Pat Quinn be damned, make Scotiabank Arena a house of pain again

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
1 month ago
At the best of times, you can hear a pin drop inside Scotiabank Arena when the Leafs are playing.
And quite honestly, the score of the game usually has little to no bearing on that.
Not to defend the corporate folk, who routinely spend more of the game away from their seat than in it, the Leafs have been a mixed bag on home ice through 31 outings this season.
Any way you slice it, that will need to change in a hurry if this team has any hope of doing something substantial this spring.
For a team that entered the year with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations, a 17-12-2 record at home just isn’t good enough.  In fact, compared to the league’s elite powers, Toronto’s not on even on the same wavelength right now. At least they’re 18-6-6 on the road, right?
With the stretch drive to the postseason just around the corner, the Leafs need to find a way to start forging a bit of an identity on home ice. To their credit, they’ve made positive strides over the past little while, but sadly, Monday night’s outing against Boston was a humble reminder that there’s still a lot of room for this team to grow.
Since Morgan Rielly was suspended, Toronto’s 9-2-0. For the most part, they’ve looked like a different team. The buy-in, the sacrifice, the urgency —it’s all been there. With that in mind, they need to find a way to transfer that energy into what they do on a consistent basis in front of their home crowd. It’s probably asking for too much, but it would be amazing to see the Leafs make Scotiabank Arena a house of pain again. For all intents and purposes, that hasn’t been the case since the Pat Quinn era —and that’s tough to argue.
Contrary to popular belief, there are several ways to ignite the crowd before they even have a chance to settle in. Firstly, starting on time could prove to be a worthwhile practice. As an example, the Leafs surrendered a breakaway just seconds into their showdown with Boston, which as we’ve seen time and time again, was a tell-tale sign of a team asleep at the switch. In addition to being ready to play, crashing and banging could help to ignite the crowd, an initiative Ryan Reaves and others alike could captain flawlessly. If this team came out with a bit of piss and vinegar, there’s no question that they would be able to swing a crowd instantaneously.
As cheesy as it sounds, the onus is on the team. If they show they care, the SBA faithful will have no choice but to return the favour.

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