Leafs off to shaky start, time to hike up the Babsocks
Well it’s that time of the year when the leaves all change colour and begin to fall as the winter approaches. Seems the Leafs themselves have begun to fall before changing colour; preseason is over boys, time to wake up and play some hockey.
Some fans have already been calling for the removal of Mike Babcock. Personally, I find that a bit much considering I still consider Babs to be one of the best coaches the NHL has to offer. Not only that but he’s well respected; especially by Maple Leafs own Brendan Shanahan. With that being said crazier things have happened but I really don’t feel that Babcock is to blame.
He’s part of the problem, but he’s not the one stepping on the ice to set the tone so he certainly isn’t responsible for the slow starts or being scored on at the start of a period. That’s on the players, they need to be ready to play as soon as the puck drops. Seems we are being scored on at the start of games or start of periods way too often. Wake up! Get the sniffing salts going, take a sip of red bull, something to get a turbo boost going.
The schedule to begin the season is absolutely ridiculous. When I first looked at it I remember thinking wow that’s a lot of games in October but an eye popping number of back to back games. Now that we are in the moment, this is just pure stupidity. You’d think they could have spread them apart a bit more than this, but whatever; it is what it is.
Hutchinson and Spezza are both painful to watch (just had to get that out there).
So let’s spin things and look at some positives. By now we’ve likely heard every negative angle from the peanut gallery.
The past few years the Leafs have been flying out the gates. Dominating as a team, winning vast majority of the games and scored a boatload of goals doing so. This year isn’t all that different, except for they aren’t getting high quality goaltending or many lucky bounces. Don’t kid yourself, getting a few lucky bounces can go a long way.
As the Leafs coasted through the last few seasons they didn’t have to fight or change much of their strategy to win games or claw into a playoff spot. They sat comfortably in a top three position in the Atlantic Division and didn’t really seem too worried about their gameplay.
This season is different. Sure we have injuries to Tavares, Hyman and Dermott right now. But that doesn’t change much, they were still playing mediocre hockey when Tavares was in the lineup.
The Leafs will have to use the injection of the three into the lineup as a reset button. They will need to get the lines all together and the pairings set on defense. Then they will have to remember how to play a sixty minute game at both ends of the ice.
I’ve seen some quality efforts from some of the depth forwards and defenders on the Leafs but I want more out of our stars. They have a lot more to offer than what we’ve seen and you can bet the fire is about to tan someone’s ass and get the boys fired up and start playing some hockey. Some Maple Leafs hockey.
Perhaps this slower start and bit of adversity the Leafs have to overcome will be a good thing. Last season the St Louis Blues were horrendous to start the season and as the team came together they turned things around and became one. The Leafs need this type of breakthrough as a whole. It’s not about the best stats or best goals, it’s about winning the games and working together doing so. This is the season the Leafs are going to learn how to play hockey as a team and will have to work hard to finish where they want in the standings.
I’m hopeful this is the lesson they need to learn. What lesson exactly I don’t know. But a lesson nevertheless on how to play better as a team and ultimately achieve their goal, to win.
It’s a quiet week for the Leafs as they only have two games this week. The Capitals tomorrow and the Flyers on Saturday. It won’t be long before we see Hyman, Dermott and Tavares all back in the lineup.
Have a great week.
Thanks for reading.