No, it was worse.
I wanted to call it bad, but it just doesn’t seem right.
Bad. Bad is when a child sneaks some extra Halloween candy.
Disgraceful – This one is best saved for scandalous politicians and disgruntled Phaneuf supporters.
I think pathetic bests describes the inept, inadequate and oh so painful displays from the last two nights.
I am tempted to call it a peewee or novice showing, but I remember that in my brief time playing at those levels we were able… no, required… to make accurate, 5 foot passes. This is something that has been beyond the Leafs ability in the past few games, most evident last night.
How hard is it? Player is skating fast, pass the puck to where he will be. But it seems this concept is considered unimportant to Toronto as each short pass forced players to break stride, lose speed or completely miss the puck. Maybe they are looking to get each other nailed with a blindside hit as they look behind for the puck to get a good long powerplay.
No team in professional sport, any sport, can win when the fundamental skills are missing. Asking for tape-to-tape passes from very close range is not a lot; Wilson may have to take a page from the Paul Maurice playbook and break out the eggs next practice.
No rush can flow naturally if the puck carrier loses valuable speed or inches while trying to acquire the puck. Watch closely, I lost count of the amount of times the Leafs, while executing a zero pressure breakout, made a short pass into the skates of a teammate.
How many times did this result in a chance for the Panthers?
When it happened repeatedly on the powerplay I changed the channel. Watching them spend at least 45 seconds each powerplay retrieving the puck from pathetically weak and errant passes is enough for me.
Urge to kill rising…
When this is combined with lack of effort to maintain possession you can’t win. Keep a close eye on the puck carriers, every time they lose the puck they give up and coast away. No one is willing to fight for the puck; Kessel, Versteeg and Bozak are the worst offenders. Instead of fighting in front of the net for a rebound or to regain possession, they keep skating away from the net. Should one of them decide to put in a little effort and simply stop after they lose control in a prime scoring location they may actually end up with a goal.
If they look at some of Kulemin and Armstrong’s work they can learn a thing or two. But until this team decides they are willing to work for every inch of ice and every second of possession this pathetic style of hockey will continue.
Seven straight losses is what was called the reason the Leaf bottomed out last year, and here we are again.