I don't think Lou ever chases anything or McDonaugh wouldn't be playing on Tampa Bay right now. I don't think any one player can win us the Stanley cup anyway. Even if we had beat Boston somehow, we wouldn't have gotten far with Tampa and Pittsburgh waiting. We knew before the series our defense was incomplete and most knew Hainsey wasn't a top 2 guy at 37 or ever for that matter. We got a great lesson and if not for playoff nerves early in Boston and of course, Kadri not leaving for 3 games, we could have won. Coming back from 1 to 3 down isn't easy and Boston is one of the best teams in the NHL right now. Yes, the Leafs need a defenseman or two but I doubt they trade for an elite one... yet.
There will be no panic button move from this management team and they do have some options with Lupul coming off the books now. It won't be Nylander traded but if they do land a good defenseman, someone will have to go to make room for them. It won't be Dermott who is young and cheap or even Hainsey with one year left and can play on the 2nd/3rd pairing. Reilly is staying but Gardiner has one year left before UFA next summer. Should Toronto land a UFA, for example, he would fetch some assets or could be part of a trade to land a RHD. The Leafs may have learned a lesson as both Bozak and JVR could now walk for nothing and so could Plakenac for that matter.
No one is picking on Gardiner, the whole team lost. Was that Gardiner in game 1 and 2 ? No, that was everyone, including Babcock blowing that offside goal. That was Kadri getting suspended for 3 games. The shades and wounds of 2013 caused a flashback and the fans being dismayed looked for a culprit. Then blame the whole defense. Blame management for not seeing it first. Blame Kadri for only getting 2 assists all series. This is all part of a learning curve for the whole team and the coach apparently. The days of trading Courtnall for Kordic or Rask for Raycroft or how about Kurvers for Scott Niedermayer are long gone. Management got the message and have options and assets. The point has been made. This is not a Stanley cup defense and changes will be made but there is no need for panic. No one is picking on Gardiner for the loss but someone will be gone and an upgrade will occur on defense. It just won't be Nylander as chasing isn't Lou's game, nor is overpaying. The whole league knows what we need but why overpay or get in a bidding war? This team is young and needs time and I doubt even Karlsson can lift us to the Lord Stanley cup singlehandedly. Doughty might but he isn't going anywhere nor could we afford $10 to $12 M per year to get him.
Stay patient and this will get resolved and a year or two of growing and maturing won't hurt this very young team either. When the deal is right it will get made. This isn't the time to panic, we weren't going to win it this year anyway. This team is about 2 years away and improvements will be made next season. But if we lose JVR and Bozak for nothing, do we really want Gardiner walking for zero as well?
On a footnote: Lou Lamoriello was relieved of his GM duties by Brendan Shanahan and a new GM/ era will begin...... It looks to me like Shanahan wants to win sooner rather than later.
I'm watching game 2 of the Winnipeg Jets versus Minnesota Wild as Zach Parise laments the Wild's inability to penetrate their zone and it occurs to me the Jets have Bifygulen, Laine, Schiefle, Wheeler, Tyler Myers and Trouba. They are mandhandling the Wild and to me look the playoff favorites in the West this year. The Jets truly have it all with skill, grit,size, scoring, defense and goaltending. Now can they resign Laine at $12M/yr.
We can't say we didn't expect it. That the Bruins would come out all guns blazing in the first game at home in Boston. It started early when Marchand scored a goal that should have called offside by at least Babcock himself. Hyman scored a very nice goal but the sit back and wait for counter attacks didn't work for Toronto on this night. The favored team won at home as expected and in the playoffs a 1-0 win is the same as a 10-1 loss, it looks better but in the end it's a loss and huge win for Boston who now carry the momentum into game 2.
Kadri tried to spark the Leafs but had little impact as Boston's size became evident. The Leafs can learn from this and can still regroup, after all a split was all they wanted or even needed. Andersen will need to regroup and play much better in game 2 Saturday in Boston and the Maple Leafs might want to consider playing Matt Martin, especially against giant Chara. A loss is a loss but let's hope that offside first goal isn't an omen, the Leafs need to win game 2 and Babcock needs to go back into his bag of tricks because he was ambushed tonight and Freddie wasn't ready.
Well it appears the hockey godz may smile upon us yet. Tampa Bay may yet claim first place giving the Maple Leafs a rematch with the much hated Boston Bruins, a team Toronto can beat. Boston is what is known as a one line team, albeit a very good first line featuring Bergeron, Pastrnk and Marchand. Beyond that it gets a bit sparse thus Boston acquired aging Rick Nash at the Trade deadline this year. The key to that series is shutting down Boston's top line while Toronto rolls 3 offensive lines. Chara is no longer a spring chicken and McAvoy was recently injured, a lingering injury perhaps?
Toronto fans will no doubt remember being up 4 to 1 in game 7 going into the third and then amazingly losing 5 to 4 in OT as Bergeron scored for Boston.
Home ice advantage: Boston
Being rested : Toronto Maple Leafs. Boston had to play 5 extra games in the final quarter of the season, many high intensity, as they had 5 games on hand.
Defense: With Chara back there: Boston.
Gardiner and Zaitsev are question marks while Hainsey is 37 and may wear down in a long series.
Goaltending : Pick em. You will be hard pressed to find 2 better goalies.
Coaching: Babcock wins, Cassidy will be hard pressed to outwit Mike Babcock and has no NHL playoff experience.
Offense: Toronto has 3 scoring lines and can still put Johnsson and Kapanen on their 4th line with Plakenac.
Intangibles: Boston's players have more playoff experience but the Maple Leafs are young and fast.
There is only one player Marchand hates playing against. Plakenac, let's hope he can shut him down.
Series outcome: I recently put in a call to Nostradamus and he whispered" Kadri in OT game 7." A bitterly fought series will go to 7 games but if Toronto shuts down Boston's top line they will emerge victorious and payback will be complete.
Toronto wins in game 7 OT. The Bruins are tired and as the series goes on Toronto's younger and fresher legs will prevail. Just ask Nostradamus
As of this writing Kadri is out on suspension. The entire series is on the line and the odds are about a hundred to one right now for the Maple Leafs. Nothing to lose and everything to learn. Bring it on.