Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Toronto Maple Leafs Miss Playoffs....Again

Mike Cassese/Reuters
The Toronto Maple Leafs have missed the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs for a franchise record seventh straight year, and have not made it since the year before the lockout in 2003/2004. The leafs were in sixth place in the Eastern Conference on February 16th, but went a league worst 5-16-3 since then. The players, coaches, fans, and management are all angered and embarrassed. 
The Leafs sit in the bottom five in the league and have a shot at the number one overall pick in the draft lottery. Many cannot believe the leafs missed the playoffs this year, because they were playing quite well and had high expectations. Before the season started, many though the Leafs would place around tenth, but as they succeeded during the season, people spoke of playoffs. What is needed to end the Leafs' playoff drought? Their General Manager, Brian Burke, has been in control of the team since 2008, and fans have begun to get restless. He has made some good trades (Tomas Kaberle to Boston), and some questionable ones (Kessel from Boston). Should he still be allowed to lead the team for a few more years. Ron Wilson was fired last month from the head coaching position, and Randy Carlyle took over, but has not fared well. The leading scorer, Phil Kessel, is a phenomenal player, but rather one dimensional, and lacks a playmaking centre to line up with. Dion Phaneuf, team captain, is being questioned and called overpaid. The Leafs will again have high expectations for next season, and since they are located in the most pressure filled NHL city, it will be interesting to see how the team reacts. I am looking forward to seeing how the team approaches the draft and free agency.

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