Maple Leafs scored badly

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell
Photo: beautiful pictures

Even though we Chicagoans don’t have spring – it’s winter until one day somewhere in May when it suddenly turns to summer and we’re all instantly drunk outside – it doesn’t which means we can’t see the signs of the approaching spring in other places. Sure enough, we got robbed of one of them during spring training. But the desperate weeping of baseball fans deprived of their joy certainly tells us where we are on the calendar. Later sunsets, slightly warmer temperatures, and long lines at the car wash tell us that darkness may soon subside.

Oh, and the Boston Bruins quickly earned a spot over the Toronto Maple Leafs while the latter was going through a goalkeeping crisis as their fan base started running around the city with scissors.

You could look at the Leafs having won three of their last five games, losing only their last two and think things weren’t so bad. And maybe they don’t. But then, you don’t know how things work in TO Any single blip this time of year causes tremors in Ontario, especially if it heralds yet another first exit for Leafs.

This is on the horizon, because Toronto is unlikely to beat the Panthers first. That means leading the playoffs against Lightning, or maybe the Bruins again, which will cause all sorts of shakes in the darkroom, or maybe the Panthers themselves, or maybe even Canes. All of that would at best be a series of trials, which will surely give you the most heartache.

And what’s really causing a stir in the nation’s hockey capital is that the Leafs’ scoring ability has been going bad for a few months now. There’s no bigger house than Leafs ever, with this dizzying array of offensive and goal-scoring talents dependent on the various goofis and benefit cards they’ve installed between posts. Whether it’s a collection of Freddie Andersen’s downfalls in Game 7s in Boston or Jack Campbell turning into Jack Campbell in a game against Habs last year, the beat method is all too familiar to Leafs fans, fun funny to others.

That’s probably what drove Leafs fans and the media away from their senses, anticipating that they’d have to go through all of this again. Since the start of the year, the Leafs have the worst save percentage (0.881) at an even level in the league. According to, the Leafs have scored 25 more goals in 2022 than their expected tally, meaning that every time they leave the dressing room, they’re 1-0 down. The fact that they managed a 15-8-2 record in that time is something of a minor miracle.

It’s especially bad at the end of the year. The Leafs dropped six goals last night against the Vancouver Canucks. The previous match came in five Saber games, both at home. There were also seven spots awarded to the Red Wings, although the Leafs managed to score 10 on their own that night to cancel it. They have lost six goals to the Blues and five goals to Canada in recent weeks.

Campbell has become a leak hotspot. His savings rate in 2022 is 0.882. His performances at the end of February were so engaging that he took the week off to try and gather himself. He responded with a full-body flutter in front of Vancouver. And the Leafs may not have time to figure something else out.

Backup Petr Mrazek is no better, with a savings rate of 0.887 in February while Campbell was down. And like Campbell, Mrazek has an eventual case of Petr Mrazek.

And the Leafs don’t hang their goalkeepers to dry. As of January 1, they are 9th and 11th in terms of expected goals against and against Corsi (scoring attempts). Even scoring mid-range is worth more than a few wins with what the Leafs have allowed to throw in their net. But even the cool hint of a shot is finding the twine.

People really think Campbell was ready for this, what Leafs built for everywhere else, from the start. Before last season, Campbell had only had two good seasons as a substitute for Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles for unrelated Kings teams. Again, any team that has used the last season as a viable template for evaluation and prediction ends up with a handful of themselves. That’s right, Campbell had great numbers halfway through the season at the start of the Leafs last year. Those are circumstances never to repeat, and the Leafs are in a department with a giant sack. Campbell has never faced a good team. And even that didn’t stop him and the Leafs from coughing their first series against one of those lousy teams, Montreal.

Of course, it’s not a mystery why. The Leafs cannot buy anything else. They have three sums of more than 10 million dollars and have been capped. That lack of available cash is believed to be the cause of their slow and veteran entry into the group of 6 over the years, which has been exposed by the deeper teams. But the Leafs continued to assume that they could get anyone on target and it would work.

And this may be what they have to go with. Only one report last night that Marc-Andre Fleury doesn’t want to be re-traded, even though it belongs to Steve Simmons of Toronto, so you’ll need a whole bag of salt. To get Fleury, if Fleury wants to go, the Leafs will have to do some serious salary checks. Anything else? Martin Jones? Braden Holtby?

The Leafs will see a real butt team come to the first round. All of those teams have a real goalkeeper. Leafs will once again respond with a rippling armed inflatable man. We know this story.

Ah, spring…

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