Leafs Catastrophe Finally in the Books

By HOWARD BERGER

***BREAKING NEWS (Noon Sunday): Leafs have fired GM David Nonis and head coach Peter Horachek. News conference Monday.***

TORONTO (Apr. 12) — It was like watching the final hour of the 2011 federal election here in Canada. Incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper led his Progressive Conservative Party to a landslide majority government while the energetic Jack Layton — toward the end of a valiant struggle with cancer — breathed life into the New Democrats. The Liberals, which had ruled the country for many previous years under such political giants as Lester B. Pearson, Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Jean Chretian, were trounced… and nearly lost “official party” status.

The Maple Leafs today are like the Liberals then.

15-Leafs-Habs-Lastedited-X

THE LEAFS DREADFUL 2014–15 SEASON FINALLY ENDED SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE AIR CANADA CENTRE. MONTREAL WON 4–3 IN A SHOOTOUT. GRAIG ABEL GETTY IMAGES/NHL.COM

If European football rules had been adopted by the National Hockey League, Toronto would have long ago been relegated to a lower division. Mandatory skirmish against functional opponents hasn’t gone particularly well in the past ten seasons with the Leafs appearing in but a single playoff round (seven–game loss to the Bruins in May 2013).

The final, miserable numbers are in for 2014–15.

In 82 games, the Leafs finished 30–44–8 for 68 points, a decrease of 16 from last season, when the club fell apart over the final 14 games and wound up 38–36–8 for 84 points. Goals For dropped from 231 to 211; Goals Against rose from 256 to 262. That’s a minus–51 differential this season from minus–25 a year ago. The club’s 30 wins tied it with several other years for fewest in a minimum 80–game schedule since 1990–91, when the Maple Leafs won 23. Its 44 losses were the most since 1996–97. The club’s record up to Dec. 16 was 19–9–3. Its record after Dec. 16 was 11–35–5. When Randy Carlyle was fired on Jan. 6 of this year, the Leafs were 21–16–3. Beginning Jan. 7 under Peter Horachek: 9–28–5. Minus the 10–1–1 streak of Nov. 20 to Dec. 16, the Maple Leafs record including the final 14 games of last season is 22–55–7. Since January 2014, there were two excellent runs, totaling 24–4–4. The club was 44–76–12 in all other games of the past two seasons.

On the road this terrible season, the Leafs were an NHL–worse 8–27–6 (14–20–7 last year), including a mark of 1–21–3 after Dec. 31 — among the most embarrassing blights in franchise history. Toronto’s lone victory on foreign ice in 2015 was at Florida (Mar. 3) — a game in which the Panthers nearly had to summon their Zamboni driver to play net.

The eight wins were the fewest in a full season since 1990–91; the 27 losses most since 1991–92. Among 29 NHL opponents, only Dallas failed to beat the Maple Leafs in 2014–15 — losing 5–3 at the Air Canada Centre on Dec. 2 and 4–0 at the American Airlines Centre on Dec. 23.

14-15Leafs-Dec2edited-X

ONLY DALLAS FAILED TO BEAT THE LEAFS IN 2014–15 — INCLUDING THIS GAME, DEC. 2, AT AIR CANADA CENTRE: A 5–3 TORONTO WIN. KLAUS ANDERSEN GETTY IMAGES/NHL.COM

Phil Kessel led the Maple Leafs in scoring with 61 points — the fewest since his 55 points in 2009–10 and second–fewest for a Leafs player in a full schedule since Mike Walton had 59 points in 1967–68 (first year of NHL expansion). James van Riemsdyk had a team–high 27 goals — fewest for a Leafs leader since Jason Blake’s 25 in 2008–09 and tied for second–fewest since Vincent Damphousse potted 26 in 1990–91. Kessel had a team–high 36 assists — fewest by a Leafs leader in a full season during the expansion era (since Dave Keon’s 33 helpers in 1966–67). Doug Gilmour still comfortably holds the single–season record of 95 (in 1992–93). Dion Phaneuf led the Maple Leafs with 108 penalty minutes. Tie Domi still holds the franchise mark of 365 minutes in 1997–98.

Meantime, the opening round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs (and accompanying TV schedule) is all set. This, from NHL.com:

************************************************************************

EASTERN CONFERENCE FIRST-ROUND MATCHUPSSERIES A – A1 vs. W1TIME (ET)   vs.  NETWORKSWednesday, April 157 p.m.Ottawa at MontrealCBC, TVA Sports, NHL NetworkFriday, April 17 7 p.m.Ottawa at MontrealCBC, TVA Sports, CNBCSunday, April 197 p.m.Montreal at OttawaCBC, TVA Sports, NBCSNWednesday, April 227 p.m.Montreal at OttawaCBC, TVA Sports, USA*Friday, April 24 TBDOttawa at MontrealCBC*Sunday, April 26 TBDMontreal at OttawaCBC*Tuesday, April 28 TBDOttawa at MontrealCBC    SERIES B – A2 vs. A3TIME (ET)   vs.  NETWORKSThursday, April 167:30 p.m.Detroit at Tampa BayCNBC, Sportsnet, TVA SportsSaturday, April 183 p.m.Detroit at Tampa BayNBC, CBC, TVA SportsTuesday, April 217 p.m.Tampa Bay at DetroitNBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA SportsThursday, April 237 p.m.Tampa Bay at DetroitNBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports*Saturday, April 25TBDDetroit at Tampa BayTBD*Monday, April 27TBDTampa Bay at DetroitTBD*Wednesday, April 29TBDDetroit at Tampa BayTBD    SERIES C – M1 vs. W2TIME (ET)  vs.  NETWORKSThursday, April 167 p.m.Pittsburgh at NY RangersNBCSN, CBC, TVA SportsSaturday, April 188 p.m.Pittsburgh at NY RangersNBC, CBC, TVA SportsMonday, April 207 p.m.NY Rangers at PittsburghNBCSN, CBC, TVA SportsWednesday, April 227 p.m.NY Rangers at PittsburghNBCSN, SN 360, TVA Sports*Friday, April 24TBDPittsburgh at NY RangersTBD*Sunday, April 26TBDNY Rangers at PittsburghTBD*Tuesday, April 28TBDPittsburgh at NY RangersTBD    SERIES D – M2 vs. M3TIME (ET)   vs.  NETWORKSWednesday, April 157 p.m.NY Islanders at WashingtonUSA, Sportsnet, TVA SportsFriday, April 177 p.m.NY Islanders at WashingtonNBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA SportsSunday, April 19NoonWashington at NY IslandersNBC, Sportsnet, TVA SportsTuesday, April 217:30 p.m.Washington at NY IslandersUSA, SN 360, TVA Sports*Thursday, April 23TBDNY Islanders at WashingtonTBD*Saturday, April 25TBDWashington at NY IslandersTBD*Monday, April 27TBDNY Islanders at WashingtonTBD    WESTERN CONFERENCE FIRST-ROUND MATCHUPSSERIES E – C1 vs. W1TIME (ET)  vs.  NETWORKSThursday, April 169:30 p.m.Minnesota at St. LouisNBCSN, SN 360, TVA SportsSaturday, April 183 p.m.Minnesota at St. LouisNBC, Sportsnet, TVA SportsMonday, April 208 p.m.St. Louis at MinnesotaCNBC, SN1, TVA SportsWednesday, April 229:30 p.m.St. Louis at MinnesotaNBCSN, SN 360, TVA Sports*Friday, April 24TBDMinnesota at St. LouisTBD*Sunday, April 26TBDSt. Louis at MinnesotaTBD*Wednesday, April 29TBDMinnesota at St. LouisTBD    SERIES F – C2 vs. C3TIME (ET)   vs.  NETWORKSWednesday, April 158:30 p.m.Chicago at NashvilleNBCSN, SN 360, TVA SportsFriday, April 179:30 p.m.Chicago at NashvilleNBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA SportsSunday, April 193 p.m.Nashville at ChicagoNBC, Sportsnet, TVA SportsTuesday, April 219:30 p.m.Nashville at ChicagoNBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports*Thursday, April 23TBDChicago at NashvilleTBD*Saturday, April 25TBDNashville at ChicagoTBD*Monday, April 27TBDChicago at NashvilleTBD    SERIES G – P1 vs. W2TIME (ET)   vs.  NETWORKSThursday, April 1610:30 p.m.Winnipeg at AnaheimCNBC, Sportsnet, TVA SportsSaturday, April 1810:30 p.m.Winnipeg at AnaheimNBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA SportsMonday, April 209 p.m.Anaheim at WinnipegSportsnet, TVA Sports, NBCSNWednesday, April 229:30 p.m.Anaheim at WinnipegSportsnet, TVA Sports, USA*Friday, April 24TBDWinnipeg at AnaheimSportsnet*Sunday, April 26TBDAnaheim at WinnipegSportsnet*Tuesday, April 28TBDWinnipeg at AnaheimSportsnet    SERIES H – P2 vs. P3TIME (ET)  vs.  NETWORKSWednesday, April 1510 p.m.Calgary at VancouverCBC, TVA Sports, USAFriday, April 1710 p.m.Calgary at VancouverCBC, TVA Sports, CNBCSunday, April 1910 p.m.Vancouver at CalgaryCBC, TVA Sports, NBCSNTuesday, April 2110 p.m.Vancouver at CalgaryCBC, TVA Sports, USA*Thursday, April 23TBDCalgary at VancouverCBC*Saturday, April 25TBDVancouver at CalgaryCBC*Monday, April 27TBDCalgary at VancouverCBC

* – if necessary

***********************************************************************

EMAIL: HOWARDLBERGER@GMAIL.COM

TWITTER: BERGER_BYTES

FACEBOOK: HOWARD BERGER [HUMBER COLLEGE]

LINKEDIN: HOWARD BERGER [BROADCAST MEDIA]

2 comments on “Leafs Catastrophe Finally in the Books

  1. Time for some real hockey now! The 1st round is the best, some great matchups. Makes you forget all about the leafs and there boring brand of hockey.

  2. very “de” luminating, Howard !
    It’s a beautiful spring Sunday morning and I refuse be
    get depressed by these numbers…
    depressing as they are…

Comments are closed.

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.