With Ron Wilson unable to light a fire under the Toronto Maple Leafs the Florida Panthers score early and win.

Mike Smith February 28, 2012 2

The Game

The Florida Panthers win 5-3 in a game that once again the Toronto Maple Leafs failed to show up for in the first ten minutes of play.  Despite the Leafs gaining a nine to four advantage in shots in the first period, they ended up down two goals.  The lack of any shooting opportunities close to the crease area in the offensive end has the Leafs continuing to shoot the puck towards the net from the blue line.  There is nothing wrong with putting the puck on net from that distance in the offensive zone, but the Leafs have not put enough traffic in front of any goaltenders all season long.  This is a chronic problem that has the Leafs not being able to put goals on the scoreboard early in a game, let alone late in a game.

I can’t decide if this team has quit on Coach Ron Wilson or the Leafs team as it stands is really this bad.  How can a team come out and be down two goals in less than 10 minutes of hockey and continue to hand teams the advantage so early in games?

While leading the Eastern Conference on the 24th of March 2000 the New Jersey Devils fired Robbie Ftorek.  That Devils team went on to win the Stanley Cup.  I am by no means “dreaming of Stanley”, I am simply saying it is never too late to fire a coach and replace the messenger with someone who might get through to the team.  If they can replace Ron Wilson with AHL Toronto Marlies coach Dallas Eakins for the remainder of the season; we will know if this team has quit or really are this bad.  If replacing Robbie Ftorek with Larry Robinson seemed like a bold move; Burke could be even bolder by replacing his friend Ron Wilson with an AHL Coach.

The Bench

On the third goal scored by Florida, James Reimer looked horrendous.  He was down on one knee after making a save with half his body inside the net.  He often gets himself positioned so far back on the goal line that he has no opportunity to make cross crease saves or cut down angles.  His confidence is either shot or he has never been more than an above average goalie.   Outside of his one positive win streak last season, Reimer hasn’t proved he is a number one starter for the Leafs.  In my opinion the verdict is still out on James Reimer, I am not sure if he is the “real deal” his General Manager has referred to him as.  The opportunity for this young goalie to prove his worth is closing real fast.

Off to Chicago for a game tomorrow night.  Look for Jonas Gustavsson to get the start in nets for Toronto.


3 Stars

Joffrey Lupul

Phil Kessel

Dion Phaneuf


(Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)