It’s a Saturday night and the game is at 7pm here at home, meaning there’s going to be lots of eyes on the Maple Leafs to see if they can actually play that hockey or not. The west coast road trip has been annoying to say the least, with extremely late starts coupled with semi-hopeful, but mostly mediocre play from the Leafs.
They neither out-played or beat notably bad teams like San Jose and Anaheim, or give any kind of notable performance against the hot mess Golden Knights of all teams. I don’t expect the Leafs to win every game against bad teams — I expect them to win most, for sure — but what I do expect is for the Leafs to massively pummel their opponents when the puck is on the ice.
Hockey is still fun when you lose, but Leafs hockey hasn’t been fun for a while — excluding the excellent Robertson game — and it’s starting to stink.
Maybe the solution is Auston Matthews scores more. Auston got his second goal of the season despite a bad performance in the loss to San Jose, and he’s been saying he just needs one to open the floodgates. We’ll see if things work out.
Maybe the solution is a different strategy or new identity, just for a little bit to get the juices flowing and blood pumping. I don’t think this is as possible because the Leafs have been constructed in a very specific way (around the stars they have) it would take a lot to change them. Don’t expect the Leafs to become rough and tumble, or...I actually can’t think of another style people complain for. Either way, someone has to make the most out of what’s here.
That leads me to my third maybe. Maybe eyes should be falling a little more seriously on the coach. For the record, I don’t think Keefe goes anywhere until Dubas does, and neither will happen until this offseason. The assistants, Chynoweth and Carbery, covering the special teams have actually been a bright spot.
Or maybe the solution is Justin Bieber, like we all predicted.
Auston Matthews on Justin Bieber: "He'll be in the building tonight so looking forward to that. It's always nice to see him & get his support for the team. It's obviously pretty special."https://t.co/GCn8xgpuPG— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) October 29, 2022
|Auston scores more?
|blood gets pumped?
|a coach gets fired?
Anyway, structural change aside, there’s a game to play tonight.
Former Leafs to keep an eye on tonight:
Trevor Moore (2018-20)
Carl Grundstrom (N/A)
Sean Durzi (N/A)
Ready for a normal bedtime? I know I am, GO LEAFS GO!