Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle draws up some drills during practice at Boston University the day before their Game 2 matchup with the Boston Bruins. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency
With his off-season home an hour's drive north of here, Dave Nonis is well aware of the fire New England sports fans have for their teams.
He also has fresh memories of the Stanley Cup celebration for the Bruins less than two years ago, a run that gripped the hockey-crazed masses in the region.
So, when the Maple Leafs general manager took a look at the group coach Randy Carlyle sent out to face the 2011 champs on Wednesday night, he knew the potential for disaster that loomed in every corner of the TD Garden.
The resulting 4-1 loss in the opening game of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal was about as gruesome as it could get, but ultimately not a shock to Nonis, the man in charge for the team's first playoff berth in nine years. With almost half of the Leafs roster making its NHL playoff debut, the lopsided beatdown was not a massive shock.