Mitch Marner giveth, and Mitch Marner taketh away. His shot from the slot on Saturday night had Leafs nation pumped up, but his overtime stupidity cost them a point two days later.
A day and a few hours after shooting home the Auston Matthews pass off of Morgan Rielly to win the overtime game against the Bruins, Marner wasted the opening game of a back-to-back with Frederik Andersen in net for the Leafs. His mental lapse saw him grab the puck in the crease resulting in a penalty shot which was converted by Gustav Nyqvist.
Against Columbus on Monday night, Mitch Marner started his evening with a beautiful backhand saucer pass to Kasperi Kapanen, short-handed, to open the Leafs scoring on the evening. He showed why the Leafs opt for speed and skill on the PK on this play and appeared to be off to a strong start in the game.
Fast forward to overtime and Marner was sitting at just one assist, -1 rating, 2 penalty minutes, and 2 shots on goal. Not exactly the Hollywood performance we expected from Mitch “I can drive a line on my own” Marner.
To top it all off, Marner followed in his PK partner’s footsteps and completely shit the bed in overtime. Instead of throwing a broken stick at the opposing player for a two-minute minor, Marner completely reversed the ridiculous burst of saved Andersen made by covering the puck with his glove in the crease while swimming on the ice.
This rewards a penalty shot, which we know in 2019, and Andersen was scored on by Nyqvist to end the game. How the action of closing his hand on the puck in the crease being an option for Marner is astounding simply because of who he is. His fans constantly talk about him seeing the game differently and being a step ahead of his opposition, but how can you make any of these claims this season and especially after that mistake last night?
Kapanen throwing his stick? Stupid but I expect mental lapses from a $3.2 million player. Marincin getting backed into his own goalie and not helping defend a shot in close? Something I assume will happen with a $700k player once in a while. But to jeopardize the entire game, in overtime, because you can’t stay focused enough to make a right play (or just not make the worst play), it’s inexcusable for a $10.893 million dollar player.
Hats off to Marner, his dad, and his agent. So far it seems like they’ve rinsed the Leafs and Dubas on this deal. Is this too hyperbolic of criticism on a player for the first ten games of the season? Not when you threaten to sit out unless you get paid like a top-10 player in the league. Be better, Marner.