February 23, 2011
Three-pointers hurting Leafs
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
The popular theory before the season was that Ron Wilson had to make the playoffs to save his job as coach of the Maple Leafs.
Wilson is now about as close as he’s been in three years behind the Leafs bench, but had a blunt assessment of his team’s chances on Wednesday at the MasterCard Centre.
“Realistically, teams that are six points back at this point probably rarely make the playoffs,” he said. “We understand that. It’s a challenge for us, but we’re going to do our best.
“We believe we can make it, but there’s absolutely no room for error. You go into a slump now and you’re done. Mentally, at least the way I look at it, you have to (think about) winning two out of every three. I’ve been saying that a long time and it certainly holds true now. And even if you do, you might not make it. All we can do is give our best every night and we’ve pretty much been doing that.”
Of course, it’s not as simple as making up the six points on eighth-place Carolina with the 22 remaining games. Atlanta and Buffalo were still in between and playing each other Wednesday night.
“The way things are going, it will be a three-point game,” Wilson said with a sigh. “But we don’t even worry about that stuff. We have to win our own games. If you slip back to eight points wth a couple of games in hand, well you have to win those games in hand.”
The Leafs are in Montreal on Thursday, starting three games in four nights.
“Every day, we see on the (dressing room) board exactly where we are,” defenceman Mike Komisarek said. “We got off the ice (Tuesday after squeaking one out against the Islanders) and we turn on the Rangers-Carolina game. Sure enough, it goes into overtime. It’s nice to get some help from other teams, but those overtime games ... if those teams both get a point it doesn’t help.
“You come this close and now it’s a matter of making those next few steps. We have to do our part. If we continue to take care of business and play well at home, then good things are going to happen and we’ll be on the inside looking out.”