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.
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.