It is time for a change

All cards on the table, this isn’t going to be a deep statistical look at how bad the Leafs are. We know the statistics and they aren’t pretty. The statistics tell us that a Leafs team with Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly and Tyson Barrie are one of the worst teams in the league at generating high-quality chances. The stats tell us that the Leafs are bad not only on the power-play, but the penalty kill as well. The stats tell us that the highest-paid coach in the NHL hasn’t won a playoff series in 6 YEARS. 

Look, Mike Babcock was once a very good coach, great even. Ignoring the fact that he was blessed with one of the best teams of all time for 10 years and only won one Stanley Cup, he was a motivator and he knew how to get the best out of his players. His style was perfect for the slow, muggy, sloppy hockey that was played 10-15 years ago, but the NHL has changed and sadly, Mike hasn’t. Oh, and spare me with the “BUT HE WON TWO GOLD MEDALS.” Even Pierre Mcguire could’ve coached those Canada teams to Gold. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t good defensively and haven’t been for all of Babcock’s tenure, but has ANYTHING changed? No. The biggest issue I have personally with Babcock is this, the Leafs have had the same problems for 5 years and nothing has changed. The team starts slow, they tend to blow leads, they leave guys open right in front of the net, they have trouble breaking the puck out. Is this all on Babcock? No, of course not, the players need to be held accountable as well, but holy heck Mike stop sending out Ceci and Rielly every other shift.  PLEASE! It isn’t working. 

Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Penguins was the lowest point we’ve been in the Babcock era and that’s saying a lot considering the Leafs have lost back to back game 7s to their bitter rival. The team looked disinterested, lazy, bored and like they hated their coach. Now I am not saying they are trying to get their coach fired, but……. 

The Maple Leafs are 29-26-10 in their past 65 games. If the Leafs were the Red Wings then that wouldn’t be so bad, but they are not. They are the team with not one, BUT TWO GENERATIONAL CENTRES.  Personally, I don’t think it is smart to make a team with more speed and skill than almost every other team in the LEAGUE play defensively and on the back foot, but what do I know.

It is clear there is a difference in opinion between Kyle Dubas and Mike Babcock on how the Leafs should play. Dubas gives Mike a roster full of talent, speed and skill and Mike elects to play Cody Ceci more than Tyson Barrie so make of that what you will. Speaking of Barrie, here is what Babcock had to say about him.

A guy who has been top 10 in defencemen scoring for the last two seasons with the Avs and had 59 and 62 points in his last two seasons respectively “has to” reinvent himself? Really Mike? REALLY?

I could go through Bab’s greatest hits as Leafs coach and trust me, there are a lot of them, but I won’t. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Pretty unknown quote, not sure if many of you have seen it before, but nonetheless IT IS VERY RELEVANT TO THIS SITUATION. The Leafs can not get different results the way this coach has them playing.  This team is too good to be this bad and something NEEDS to change. Trust me, that change should not be the roster.