Latest on the Leafs, Senators, Canadiens and Canucks – May 14, 2013.

Assessing the Maple Leafs third period Game 7 collapse, an update on Jason Spezza, Canadiens Marc Bergevin a finalist for NHL GM of the year, and the Canucks still looking for an AHL home.

Leafs goalie James Reimer lies disconsolate after Bruins score series winner.

Leafs goalie James Reimer lies disconsolate after Bruins score series winner.

TORONTO SUN/TORONTO STAR: Steve Simmons  believes the Maple Leafs deserved better than their late third period collapse leading to the Boston Bruins overtime win in Game 7, while Damien Cox suggest the Leafs choke against the Bruins could haunt this roster for years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was an inexplicable loss. The Leafs seemingly had things under control with less than two minutes remaining in the game and leading 4-2. Sloppy defensive play cost them. The consensus is the Leafs stopped playing to win after going up 4-1 early in the third, and started playing not to lose. That’s a fair assessment. You just can’t play that type of game against an experienced, talented team like the Bruins. Hopefully, this painful lesson will be vital in the growth of this Leafs roster.

 Some Leafs fans tried to make goalie James Reimer the scapegoat by citing his rebound control, but that’s unfair to the man I believe is responsible for the Leafs even making the playoffs, let alone advancing to Game Seven against the favored Bruins. Put simply, his defense let him down. 

OTTAWA SUN: Jason Spezza didn’t travel with the Senators to Pittsburgh and won’t play in Game One against the Penguins, though he hasn’t ruled out Game Two on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Spezza is to return to action, I recommend he wait until the series shifts back to Ottawa for Games Three and Four. Best to give himself a little more time to work back into the roster.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is a finalist for NHL GM of the Year. Bergevin also met with the Montreal media yesterday to discuss his club’s performance this season and his plans for the off-season. He gave goalie Carey Price a vote of confidence, but wouldn’t say if he’d open contract talks this summer with P.K. Subban. He also acknowledged he’d like his team to be bigger, younger and faster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given how bruising negotiations were between Bergevin and the Subban camp last year, neither side is probably in any rush to jump back into negotiations again. Besides, I believe Subban’s agent would prefer to wait until after the NHL awards, for if his client wins the Norris, the price of re-signing him will  significantly rise.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks have 30 days to decide what they’ll do with the Peoria Rivermen, the AHL franchise they purchased earlier this year. They must either find a new home for the team, or pay the AHL a $150K fee and leave the franchise dormant for one year.

17 Comments

  1. Bottom line is the Leafs need a big stud on D. Dion is not the guy and a stud would have made the difference in this series. A big top line center would have helped but wouldn’t have made the difference. The Leafs need to make a serious push for Shea Weber in the off season and see what it will take to pry him out of Nashville. Talks will start with O’Rielly and this years first rounder I am curious what else they will ask for? Maybe Frattin? Maybe I’m dreaming but that is a monster contract that Nashville can’t handle on a long term basis. Kadri could be the deciding guy in a trade but I doubt the Leafs will part with him.

    • You may be right regarding the teams needs going forward, but last night they may a fatal flaw. They got comfortable when they were up 4-1 and expected the Bruins to roll over and die. That is a rookie mistake, one that I assume won’t happen to this group again.

      • Well they won’t get Weber for one. Next, they can’t dangle their draft pick for him as Weber can’t even be traded until near the end of July due to the offer sheet from last year. Also, Nashville isn’t trading him.

    • Can us non-Leafs fans have more than one day to appreciate your team blowing a 3 goal lead and ending their season before getting into alright for elite player swaps? Just asking…

  2. Even though I don’t like the Leafs I think they did a great job against Boston. The collapse was brutal but the defense was to blame not Reimer. He held Boston to 1 goal when most of the play was in the Leaf zone, then the Leafs broke down defensively. He’s going to be better next year though. It’s a big loss but they could use it as fuel for their fire next year.
    LOL! Wouldn’t every team like to be bigger, faster and younger. He might as well have asked if he wanted them to win the Stanley cup soon.
    I don’t think Subban should win the Norris. His emotions control his game as shown in the Sens series and he cost his team at least 1 game from what I remember. He hurts his team with his temper and I don’t believe that represents the poise and professional conduct that a Norris winner should have.
    I hope Spezza comes back but like Lyle I think that he should give himself some more time even if it is just a few more days. This is going to be a great series!! GO Sens GO!!

    And to Lyle. I’ve been going on your website religiously for 3 years now and I’d like to give you acknowledgement for the great job you do! Thanks for giving us hockey mad fans a site to get all the juicy, RELIABLE, details in one place lol.

  3. Weber isn’t going anywhere. Not with the huge bonus paid by Nashville last year.

    Leaf fans should be happy overall. They nearly ha the bruins, but then let up.

    Oh and beer / slap, still want to trade kessel? He had a pretty solid performance against the B’s….

    • Ya I’d still trade him. He’s a UFA next year and has a no movement clause that kicks in this summer UNLESS he is willing to take Lupul/JVR money because he isn’t better then either of those guys.

  4. Leafs played a gallant series and won the respect of most hockey fans. For much of the series they were the hungrier team, and Carlyle outcoached Clode, esp in Game 2.

    Kessel’s play should silence his critics. Tuukka Rask’s play should silence his critics as well. Awesome save in OT.

    OTOH, after this series, Phaneuf is no longer the most over-rated player in the league. He’s been exposed as a poser many of us knew he was all along. Not much of a #1 Dman.

    Bergevin’s comments were indeed laughable.

    Oh waiter, another Reimer rebound, please.

  5. Not sure if this is the right thread for this or not but I posted some comments over the summer before the Rangers traded for Nash. I (big Ranger fan) was convinced that Kessel was easily equal to Rick Nash and you could make a case that Kessel was better.

    I got beat down from many posters insisting that Nash was far superior. As the regular season progressed, Nash had some unbelievable goals and I was beginning to think I was wrong and that Nash was better than Kessel.

    I have come full circle back to my original opinion and I would rather have Kessel than Nash. Nash has been a shrinking violet for the Rangers and it is not just his first round performance. If you examine his regular season he was ironically a lot like Gaborik who would score a lot of his goals against weak opponents and/or in non clutch situations. And apparently he has one move – turn his ass towards the Def as he crosses the blueline and try to pivot one way or the other which the Caps had no problem defending.

    Nobody in the league gets defensemen back on the heels more than Kessel when he speeds up the ice. the Leafs are lucky to have him and should make every effort to resign him.

    • Correct on all counts.

      Kessel’s speed puts incredible pressure on the D. He gave the Broons fits. He and Marc Savard were incredible together in Boston. I was sorry to see him leave Boston and have wished him the best in Toronto, except when he played Boston.

  6. shouldn’t the Bruins have received a penalty for delay of game when the fans threw junk on the ice?? I believe this influenced the game to the point of allowing the Bruins to rest and the leafs to get frustrated (more). This from a Jets fan.

    • Don’t forget the water bottle that was thrown on the ice by the Bruins bench….how is that not delay of the game? thought both of those were odd.

  7. When you lead 4-2 with only a few minutes remaining and ultimately choke and lose 5-4 in OT, its a team loss. Reimer, for his part, is largely the single most reason that team took Boston to 7 games. Probably inexperience and panic set in when the 2nd Boston goal was scored and it just imploded from there.

    Dion is not #1 defense material but he is in the top 4 as D men go but really, the guy does fine until he’s reached about 22-23 minutes and then…he cacks..almost always.

    All this aside, I’m proud of what they did; sadly they let it slip away but hey, Gretzky’s Oilers lost a few times to the Islanders on the way to learning how to win and until you learn what not to do as a team, there will be growing pains and I”m sure the pain is being felt today in that clubhouse as we speak

    • Problem is you are paying Dion $6.5M which is #1 D money.

      • Yes he’s overpaid at $6.5 million, but still falls within the top 4 dman pairing. Remember too Calgary gave him that contract which fortunately, is going into its last year and should they decide to resign him, I”m hoping its for much less; especially with a falling cap coming into play in September

  8. Reimer faced and stopped more shots than any other goalie in round one. But he does need to work on the rebounds, or loosen up his damn pads! Great experience for him though, and his weaknesses were totally exposed. Now he has no choice but to work on them and get better.

    As Joey said, once Phaneuf hits the 20 minute mark he starts to play poorer and poorer. What bothers me is their are stats supporting this, yet last night Carlyle had Phaneuf and Gardiner (who I did not mind) play about 28 minutes, Gunnarsson and Franson about 19 minutes, and Lyles and O’Byrne 13 minutes. Why not give O’Byrne the job of clearing Chara from the front of the net? Phaneuf and Gunnarsson did not have the will, ability of desire to do so.

    @Jim Broatch – Yes, and a penalty for that weasel Marchand throwing a water bottle on the ice, and Kelly for an elbow to JVR’s cranium, and to Marchand for slew footing Reimer behind the net, and to Rask for punching Lupul when the Boston player pushed him into Rask, and to Chara for punching Lupul for trying to get up, and in fairness to Phaneuf for slashing Lucic. The officiating was brutal but they cannot use that as an excuse for their spectacular demise last night. I hope it haunts them forever into never doing that again to themselves or their fans.

    • don’t forget Lucic’s brutal hit from behind on Gunnarson … i can’t believe he didn’t get a penalty for that when they gave one to Daniel Sedin in OT for one nowhere near as bad.