Just in case you were wondering, Randy Carlyle hockey is back in full force this season. There was a brief period where the Leafs looked like they might simply be facing mediocrity as an explanation of their woes, but now that the team has played more games, it looks like the team is basically in the same situation as they were last season. That's bad.
Let me just explain what I saw without looking at any stats whatsoever.
This team got annihilated in terms of possession. They scored two nice goals in the first period to help a few simians forget that they played like hot garbage, but anyone who watched the game with half a brain turned on could see that the house of cards the Leafs had put together (i.e. the 2-0 first-period lead) was set to fall just as it did the night before against Florida.
Predictably, the Leafs played mostly in their own zone for the entire evening and in the second period allowed a couple of deflected shots to get past a helpless James Reimer, who will no doubt be unjustly blamed for the team's last two losses in some horrible corner of the internet. Reimer stopped some great chances, but while facing 41 shots, a few are bound to get through. As I said on Twitter: if your goalie finishes the game with a .927 Sv%, your team should probably have won.
It's hard to talk about positives after a night like this. Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk looked pretty good tonight, and I always like the play of Mike Santorelli, but this was generally a brutal game for the whole team. The defencemen made rushed and risky plays while the forwards left the zone early and missed coverage after coverage while neglecting backside pressure and basic D-zone tie-ups.
Dion Phaneuf is back to his over-worked and over-used self, playing minutes he can't possibly compete in, all the while wearing him down as the Leafs' "work horse". Roman Polak was too slow on his feet to have the time he needed to make good decisions with the puck. Jake Gardiner tuned the puck over more times than I care to count.
Hey, let's look on the positive side. The Leafs have another game coming up on Wednesday against the… Bruins.
Maybe I'll wait to tune in for Saturday's game against the Jets.