This is a disaster in the making. Its cringingly bad, kinda like when Caroline Marcil tried to sing the U.S. National Anthem, forgot the lyrics, went back to get them, only to wipe out on the ice. Gotta feel sorry for her. Then again, hard to look away too.
The Toronto Maple Leafs so far this year remind me of poor Caroline. Intentions are great, but just like that poor singer, the Leafs have also fallen down when it matters the most (i.e. on the ice).
Take a look at this sampling of quotable quotes, from the late preseason, to the first six games of this regular season:
September 18th, 2009: ”It’s a statement to our players that we want to be competitive right now.”
- Brian Burke, talking about the Phil Kessel trade
September 19th, 2009: ”I strongly believe we have the right pieces here now.”
- Matt Stajan
September 19th, 2009: ”It’s fun when you win. We can build a little momentum. At least we’ll know what it feels like to win”.
- Ron Wilson following a 5-4 preseason win over the Philadelphia Flyers
September 22nd, 2009: ”We’re trying to establish home-ice advantage here at the ACC. We have great fans. We have a great building. We want to make it tough for teams to come in here and play.”
- Mike Komisarek
October 1, 2009: ”We require as a team proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. That’s how our teams play.”
- Brian Burke
October 1, 2009: ”They’re going to be a very physically powerful team, so you’re going to see a lot of crushing body checks and a handful of fights and people are going to walk away, win or lose, and be entertained by that.”
- Darren Dreger
… And the rest all come from head coach Ron Wilson:
October 1, 2009: Leafs lose 4-3 to Montreal. “We’ve got some defencemen who played like Peewee hockey players.”
October 3, 2009: Leafs lose 6-4 to Washington. “You felt like you were in a piranha fish tank.”
October 6, 2009: Leafs lose 2-1 to Ottawa. “We stunk, period. That wasn’t a battle of Ontario, by any stretch of the imagination.”
October 10, 2009: Leafs lose 5-2 to Pittsburgh. “It’s depressing here right now.”
October 12, 2009: Leafs lose 7-2 to New York. “It can’t always be like the movie ‘Usual Suspects.’ It’s easy to pick on four or five guys, but we need more from everybody.”
October 13, 2009: Leafs lose 4-1 to Colorado. “We’re not giving the fans any reason to cheer us.”
Gotta love Ron Wilson. I don’t think he’s about to be fired any time soon, however. It would be an embarassment to the US Olympic hockey program since he has been named to be the head coach for the men’s hockey team in 2010. After the Olympics are over, anything is possible.
And talk of making the playoffs? The Leafs may have already dug a whole too deep to climb out of. Since the 2005-06 season, the eighth-place club at the end of the regular season in the Eastern Conference held at least 92 points (2005-06: Tampa Bay 92 pts; 2006-07: Islanders 92 pts; 2007-08: Bruins 94 pts; 2008-09: Canadiens 93 pts). This basically means that with 76 games left to go, the Leafs need at least 91 points. That could be, for example, be a record of 42-27-7.
Fellow blogger Burgundy even sent me a text message the other night as he watched the Leafs game vs. Colorado. Referring to the Leafs, he wrote “This is laughingly bad. This must be what we look like when we play Friday (pickup) hockey.”
Sorry, Burgundy, I think you’re wrong there. I’ll bet you a few pints that our Friday guys could beat the Leafs if we put our minds to it. And if I don’t get stuck playing defence.
Stay classy, Ron Wilson.