Nothing like a tasty matchup with the lowly Ottawa Senators to start the season for the boys, right? The Leafs have a golden opportunity to springboard into the season against the Sens and they can’t afford to miss on this chance.
The entire NHL is so prepared to jump down the Leafs throat if they stumble out of the gate this season, and the headlines write themselves:
- “The team was too focused on their captain”
- “Auston Matthews derailed their training camp”
- “Mitch Marner’s contract negotiation disrupted the room
- “There was too much offseason movement in the team”
- “Mike Babcock has lost the team”
The list goes on. The ironic part is that if the Leafs stomp the Sens and have a 100+ point season there won’t be any recognition because the rest of the League and media know this team is set up to dominate in today’s NHL. It’s sort of a backward underdog scenario for the team and a no-win situation.
The best way to get past this is to put the blinders on, keep the comments and critiques post-game to a PR trimmed sentence or two, and focus on the next game at hand – the New England Patriot’s scheme basically.
My prediction in the latest episode of Maple Leafs Round-table podcast was a modest 7-0 thrashing of the Ottawa Senators to open the season. We’ve seen in recent years the Leafs make statements on the opening night and I think that trend continues. Matthews launches into the NHL with four goals against Ottawa, and the Leafs end the career of Steve Mason in Winnipeg in the first game of his Winnipeg Jets career.
Maybe I’m just excited to start the season but there is nothing holding this team back from dominating regularly, challenging for the division title, and going into the playoffs motivated to change their recent history. Toronto is a city of winners and champions, the Leafs are lagging behind as of now but the faith isn’t lost.
Nothing about this Sens team scares me. It’s literally comprised of depth Leafs forwards thrust into far too expectation-heavy positions, and I know Babcock’s squad can embarrass them. But they need to actually do it, and stop being a team that just looks good on paper. I’m all in on the Leafs to start a historic season strong tonight, and you should be too. Go Leafs Go.