Soft play a major obstacle in Leafs' post-season quest

James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs tries to get away from Alex Pietrangelo of The St....

James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs tries to get away from Alex Pietrangelo of The St. Louis Blues during NHL action in Toronto on Tuesday March 25, 2014. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:19 PM ET

It is the worst thing you could call any hockey team, really, but especially one patrolled by Randy Carlyle.

The Leafs coach, we have known from the day he arrived here, likes toughness. Tough talk. Tough love. And, most importantly, tough play from his team.

And here he is with a season rapidly getting away, stuck with a group playing so softly it’s difficult imagining them winning another game, never mind the five or six it’s likely going to take to sneak back into the post-season.

Soft mentally at times. Soft in leadership some nights. Soft in the corners. Soft in front of their own net. Such a soft touch, really, that almost any opponent that faces the Leafs these days recognizes that every battle is there for the taking.

The Leafs were never going to defeat the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre — a lopsided matchup in both talent and motivation.


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