The Toronto Maple Leafs have been playing some pretty good hockey lately. The power play is heating back up and the team has been climbing up into the top five in expected goals and real goals — and that’s both from a top-notch offense and a stifling defense. Or maybe it’s all just because of the division they play in, the real test will come in the playoffs, right?

The trouble is it’s hard to have confidence in this group even after strong performances because of thing or another adding another tick in the loss column. I don’t know how to speak goalie, but if Jack Campbell and David Rittich can figure out whatever’s going on, that would be great. Holding leads, avoiding giving up multiple goals in quick succession, it all comes down to giving a full consistent effort. Maybe it’s hard to find motivation right now, but practice makes perfect, so get to practicing.

The Leafs have 10 games left in the regular season, primarily against potential playoff rivals Montreal and Winnipeg. For the sake of my personal enjoyment and the chance to avoid terrible media narratives, I’d like to win most of those games. Especially against stinking Montreal.

Zach Bogosian is probably out for the immediate future and I’m pretty sure the Leafs are going to miss him. Finding trustworthy depth out of the defensemen available is going to be important when the playoffs come. I’m guessing Sandin gets the first crack with Dermott returning to the lineup, but they’ll have to be an offensive-minded pairing. It’s likely they give Ben Hutton a chance once he’s available. I wish Liljegren was in this paragraph.

With Hyman out and Kerfoot very much looking like a placeholder on Tuesday, we’ll see Foligno on the second line to start. Tavares and Nylander are hot right now so that should make it easy for him to fit in. And finally, can someone tell me why in the world Thornton-Engvall-Simmonds exists? I’ve been asking this question for weeks. They don’t do offense well, they don’t do defense well, and they’re barely on special teams. Help me, Riley Nash, you’re my only hope!

The last handful of games have been a combination of boring, depressing, and frustrating. I’m ready to have fun again for the last three weeks of the season and I am so ready to be competitive in the playoffs. Dear Leafs, when have you ever let me down?

Various Leafs and Branches

Yesterday the Leafs retroactively placed Scott Sabourin on LTIR. This gives them a roster spot and space to replace him for the time being. Injured players can’t be sent to the minors so this was the next best thing. Long story short, don’t worry about it.

The Women’s World Hockey Championships has been cancelled in Nova Scotia after the province enacted COVID-19 measures to safeguard from an outbreak (funny how you’re allowed to control outbreaks before they get out of control). The IIHF are hoping to get the tournament restarted in the coming months.

Women’s world hockey championship in N.S. cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns | CBC News
IIHF - Women’s Worlds cancelled, IIHF to seek new dates

Women’s hockey has not had an international tournament since the 2019 Women’s Worlds. Meanwhile the men have mostly gotten to play, COVID or not.

TVO had a really interesting segment about Bill Barilko, 70 years after he scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in 1951.

I hear the Leafs are trying to cut Willy out of the study group.

As NHL teams get vaccinated, players were hopeful to get a loosening of the restrictions of themselves and their families, like teams in the NBA. The NHL has been very legal about denying this, saying the league needs a sufficient number of teams to be vaccinated for them to be comfortable reducing restrictions, which is fair.

Robin Lehner spoke about this issue from the lens of weariness and covid fatigue, and potentially got caught up in the moment. Lehner, who suffers from bipolar disorder walked back his speech on Twitter, particularly the prison part. I get it, we’re all exhausted, and hope is frustrating when it doesn’t come soon enough. By the way, Ford, where are those paid sick days, huh?