Leafs Postgame: This team is a parody of itself

You know what? I’m just going to get straight to the point with this one – this loss, in my eyes, is worse than the 9-2 loss that the Predators laid on this team earlier in the season. At least that game was a known lost cause from basically the beginning. This one? It had a glimmer of hope, and a plot twist which, though everyone knew it was coming, was one that logic would typically imply to be impossible. But here we are. Ten straight. How can you even be mad? This team is the greatest non-Shakespeare tragic comedy in the history of humanity. That’s barely even hyperbole.

The Rundown

The Leafs give up the first one this game while on the powerplay. Nazem Kadri makes a questionable play in an effort to gain the offensive zone, which leads to Seth Jones grabbing a loose puck and taking off. He makes no mistake on Jonathan Bernier and gives Nashville the 1-0 lead. Not to be outdone, the Leafs take a penalty of their own (Phil Kessel, to be precise) and try to get their own shorthanded goal. Shea Weber doesn’t like this idea, and blasts a point shot to make it 2-0 Nashville, a lead they kept throughout the first.

Daniel Winnik closed the gap for the Leafs midway through the second period, blasting a one timer teed up to him by Mike Santorelli. Despite the closer game, things took a turn for the worse late in the third period when Jonathan Bernier skated off the ice with a cut on his leg.

But not so fast! James Reimer came in and started stopping pucks, and the Leafs didn’t give up. Nazem Kadri cleaned up David Booth’s garbage on a play instigated by an amazingly instinctive pass by Cody Franson. Seconds later, Mike Santorelli found the back of the net and gave the Leafs the lead. Things were finally looking good!

Shortly after, Jonathan Berneir returned to the bench. Fans were happy to see that he wasn’t incredibly injured, but left confused seconds later when Reimer was yanked back out to return Bernier to the crease. In overly typical fashion, the wheels came off from here. Mike Fisher cut through the Leafs defence to grab a puck and shelf it past Bernier to tie the game just minutes later, and returned to poke a puck out of his leg for Colin Smith to score to restore Nashville’s lead. The Leafs eventually put out an extra attacker, but to no avail.

Blue Warrior

James Reimer. I know, but run with me. The goalie who has produced poorer results than you of late gets hurt, giving you a rare opportunity to play. You don’t want it to happen this way, but you take any break you can get. You hop in the net, cold, and you stop a couple of pucks. Your team rallies around you. You start the next period as well, and you might just be able to end the losing streak.

But then, your team decides that they’d rather put the other guy back in. Despite him not being particularly stellar earlier in the game, and now, he’s coming in after getting stitched up. You don’t get your break, and he ends up allowing two more to keep the losing streak alive.

Not to fault Bernier for this loss, but if James Reimer isn’t demanding to be traded as soon as possible as we speak, he’s a stronger man than I’ll ever be.

Notes

  • The Leafs kept the shots pretty close in this one, only being outshot 32-28. Their second period was probably their best, and it showed with the 13-9 shot advantage.
  • Capitalizing on the powerplay would have probably been useful. Instead, they gave up a shortie and went 66% on their own kill.
  • Nazem Kadri really made up for that bad play at the blueline with that goal, but also did so by being the team’s top possession player tonight; Toronto had 73% of the shot attempts go in their favour when he was on the ice.
  • The same can’t be said for Korbinian Holzer and Stephane Robidas, who were both in the low-20’s in that regard. Tough nights for both.
  • Toronto’s ten game losing streak is now tied for the longest in team history. Look for them to break that record on Friday against New Jersey.

  • silentbob

    Finally! Jeff you understand me! Reimer deserves so so so so much better! Not faulting bernier but what a idiotic decision to pull the plug on possibly the best momentum builder they have in 2015. Pathetic just pathetic……..

  • Jeremy Ian

    Thank goodness my expectations are so low. I am not a citizen of Tank Nation. Yet. But it helps to not to hope for much to deal with the roller coaster of this game.

    Now my worry is: if I hope for losses with an eye to upping the draft pick, they’ll start winning.

    Agreed on Reimer. That was a crappy move on the part of the coaches.

  • Jeremy Ian

    A great tank performance by the leafs as the race for the absolute gutter of the league is in over drive. Classic Bernier as he once again proves that he is just a slightly above average goal tender who will be signed by leaf management for a long term contract between 5 to 7 years at over $5 million per year.

    I’m sure Bernier’s agent has talked to Clarkson’s agent to make sure that they get the same deal from the real general managers of the leafs, namely the Jerry Jones wannabees of the M.L.S.E. board.

    Sabres win , Devils win, Arizona is starting to win, Operation tank is truly succeeding.

    Corsi, Fenwick are all good and the leafs are going to get a very, very high draft pick what more could we ask for.

  • Jeremy Ian

    I look at the few minutes that we were winning less so as a “glimmer of hope,” that made me mad in the end, but more so as a solid six minutes of happiness that I can be thankful for and carry me over until some other year when (hopefully) the leafs are better.
    I mean, I know we aren’t going to have success anytime soon, so instead of being mad that it looked like we could win for a minute, I’m embracing that nice feeling that I had! I mean we’re better off losing in the end anyways, so instead of being miserable 100% of this time that we suck, may as well only be miserable for 98% of the time amirite?!

    Except for Reimer. That whole thing was bull. He deserves so much more than this team. Sht like that is why the Leafs have voodoo and wizardry and BS.

    But other than that! I’m not even mad

    • Jeremy Ian

      Well said Ugh. It is simple as this either your team has class or it doesn’t. What the useless new coach did to Reimer was disgusting.

      I got a feeling Peter tweeted the Seattle coaching staff and stated that was a great last call.

  • Jeremy Ian

    My Gosh! I’ve been supporting Horachuk but pulling Reimer out after the period had already begun and replacing him with an injured Bernier made no sense at all. It completely destroyed the momentum the Leafs had. There was no logical reason to do this.

    Bernier’s save % throughout January was well below .900. He’s not been the better of the two as of late.

    I was hoping this sort of stubbornness left with Randy. Tanking or not, a win against the best team right now would have been a treat. They had this one.

  • Jeremy Ian

    WOW!! what an awful thing to do to both Reims and the team……

    They had this game and the wind was taken right out of their sails….

    My heart goes out to Reims what an awful thing to do to him, in front of his team, his fans, the TV watchers, radio listeners…the in house crowd etc etc…..how this must look to everyone…How Reims can not be trusted to finsh a game that he came in cold and was standing tall and with the team was finally god willing bring home a mucg needed win agasint a stronger opponent…

    It was like RC all over again…and if Bernier really was a team player he never would have went back in there, he could see the team was wining and that they deserved this one, but he didn’t say no coach can’t do this, let Reims bring it home etc..I mean come on a deep cut on the knee a important area for a goalie an you go back in and loose the game and than state with th injury I wasn’t up to par or something like that….

    What an idiot….and this is who you want to hold on to and pay big bucks tooo…

    If I was Reims I would be on the phone and getting out of town, hell I would have throw the stick glove whatever on the ice maybe my whole gear and told the coach and the organization to shove and got on the bus and left..

    How he must be fuming to be so dished and treated like he has no value to the team to be so belittled and to have his own team mate as in Bernier to do this to him…selfish little man Bernier I always said he had no class and was his own little team…

  • STAN

    Quotes from “THE CANADIAN PRESS” after last night’s game!

    “You’re dressing here and you go out there and it’s 3-2 now,” Bernier said. “I don’t know if Reimer is playing well, I couldn’t see the game, but at the same time I wanted to go out there and do my job and show the guys I care and wanted to go back out there.”

    His coach gave him that shot.

    “I felt with that type of care and character of him wanting to get back in the game was important and him being one of our leaders I thought it was important to let him back in today’s game,” Toronto interim head coach Peter Horachek said.

    WOW! how selfish of Bernier and the coach to leave a game when your loosing to come back and see the team is now wining without you I might add, to make the above statements how SELFISH…..

    How Reims must be feeling now to be treated so badly and to have his so call team mate state ” not sure if Reimer was playing well or the team was making him look good! I never heard of pulling out your goalie who with the team is now wining to put the starter goalie back in because hes the leader what a load of BULLSH*T

    HAME ON YOU BERNIER AN COACH you just cost this team a game and one against a better team…how sad for Reims…He’s a strong guy and I hope this gets him fired up to finally tell this organization to shove it……they don’t deserve a stand up guy/team player like REIMS….

    Hope he shows them all that he is the better man in every way

    • Jeremy Ian

      These statements from Bernier are pretty disturbing. He’s talking about a team-mate here. With a save percentage of .898 since December and even worse than that in January, Bernier, as part of the “leadership” group might do better to look at his own game rather than questioning Reimer’s, who been solid when given a chance.

  • STAN

    I’m with Jeremy Ian on this one in that I’ve never been a fan of tanking, but… Shanahan might as well begin shipping out “The Core” to make a concerted effort to get McDavid or Eichel.

    First order of business, jettison Nonis and then take ANYTHING for the bad contracts (Clarkson, Phaneuf, Robidas). AN..Y..THING. They are poison in that dressing room; three massive underachievers being paid insane money considering their lack of talent and effectiveness. Their fellow players aren’t total idiots. They know this. Just get them outta there.

    Shop Bernier. He’s proven over the past one and a half seasons that he is NOT a starter. No durability. He just can’t maintain a high standard for more than about 30 games. Tops. There was a reason, other than Jonathan Quick’s play, that Bernie played fewer than 20 games in his backup role.

    The Eye Test (ET) over these last 50 games shows Franson and Rielly are clearly the best Toronto D-men, followed (in order) by Polak, Gardiner, Phaneuf and Robidas. Make room for Percy and Granberg. Their hockey IQ is approaching that of Franson.

    As for forwards… Kadri, Santorelli, Panik and Komorov at least show effort. Santorelli’s goal against the Preds was the best one scored by this group in two months. He rarely just throws the puck away. Even at 29 he’s worth keeping around for three more seasons. He and Kadri are great together.

    I say if you can move Kessel for a good prospect and a pick you take it. Let him (maybe) put a contender over the top. Freedom from the remaining seven seasons on that contract is worth it.

  • Jeremy Ian

    THIS IS BEEN GOING ON NOW FOR 4 SEASONS WITH THIS CORE GROUP, IF THEY BLOW IT UP STRIP IT TO THE BONE. NEW SCOUTS. BETTER DRAFTING. MANAGEMENT DECISIONS THAT AFFECT FREE AGENT SIGNINGS OR TRADES HAVE TO BE EVALUATED AS A BETTER PRIORITY. NO MORE OF THESE LONG TERM, NO MOVEMENT, NO TRADE CONTRACTS. KEEP IT THREE YEARS OR LESS. THE PLAYERS YOU BRING IN HAVE TO HAVE A LITTLE PRIDE, NOT JUST WORRYING ABOUT THE 1ST AND 15TH OF EVERY MONTH. YOU HAVE TO BE A TOUGH TEAM TO PLAY AGAINST INYOUR OWN RINK, AND TOUGH ENOUGH TO SHOW UP WHEN YOUR ON THE ROAD. THIS ALL BOILS DOWN TO LEADERSHIP FROM THE TOP RIGHT DOWN TO THE PRODUCT ON THE ICE.