In the video below, Ken Reid is joined by Frank Seravalli to discuss topics of importance to the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans. Two specific conversations directly related to the Maple Leafs this season. I will share them in this post.
And one that is more likely an issue for next season and beyond.
Topic One: The Nature of O’Reilly’s Injury
First, Seravalli discusses Toronto’s placing Ryan O’Reilly on LTIR. The two hockey analysts then discuss the similarities and differences between the O’Reilly injury and a situation that happened two seasons ago when Nick Foligno was picked up at the trade deadline by the Maple Leafs.
Topic Two: Concern About the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Recent Losing Streak
Second, Seravalli addresses the question about any concerns about the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning is a team that is struggling, having lost five games in a row. Can they pull out of their nosedive?
Topic Three: The Sabres and the Senators Are Sneaky Good
The final conversation concerns two possible wildcard spots in the Eastern Conference. In that discussion, Seravalli discusses two up-and-coming teams – the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres. He then talks about the two wildcard spots they might slide into in the Eastern Conference.
While this is an important topic, I’ll discuss it at another time.
Quick Hit One: Ryan O’Reilly and Nick Foligno Are Not the Same
Seravalli believes that it’s important to know that Ryan O’Reilly’s injury is not nearly the same as Nick Foligno’s injury. While both players are gritty centers who were acquired by the Maple Leafs at the trade deadline, the nature and severity of their injuries are different.
O’Reilly’s injury is a finger injury. It isn’t expected to keep him out for a long time. He’s expected to be out for only about three or four weeks. He should be able to return to the lineup before the playoffs begin, which is good news for the Maple Leafs.
In contrast, Foligno’s injury was more severe. As Seravalli put it, “his back exploded.” He was only able to play in four playoff games. This limited his ability to build chemistry with his new teammates and make an impact during the playoffs.
Certainly, O’Reilly’s absence may be felt in the short term. But it’s unlikely to have any significant impact on the Maple Leafs’ playoff chances. The team has enough depth at the center position to cover for his absence, and his return should give the team a boost heading into the playoffs.
Overall, while Maple Leafs’ fans may be concerned about O’Reilly’s injury, Seravalli thinks there’s no need to panic. With O’Reilly’s expected to return before the playoffs, the team should be able to weather his absence and continue to compete for the Stanley Cup.
Quick Hit Two: Are the Tampa Bay Lightning Toast Already?
The Tampa Bay Lightning are on a losing streak. Is that something that should make the Maple Leafs breathe a bit easier? Seravalli suggests, No!
Tampa Bay has indeed been struggling lately, losing five games in a row and getting shellacked by the Carolina Hurricanes 6-0 in their most recent game on Sunday. The Lightning head coach Jon Cooper even benched his stars on Saturday against the Sabres; however, it still didn’t turn thing around.
Still, as Seravalli noted, the Lightning have a lot of experience and talent on their team. They also have a track record of performing well when it matters most – that’s in the playoffs. Seravalli has some concern for the Lightning; however, it isn’t very high – a 7 out of 10 – as he ranks it.
For him, Tampa Bay’s core players include Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy. They are all proven performers. And, according to Seravalli, they can flip the switch when it’s playoff time. He’s not going to bet against them in the postseason, even if they are struggling in the regular season.
Overall, while Seravalli is concerned about the Lightning and their recent losing streak, he believes their talent and experience should give their fans confidence heading into the playoffs. He also notes that injuries could play a role in their recent struggles, and the return of key players could help turn things around for the team.
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