Dejected and frustrated.
That's how it feels after the Leafs lose their first preseason game, a 5-0 stinker at home to the despised Senators. The soft drink sponsored Fans First Game, promoted as "our way of thanking them for their on-going support" ends with those grateful Maple Leafs slinking off the ice to a smattering of boos. Maybe it's the deserving karma of the whole nauseating promo-event, but for whatever reason, the Leafs seemed woefully mismatched and unprepared.
Reminiscent of last season.
Does coaching have anything to do with being prepared?
Whoah, slow down there. Just one game. Wilson is not going to be fired for what he does in September.
Back to this Fans First thing. I actually missed most of the first two periods. I was at SkyDome watching the Blue Jays with my 3 year old daughter. But before the game we walked around Union Station to see if we could flip our baseball tickets (for an actual regular season game) for (pre-season) hockey tickets. 100 section, just a few rows behind the first base dug-out. I was told by scalpers that my pair of 62 dollar tickets wasn't worth 25 dollars. He then added that because tonight's Leafs game was "free", tickets were really scarce and were going for double the normal rate. Plus, "it's the first game so everyone wants to go".
My daughter and I really enjoyed 4 innings of Blue Jays baseball and the score was 5-1 when we left. We saw 3 home runs.
By the time I got home, it was 3-0 for the Sens and the only drama left was how bad could it get.
Said Greg Cyr, the director of integrated marketing of a soft drink company:
"And now we’re making the impossible, possible for passionate Leafs fans that have never experienced the thrill of a live Leafs game."
Uh-huh. Except, fail.
IT'S NOT THRILLING WHEN YOU LOSE FIVE NOTHING.
Don't get too unwound. This isn't really the Leafs. This team had names like Irwin, Mueller, Hamilton, Zigomanis, Crabb, Gysbers, Lashoff, and Rynnas, on the back of Leafs' sweaters, not to mention Kadri and D'Amigo. This is not the team we'll see in October.
I don't know if he does it on purpose, but Wilson seems to have a habit of throwing people to the wolves. There was probably a degree of opening-night jitters and uncertainty from the young players and even the vets. My idea of "a game to say thanks" would be to surprise the opposition with a stacked line-up of all the regular everyday players from last season. Let the rookies watch the veterans then set the tone for the season by demolishing a Sens line-up sprinkled with job-seekers and minor leaguers in front of a roaring, appreciative crowd.
In short, Mr. Wilson, you're not helping soft drink sales and we've got eight games left to establish a culture of success.
Tyler Bozak seems to have a clear head on his shoulders:
"tough start to preseason but thats what preseason is for! Getting all the kinks out. In the lineup tomorrow and cant wait!"
Seems like the right attitude. I guess it's the right time for getting stuff out of the way. So I made a list of "kinks" you can exercise from your systems over the next 8 games:
1. Blow-outs at home.
2. Lackluster efforts vs. division rivals.
3. Lackluster efforts at home.
4. Shutouts on home ice.
5. A SHUT-OUT LOSS IN A BLOW OUT AT HOME TO A DIVISION RIVAL IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN THE REGULAR SEASON!!1 That's the kind of stuff that make us a laughing stock. No more laughing stocks.
6. Oh-Seven-And-One. Just get it out of the way now. I honestly don't care if we don't win one PRESEASON game but we WILL NOT go 0-7-1 to start the regular season again. Unacceptable in the extreme.
I suppose there's more to add to the list, like ineffective power plays and penalty kills, giving up 2-goal leads in the 3rd, or not having a full-scale donnybrook in the final minutes of a 5-0 blowout at home to a division rival... Work all that shit out and make sure these bad habits, or "kinks" or just mind-numbingly poor efforts have had their time in the sun and won't be coming back in the regular season.
Anyways, the first preseason game is no treat for the fans. At the end of the year, when we see our first post-season game, now that will be a real gift that we blow our wad for.