Postgame: Team Shares Hat Trick, Still Loses

What is “Immorality, Communism, and Peter Horachek, I guess?”

The question, of course is: “How do you stop life’s guarantees of Death, Taxes, and James Reimer in Ottawa?”

The Rundown:

Phil Kessel missed the net on a breakaway in the first minute or so of the game, leading directly to the Senators’ first goal by Mike Hoffman. This is why the Leafs can’t have nice things.

Erik Karlsson played a 3 on 1 perfectly and made it 2-0, and by the end of the first it was 3-0 Senators thanks to Mika Zibenajad.

Reimer- who performs better in Ottawa than anything else- didn’t have a great night, stopping 22 of 26 shots. The issue- Bernier’s not playing all that hot right now either- posting a save percentage of .910 or higher just once in his last eight starts. Blame Horachek, right?

To be frank, I doubt Horachek has little to influence on his goalies’ performance. It’s hard to rationalize exactly how he’d do such an act- tear down their confidence in the room before every start? More likely than not, it’s just a bad stretch for both goalies unfortunately coinciding with some poor shooting luck. 

David Clarkson and Nazem Kadri late in the second and early in the first, but Karlsson’s second goal with just under five minutes remaining put the game just a little too far for the Leafs to muster a comeback.

JVR scored a late goal, but the Leafs grabbed just one shot attempt over the remaining minute and a half and dropped the game 4-3.

After losing now six in a row and having just three wins in 17 games, this season doesn’t exactly look all that promising for the boys in blue and white. 

But the thing is, it’s hard to give up on a season, per se. After all:


The process is there for a decent hockey team at least, but having a stretch like this on an already mediocre season isn’t doing the side any favours. What do you do?

Horachek hasn’t been granted any favours in his brief tenure as head honcho, and even when his team finally scores three and outpossesses the other team strongly, they give up four. It’s not going to get easier heading forward, and he’ll probably take more blame than he should. 

Horachek’s trying new things, the numbers look improved,  the player usage is working better than Carlyle, it appears. But six losses in a row, that’s tough to swallow for any coach.

Perhaps it’s best for the Leafs to crash and burn like they so often do, and see if a draft pick, a few trades, and more changes to management and the coaching staff will help to turn the franchise around.

But losing sucks. It’s easy to do in theory yet hardest to go through on a consistent basis.

It isn’t often you’ll find me agreeing with Doug MacLean, but he said something in the pre-game of the show that made sense. Paraphrased, MacLean basically said even when your team doesn’t make the playoffs, you’ll take some pride if you finish higher than your rivals despite getting a worse draft pick. 

That’s probably why he wasn’t exactly known as the league’s best GM or coach, but I don’t doubt it’s tough for many players to not exactly be thinking about the long term health of the franchise after each game. They’ll be fighting till the end, even if it’s not what they really need.

Blue Warrior:

Clarkson put up a 65% Corsi at even strength, scored a goal and created the offence for another. He’s not worth his deal, but he’s at least contributing a solid amount on offence (that’s 10 goals now) to be a more slightly respectable investment.

Notes:

  • Erik Karlsson is a pretty good hockey player. Hard to believe he’s only 24.
  • Bozak looked pretty solid in his minutes away from Kessel, with a 58% Corsi at even strength. Against Clarke MacArthur in all situations, he posted a +4 Corsi. There’s got to be someone else who finds that amusing.
  • I fully expect Kessel to be drafted last in the All-Star draft and suddenly go on a tear. They’re doing that still, right?
  • Kudos to JVR for potting 20 goals for the third time in his career.

(stats courtesy of @theninjagreg and hockeystats.ca)

  • When I saw Clarkson as the blue warrior I thought this was another one of cappucino sarcastic posts but now I’m just confused.

    Clarkson is barely a 4th line player and falls more times per shift then he goals he scores in a season.

  • jasken

    What is wrong with the Leafs? This story from TSN does a great job of recounting how this mess was created:
    http://www.tsn.ca/talent/management-failures-at-heart-of-current-leaf-state-1.187809

    I know that we as Leaf fans hate to hear it, but we have to be patient. This mess has been festering for a while and will take time to fix. With the Loonie down to 0.81 USD, the salary cap situation is going to get worse. Short term, not much can be done. The question is can Shanahan build the type of organization that a city like Toronto deserves? I think he can and am willing to cut him a lot of slack. He has been methodical in the process of reshaping the Leafs. I think he is on the right path.

    To amuse ourselves during these dark days, I think we should start a Tank for McDavid (or Eichel) campaign. We just need to improve our odds.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/leafs-beat/mirtle-can-the-maple-leafs-get-connor-mcdavid/article22548314/

  • Jeremy Ian

    Another defeat for the buds as they rapidly descend into contention for a very good draft pick. Come on people get on the band wagon. The platinum blonde, sushi eating crowds at the games should be shouting
    TANK TANK TANK TANK

    When you have two decade players in a draft you have to take that chance of obtaining one of them to be that cornerstone that rock that you can build the franchise around.

    After 48 years of pain, leaf fans won’t mind a few more root canals with out freezing if it leads to the club obtaining those young, talented, hard working, two hundred foot players. One who will receive the C and thus honour great captains of the past.

    If only, only M.L.S.E.’s board could keep their paws off the running of the on ice product we could finally get out of this quagmire of losing season after losing season.

    Obviously the whole organization has to become classy like Detroits. But this includes the average fan who has to stop accepting mediocrity and kissing M.L.S.E.’s butt. Actually think out there, don’t accept the pablum anymore. Actually demand a winning hockey team. Okay I know to most of you it is a foreign concept.

    Most of you and especially the younger fans deserve to have a play off hockey team in your life time. Once every decade ain’t cutting it for any intelligent hockey fan. Wise up leaf fans.

    • STAN

      HEY GOOFY, YOU DON’T NEED TO TANK,
      YOU LOSE ALL THE TIME ANYWAY! LMFAO

      GO HABS GO!

      HABS RULES!

      25 STANLEY CUPS AND COUNTING!

      WITH ‘NO BALLS’ KESSEL & DION ‘THE WUSS’ PHANEUF
      YOU CAN WIN THE OHL CHAMPIONSHIP!

      LMFAO

      • Jeremy Ian

        That’s Phil “One Ball” Kessel to you pal.

        It’s statistical errors like that one that completely devalue the rest of your arguments. Who can take you seriously now?

        Get your facts straight before you take on the real hockey fans.

  • CMpuck

    Be like me, buy an OHL ticket and see McDavid and if you don’t want that, stop watching hockey.

    Pete to 1st overall, we’re tanking if you like it or not #nomeansyes.

  • STAN

    Percy showed (again) why he’s a far better option than Holzer or Robidas. Thankfully, Nonis signed the 37-year old Robidas for 3 seasons at $3MM per. Will he soon be a Marlie?

    Reimer had a terrible game. I’m still not sure why he is always on his knees even before the shot is taken. the first and fourth goals should have been easy stops.

    Perhaps scoring a few goals and showing some jump in the last two periods will get these guys going after the break. Not holding my breath, but who knows.

    • Jeremy Ian

      Dropping to your knees in anticipation is pretty standard, actually. Shields the lower part of the goal with pads spread like airplane wings to contend with deflections better, but does leave the upper corners vulnerable. That fourth goal was more because he didn’t cut down the angles and was back in his crease. But it’s true: he was not brilliant when we need him (and Bernier) to be.

      The team feels sort of shattered.

  • Jeremy Ian

    amazing how fans can complain about one game Reims has started in awhile and up to this point was better than Bernie, and all someone can do is have nothing good to say.
    While Bernie has lost every game he’s started in the last stretch,, and be really bad at them, no one seems to comment on another goal 47 seconds in, or how he’s struggling this month….

    I never came in and was negative about Bernie even after all the lost’s I let it slide, but when fans come in and whine about Reims should have stop this or not done that, I get peeved….

    PLEASE NONIS AND WHO EVER PLEASE TRADE REIMS AND GET HIM THE HELL OUT OF THIS SAD EXCUSE OF AN ORGANIZATION AND ON TO BIGGER AND BETTER THINGS,,,,

    • TGT23

      Explain to me, using stats and facts, how Reimer “up to this point was better than Bernie”. Do that, using statistical evidence that is unbiased, and I’ll never say anything about it again.

      Cause… right now Bernier has an 8 point lead in SV%, and had a 12 point lead last season.

      Also, Reimer has lost 6 straight… So, Bernier’s not the only one losing games.

      Just stating statistical facts. Would love you to use your own. I mean, besides “Bernier is just too laid back to be good” and “Reimer’s a competitor” and “I haven’t seen anything.”

      But yes. Trade Reimer. Trade Bernier. Get them both out before this team ruins both of them forever. Reimer still has a chance to be a league average goalie, Bernier still has a chance to be a star. Neither will do that here. So, I agree there.

  • Jeremy Ian

    I thought the Clarkson-Bozak-Winnik line actually looked pretty good. We need to get a grip. The Leafs have been playing better hockey of late than for long stretches of the RC era.

    This is what makes it even more painful to lose.

    Still, it is a mess from top to bottom; clean up the management and move some pieces around on the bench. Don’t miss this opportunity to re-tool. This can be seen as the perfect crisis. Not so mild that management can continue to delude itself. Yet not so bad that the whole thing needs to be blown up.

  • Jeremy Ian

    I think you mean “immortality” is the answer to death…although I confess I’ve not done research into possible health benefits of “immorality.”

  • jasken

    WOW WHAT A BUNCH OF WASTED SPACE/POSTINGINS ON NOTHINGNESS….PLEASE TAKE YOUR CHILDNESS SILLYNESS OUTSIDE IN THE ALLEY WHERE IT BELONGS AND POST SOME REALNESS…

    GEE IT’S LIKE RECESS AT A KINDERGARDEN LEVEL….

    TGT23

    …AS FOR STATS AGAIN………….BERNIE AT THIS POINT HAS ALSO PLAYED TWICE THE GAMES AND SO HAS A BETTER CHANCE TO HAVE OR POST BETTER NUMBERS..ALL I SAID WAS BERNIE HAS HAD A RUN OF 4+ GAMES AND HAS LOST THEM ALL, BUT I NEVER CAME IN HERE AND SAID ANYTHING AGAINST HIM AS EVERYONE HAS BAD GAMES, BUT WHEN REIMS WHO GETS A CHANCE TO START AND DOESN’T PERFORM TO A FANS STANDARDS HE’S A LOOSER, BUT BERNIER CAN GET AWAY WITH LOOSING GAME AFTER GAME, I GET PEEVED. CAN’T PUT THIS WHOLE THING ON REIMS THIS YEAR AFTER ALL BERNIES THE ONE PLAYING THE MOST AND THEREFORE LOOSING THE MOST….SO UNLESS THIS TEAM PULLS TOGETHER IT WILL BE BERNIE LEADING THIS TEAM OF THE CLIFF THIS YEAR AND NOT REIMS….

    I DISAGREE ON YOUR LAST COMMENT THAT BERNIE WILL BE A STAR AND REIMS JUST AN OK NET MINDER…GET THEM BOTH OUT AND AWAY FROM HERE AND I BET THEY WILL BOTH EXCEL AND SHINE IN THEIR OWN WAY……

  • jasken

    Well atleast they scored and showed some sort of effort and waking up.

    What do you do you laugh because at this point there really is nothing else you can think of or say or do.

    @Reimerfan no one was dissing Reims they were stating the obvious. I like Reims but its a fact he had a bad game which is allowed provided their not every game.

    @TGT and @Reimer You are not getting much for either because they are not top-end goalies and haven’t proved to be one. 2 or more soft goals in a game and playing less then 60 games a season, says you are a back-up. So trading them for whatever you think your going to get and believe me it wont be much.

    What it boils down too is you hope that one steps up and takes the next step into a starter role. Which neither have done so they remain potential nothing more.

  • jasken

    Everyone rightly or wrongly seems to gearing up for tank nation. Sorry to burst your bubble guys but lets be realistic, what will happen is the team suddenly catches fire they make a late playoff push and will fall just short insuring the team drafts just outside the top 10. The Leafs are a very easy script to write.