The Toronto Maple Leafs struggles have been well documented and there has been a lot of finger pointing going on lately which at this point accomplishes nothing.
There have been a number of issues brought up during the past four games for the Toronto Maple Leafs and there have been various sides arguing who is at fault.
Some have been pointing the finger at Kyle Dubas for the moves he’s made or didn’t make while others are blaming Mike Babcock for his lineup decisions. Then you get Garret Sparks‘ comments where he called out the team for playing with no emotion which didn’t go unnoticed.
What is the common denominator in all of this? People are looking for someone to be accountable for a four-game stretch where the team’s defensive effort has been pretty much non-existent. With 10 games left in the season, there is time to address those issues but it’s not something a contending team should be trying to figure out at this point.
Babcock discussed how the team’s depth hasn’t been adequate enough and it isn’t on the same level as other contending teams.
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People saw this as Babcock taking a shot at Dubas but if the head coach is going to be pointing fingers then he should be owning part of the blame for his comments.
Obviously, the injuries to Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott have played a role in the recent struggles since it has put pressure on Nikita Zaitsev, Martin Marincin and Justin Holl/Igor Ozhiganov to step up and they haven’t been able to. It doesn’t help that Holl has sat in the press box for most of the season and then he gets thrust into playing every day which is no easy task for a defenceman.
If you look at the Tampa Bay Lightning’s depth chart they have played nine defencemen this season and only two have played less than 10 games. Ryan McDonagh is the only one who has played in every game for the team and they rotated their depth on a regular basis. Players like Erik Cernak, and Anton Stralman have regularly rotated in and out of the lineup and both seem more than capable of stepping in when called upon.
Frederik Andersen has helped mask some of the deficiencies from the blue line and with the team needing to tighten up defensively they have failed to provide the support needed. At the same time, Sparks hasn’t been asked to do much this season and for him to call out the team shouldn’t be happening and he’s come under fire from fans because of how he’s performed this season.
Right now there hasn’t been a lot of positivity surrounding the team and while it is easy to point the finger and say the player, the coach or the general manager are the problem it doesn’t solve anything at the end of the day.
Dubas brought up a photo on Twitter talking about how people looking for the simple answers don’t get the results their looking for while those who strive to think of a more complex solution generally do.
While the general manager was clearly frustrated by the team’s performance on Saturday against Ottawa, they can’t let a four-game stretch define their season. Every team goes through adversity but the last thing they can do it overreact to what has been happening.
The Leafs have been among the top teams at five-on-five and are still third in the Atlantic Division with an outside shot of catching the Bruins (it would take a big push to move past them). This is also a team that made it a point to upgrade their centre position by signing John Tavares and trading for Jake Muzzin to provide some experience on the blue line.
All this can go away if the team pulls out of this rough stretch and finally performs in playoffs but until then, the organization will remain on the hot seat.
What are your thoughts on the Leafs recent stretch? Do you think someone should take the blame for it? Let us know in the comments below.