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The Maple Leafs’ Postseason: What a Revolting Development

The Toronto Maple Leafs surprised us all with their poor play. What four issues does the team face that’s put them in a hole?

The Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves in an unexpected predicament. As I was thinking about how they got where they got, (being an old guy) it reminded me of a television show I used to watch when I was a young lad in the 1950s called “The Life of Riley.” 

In that show, a fictional character named Chester A. Riley, played by William Bendix, often used a catchphrase to express his frustration or exasperation in the different situations he found himself in. The phrase was “What a revolting development.” 

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs 3-2 OT Loss to Panthers

The Maple Leafs Find Themselves in a Revolting Development

The Maple Leafs find themselves in an unexpected position  – a revolting development, so to speak. After winning Round 1 of this postseason’s playoffs, the monkey was supposed to be off the team’s back. They had finally exorcised the demons and beaten away the Curse of Harold Ballard. 

Well, maybe not. After moving to Round 2, instead of smoothly going about their business the team has faced significant challenges. They now sit down three games to zero. And, suddenly questions have been raised about both their performance and the team’s future to stay together as a team.

Four Issues the Maple Leafs Face

Issue One: Once Again, After a Strong Regular Season, Poor Performance

The Maple Leafs have been known as a great regular-season team. They win tons of games in the regular season but fall on hard times in the postseason. That reputation still exists. 

Despite a strong regular season, the Maple Leafs have failed to deliver when it mattered the most. Their fans and even their critics are frankly bewildered.

Issue Two: In a Must-Win Game, No One Shows Up on Time

Game 3 was a disappointment for the Blue and White. Not only were they defeated; but, after a nice little jump start to the game, they folded their tents.

In truth, probably no one would be happy the team lost – even if they played well. But the way the team lost has rendered their fans angry and frustrated. The team’s best players– the Core Four – not only had an off night but they’ve had an off-series. 

After a strong Round 1 series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they simply have not scored – as seen by the tweet above. The poor level of their play has intensified the fans’ disappointment.

Issue Three: The Maple Leafs’ Stars Are Not Like the Oilers’ Stars

Given that both the Maple Leafs (with Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews) and the Edmonton Oilers (with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid) are star-driven, it’s tough not to compare the two teams. This postseason, such comparisons are further energizing the fans’ frustrations.

Auston Matthews Mitch Marner Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews Mitch Marner Maple Leafs

Until Monday night, even when the Oilers lost, their star players have shown up and have been their star players. In the 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday, neither Draisaitl nor McDavid scored a point and both carried a minus-2  away from the game. 

However, that seldom happens. Even in defeat, the Oilers’ star players, McDavid and Draisaitl, consistently perform at the top of their games. That isn’t true with the Maple Leafs. This contrast further sheds light on the importance of a team’s key players rising to the occasion.

Related: Would Auston Matthews Really Leave the Maple Leafs?

Issue Four: The Maple Leafs Caught Us All Off-Guard

No one was expecting the sky to fall so suddenly. The Maple Leafs dug themselves a hole so quickly that few saw it coming. The three-game-to-nothing deficit has caught us all off guard. The unexpected nature of the team’s current funk now suddenly – once again – raises questions about the team’s direction and the potential changes that are likely to be made.

The Bottom Line

The Maple Leafs will play Game 4 on Wednesday night. As they do, the anticipation of a negative outcome continues to swell into a huge wave. Now, how Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe makes decisions becomes crucial in determining the team’s immediate fate. 

Whatever Keefe does puts him on display. His every move and mistake will be magnified. The only way to get off the hot seat is to win four games in a row. But that’s a tough job.

We’ll see if the team can win the first of four on Wednesday night.

Related: 4 Changes on the Horizon If Maple Leafs Fall in Round 2

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. gfinale

    May 9, 2023 at 4:13 pm

    The Leafs have not surprised us all with their poor play. They were majorly outplayed 5 out of 6 games in round 1! It’s the same with this core 5 for the 7th playoff year!

  2. Pingback: Maple Leafs' Quick Hits: From Blame to Strategy & Production

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