So, here we are again. We’ve been here enough times to know that you can’t freak out over only six games, but you know what else, yes you can! Last night’s game saw the team’s best players playing terribly. Again. Here’s a link to our recap and discussion of the game.
I am reminded right now of the Stanley Cup Championship rings handed out by the Tampa Bay Lightning last week. The diamond and sapphire encrusted top of the ring actually opens up to reveal messages inside. One of those messages was “process over outcome”. First, that’s quite a message to read inside a Stanley Cup Championship ring, which is essentially a reminder that you achieved the best possible outcome. However, this is quite another message to continuously say to the fanbase of a team like the Maple Leafs.
Of note is how deep the #leafs malaise is infecting the fanbase -- the team's underperformance is causing huge ripples. I've never seen the faith in the product so low.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 24, 2021
The cynic in me would point out CJ is noticing this only now because he’s not locked inside the Sportsnet studio anymore, but what he’s saying is still true, though I’ve yet to see any waffles on the ice this season.
The ripples through MLSE executive suites are the result of a product that’s billed as premium, but is not accessible, requires an enormous time commitment, and has yielded little to no tangible rewards for those who invest in it. Having gone through so many years of “The Process”, changing coaches, changing GMs, changing the core, changing the players around the core, and seeing nothing really come out of it, they have to now at a minimum evaluate the risks to the brand if they allow this process to continue to play out and have the same outcome. The Leafs have lost significant cultural relevance in this city in the past ten years, and every game like last night’s means more little chips off that rock. In the end, regardless of your process, there does come a time where “just do something” is actually the right move, or your only move left.
Sheldon Keefe: "The biggest thing to manage now is the mood and belief of the group.”— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) October 24, 2021
The Kraken lost at their home opener last night, but were those fans ever amped for that game. Vince Dunn scored the first goal on home ice and got a pretty wild reception. The goal horn is, naturally, a boat horn.
I have to say that is one hell of a gorgeous arena on the inside. The dual tetrahedron shaped screens, one on each end of the rink, are a pretty good innovation too.
Arvind and Fulemin will have a new episode of our Back to Excited podcast out later today. No word on whether they will change the name to Back to Exasperated. EDIT: And here it is!