December 17, 2010
Leafs pay for on-ice sins
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER — If Maple Leafs players thought their ears were ringing from the sound of the Saddledome horn going off three times in less than a minute Thursday night, they hadn’t heard anything yet.
Having allowed three goals in 57 seconds en route to a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, the Leafs were subject to a deserved post-game tongue-lashing by a steamed coaching staff that was peeved off with the team’s lack of effort.
We’re not sure if it equalled Bruce Boudreau’s now-famous obscenity-laced tirade on the HBO special 24/7, but it allegedly was a doozy.
And the team’s punishment didn’t end there.
About 18 hours later, on a gorgeous sun-splashed Friday afternoon in picturesque Vancouver, the Leafs found themselves inside the Rogers Arena undergoing a gruelling practice that started off with nary a puck to be seen.
After the sweaty players were skated hard for five to seven minutes, the drills then focused on winning battles in the defensive zone, something they were pathetically bad at doing against the Flames.
The players get the point. The coaches are p---ed.
And if they haven’t yet, they will.
“We were desperate for points against a team that was also desperate and we turned in a stinker,” forward Colby Armstrong said. “That can’t happen. Our compete level has to be better.
“It was frustrating. I don’t think anyone was happy with the way we played. When we are going hard, we are a tough team to play against. When we’re not, well, it’s tough to be successful.
“(The drills Friday) has to do with battling in our own end. Hopefully it will help us achieve our goal.”
The Leafs consistently were beaten to pucks by a Flames team that, overall, have older, creakier legs than Toronto, which is the second youngest team in the league.
Asked about the drills the Leafs focused on, veteran defenceman Francois Beauchemin replied” “It’s called battling 1-on-1.
“We have to be first on the puck, not let the other team get it and then try to hit them.”
The Leafs have ice booked back in Toronto at the MasterCard Centre on Sunday afternoon but likely won’t use it, seeing as they won’t get back from Vancouver until the wee hours of the morning.
Then again, should they be on the wrong end of yet another on-ice spanking, this time courtesy of the Canucks, well, you never know.