Friday, March 03, 2006

Hopefully this one will be close

Due to prior commitments, I didn’t see enough of Thursday night’s romp over the lowly Washington Capitals to make any full judgments, but by all accounts, it was a very ordinary domination.

Tonight’s contest with the Maple Leafs will be interesting for a number of reasons, the primary being that the Buds are up against the wall. As of the time of this post, they’re in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, now behind both the Atlanta Thrashers and Boston Bruins in the fight for the last spot. They have a game in hand, mind you.

Even though I haven’t heard a second of Toronto sports talk radio, I’m probably safe in assuming Leaf Nation is panicking. After all, these are the same fans who want to fire a coach after a loss with regularity. The realization that the Leafs may not be active in the postseason might just be hitting them, and I imagine it’s going to hit hard.

Calls for this person to be fired and that one to be traded have been bumbling for a while, but after losing to the same Caps who got beat up by the Sens and then beat 6-2 by the Sabres last night, the shit seems to be hitting the fan. The struggles aren’t new, but it’s much different when they’re struggling in March. Time is running out.

Suffice to say, they’re a desperate bunch. Will that make them dangerous?

In the past, the Pat Quinn-led Leafs have always been able to be counted on for showing fortitude when everyone counted them out. Being a great motivator is probably Quinn’s best asset as a bench boss, and he’s used it often when matched up against the Senators.

The best and most cited example of this, of course, is the 2002 second round playoff series between the two teams. The Leafs were hit hard with numerous injuries to key players, and so when down three games to two in the series with game six going back to Ottawa, most counted them out. Quinn, playing with a severely depleted roster, managed to overcome these obstacles and lead his team to victory (Curtis Joseph’s sensational play between the pipes didn’t hurt).

But that was then, and this is now. Gone are a lot of those players, and one has to wonder if Quinn’s act has grown tired with the key pieces who remain. A coach, as great as might be at rallying the troops, is going to lose them eventually. At some point, the act will grow tired and they’ll zone out.

Have we reached that point in T.O.?

If tonight’s game against the Senators goes the way I think it will, we’ll find out very soon.

2 Comments:

At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Duff said...

The Leafs are in trouble for next year too.This feeble attempt to make the playoffs will prevent them from doing the right thing.Blow up the Leafs.Too bad,the rivalry was fun.

 
At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll predict 4-2 Ottawa

 

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