The Toronto Maple Leafs were scheduled to play the Boston Bruins Saturday night, instead they got mugged, mauled and generally discarded aside by the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Again, for the fourth time in four attempts this season.
They did actually make it on to the ice and indeed kept the game tight for a while despite looking like they were playing hot potato with the puck. They very rarely showed any patience on offence as the Bruins and their arena played the part of a very successful turnover factory.
The Bruins were mean and fluid – generally a bad combination for opponents – and their pressure finally made the Leafs turtle about half way through the third period en route to a 4-2 victory, one that will look better on paper than it will feel for the Leafs and their nation.
With ten minutes to go in the third period Toronto succumbed to skating a passive , non checking five on five mannequin-esk defensive zone waving of the white flag. Joe Coburne looked lost and overwhelmed on this particular shift, perhaps figuring he should follow everyone else’s lead and give up.
James Reimer in his first game since October after being out with “concussion like symptoms” looked good if not nervous at times. He did his part and that was really the only silver lining for the Buds. He kept the Bruins from scoring five or more goals against the Leafs for the first time in four contests this season. Four is a good sign.
Meanwhile Boston’s net backup Tuuka Rask still hasn’t allowed more than two goals against in any game in his career against Toronto. Rask is now 6-1 against the team that drafted him and then traded him away. I wonder if he holds a grudge or just wants to show the city what they could have had.
The man who traded him will probably never run another NHL team again.
The Maple Leafs are on a Father-Son road trip thing, where all the players dad’s are with them. I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. There might have been too much nervous energy running through the blood of the team and at times you had to wonder where some of the players heads were at.
Toronto had a seemingly large number “oh whoops, was i offside?” moments.
I’d love to have been a fly on the wall of the fathers sections. I bet the chatter dwindled to minimum as the game wore on, as if someone was pressing a mute button down one every five minutes.
Fortunately for Toronto they are the youngest team in the league, and they might be good enough to give themselves a fighting chance against three quarters of the NHL’s teams. But they are not good enough to beat the NHL’s best. And Boston has been at the top of the class since last season.
Despite playing a little hooky to start the season the Bruin’s rolling and might be better than they were when they won the cup.
For the Maple Leafs, if there is lesson to be learned here it is that the they will have to learn how to fight back. And they’ll have to learn from the Bruins and these frequent beatings. And they are beatings, no question about it.
Toronto is being bullied mentally and physically by the toughest kid in school and they have no one to stick up for them.
I don’t know what to say about Dion Phaneuf tonight other than the Toronto Maple Leafs need a captain to lead and inspire them.
Toronto has had some injuries and no doubt about it Mike Brown could help if he were in the lineup, but the Leafs needs an infusion of Toughness, not just one guy and they need a Chris Neil or Sean Avery like player to deal with Scott Thornton specifically.
They need the old Colton Orr in the lineup every time they play Boston. Milan Lucic seemingly wasn’t the same player for a full year after Orr broke his nose a few seasons back. We don’t know if the old Colton Orr can come back after suffering from a serious concussion last season.
Mike Komisarek? I don’t think he wants any part of the Bruins either.
Toronto has no truculence and if they ever hope to rise up and slay the bears who defend the title, they are going to need on their tree that are full of it.