Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Series of Compounding Errors

When the Leafs played Nashville a week or so ago, Joe Bowen (or one of the Leaf play by play guys) paraphrased Barry Trotz as saying "When teams, like the Leafs, are battling for their playoff lives little things tend to get magnified."

Think missed calls, bad penalties, weak goals - you know all the hallmarks of a typical Leaf game, streak, season, decade, forty-year drought (take your pick).

And so it comes to this...Sundin, inexplicably, gets a goal called back (nice work NHL. I know I ranted about this once before but would a timely explanation or some accountability be too much to ask? And wouldn't it have been the right call for Sportsnet to cite the Fraser call as the turning point of the game?); McCabe (after a horrible pinch) gets called for a very marginal hooking penalty (his stick was on and off that player faster than you could say "bad contract JFJ") and the Isles tie it up on the powerplay.

In OT, Sundin gets taken down like Steve Simmons on a Leaf fan discussion board and there's no call (hey NHL - it's a dive, a trip, or both - even the culprit Satan thought he was headed to the box).

And so it goes into the books as a shoot-out loss.

Oh, and here's more good news: the Isles now own the tie-breaker should they finish the season tied with the Leafs for 8th PPP has correctly pointed out that the Leafs still own the tiebreaker, so we've got that going for us.

My point isn't to bemoan the bad calls in one game (although that's always fun).

My point is this: it's time MLSE iced a team where non-calls and marginal penalties weren't the difference between life and death.

It's time MLSE set about icing a team where one blown call in February didn't loom over this club like some airborne toxic event.

I firmly believe that unless JFJ dramatically changes the composition of this team, I will spend all of next year with the Leafs stuck at .500, anxiously watching this same tightrope walk. Another season wasted on a team that's perpetually one stupid call away from being outside the playoffs once again.

I said weeks ago that I doubted this team has the stuff to make the post-season, never mind make it out of the first round.

But for those Leaf fans who are holding out hope for the playoffs, thinking this year's version of the Leafs might do some damage if they make the post-season dance, consider this: if the Leafs were in a four game series against the Isles, they'd be down 2-0.

Factor in: the recent 3-0 loss against the Bruins, the fact that this team holds a lead about as well as Ashley Simpson holds her liquor, that scintillating sub .500 home record and the fact that no team seeded lower than fifth has ever won the cup and I can't say I'm with you delusional Leaf fans optimists on this one.

And how bad is it that "making the playoffs" remains a stretch for this organization? Over half the freakin' league qualifies and yet the Leafs struggle to even attain that mediocre level of "success"


Trade all the UFAs.

Play the kids and any prospects we get back.

Scout the hell out of all the pending UFAs and spend accordingly in the off-season.

From here on out, it shouldn't be about trying to hit that 8th spot, trying to get 2 more home dates for the pension fund, hoping Kerry Fraser isn't going to stick-it to the Leafs again.

Winning one round of the playoffs isn't what I'm after either.

Two rounds won't cut it.

A successful season for Leaf Nation should be winning the Cup. Nothing less.

Isn't it time MLSE started to think the same way?

Oh, and for the record: I hate the shoot-out. Even had the Leafs won, I still think it's an absolutely preposterous way to finish a game. If Bettman and his suits want to entertain the fans, get some TV coverage and have everyone talking at the water coolers he should have Raycroft fight DiPietro at Centre Ice, winner take all...I'm guessing that the Emery tilt will get more coverage than any of the shootout results that went down on the same night. ***UPDATE*** Deadspin, which I love even though they never post about hockey, has already posted highlights of the Emery fight, quickly generating 80+ comments...


  1. Good points but the Leafs still have the tiebreaker. They are 1-0-2 for 5 points and the Isles are 2-1-0 for 4 points head-to-head.

    Of course, JFJ won't do anything you suggested because it will cost him his job. Nice little system MLSE has set up.

  2. Bitter,

    I'm sorry I ever doubted you.

  3. Anonymous9:18 am

    A successful season is winning the Cup? Nothing Less? Yeah, because the Leafs do that every other year.

  4. Anonymous - if the Leafs are ever going to turn their culture of defeat/culture of losing around, their goal has to be winning the Cup, not squeaking into the playoffs.