It’s been quite a solid week for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Winners of three straight coming into the weekend, including a thrilling shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings at the Winter Classic, it was starting to look like the Leafs were prepping to go on a run.
And then the puck dropped last night against the New York Rangers.
In one of the most dominant drubbings we’ve seen this year, the Rangers poured it on, annihilating Toronto to the tune of 7-1. Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier let up five goals on 32 shots and was pulled, only to watch backup James Reimer give up another two tallies on 18 shots faced. Overall, New York out-shot the Leafs 50-26.
It wasn’t exactly a defensive performance to be proud of for Toronto, and the aftermath wasn’t pleasant. Media members waited longer than usual to meet with the team, as it was assumed there was either a players only meeting or a berating at the hands of coach Randy Carlyle. Frankly, it could’ve been both. Afterwards, there were more than a few candid moments.
Forward Joffrey Lupul seemed to put it best, calling the game “embarrassing.” Further more, he wanted to express his sympathy towards the Leafs-faithful that attended the game.
“We apologize to the people that paid money to see us play like that,” said Lupul.
You have to give Lupul credit for being so upfront. One would imagine the fans would hardly be psyched if he just shrugged the game off with a “what can you do, we’ll get ’em next time” attitude. Toronto’s fan-base is one of the most devoted in all of sports, so putting on a sloppy performance like that clearly merited an apology from the team.
It’s up to the Leafs to decide how a game like this effects them. They were playing well enough to get a winning streak going, but that certainly didn’t carry over to last night. Toronto now has to make sure this loss doesn’t derail their season.
For Carlyle, the solution was pretty blunt.
“Now it’s back to the drawing board.”