Hey everybody I’m back to bang out a short one (#thatswhatHesaid) about what I’ve learned about the Leafs in this year’s playoffs and also to take a look at what we knew before coming into this round.
So what did we/I already know coming in? Well we knew that the team was four lines deep and could score. We knew that the Leafs defence was the weakest part of their team. I mean seriously, with no disrespect, the right side was Hainsey, Zaitsev and Polak. You guys know that I love Polak and Hainsey but they do have their limitations. Don’t get me started about this year’s Zaitsev.
Gardiner is not wrong here at all.
We knew that the team was young with very little experience but propped up with vets like Marleau and Hainsey, AND an experienced coach in Babcock. At the beginning of the season we also knew that Andersen is at the very least a top 10 goalie in the league.
What are the negatives that I learned?
- The defensive issues still exist for the Leafs. Big time. Even though Dermott was a great addition during the season, they still need AT LEAST one other top end defenceman. That would push down Hainsey and/or Zaitsev. The team has prospects coming, but not at the caliber that I’m talking about. Maybe Liljegren turns out to be a top end D, but I haven’t heard enough from the Marlies to convince me of that yet. Of course, this really isn’t anything that I learned from this playoff, more like it’s something that has been confirmed.
- Andersen is a goalie that has moments of brilliance but yet can have games where he has a real stinker of a game. If you look at last night, when it really counted, he had a terrible game. I’m sure deep down inside he knows that and probably feels like garbage today. He’ll get over it and learn from it I’m sure. Earlier in the series he had some great games with elite level saves here and there. You have to be consistent but he could have had much better D in front of him as well.
- Most of the players left over from the 2013 collapse need to go. Bozak, JVR, and Gardiner (I don’t care about his offense anymore) were terrible. Either invisible or a detriment to the team. The only one I think the Leafs should keep is Kadri and that’s mostly because they’re not deep at C. I was pissed about the selfish suspension even though I felt like the league went overboard.
- As much as I’m a huge fan of Babcock, it is my opinion that he did get out-coached in this series. The Leafs had a game AT HOME WITH BERGERON OUT OF THE LINEUP, and they lost. Maybe that’s on the players, but when yer at home and you get the match ups you’re looking for, you need to win that game.
- I learned that the Leafs have some ‘soft’ players in the playoffs and this NEEDS to be addressed. I can’t see Shanny, who was a fucking stud of a playoff performer, be OK with this.
What are the positives I got out of this series? Well, other than what you just read (as I read it now it looks like I think they’re forever doomed lol) I still feel like they have a great future ahead of them.
- They have a ton of young players with so much promise and I’m hoping for some of them that their inexperience played a part in their lack of production.
- I know that Marner is a keeper at all costs. And by all costs I don’t mean throw whatever money he wants at him when it’s time to extend his contract, I mean by no means do you ever move him for another player. Before March, I felt that only Matthews was untouchable, now I feel like both he and Marner are untouchables.
- I learned that Kapanen and Johnsson can move up the lineup and gives the Leafs a lot of bang for the buck next year. They played better than many of the more experienced players on the team.
- The grinders like Hyman and Brown showed up. Daddy Marleau was also pretty good.
Anyway, when the season started I didn’t expect the Leafs to win the Stanley Cup or anything but I was pretty hopeful that they would at least win a round. However, they did lose to one of the best teams in the league this year. It’s not like they lost to CBJ or NJD. (I fucken hate the Bruins as you know, so this stings even more.) One of my main concerns out of this series is that I hope we find out that Matthews shoulder was still injured. It would explain a lot of concerns that I have regarding my favourite Leaf.
So to answer the title, who’s to blame for the Leafs loss? I think it’s a little bit of everything I mentioned here. I don’t lay this on Andersen at all. If the team doesn’t make adjustments (and I’m sure they will) they will continue to fall short.
Next time I’ll look at what off season moves I think the Leafs should look at doing.
Have a good one and until next time,
Cousin Eddie #GoLeafsGo