Game 15: Someone bring me a bucket
At some point in tonight's 4-1 loss to Florida, TSN's Pierre McGuire used the term "bad puck management" to describe the Leafs.
I think it was in the second period. It might have been the third. Tough to say, really, since by then I was sprawled supine on my daughter's Strawberry Shortcake mat and wearing my wife's Pure Relaxation 1000 eye-gel mask.
Anyhow, here are some other terms we can now safely add to the McGuire lexicon: "bad desire," "bad finishing," "bad backchecking," "bad pinching," "bad shooting," "bad passing," "bad energy," "bad luck," "bad opportunities," and just plain "bad."
Bad, Leafs! Bad, boys! Bad!
What in God’s name is going on here? Why does this team even bother taking sticks on the ice? Why not just wear top hats and silk gloves and skate around with jazz hands?
At least that would be vaguely entertaining.
After 15 games last season, the Leafs record was 3-7-5. After 15 games this season, the Leafs record is 5-7-3.
Two points. TWO POINTS. The year-over-year gain for this rebuilt team is two-freakyass-points from The Great Disaster of ’09? Are you kidding me?
And you know what?
Last year, the team was never shutout in its first 15 games – not once. This year, the team has been shutout THREE TIMES. And if Mikhail Grabovski hadn't one-timed a shot past Florida's Tomas Vokoun at 13:35 of the third tonight, it would have been FOUR TIMES.
You know things have lurched well past grim when opposition fans can be seen yawning seconds after their team scores: "Oh, did we get one? That's nice. Are these other guys okay? They don't look so good. When does this game end? I want to get home and catch-up on Mad Men."
The Leafs offence is so unfathomably, impossibly anemic right now that, as the game grinded onward, McGuire even sounded bored. Usually he sounds like a braying jackal. But near the end, as my heart ached, as my eyes tingled from the mask, McGuire sounded as if someone shot him in the throat with a tranquilizer dart.
We've now had two droughts that rival anything in the Sahara.
The first one was, what, about 167 minutes between goals? This most recent one was, let’s see, about 142 minutes? That adds up to more than 5 hours of game time without scoring. How is this possible at the professional level? I'm pretty sure I could centre a line between my mom and dad and put up better numbers.
People, I feel sick. I apologize for my exasperation. I'm sorry for SHOUTING. I bid you and yours a peaceful night.
Last one to bed, please remember to turn off the lights.
PHOTO: STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR