The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a tailspin, losing eight of their last nine games and falling to 10th in the eastern conference.
The Leafs were headed in the right direction until their recent losing streak put them four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot. At the beginning of the year I posted my playoff predictions on my blog and placed Toronto in ninth, missing the playoffs yet again. If the Leafs are to prove me wrong they will need to do it as a team and that starts at the top with management.
“It’s very hard to watch what happened and not wonder if we have enough (in goal),” Leafs’ GM Brian Burke said after an overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils. “I have no answer for that. There were three goals that went in that have to stay out. Yes, he made some stellar saves around those goals, but the winning goal was going wide. I am not sure we are not going to be in the goaltending market before we are done.”
This is no way for the General Manager of “Canada’s Team” to act, and Burke of all people should know better. In a market like Toronto, Brian Burke cannot criticize his goaltenders publicly without starting an uncontrollable fan response. Already the crowds at the Air Canada Centre have shifted their hatred towards Coach Ron Wilson. Burke probably didn’t see this coming, but that’s what happens when you start a commotion in a circus like Toronto.
That is not to absolve Wilson of any fault. Too often has Toronto’s coach blamed his players for the team’s struggles. He sends a poor message about accountability when he refuses to take at least some responsibility for his team’s problems.
If you ask me, the Leafs will miss the playoffs if they don’t get some heart and soul players back into their lineup. Colby Armstrong has been in and out with injuries and Colton Orr is toiling in the American League with the Marlies. The Leafs need a shot of adrenaline and Orr is the syringe.
The Buds are on the road tonight against the Blackhawks, a perfect place to start a turnaround. With no pressure from upset fans, the Leafs must use this game as an opportunity to get on a role before heading back to Canada to play against Montreal on Saturday night.