Cox: Leafs find a new way to lose

So many inventive ways to lose.

That will be part of the inscription on the epitaph of this Maple Leafs season when it ends without a playoff berth, as most certainly will be the case.

Too many men on the ice in the last minute of overtime? Nope, they hadn’t used that one to sabotage themselves yet this season, and so it was applied Thursday night to produce the winning goal by the Tampa Bay Lightning with 9.8 seconds left in OT.

That made the Leafs 3-2 losers, their 35th defeat in 52 outings over the course of a miserable 2009-10 campaign. Afterwards, head coach Ron Wilson offered no excuses and seemed almost resigned to the fact that this group of athletes can dream up new ways to lose faster than he can plug the multiple holes in the Toronto dike.

“We should have been more disciplined. We weren’t, and we lose,” said Wilson through barely disguised clenched teeth.

Wayne Primeau was the culprit on the too many men call, hopping on the ice and corralling the puck before Matt Stajan had departed the ice surface.

That gave the Lightning the most dangerous extra strength advantage in hockey, four skaters on three, and Marty St. Louis soon after ended the night by slapping a puck sitting on edge over the right shoulder of Leaf goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.

As the Bolts celebrated, Gustavsson wheeled around and slammed his goal stick across the post in a burst of anger.

Why so ticked?

The Swedish rookie has experienced many things in his freshman season, from the low of two heart procedures to the high of being named to the Swedish Olympic team, but he has yet to win a game in overtime. Oh-for-eight so far.

“I haven’t had a chance to win yet in OT, and that’s kind of frustrating,” said Gustavsson, who was otherwise excellent with 29 saves.

“Sometimes I think maybe we should get the lucky bounce. But I always want to win, and that’s why I was so frustrated.”

Primeau was back in the lineup for the first time since injuring his knee Jan. 2 against Calgary.–cox-leafs-find-a-new-way-to-lose

11 Responses to Cox: Leafs find a new way to lose

  1. the_word says:

    What has killed the Leafs since the lockout is OT and shootouts. From Belfour to Raycorft to Gustavvson we've never had a solid tender in shootouts and our scoring has been mediocre. I guess it doesn't matter this season OT is pretty much cements a loss for the Leafs. Really missing McCabe and Kubina 4 on 4, their shot from the point opened up a lot of ice. I cringe now when I see Kessel try to go coast to coast by himself.

    The reason we're buried in the standings is special need and gimmicky pseudo hockey that is played after the third period.

  2. leafy says:

    Kessel looks out of shape to me. Is missing training camp a valid excuse? I'm not sure.

  3. leafy says:

    Also I absolutely hate the shootouts! Not because the Leafs are losing. They're just so goddamn stupid.  I think they only people who like the shootouts are people born after 1995.

    In fact, I would even argue that regular season OT was more exciting when they played 5-on-5 and the loser went home with zero points.  More drama.

  4. the_word says:

    The problem is Americans love it. There are places in the US that simply refer to the LNH has 'that shoutout game'.

    I agree, shootouts are lame, I'd like to go back to 5 on 5 for five minutes and if you lose, no points. Given each team a piont takes away a sense of urgency.

  5. leafy says:

    My thoughts exactly.

  6. mojo19 says:

    Besides, what's wrong with having a tie? Sometimes two teams battle hard and the result is a tie. Just leave it at that.

    Ya once in a while Datsyuk or Jussi Jokinen dazzle us with a slick move in the shootout but its not worth ruining the game by putting in that gimmick.

    3 point games suck. By the time this year is over 26 out of 30 teams will be over .500. That's not right.

  7. TheLeafNation91 says:

    It's training camp…Even Bozak looks weaker…Because of swine

  8. honestabe says:

    Yeah!!!!  that's the reason……

  9. HABSSTAR says:

    I don't mind the shootout as it's the only reasonable way to end a game in the regular season that goes past OT tied. 

    I hate tie games nore then I hate the shootout is what it comes down to.  

    But this three point game stuff is bs.  Who the f*ck has ever heard of rewarding the losing team in pro sports? 

    Make em all two point games, winner gets two loser gets nothing, regardless of how they won.  I think that will encourage teams to try and win as early on in the game as possible as they aren't getting any loser points for going to OT or a shootout. This will also  get rid of the 16 different columns they have, you'll only need two.  W & L.  

  10. leafy says:

    I still remember 1988 when the Leafs made the playoffs in the last game of the regular season with 52 points. Haha!

    Note of interest: If the Leafs had ONE less point in 88, they would have drafted Mike Modano first overall.

  11. cam7777 says:

    Looks like the Leafs have added another Olympian to the roster.  Nikolai Kulemin will apparently also be headed to Vancouver as a member of Team Russia.

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