Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SPORTS
Look, I’m not saying that the season’s over. But they’re on a losing streak when they really can’t be, and they’ve done so in a highly, highly embarrassing way. They’re clearly not good enough to do any sort of damage on any sort of big stage. How can you still have any faith in them?
I mean, come on, did you see that game the other night? You give up six goals, against those guys? Then, to make matters worse, you follow up that game by stretching the losing streak further and scoring just one goal in the next one?
I’m just starting to wonder about the big three now. Sure, the one that the lottery balls let them pick first is amazing, and the one who would’ve gone first in any other year sometimes shows flashes of being just as good if not better, but the third guy on the wing? Maybe we need to talk more about him; maybe he’s not the kind of help the team needed, and I’ve also heard Toronto media guys say that he’s not a great quote, so that doesn’t help me connect to him quickly.
Look, all I know is that we’re looking at four regulation losses in a row here and a record for 2-6-3 in the last eleven games and-
But seriously, though, a three-game regulation losing streak? One goal against St. Louis in the third game? We all expected more. This is a dynamic offensive team, and I swear we were just talking about this group as the model as to how hockey teams are built. I just can’t see it here.
How can you pump a team’s tires in that way if they’re losing games at a key time like this? Yeah, whatever, tell me that there’s an experienced coach behind the bench that will settle things down, but I can’t see them being able to do it quick enough to turn it around come playoff time. Especially since they’ll probably lose the next game too.
Let’s get to the point, here. It’s time to accept that some bad predictions happened and they might not be Actually Good. I know the Corsi Stats are in their favour, but they might just be an inexperienced team. Everything tends to stay the same with this group; no cups since 1967, and it’s been like a decade since they’ve even won a playoff round. Don’t get me started on that streak of misses, either, or the tank years. It just never works out for them.
I know people have been excited a while about this being one of the up and coming , but a lot of these guys have been around this team for a while and, while they’re having good years, it’s hard to imagine that they’re the real deal; especially that centre that they drafted years ago and is suddenly getting recognition as a great two-way guy. Sure, he seems great, but is he actually a winner? It sure hasn’t looked like it yet. Not to mention, this group of defencemen? Nobody really jumps out at you name wise, save for one guy. Having one really good defenceman is great, but are you really going to put your hopes in a 22-year-old?
Here’s the reality. It’s February, and this team is in a clear slump after starting off pretty well. It’s very clear that they’re not ready; what else do you want me to say about a team that’s played like this? Some people are talking about grabbing another big piece, that’s offensively driven, at the deadline. Did you not just watch the three games prior? It sounded good for a while, but it’s clearly crazy talk.
The team isn’t ready yet. They need more time, no matter what your spreadsheets tell you. Squeaking into the playoffs and getting swept in the first round is going to do you no favours.
I’m just skeptical of Mike Babcock. I’ve been following this original-six team for a very long time and I was told that this guy was of a new breed. But he’s falling into the same habits as coaches of old. There’s too much talent on this team to be collapsing like this; maybe we’re overrating this guy?
After all, I really thought last year’s team was better than the results they got, but as the season ended, Randy Carlyle seemingly got the last laugh. Now, this year. Maybe it’s the curse of Brett Lebda or something, but I just don’t see it.
Maybe the age of this team is a factor. Because it’s February now, and they’ve hit a complete and total wall. The Dallas game, in particular, was a bit of an embarrassment, they made this “world class offence” look completely useless.
Ten losses in eleven games. I had to go back eighteen years to find a season that this team has had where they picked up fewer points, and I bet they would’ve won one of those ties in the shootout. I had to go back four more to find a 10-in-11 streak. Maybe we’re putting too much stock into his powers; I don’t think he should be fired or anything, and he’s probably fine, but can we stop saying he’s one of the great coaches until he proves it?