It hasn’t been the beginning the Toronto Maple Leafs hoped for. Certain, John Tavares is out with a damaged finger, however the crew seems out of sync. Criticism has been thrown at head coach Mike Babcock, and he’s already known as out his crew for the variety of penalties and ignorant performs they’ve made.
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Briefly, it’s been a tricky season for the Maple Leafs who reside in one of the tough media markets with a number of the most devoted and tough followers in hockey. All of us count on extra from the crew.
On this submit, I’ll preserve followers up-to-date on a number of the information that’s rising from the Maple Leafs group.
Merchandise One: Matthews Expects Extra from Everybody
It’s been a humorous week, with Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks main the way in which by calling his teammates egocentric for staying out too lengthy throughout time beyond regulation, resulting in an time beyond regulation objective that price the Sharks a sport in opposition to the Buffalo Sabres. The particular culprits have been Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier, who left Couture and Joe Thornton chasing the play.
As Couture famous, “Simply an inexcusable change. Two guys that stayed out too lengthy searching for offense. It’s a egocentric play that doesn’t should be a part of this crew, so we’ll determine that out.”
In a little bit of a special vein, after the Maple Leafs’ loss to the Boston Bruins, Auston Matthews famous that he expects extra from himself and his teammates.
Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno protects the puck from Toronto Maple Leafs middle Auston Matthews. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
He mentioned, “I feel it’s simply not adequate. We want
to higher. I feel it comes from the management group. I should be higher. All
of us should be higher. I feel we have to look one another within the eye and maintain
one another accountable and put this sport apart, take a pair steps ahead and
be higher for each other.”
It have to be embarrassing to play in your crew’s prime line and be dominated by Boston’s first line in a Four-2 defeat. True, the Bruins are one of some groups that basically stack their first line moderately than distribute stars over the top-six, however Matthews spoke as if his delight was damage.
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We’ll see how he and the crew responds – the subsequent opponent is the San Jose Sharks, the identical crew Couture known as out. The Sharks did roar into Montreal and beat the Canadiens Four-2 on Thursday night, so there’s a little bit of area there, (from “’WE NEED TO DO BETTER’: Maple Leafs’ middling begin to 2019-20 common season continues with loss to Bruins, Terry Koshan, Toronto Solar, 10/23/19).
Merchandise Two: Marleau and Marner Reunion in Toronto
For individuals who low cost expertise and expertise, be aware that Patrick Marleau is off to a robust begin in his return to the Sharks. To date, he’s a point-per-game participant who’s scored two targets and 5 factors in his first 5 video games of the 2019-20 season.
Marleau, in fact, performed the final two seasons with the Maple Leafs however was “traded” to the Carolina Hurricanes (a wage dump) and in the end had his contract purchased out earlier than returning to the Sharks simply after the season began.
San Jose Sharks’ Patrick Marleau (AP Picture/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Just lately, Marleau talked about leaving the Maple Leafs in order that Mitch Marner may signal his mega-contract. No shock, Marleau got here throughout as a category act. Briefly, he said there wasn’t a greater individual to make the sacrifice for, which made his transfer straightforward.
Clearly, one thing needed to give with the Maple Leafs so they might signal Marner to his $10.893-million contract and that one thing was Marleau – a value basic supervisor Kyle Dubas paid. If you’re 40 years outdated with a $6.25-million contract, such selections usually are not rocket science.
As famous within the tweet
beneath, Marleau holds no grudges. Nonetheless, he have to be comfortable to be enjoying and the
reunion in opposition to his outdated crew will likely be fascinating to observe.
Patrick Marleau on being waived by the #Leafs to make room for Marner’s contract: “No higher individual to do it for. That makes it straightforward. These guys are nice gamers and deserve every thing they get.”— Michael Traikos (@Michael_Traikos) October 22, 2019Merchandise Three: Kapanen Beginning to Play Nicely
Though his crew didn’t present up in Tuesday’s Four-2 highway loss to the Bruins, Kasperi Kapanen did. He scored a objective and an help and, usually, is turning into extra concerned within the motion on the ice. I haven’t seen an excessive amount of evaluation about Kapanen’s sport, however it seems as if he’s benefiting from a line change and completely different duties.
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Kapanen’s objective got here early within the second interval and tied the sport, with assists from Alexander Kerfoot and Justin Holl. He seems extra pure and concerned enjoying with the speedy Kerfoot. Though he began the season slowly, Kapanen now has three targets and eight factors in his final seven video games.
Merchandise 4: What if Babcock Was Not the Maple Leafs Coach?
It’s fascinating to listen to different commentators defend the besieged (although I’m undecided he cares or feels it a lot) Babcock. However, through the Maple Leafs’ sluggish begin to the season, he has been taking the warmth for half it.
That’s simply the purpose Elliotte Friedman made about Babcock and one cause why he believes his job is protected – for now. Babcock is a magnet for the unfavorable focus, which he deflects away from the crew. I feel he hates that facet of his job, however he by no means avoids it.
Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports activities)
Friedman believes the group is aware of that in the event that they fireplace Babcock, they’ll want to search out one other punching bag for the criticism.
In a latest 31 Ideas column for Sportsnet, Friedman famous: “Because the stress mounts, there will likely be loads of speak about Babcock’s future. One factor everybody ought to keep in mind: he takes lots of the warmth. A variety of it. What I respect about him is that he acknowledges it as a part of the job. The place does it go if he’s gone?”
Merchandise 5: Nylander Ends 4-Sport Pointless Streak
William Nylander began the season dominating, however for the final 4 video games he’s had no factors – till the Four-2 loss to the Bruins. His power-play help snapped a four-game zero. In that sport, he performed on the second power-play unit. Admittedly, given the issues surrounding the crew, I had misplaced monitor of him. Maybe that, in itself, is telling.
Toronto Maple Leafs’ William Nylander controls the puck forward of Boston Bruins’ Matt Grzelcyk. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Picture/Mary Schwalm)
What’s Subsequent with
the Maple Leafs?
As famous, the Maple Leafs play the Sharks on Friday night on dwelling ice. Then they head to Montreal to play the Canadiens on a Hockey Evening in Canada telecast. That’s a tricky flip round.
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To date, the crew has a 1-1-1 report since Tavares was injured. He is perhaps extra of a settling affect than folks suppose. The Maple Leafs are a really younger crew.