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Mirko Bibic didn’t rating a objective in opposition to the Florida Panthers, which meant he wound up tied within the sequence with Auston Matthews.
Edward Rogers and Tony Staffieri didn’t rating both — identical as captain John Tavares.
But these three scoreless however highly effective males — greater than even Larry Tanenbaum — representing the bulk possession of Maple Leafs Sports activities and Leisure — will decide which course the failed Maple Leafs will go in after immediately, after one other yr of misplaced alternative, after extra damaged hockey hearts and playoff vacancy.
The time has come for change. You’ll be able to’t wait any longer on this failed plan. The query that Bibic, the CEO of Bell, and Staffieri the CEO of chief rival Rogers and the sporting voice of Rogers, the ever present prodigal son Edward, must take care of first is the standing of membership president Brendan Shanahan.
In the event that they select to take care of Shanahan as president, then he has to current to them some form of plan which isn’t standard standard: The Leafs misplaced 3-2 in additional time Friday night time, misplaced the sequence 4-1 to the Panthers, scored 10 targets in 5 video games within the sequence. Two in every sport. A ridiculous quantity for a workforce of this type of high-end ability.
That’s the place Bibic and Staffieri and Rogers, with chairman Tanenbaum concerned, have to find out if they carry Shanahan again, and in the event that they achieve this, they want an evidence from him about how subsequent yr will likely be totally different than this yr or totally different from earlier years. Maple Leaf Sports activities indicators the paycheques handed out to Matthews, Mitch Marner, Tavares, William Nylander, the $40 million 4, who by no means grabbed this sequence and took it over.
They’d moments simply not almost sufficient manufacturing.
If Shanahan is saved as president, he’ll then must current one thing of a brand new plan to Bibic, Staffieri and the remainder of the board of Maple Leaf Sports activities and Leisure. That includes normal supervisor Kyle Dubas, whose contract expires shortly. That includes the standing of head coach Sheldon Keefe, who like his workforce has had terrific common season success and an absence of manufacturing when it mattered most.
If Dubas is again, he might want Keefe again as coach. However in equity, you possibly can’t do this now. The Leafs completed the playoffs profitable certainly one of 5 video games at residence, scoring 14 targets of their last seven video games, outplaying the opposition in possibly three, presumably 4 of the 11 playoff video games the Leafs performed.
Sure, Toronto was lucky to return away with a Spherical 1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. That was one thing to have a good time. This sequence took the celebration out of essentially the most ardent of Leaf followers. This was a kick within the intestine for the Leafs. One other yr to look the probabilities of all of it, and marvel what may need been.
The NHL is all the way down to Florida and Carolina within the East. The Panthers completed means behind the Leafs within the season. The Hurricanes received via the primary two rounds of the playoffs with out three of their best-scoring forwards. A kind of groups will play for the Stanley Cup.
In a yr through which Boston misplaced in Spherical 1, the Rangers had been eradicated in Spherical 1, this was once more a playoff season of alternative misplaced. Final yr, they misplaced to Tampa, who went to play for the Cup. The yr earlier than, they misplaced to Montreal with a 3-1 lead within the best-of-seven sequence, and the Canadiens went on to play for the Cup.
The Leafs Stanley Cup drought is 56 years in size now, and except the Edmonton Oilers in some way discover a option to win the following two rounds, the Canadian Stanley Cup drought stays.
And it has in every of the previous a number of seasons, the Maple Leafs simply weren’t nice sufficient, weren’t sufficiently big, weren’t offensive sufficient, didn’t change video games, or change this sequence in any means.
You’ll be able to’t rating two targets an evening and win within the playoffs. You’ll be able to’t rating two targets an evening and be aggressive.
You’ll be able to’t win when your entire nice gamers— except Morgan Rielly, who was the most effective Leaf within the playoffs — are simply so-so. You simply can’t.
Rielly scored what ought to have been the tying objective Friday night time and the decision was bungled by the Nationwide Hockey League. With a play not stopping, Rielly broke in on objective, beat Marc Staal to the surface, poked a puck within the course of Sergei Bobrovsky, the Florida goalie, after which poked it previous him for a second-period objective that was disallowed.
That considerably altered the momentum of the night time.
There was no whistle on the play. The NHL mentioned a whistle ought to have been known as, therefore the objective being known as off. Then they spent about 10 minutes attempting to find out whether or not it was a objective or not. But when they consider a whistle ought to have been known as and the play ought to have been known as off, then the refs ought to have that decision in about 10 seconds. Not ten minutes.
In explaining why the objective was known as off, NHL contradicted itself. That wasn’t why the Leafs misplaced. It was simply a part of the tough circumstance that surrounded this workforce all playoff season and definitely in defeat in Recreation 5.
Now choices to be made. To maintain Shanahan or not? To maintain Dubas as normal supervisor? To maintain Keefe as coach? The low season for the Maple Leafs begins Saturday. The selections ought to come proper after that.
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