The snowball turned into an avalanche. This was worse than an 18-wheeler going off a cliff. This was pure carnage.
When the final buzzer sounded at Air Canada Centre, what remained in a Leafs 9-2 embarrassing drubbing at the hands of the Nashville Predators were the angry boos of 19,012 irate customers, plus another sweater tossed to the ice in protest.
Some alarming figures put the massacre into perspective:
- The game’s first star Taylor Beck entered the evening with one goal and one assist in 13 games played. He collected 3 points against a sad-sack Leafs team: two goals and an assist.
- Only three Nashville skaters didn’t get a point: Olli Jokinen, James Neal and Anton Volchenkov.
- The nine goals surrendered were the most given up by a Leafs team since losing 12-1 to Pittsburgh on December 26, 1991.
- The Leafs have now been outscored 18-5 in their last three games.
When asked if the players were trying to get coach Randy Carlyle fired, defenceman Cody Franson replied with a profanity before saying ‘no’ (and no, he did not say ‘fuddle-duddle’). Captain Dion Phaneuf called his own play unacceptable, citing Nashville’s second goal as an example when the defenceman was caught standing still against goal scorer Derek Roy.
Phil Kessel – the focus of media controversy, or lack thereof, the past couple of days – dutifully answered every question directed his way for nearly three minutes in the post-mortem. “Obviously it’s pretty embarrassing,” Kessel said. “We turned over pucks and made mistakes. It’s unacceptable.”
The optimism surrounding what appeared to be a shift in the right direction after a 6-1 win over Boston a week ago has faded. The Leafs look nowhere near a team that will contend for a playoff spot. And Carlyle’s name continues to surface as a candidate for the chopping block.
“When you get in this business, you better understand that when things don’t go well, that there’s going to be a huge amount of scrutiny that’s paid to your position,” Carlyle said.
The lens on the microscope just got magnified even more.
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