Anytime the Leafs score within the first 40 minutes of the opening face-off, their chances of success improve dramatically. Anytime the Leafs score in the 1st or 2nd period, the excitement value of the game skyrockets.
Everytime the 2nd period ends and the Leafs have yet to score a goal, I'm reminded of a quote from Brian Burke from way back in the first week of the season:
"Then, the rest of it for me is, we want to have a certain attitude. We want to play an entertaining style. We don’t trap. We pursue the puck in all three zones. We hit in all three zones. We fight. And we try to score a lot of goals. We’re not afraid to trade chances because our D is good because our goaltending is good, we’re not afraid to trade chances, which leads to an entertaining hockey game.”
“My teams play a style that’s designed to entertain."
-Brian Burke speaks with Paul Hunter, published October 8th, 2010
October 18th vs NYIslanders,
after 4o minutes 1-0 NYI, final score 2-1OT.
October 21st vs NYRangers,
after 40 minutes 2-0 NYR, final score 2-1.
October 28th vs Boston,
after 40 minutes 2-0 Bos, final score 2-0.
October 30th vs NYRangers,
after 40 minutes 2-0 NYR, final score 2-0.
November 2nd vs Ottawa,
after 40 minutes 3-0 Ott, final score 3-2.
November 9th vs Tampa Bay,
after 40 minutes 3-0 TB, final score 4-0.
November 10th vs Florida,
after 40 minutes 2-0 Fl, final score 4-1.
November 20th vs Montreal,
after 40 minutes 1-0 Mon, final score 2-0.
November 26th vs Buffalo,
after 40 minutes 2-0 Buf, final score 3-1.
November 27th vs Ottawa,
after 40 minutes 3-0 Ott, final score 3-0.
December 2nd vs Edmonton,
after 40 minutes 3-0 Edm, finals score 5-0.
Scoreless after 2 periods 11 times and shutout completely 6 times in 24 games - 25% - zero Leaf goals in 1 out of every 4 games so far this season.
This isn't entertaining at all. No NHL team with a fan base this big should have this little to cheer bout.
Is it possible that the Leafs have learned all they can from Wilson? Isn't it possible that the team could retain the best aspects of Wilson's teachings and keep it in their back pocket while moving on with a fresh approach? The Leafs are well versed in their responsibilities but what they seem to need is someone who can spark their imaginations and get the offence rolling. Someone focused on scoring goals and winning now. Someone who grants freedom and allows creativity and someone who inspires courage and determination.
Someone who forgives mistakes so there's no fear in making them. Someone that promotes confidence, not insecurity. Someone who encourages the players to celebrate their success.
Someone who can teach them about Wendel and Dougie and Mats.
I'm not gonna tell you who I'd bring in as interim-coach for the rest of the season, but I'll give you a hint: it's a name I've mentioned before, and it begins with "Todd" and it ends with "Gill" and it rhymes with "Totally Awesome".
If he's not availbale, my second choice is Frantisek Kaberle Sr.