Forewarning, the next 700-900 words that follow this blurb will feature slander of both the Toronto Maple Leafs and specifically Mike Babcock. If you are not interested in the cold hard truth and would rather live in fantasy land, stop reading now.
To those who stayed, now we begin. Every year when the NHL season kicks off I feel like a new man. An adrenaline rush shoots through my body and finally this is going to be the Leafs year. Last year it was the arrival of John Tavares, this year Jake Gardiner was out of our lives and Tyson Barrie was taking his place, what could go wrong? Turns out, plenty. As Leaf fans, when things are going great the world is filled with sunshine and rainbows but at this very moment of uncertainty and collapse Leafs Nation becomes World War (insert ridiculously high roman numeral here).
The Leafs have started the season like they start every single game for as long as I can remember, extremely slow. Not slow like the first five minutes slow, I’m talking the entire first period SLOW. Is it just me or does it feel like we are forced to come from behind in every game? Well let’s go to the old stats department shall we. In 13 games played this season the Leafs hold a puke worthy 6-5-2 record but for a team that is above 500 they sure don’t play like one. The team defense is atrocious, we cannot keep pucks out of our net and we are constantly chasing goals just to stay in hockey games. Not to mention having one of the most lethal power plays in the league that is currently only producing at a 21% success rate (8 goals in 38 opportunities). Oh and how bout the fact that we CANNOT win games when our backup goalie plays, as we currently boast an 0-4 record in the second game of back-to-backs to start the year. Oh joy. In the 13 games to start the year, the Leafs have only scored the first goal 3 times while allowing a total of 16 goals in the first period up to this point. Tell me how that wins hockey games.
Mike Babcock loves to preach “the start on time” gospel but theres a difference between saying something and executing something. Talk is cheap Mike and I am ready to put you on mute…FOREVER. I am so fed up with his blame game and how he never takes the fall for any of the teams’ flaws. Listen Mike, the first step to team recovery is admitting that you’re the problem. For once in your life hold yourself accountable, please! Don’t get me wrong, when we first hired Mike Babcock I thought he was the Messiah but as the years have progressed I have realized that the only reason he has any sort of credibility is the fact that he only coached highly skilled rosters. When Mike Babcock first became coach of the Detroit Red Wings, he inherited a team that featured Nicklas Lidstrom, who was already a 13-year NHL veteran and one of the most prolific defensemen of all time, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg who had been playing pro hockey for 4+ years each as well as a number of key support pieces on one of the most storied dynasties of this generation. I didn’t realize being handed gifted rosters made you such a good coach. Did I mention he also coached Team Canada in the Olympics in both 2010 & 2014 while also “leading” them to a World Cup of Hockey trophy in 2016. Those rosters must have been tough to control considering they included players like: Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron, Drew Doughty, John Tavares and Duncan Keith to name a few, ever heard of them? So if you are such a good coach with such strong systems, how have you managed to do relatively nothing with one of the most skilled rosters in the entire NHL? I will tell you how, because you are a FRAUD sir. You have lost the locker room, you have lost the fans support and you are going to lead us to a losing season if you do not change your ways or just get canned altogether. I need him out of my life, out of my city and frankly out of this organization entirely. It feels like I am watching a never ending cycle of the same bad episode of the same bad TV show every night. Why do we as Leaf fans continue to torture ourselves through an unsettling pain that feels like it is only getting worse as the days progress. I need CHANGE. We need CHANGE and by golly we deserve that CHANGE. Hear me out, we are the laughing stock of the NHL and until something is done we will continue to be the running joke. Someone has to do something to show me this season is not lost, health bomb a star, fire a coach, trade someone, I don’t know what it has to be but it better happen quick before Leaf fans burn down the city (figuretively speaking).