Pure disappointment is the word to described the 2013-14 Toronto Maple Leafs.
Two months ago, the team was almost guaranteed a playoff spot. What happen?
I’ll tell you what happened. An eight game losing streak in March. The worst time of the year. A time when other teams are playing hard to grab a spot into the post season.
The Leafs went into a slump and was unable to get out of it.
This collapse reminds me of the 1987 Blue Jays when the team went into a slump the last week of the season and lost the American League East title.
After the losing streak ended, the Leafs had to practically win every game and hope that some of the other teams (e.g. Columbus) lose in order for the team to stay in the playoff race.
Well, it didn’t happened. After a three game mini streak, the Leafs lost to Winnipeg and was officially eliminated by losing to Tampa Bay a couple nights later.
“The last 30 days of the season was the tell taling story of our group’” said head coach Randy Carlyle in his last press conference of the year.
Carlyle also said that to win games you have to play on the defensive side of the puck with “Will and commitment.”
Well said Randy.
During the final stretch, the Leaf’s defense was no where to be seen.
There were a few positive things about this year’s Leafs.
Phil Kessel was back in good form. He was first in team goals (37), assists (43), and points (80).
James Van Reimsdyk was second with 30 goals, 31 assists, and 61 points.
Goalie Jonathan Bernier had a win-loss record of 28-19, a 2.68 goals against average, and a save percentage of .923.
Unquestionably, the biggest disappointment of the season was the performance of Leaf’s captain, Dion Phanuef.
Phaneuf scored just eight goals, had 23 assists, and had just 31 points this season. He was ninth in team points. Not good stats for a team captain and he wasn’t leader at all during the losing streak.
James Reimer was also a disappointment. Reimer finished the season with a 12-16 record, a 3.29 GAA. and a save percentage of .911.
Last year, Reimer was on his way to becoming a top rated net minder in the NHL This year, however, it was a disaster.
Carlyle didn’t get into specifics of what needs to be done to the squad during the off season.
However, Carlyle did thank the fans for their support and said the team is embarrassed.
Finally, on April 11, the team announced that former player, Brendan Shanahan was named as their new President and Alternate Governor’ Shanahan was the league’s Chief Player Disciplinarian for the past three seasons.
ENJOY THE REST OF THE PLAYOFFS EVERYONE!