January 13 2014 09:17AM
Toronto Maple Leafs fans appear to have hit a tipping point, and the vitriol and social media over the past few games has gotten extreme.
It's not difficult to see why - after a hot start, the Leafs have been the worst team in the NHL, full stop, since the beginning of November. Just five regulation wins and 29 points in the past 34 games, and now the Leafs find themselves barely hanging on to ninth in the Eastern Conference.
The playoffs seemed a foregone conclusion early, and those who supported the team's offseason moves appeared vindicated. The season certainly isn't lost with 36 games still to play, but the playoffs now seem like an "if things break right" proposition.
What follows is a look at some of the Twitter criticism of two key players, Dave Nonis and Randy Carlyle, and will at times contain offensive language (from respondents, not myself).
(Note: This was written before Sunday's game but has been slightly edited since. Despite a win that saw New Jersey lose more than Toronto win [their shootout record, woof], I think many of the feelings will remain the same.)
January 12 2014 09:02PM
Yes, that's right, the Leafs won! It happened, I watched it.
January 12 2014 07:04PM
On this episode, the guys avoid a mental breakdown, and instead, talk about the Winnipeg Jets, drafting, and Dave Bolland.
January 12 2014 02:18PM
If you've been paying attention to the out of town scoreboard, the Leafs have gotten some rotten luck over the last week or so. It seems that every game has gone the wrong way, with teams behind the Leafs getting big wins against Western teams, and three points being distributed in unfortunate spots.
Toronto, to their credit, also dropped games to Carolina and Washington in regulation, but can reclaim a spot in the standings against another Eastern bubble team this Sunday against the New Jersey Devils. The Devils beat Florida a night ago in overtime on a goal from Marek Zidlicky to jump up to two points back of the last Wild Card spot... and send the Leafs down to 6th in the Wild Card standings, which no games in hand, and no tiebreakers against any of the teams.
A win and the Leafs can jump up to third in the Wild Card standings and a point out. While we thought December was a key stretch, the Leafs have picked a bad time to slump, playing against some key Eastern Conference teams before a West Coast trip next week. Billy Billy Billy... this is a biggie*.
January 12 2014 09:16AM
I don't want to write any "I told you so" columns. Those can wait until March. I am cool with watching sportswriters twist in the wind without actually twisting in the wind.
From an October column, written when the Toronto Maple Leafs were 5-1 (and published after the Leafs went to 6-1) titled with the harbinger headline "Where are the critics of Nonis' off-season moves now?" the Toronto Sun's resident straw man assured Leafs Nation that Toronto's controversial offseason moves made the team better:
"[The online statistical geniuses] yelled that Nonis doesn’t know what he’s doing and that tone continued throughout the summer after the deal for David Bolland, the buyout of Mikhail Grabovski, the signings of David Clarkson and Tyler Bozak and the awkward contract negotiations of Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson."