That’s right. I said it. It’s no secret; we are all thinking it. 2012 has been a very tough year for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs were officially eliminated from playoff contention on March 27, 2012 with a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. This brings their current playoff drought to 7 years. When the Florida Panthers make the playoffs this year, the Leafs will become the only team in the NHL to have not made the playoffs in the post-lockout era. And seriously, did anybody think Florida would have made the playoffs before Toronto? Things are bad, people.
I want to rewind the clock a bit, to reflect on why this season was a particularly disappointing one. For this reflection, let us look back to November 4, 2011. This was a particularly magical day in Leafs land – it was the day that we were first place in the NHL, with a record of 9-3-1 and a total of 19 points in 13 games. The season looked oh so promising.
Through December and January, we continued reasonable play. Sure, it wasn’t first place pace, but we maintained playoff contention. At the end of January, the Leafs were 6th place in the Eastern Conference. This was before February, 2012, a month that will forever be remembered as “The Descent.” The Leafs went 4-9-1, and then continued to start March losers of 5 out of 6 games, essentially putting the Leafs out of playoff contention.
This season hurts because we fell so far. We were at the top of the standings at one point in the season. We were realistically in the playoff hunt for a large part of the season. And then came “The Descent.”
I wonder what this team will do to address their needs in the off-season. I am so exhausted I can’t think of much. Will we find a better goalie? Cory Schneider is available this off-season. Do you think Brian Burke chases him? What about a quality center-man? We’ve had this need for years, though the free agent crop is thin for centers this summer.
This year has been tough, and I’m signing off. I’m looking forward to the summer to rest up and get over my Leaf-induced depression. I need as much time away as possible right now. Let’s just say the Leafs and I are on a break – and if they don’t start turning things around, we’re not getting back together.