Toronto Maple Leafs: Who is to Blame for This Poor Start?

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Toronto Maple Leafs: Who is to Blame for This Poor Start?

Oct 25, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal in the second period past Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier (45) at Air Canada Centre. The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a total of four wins this season against; the New York Rangers, the Colorado Avalanche the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres, those teams have a combined 14-17-2 record this season. All four of their losses (plus their overtime loss) came against the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings, who have a combined 22-12-3 record.

The message is on the wall, this team is having a hard time competing with the best teams in the league. Last year the Leafs got great goaltending which won them games that they had no business winning. Now the goaltending is merely human and along with the inconsistency, the team’s effort has many fans questioning whether this team can get their act together. Sure the win over the Buffalo Sabres was great to watch, but can the Leafs do that against a better team? That should have been an easy win for the Leafs but with the way they have been playing it is no surprise that fans are doubting their effort.

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The worst part about the Leafs losses this season is that they have come at home in front of a home crowd who spent a decent amount of money to watch a Leafs game and it has been an embarrassment. This was a tweet sent out after the humiliating loss to the Boston Bruins.

There have only been two losses where the Leafs have shown any type of consistent effort, their first loss of the season against the Montreal Canadiens and their overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

After their loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, Randy Carlyle said that is was no surprise that the his team lost. Even though they just lost Zdeno Chara for over a month and they still outplayed the Leafs who have only two injuries to role players like David Booth and Brandon Kozun. Here is what Carlyle had to say after the game.

Oct 3, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mike Santorelli (25) celebrates a goal on Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson (50) by Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner (not pictured) during the first period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

In the off-season Dave Nonis wanted to improve the bottom six forwards so that the top six forwards would not be hammered with playing too many minutes. People have to stop looking at the number of points the top line gets and look at the way that they play every night. If you are getting paid a significant amount of money to be the best player on the team then you have to be the best player on the ice or make other players around you better.

That is what advanced statistics allows management to see and shockingly Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak the top line are ranked near the bottom on the team in possession.

Here is a table of the Leafs advanced stats with their Fenwick percentage. The fact that Bozak, Kessel and JVR are near the bottom below 50% just shows that they struggle against the other teams best players for puck possession. This table can also be viewed here.

[table id=24 /]

So who is to blame for this poor start? Are the players to blame? Are the coaches to blame? Is management to blame? Right now it looks like everyone in the organization is to blame for the way this season has started.