When is 8-0 NOT a surprise?
Last night’s game may have been one game early in the season, AND the Senators have blown out the Leafs before in the regular season.
Having said that, It was EASY to see this one coming. There is legitimate cause for concern in Leaf Land. It is not just this game. Look at the last 4 games.
Lost to Philly 4-2 in a game, much like this one. The Leafs looked HORRIBLE.
Beat Carolina in OT. Gave up 2, 2-goal leads.
Beat Boston in a shootout. They were life and death to get to the shootout… Belfour ALONE in the final minutes and OT, saved their ass.
Lost to Boston. Scored one goal, in the dieing minutes.
Annihilated by Ottawa… is Ottawa 8 goals better than the Leafs? I doubt it, but they ARE miles and miles ahead. I see nothing that tells me so far this year that Ottawa would not sweep the Leafs in a playoff series.
If you take away the blowout over Atlanta… look closely at the Leafs top line:
Allison 6 pts in 11 games -11
Tucker 5 points in 11 games -10
O’Neil 4 points in 8 games -10
The Defense is abysmal after the top 3. You can throw in Khavanov in with Berg/Belak.
Belfour has been shaky and brilliant, a little more shaky than brilliant though.
Czerkawski has been invisible albeit he is in Quinn’s doghouse which means he will get very little chance to turn this around.
Speaking of Quinn… his record speaks for itself. He has a lot of positives to his *game* as coach. Unfortunately, he also has a blind/stubborn streak that really hurts the team. Three names describe this problem… Berg, Belak, Steve Sullivan. Once the coach likes or hates you, it stays that way. He refuses to give players a chance or refuses to recognize when they SUCK if they are somehow already in his good books.
Finally, the one thing the Leafs team seems to lack this year is chemistry overall. I see small groups of players who care about each other, but you don’t get the feeling these guys would go to the wall for each other. You just don’t get that cohesive team feeling.
Maybe Sundin coming back will help. I know it certainly HURTS when your captain and best player are hurt and you open the season against Ottawa (3), Montreal (2), Philadelphia (2), and Boston (2, WITH Thornton) and Carolina. I doubt any team has had a tougher schedule than that… all to start the season, all without Sundin. On the other hand, the Northeast is far and away the toughest division… it doesn’t get easier for the Leafs. It gets WORSE, they have a lot of road games coming up!
Lindros is off to strong start… despite playing with Domi and Kilger (!!?)
Tellqvist has looked strong and consistent. He could not be blamed for anything last night.
The Kid line is *good*. There is reason for optimism there, but none of them are Richards, or Spezza, or Staal… they may be decent NHL’ers, maybe as high as second liners one day. So, positive, but not *too* positive.
I just don’t believe that ultimately, they will turn it around. They may make the playoffs but I can’t see them going past the first round. Ask yourself, are they close to a top 4 team in the East? Can they beat any of the top 4 in a seven game series?
It is early, but there are serious problems in Leaf land, no less real than the problems in Edmonton, Calgary, Pittsburgh, or Atlanta…