The Leafs’ display on Tuesday night was, well, it was terrible. There’s no getting around that. There’s also no point in blaming one person; in a 9-2 loss, everyone is guilty. A loss of this magnitude is never easy to swallow, but it’s particularly less easy to swallow after a disturbing defeat against the Sabres on the preceding Saturday night. For those of you keeping track, that’s 15 goals against in 2 games.
Maybe the Maple Leafs should’ve followed the lead of Sunderland Football Club when they put up a deplorable performance of their own last month and decided to refund their fans the price of admission.
Surprisingly, there were many tweets about players, a #fireCarlyle hashtag (and even t-shirt), but Dave Nonis got away from it pretty unscathed. Nonis assembled the team, gave a huge amount money to poor players (cough, Clarkson, cough), but very little has been said about him. At least James Mirtle brought it up in this podcast. In the same podcast, he also goes on a very funny rant about David Clarkson at the beginning that’s definitely worth a listen (unless you’re David Clarkson).
Although the Sabres are terrible, the Predators are not, so while the 9-2 loss was downright embarrassing, the loss to the Sabres was worse (in my opinion). But what worries me more is that, although the Predators are a good team, they are not the Lightning. The Lightning are a very good team with a lot of scoring power. They are 2nd in the NHL in goals scored per game (3.60). They have Steve Stamkos, who really likes scoring goals… hence why I had a nightmare about him.
This little video does a pretty good job of demonstrating his scoring prowess:
If Toronto didn’t allow the 4th most shots per game, had better goaltending (sorry James and Jonathan), or showed any kind of desire to win whatsoever, I might not have had this nightmare. But alas, I did because I’m very worried how tonight might go. After the loss to Buffalo, I really expected the team to pull their socks up and at least put in a decent performance against the Predators, and that didn’t happen. So what’s in store for tonight? Well, if we use the last two games as a benchmark, I predict the score to be 7.5 to 2, with the Leafs scoring those 2 goals at a point when they are all but irrelevant. Go Leafs Go!
Disclaimer: Do not read this final sentence if you are anywhere near a bridge or a full bathtub with a hairdryer.
Just a final thought, as you get ready to watch tonight’s game, consider this: Dion Phaneuf makes about the same amount of money as Steven Stamkos.
Economist/epidemiologist interested in the intersection between sports analytics (advanced stats) and intuition.