January 05 2017 10:58AM
Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS
Throughout the offseason, a lot of the work that I (and others) put out into the public sphere took a lot of criticism for how it saw the Leafs. The biggest disconnect, it seemed, was where people saw the team on the rebuild timeline, and what they wanted to do as a result. Many saw a team that just finished 30th and believed that there was still plenty of pain to deal with, while myself and others saw a window of opportunity to take advantage of the collection of underpaid youth and skill and push forward as a relatively competitive team.
Even still, even the offseason being far from perfect for the Leafs in my eyes, I felt pretty confident in Toronto's chances.
January 05 2017 09:02AM
Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY SPORTS
At this point, we can probably consider the departure of James van Riemsdyk an inevitability. While he's been the subject of gossip for many years now, at no point has he been the focal point of public trade talks to the extent he is right now. According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, teams are aware of this, and they're picking up the phones:
January 04 2017 08:51PM
Photo Credit: Jonathan Kozub/Manitoba Moose
The Toronto Marlies and the American Hockey League standings haven't exactly been best friends of late. In the 19 games prior to this week, they had just five wins, which is one of the single worst stretches they've had in franchise history. Needing a spark, they headed to Manitoba to take on the Moose in a pair of games at the MTS Centre. The end result? A one-goal loss on Tuesday, and a 4-3 win on the night that followed.
January 04 2017 04:03PM
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS
You know the story. The Leafs score a bunch of goals, pull ahead in the third period, and then everybody holds their breath. They're going to cough it up again, of course. In 37 games this year, Toronto has led in the third period 23 times and won 15 of them, losing one in regulation and seven in overtime or the shootout. That's still 80.4% of possible points, but if they had the nine that they gave up, they would be just a single point back of Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead and right near the top of the standings, likely tied or a point ahead of Washington for sixth overall.
So that really stings, especially when sitting two points back of a playoff spot. It stings even more of late, too, seeing as Toronto has pulled this act in 3 of their last 4 games; winning against Florida after conceding two early in the third period and narrowly winning the Centennial Classic after falling from 4-1, but losing to Washington last night made the issue glaringly obvious once again.
Why does this keep happening? Here are a few thoughts.
January 03 2017 10:18PM
Photo Credit: Amber Searls/USA TODAY SPORTS
In a rollercoaster of emotions, the Toronto Maple Leafs have seen their winning streak snapped at five games, though an overtime loss to the Washington Capitals has delivered a standings point to the table for the 9th time in the past 10 games.