on Saturday night, it will be hard not to argue that the Leafs have become complacent with their fast start and are not winning the little battles required of a playoff team in order to even reach the playoffs. Simply put, effort on a nightly basis is what’s needed for this team to be successful, because an abundance of talent is not how they will win hockey games.
In hockey, as in life, there are winners and losers. Losing is never easy, but if you give it your all and are bested by an opponent that pill – while difficult - can be swallowed. Showing up and expecting two points ‘just because’? That makes it a little bitter…
Let’s check back next week after Saturday’s match-up with the Flyers in Philadelphia…hopefully RW & Co. (not the clothing store) inspire some effort in the troops.
Followme on Twitter (I can stay up as late as Iwant on pre-game nights): @mbd_27
About the Author
Written by Mike De Petrillo
Leafs fan; former OHL LW; Live in Toronto