I have looked everywhere. Under my desk, in between the couch cushions, not-securely wrapped presents under the tree… I just can’t seem to find that damn panic button.
So do you all remember that time earlier this year when the Leafs were leading the Eastern Conference? Remember how during that time all talk came around to one important point? Anyone happen to recall what that was? Something about going streaking? Watching the tubes?
Oh yes, how could I forget: AVOID A STREAK THAT WILL SEND YOUR SEASONS DOWN THE TUBE!
Each season since Ron Wilson took over every discussion about what exactly extended to playoff drought has come down to one horrific stretch of hockey. Be it 1 win in 15 games or 2 wins in 9, it ended there.
Well, I can’t help but feel this team is once again on the verge of falling into that early season grave. In this 2-5-2 run Leaf fans have been witness to the most pathetic penalty killing the league has known for years. Not only that, 7 times in that stretch these boys have allowed 3 or more goals and have been outscored 32-22, a difference just over 1 goal per game. Worst of all, in this span Toronto has fallen from a fight for first in the northeast to teetering on the verge of a losing a playoff spot.
This can all turn around if three players finally show up on a nightly basis: Grabovski, Kulemin and C-Mac. I don’t exactly know what the problem is with these guys, but the fight we saw last season is nonexistent. In 2010-2011 this line was a scoring threat in nearly every game and night in night out the best line on the team. Now they are nothing more than time fillers until Lupul and Kessel are rested. These 3 used to fight for every inch; if they lost the puck they did everything they could to get it back. This year they simply glance over their shoulders, and do a large, slow loop back towards the play. On top of that when they do manage to generate some pressure Grabovski seems afraid to shoot the puck.
I don’t know how much longer they will run cold, but without this line the Leafs are not playoff contenders. Not unless they manage to fix that humiliating penalty kill and, given the track record, the smart money is on the offence coming around.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have a button to find. We may need it.