It’s easy to see why the Leafs have lost 28 of their past 35 games.
Saturday’s embarrassing 6-1 home ice thumping at the hands of the St. Louis Blues was a microcosm of their miserable campaign.
No will, no desire, no passion.
Toronto didn’t register a shot on goal until midway through the first period. They were outworked in every facet of the game in which they were outshot 44-24.
It’s as if they were already looking forward to the first tee time, despite 16 games remaining in the season.
“There was no effort,” interim coach Peter Horachek said. “We didn’t play to win any of the 50-50 battles. We weren’t competing hard enough, we didn’t forecheck, we didn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone.
You never want your team to come into a game without the highest possible effort and the highest possible approach to the game. There’s no excuses for it.”
On February 10, after a loss to the New York Rangers, Horachek griped that his team’s “give-a-(crap) meter has to be higher”, using a more vulgar expletive in place of ‘crap’.
Four weeks later, nothing on the ice has changed, in terms of work ethic.
David Booth and Dion Phaneuf, the lone bright spots in Saturday’s matchup with a goal and a thundering bodycheck respectively, both called out their teammates, including themselves.
Then on Sunday, Nazem Kadri was sent home after missing a practice, further exemplifying the indifference, and the dysfunction, on this Leafs squad.
Air Canada Centre has hosted many a night when fans have started the mass exit towards the stands with the game out of reach.
Just like the customers don’t stick around for the final buzzer, the Leafs players – at least mentally – have already left the building.
Follow TMLfans.ca on Twitter: @Rob_DelMundo