In case you missed it last night, the Toronto Marlies were eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs, losing 6-2 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Obviously, the recap exists to give you immediate information about the game in hand, so I wanted to address a few things this morning.
“Just Like The Leafs”
I was receiving a lot more interaction from readers and fans during this series than in previous ones. Like, as far as Marlies interaction goes, almost as much in the Conference Finals as I got during the entire regular season. But why?
Because if there’s one thing that Leafs fans love more than hockey, it’s making fun of themselves. The amount of “like father like son”, “Leafs prospects gonna Leaf” and similar tweets I got was obnoxious.
Yes, this was a very ugly series. Texas outshot Toronto 280 to 169. That’s 16 more shots per game, a bigger gap than even the Leafs had in the regular season. But there’s here’s the thing; getting chased out the building by one team means that one team is better than the other. Getting chased out all season means that one team has a major problem at hand.
The Maple Leafs allowed the most shots ever seen in an 82 game NHL season this year. They got outshot 65 times, which is the second most ever recorded. That’s a team that struggles. The Marlies, on the other hand, Were outshot 38 times in 76 regular season games, a delightfully average number. Toronto is a 49.2% shots for team removing games against the Stars, which isn’t dominant, but far from the Leafs.
There was no “collapse” in Game 7 either. Texas had the same control of the offensive zone the entire game (if not the entire series), and all five goals on Drew MacIntyre were in close range.
You can argue that the Marlies were lucky to get to 7 and you’d likely be right. You can argue that they don’t sweep the first two rounds again if you replay them a thousand times, and you’d likely be right. I’m not trying to push the idea that they’re elite at this level; the team exceeded even my own expectations and all three of my series previews had me describing them as “uphill battles”.
But there’s a big difference between losing in seven games to a team that is the best in the league by a good margin, and the tire fire that is the parent club.
On to better thoughts. I’d like to thank everybody for following along with our coverage of the team here on The Leafs Nation this year! I’d like to think that the quality of Marlies coverage I’ve been putting up here is improving, and at the very least, there was a wide variety of it this year. Be it recaps, statistical breakdowns, practice updates, quote pieces, or whatever else, I had a lot of fun getting as much information to you all as possible.
Next year should be even better. I’m getting increasingly comfortable with what it takes to do this from a media perspective, and plan on experimenting with more ideas throughout the summer to make your experience in following the team that much better. I still feel there’s a bit of a void in the exposure that this team gets, and if I can help continue to close it, that would be awesome.
A big thanks as well to everybody involved with the team that lent a hand over the course of the year. The media relations and hockey operations staff were super helpful in providing whatever info or access I needed, the players and staff never hesitated to give a quote when need be, and the amount of little things I learned from any conversation with just about anybody who worked with the team was incredible.
The same goes for the other regular media members; being able to bounce opinions and thoughts off of each other makes us all better and well-rounded at what we do, even when we disagree with each other. I look forward to getting back to that in the fall.
Well, it’s the off-season, isn’t it? Now we can really begin the “season-in-review” posts, the intense breakdowns, and the microscopic evaluations of every single minor move made in the organization. I want to keep up my immensely trivial writing streak (116 days as of today!), so I’m looking into some ideas for multi-post features.
I’ll also be keeping up the mailbag throughout the offseason. Beyond TLN, I’ll be writing more on my personal blog, and taking a couple of weeks to travel Canada and help out our friends at Five Hole For Food by playing street hockey and tweeting things (so, what I do already).
If there’s anything you want my opinion on throughout the summer, or ever, you know where to find me. In summation, thank you for reading, and let’s hope this offseason is news worthy but not insanity inspiring, shall we?
Photo Courtesy of Christian Bonin of TSGPhoto.com, who gets the last thank you of this post. He’s provided us with awesome in-game photography for who knows how long, which keeps our posts professional looking and our site very pretty. We all sincerely appreciate it!