Leafs Postgame: There Are No Winners


I can just picture it now. The day is January 1st, 2017.  The Toronto Maple Leafs are taking on the Buffalo Sabres in the Winter Classic, hosted at the recently renamed and partially renovated Rogers Skydome. Morgan Rielly fires a stretch pass out to Connor McDavid. McDavid pulls a spin-o-rama to get past Jack Eichel, and fires a shot top shelf. Two minutes left in 3-on-3 overtime. Hat trick.

The crowd goes wild. The Leafs improve to 1-36-0. Until then, we’re stuck with these two god-awful teams, delivering realistic forms of disappointment to the masses.

The Rundown

Unsurprisingly, the 30th place Sabres opened the scoring in this one. Why is it unsurprising? Well, its a Leafs game in Buffalo, and hockey is a weird sport. In this case, Zac Dalpe took advantage of his position in front of the net and battled a wild puck between his legs and past Jonathan Bernier. More surprsingly, however, was that the Leafs were able to tie this one up before the end of the period, with a point shot taken by…

Eric Brewer? This is not an April Fools joke, folks. Brewer’s shot parted the seas and gave him his second goal in three games, restoring balance to the match up. From there, the Leafs carried the momentum into the second period. James van Riemsdyk slid a backhand through Anders Lindback’s legs in the opening minute, and Nazem Kadri soon followed with a gorgeous heavy wrist shot to give the Leafs a two goal lead.

All untanky things must come to an end, though. Thirty seconds after Kadri’s tally, Cody Hodgson responded with his sixth of the year to make it a one goal game once again.

The wheels fell off in the third period, which is about two periods later than they typically do with this team. Seconds after Jaokim Lindstrom headed to the penalty box, Matt Moulson blasted a knee-drop one timer past Bernier to tie things up. A minute and a half later, Matt Ellis picked up his first goal of the season, apparently needing 34 games to figure out how to dangle a goaltender into a different universe. 

From there, the Sabres’ goal storm fizzled out, which put all the pressure on the Leafs. Everything appeared to be tilting in their favour; an empty net that their opponents couldn’t hit, a last minute powerplay, an innate ability to keep the puck in the zone, all of these things should have lead to an equalizer.

They didn’t. The Leafs lost to the Sabres. Again.

Blue Warrior

I think with everything considered today, you have to give this one to Alexander Radulov. I can’t remember him making a single mistake. Come to think of it, I can’t remember him doing much of anything…

Phil Kessel has taken a lot of crap lately, so it was nice to see him grab a couple of primary assists. which bring him to five points in the past three games. He also took eight shots on goal, which is a lot of shots.

Summing It Up

I’m running out of ways to say that this team is bad.

  • Kanuunankuula

    I hate to start agreeing with Reimerfan, but I’m honestly beginning to think Bernier is not that good. Good thing for the tank but not for winning. First goal is always pretty soft.

    • TGT23

      I’m sure that was hard for you, why I don’t know, it’s just “see for yourself” if this team really wants a rebuild which is a few years in the making than I will say it again, Reims has the heart, sold, attitude, and skill to be this teams netminder, he has stuck it out from day one and as bad as you all think he is, Bernier through all this season shows that he is not as great as you all thought, where I have nevr changed my veiw of Reims….He wants to be here and he wants to lead the team…why not give him his real chance to go forward? when he was the starter so to speak leading them on to play off run he carried the team why? because it was his job as the started and it makes a difference to a goalie to have that chance, and last year he was promised to be the starter than they through Bernier into the mix, starting an upset, than they let bernier lead this team again this season…and where are you now…

      As for Bernier just having a rough patch, he’s been off all season…don’t care about numbers I care about what I see on the ice, and he has shown me nothing except PLEASE DON’T AWARD THIS GUY WITH A BIG FAT CONTRACT??????? because he doesn’t have it and he doesn’t own it……

      Come on if this was Reims loosing last night agaisnt the sabres the worst team out there…you thow him to the wolfs…

      Thanks Bernier for showing what your really made of…..nothing…

      Reims here or there is a leader and should b giving the real chance to prove it…

      • TGT23

        Your entire reply can be summed up as “I don’t care about stats and facts, I only care about my opinion”….

        Reimer has had every chance the last two seasons to win the starting job, he’s failed. He was also the starter the FIRST AND SECOND time the team fell off a cliff… Do you not remember that?

        Bernier being 2-10-1 over his last 12 with an .896 make him a bad goalie not deserving of a starting job…

        In 2010-11 Reimer finished the season going 4-9 with an .883 Save Percentage in his last 12 games. In 2013-14 he finished the season 2-10 with an .897 Save Percentage in his last 12 games. His last 12 games this season? 3-5 with a .902 Save Percentage.

        Reimer has been the goalie for the last two epic collapses and has been below average two straight seasons and deserves the starting job. Bernier has a bad season (no worse that Reimer’s season last year which you claim he earned a starting job in)… Doesn’t deserve a shot…

        Interesting logic…

        • TGT23

          REALLY?????? okay not a problem….last time I looked stat’s don’t win you games it’s how you play on the ice is it not?? becasue Bernie’s stats haven’t saved this team…..

          and if I recall from when they brought Bernie in, yes he did ok, but it was Reims that was tied with Rask not Bernier till the crap hit the fan, and they through Reims under the bus…..

          excuses after excuses as to bernie’s play this year, I recall the “the team doesn’t play in front of him, the team sucks in front of him……how many games has your wonder boy stole over the season this year????

          when stats win the games and not the person on the ice, I will look at numbers than….

          you want Bernie to lead this team, see where it gets you in the end……

          If anything it is not me that needs to see the truth, it’s fans like yourself that refuse to see the truth

          • TGT23

            “Stats don’t win you games its how you play”

            Are you kidding me… Your play is reflected in your stats. If Bernier stops a higher percentage of pucks, he’s better. He’s giving his team a better chance to win games. That’s how that works. Reimer can’t be playing BETTER if his numbers are worse. His “compete” and how hard he battles doesn’t make him a good goalie. Stopping pucks does. And stopping 90.4% is not good enough.

            It definitely isn’t better than someone who stops 91.1%. Your argument makes no sense. “Berniers numbers aren’t winning them games”? Fair point. But your argument I’d a goalie who stops less pucks WILL win them games?

            Your entire argument is that you don’t care about facts and evidence and the stats that prove, definitively, who is better. You only care about your own bias and ignorant opinions. Your opinion, which was made up before either played a game and couldn’t be swayed by anything that actually happened on the ice.

            And I’m the one who needs to see the truth?

        • Shiner

          To me, it’s this: Yes, both goalies have good games and bad. BUUUUT, come on, Reimerfan is right when he says that if Reimer had been in on last night’s loss people here would have throw him to the wolves. The truth is, both goalies have been in net for major collapses. What do you call the better part of this season?

          How do they handle it though? Bernier seems to blame all of his bad games on poor defense. It seems like every game he loses, he comes out and specifically complains that the team in front of him sucks and people here seem to be pretty okay with that assessment. Personally, I find it kind of unsportsmanlike and frankly a bit evasive. I wish he would own his mistakes rather than throw his team under the bus. When Reimer has a bad game though, he’s a terrible goalie and/or doesn’t deserve to be a starter and/or should be traded and that’s just that. I mean we can talk about ‘that collapse’ but a) it was a one game thing, b) he’s the only reason we were even in that game in the first place.

          How is it that when Bernier lets in too many goals, it’s the fault of our terrible defense, but when Reimer lets a few in, he’s just a bad goalie?

          This seasons stats have Reimer not that far behind Bernier, if we’re being honest and we have seen pretty clearly that Reimer plays a LOT less and is never given an opportunity to have good game if he dares have one that’s just ‘okay’. neither’s season stats are really all that amazing here. It’s not a night and day, ‘obviously one is better’ comparison.

          • TGT23

            You make some valid, well reasoned arguments, something I doubt I’ll get when I read Reimerfan’s reply.

            Some things I will argue you on is whether this season I’d a collapse or just a bad team being bad. Last season the team was in 2nd with a month or so left on the schedule and missed the playoffs. That is a collapse. The team this season was barely hanging on to 8th with 3 months left when the skid started.

            Also, I wasn’t even giving him blame on the Game 7 loss. I was referring to the season prior and the one after.

            That said, you’re right in suggesting there is a bit of a double standard. Though, to be fair, Bernier’s numbers have been better for two straight seasons so maybe he deserves a little benefit of doubt but the point is valid.

            As for Bernier calling out his D… Was he wrong for doing it? Maybe. Was he wrong though? Definitely not.

  • TGT23

    Reimer vs Bernier is kind of a moot point right now, both have had games where they look great and terrible in equal measure.
    @Reimerfan I think your eye test says Reimer is better because his style of play is aggressive and appears more active than Bernier, but don’t let Bernier’s style of play of a more calm positional style fool you into thinking he’s less invested than Reimer.
    Both have had bad years in net, and Reimer certainly looks better this year in my opinion and Bernier is not doing very good at all this year. But many players on this team look bad this year.
    I believe Bernier will bounce back next year and have a much better year than this one, as Reimer has done before as well.
    better days are ahead for all

  • TGT23

    Enh, I think Bernier was in full tank mode last night. Reimer is too much of a straight shooter to play along so they went with the company man. And he was weak. Man, that was tough to watch.

  • Kanuunankuula

    what are you talking about? the leafs are the real winners. buffalo got the extra 2 points. hell, even the coyotes won this game. they’re now 2 points out of last place. everyone wins but the sabres! excellent tanking by the leafs and jonathan bernier. the tank commanders! there’s no defending phaneuf last night. i think he was hungover because he looked horrendous. i thought that was andrew macdonald on the leafs last night! i think we have to get kadri/rielly off of the ice. they’re making these games way too close for comfort with their play…

  • Shiner

    Trade Bernnie keep Rymes better suited for the re-build.Has the skin to make it through a rebuild year and stay positive.Send Bernie to the Mandela goaltending hockey school.I’m sure there could be a deal in Edmonton!!!

  • Kanuunankuula

    Well to be fair, if you take out the games where 5+ goals are scored Reimer’s numbers are not that bad this season. Both have had horrible games this season, and looked “okay” to me. I honestly feel like neither of them are really ahead in skill, last season Bernier looked like a starter, but this season’s gotta be bad for his contract negotiations.