Leafs feel the heat in Florida

The heat’s on the Maple Leafs, 27 degrees outside, a seven-game losing streak at the rink, Brian Burke talking changes and their own goalie calling them out.

So the Leafs tried to take motivational matters into their own hands, gathering at their hotel for a players-only meeting on Wednesday morning, delving into why a good training camp and a four-game winning streak turned into a 1-7-3 mess.

They might as well have spent the time watching the movie Score: A Hockey Musical, as they sputtered to a second straight loss, 4-1 to a less than intimidating Panthers team, save for goalie Tomas Vokoun.

The Leafs were almost blanked back-to-back in Tampa Bay and South Florida for the first time since the NHL came to the Sunshine State in 1992. In the past 11 games, they have just 16 goals, the last coming from Mikhail Grabovski with the Panthers on cruise control at 13:25 of the third.

Mayor-elect Rob Ford was in the BankAtlantic Center crowd with his mother Diane, perhaps wondering if his campaign to halt the gravy train had somehow extended to the Leafs’ frost-bitten forwards.

Wednesday’s result may or may not fast track general manager Burke’s itchy cell phone finger. With other struggling NHL clubs getting closer to the unofficial U.S. Thanksgiving player movement window, Burke is also watching a Marlies’ farm team on a five-game points’ run.

“We’re looking at lots of things, including that the Marlies are hot,” Burke said in an e-mail to the Toronto Sun.

With coach Ron Wilson running out of explanations and Jean-Sebastien Giguere ripping them in the media after the flat 4-0 loss in Tampa, the players met after waking up from Tuesday’s Tampa trauma. It was chaired by the three alternate captains, Francois Beauchemin, Tomas Kaberle and Mike Komisarek, with Dion Phaneuf back home recovering from a badly cut leg.

“Obviously one guy had to bring it up, but at the end of the day, everyone wanted to meet,” Kaberle said before last night’s game.

“You need to say stuff you want to say and not keep it to yourself. The oldest guys can speak or the youngest, but you have to get the stuff out of your system and make sure we’re on the same page. You just can’t be shy about it, you don’t want to keep it to yourself.

“The main thing is what we say off the ice we have to bring on the ice.”


58 Responses to Leafs feel the heat in Florida

  1. HABSSTAR says:

    This is RW's last life line before he gets the axe, and it's a horrible one at that.  Kadri may be a very good player in the future but really bringing him in now and basically saying "please turn our season around before we end up handing Boston another lottery pick" seems a bit unfair to the kid. 

  2. nordiques100 says:

    i think steve simmons also pointed out the Gerber waiver claim when they should have just sucked it up with a shittier goalie and died all the way down to the top 3 instead of 7th overall….again.

    it would be the biggest setback in franchise history if they moved Kadri and Schenn. BB would put the franchise back 30 years doing such a horrible moves.

    I feel mostly that he wont…..but the fact that is a legit option for him makes me squirm with worry.

    the smell of desperation is in the air, and its not that of players playing desperate hockey….they're not.

  3. nordiques100 says:

    agreed. he should have only been called up, coming into a good situation.

    Here, he is asked to be the savior. and i was listening to Andy Frost during the post game show on saturday. he wondered aloud had Kadri earned the promotion? The kid has been inconsistent and while better the last while, he still struggles with many aspects……which is ok since he's still learning.

    Also, is this kid humble enough? yes, he has to play with some attitude, but how will calling him up without good reason not swell the ego?

  4. mojo19 says:

    Ya WTF??? This is a terrible time to call him up. Now if he doesn't score in his first couple games, the media will be all over him, Burke, Wilson etc. Especially if the team loses.

    And no one is scoring, now you're basically putting the pressure on a 19 year old to step in and make a difference. Grrrrrr……. Well I hope he scores, even a lucky one. I don't want this kid ruined.

  5. nordiques100 says:

    my big fear isnt him scoring or not.

    i wonder if one mistake and he either gets anchored to the bench or he is ripped cause the mistake cost the team the game.

    or even worse, the hypocrites come out of the woodwork and give the i told you so speech about rushing prospects, when its really them who were desperately calling for this kid to start 10 games ago.

    when i listen to the callers on talk radio. i'd say 90 percent have asked for him to be summoned. its insane pressure on this kid.

    i'd prefer a stopgap like a guerin, who can handle the pressure etc.

    sure is that any good for building towards the future? no. Guerin is really old. but i'd have to say forcefeeding Kadri the NHL in desperate times is equally counter productive.

    i'd love to see the kid succeed and obviously we all hope he does, but geeze, do it when he's ready! not because you feel as an organization you have no choice!

  6. The-President says:

    Very intellectual sounding 420, then again it seems like your real mature based on your username. Focus on yourself, and then maybe, just maybe I'll heed your advice. You seem to have a personal vendetta toward me, not quite sure why that is, is it your insecurity in real life, slowly boiling over to the internet? You sound like a real brawny guy, over the internet, I'm terrified, so I guess I'll just delete my account, even though I've been a member of this site longer then you. Just go smoke some more blunts, continue to not contribute to society in a positive manner, instead become more insecure, a waste, and continue to feel the need to try to call out other people, only due to your short comings, what a shame.

  7. Leafs_RegimeofBurke_ says:

    I think it's all good to bring up Kadri at this juncture. For him, it's more reference experience, a brief stint won't hurt his future. In reality, he gets to feel the NHL out a bit more.

    That being said, I think it would be a BAD idea to keep him up for more than 5-8 games if he becomes any kind of liability (unless he is suddenly effective)…so then he can continue to tweak his game in AHL, with more reference points for the next big step.

    Ideally he provides a spark for the big club, making plays, and mixing things up during the absence of Armstrong and Phaneuf. Bit of Juice for the dry spell

  8. MystifoLeafs says:

    President you find a way we can acquire and still keep TO under the cap and then you can try it but I doubt you can find a way to do it.

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