Anticipation has a habit of setting you up for disappointment. That’s what seems to have happened here; the Leafs flew high for several weeks, and after three regulation losses, nobody knows what to believe anymore. In today’s edition of the roundtable, we break down whether there’s much to worry about.
Wrap Around Curl
The Leafs’ 4 best players aren’t even in their prime yet, and one of them has been missing the last few games. With more young players coming up the ranks. Maybe the Leafs don’t make the playoffs this year. They were on a winning streak and everyone got excited, and now they’re on a losing streak. But even if they don’t make the playoffs, it’s not even close to panic time. Stay the course. Improve if you can do so on a good deal. Everything will be fine.
The natural state of fans is to be in panic mode. It’s just how it will be. Especially as expectations have been raised. When you look around at the makeup of the Leafs what is there to be panicked about? A leaky backup? An underwhelming bottom pair? These are easy fixes in the long term and are obstacles to overcome in the short term. Luckily, they have one of the best young cores in the league. The best is yet to come and if a losing streak has you in a tizzy, make sure to look at the big picture. Anything good that happens this year should be icing on the proverbial cake. Enjoy the ride.
The Leafs don’t really need to panic, mostly because like I’ve felt all year this is a season for one main thing: fun. Yeah, it’s the vaguest cliche in the history of the sport (typically at the youth level), but really the Leafs don’t need to have any motive this season to be even a competitive roster. Sure, they’ve looked at times as both an elite offensive dynamo and a league-bottom defensive unit, but really this year’s best purpose is to get fans back on board with the team’s project of a rebuild. Perhaps we got a little cocky during late December and January, though it isn’t really a concern in the long run. The team’s not winning the cup this year anyway, so let’s just enjoy the ride, wherever it ends up.
The fact that we’re getting all torn up about a small losing streak in February tells you all you need to know about this Leafs season. It’s been fun. Obviously, there isn’t anything to panic about in the long-term, but even in this playoff push, the team was due for some adversity after basically laying waste to the league for nearly 2 months. In terms of points percentage, they still sit 7th in the conference and should be able to right there on the bubble until season’s end. It just depends on how the coin flips really. It’ll be stressful because in these last 33 games they’ll likely hit another rough patch. But panic? Nah. With the way expectations were talked about for this season, they’re playing with house money.
I’m very concerned about this team. With each loss, I start to think more and more that their first round victory might take six games instead of five, and that there’s a chance that they’ll lose to the Habs in round two, and nobody wants to see that happen.