"I just feel [Toronto] still has a few more lessons to learn. [The Sharks are] a little more mature. Because they’ve lost a few more times, they’re not so scared of losing."
For those that missed it early, that quotation was originally directed at the second team that got fed up with his performance: Vancouver. The hilarity of the second part is that one might suggest that the reason that the Sharks are not afraid to lose is that they have lost so often, in such varied ways, that they are comfortable with losing. Less funny, is the realisation that since the lockout, more often than not, if it is a big game then the Maple Leafs' performance will usually range from unacceptable to incompetent.
You'd think that a chance to cut the Sabres' hold on the eighth and final playoff spot to two points might have been motivation enough. I was a bit hard on Jean-Sebastien Giguere on Twitter but I don't know why he was starting. He is not coming back to Toronto, he hasn't been good this year, and if James Reimer was always scheduled to get a break (defensible) then why not go with Jonas Gustavsson? He had actually been playing, quite well actually, in the AHL and is presumably part of the team's future. I joked that we should call Giguere "The Towel" because when he plays it seems that that is what the team is throwing in.
I don't have much else to say to be honest. It was a listless display and quite dispiriting as a fan. I spoke to the difficulty of being a fan right now on the Houses of the Hockey podcast. While there is plenty to be happy with on a micro level with this team it is tough to not get frustrated with the outcomes. However, at the end of the day, with one of the youngest teams in the NHL the value of these games is that it puts our teams in situations where they need to step it up. When they do, it's euphoric. When they don't however, and there's no doubt they flopped tonight, it's important that they learn something so that the next time they respond better. It's small comfort right now but next year we might look back at this late-season surge as a contributor towards earning a playoff berth
After the jump are the game in six highlights and Ron Wilson's post-game scrum.
Game in Six
Ron Wilson Post-Game Scrum