At the conclusion of last year's season, JFJ and MLSE threw around the meme that the Leafs "lost the most man games in the NHL due to injury" like JFJ threw around no-movement and no trade clauses.
At the time, I had a big problem with that that statement as:
- I hate excuses (I think what-ifs and excuses were the cornerstones of the JFJ era)
- If you look at the bulk of last year's injuries, they were to fringe players (Wozniewski was 17% of the total; 4th liners and Marlies were another 22%)
- Good teams find ways to win, even when their big guys are hurting
What I didn't stop to consider was why the Leafs were so banged up.
After getting physically manhandled by Washington two nights in a row, the Leafs are once again threatening to run away with the injury title. It struck me that maybe the Leafs suffer so many injuries because they're a soft team.
Last year it was a sea of white shirts staring at their skate laces after Janssen laid out Kaberle.
The last two nights nobody laid a finger on Erskine and Eminger and the questionable hits (and one lovely end of game spear) kept on coming. Poni and Steen are both out as a result and White and Antropov were lucky to avoid the IR...
I'm far too lazy to crunch the numbers, but it would be interesting to see how many of the man games lost over the past 100+ games were the result of other teams playing big while the Leafs played small...