With the LA Kings coming to town for a cross-conference matchup in what should be a win for the Leafs, on paper. A win shouldn’t be good enough, though as the Leafs need a massacre.
You want bulletin board material? You got it! Drew Doughty has followed in the footsteps of Alexander Ovechkin in criticizing the Leafs team play ahead of their game against each other. The only difference is that Ovechkin is on a good, playoff team and Doughty is a big fish in a small, gross, slimy, shitty pond.
Here’s what Doughty had to say: “You need to count on every single guy in every situation. Even though you have a scorer like Ovechkin or something like that, when it comes to playoff time you expect him to play defence, you expect him to block shots, you expect him to finish hits”
Groundbreaking stuff here from Doughty. Yes, the Leafs need their players to play hockey for a whole sixty minutes and yes they obviously knew this coming into the game. And, yes Doughty has two Stanley Cups under his belt, but in recent history, Doughty and the Kings have been a doormat to their opposition in the playoffs (1-8 in last two trips to the postseason) or not.
Maybe he’s trying to say he knows this first hand because his team sucks, but regardless the point is silly and it largely falls on the Toronto media who force-feed stars like Doughty or Ovechkin questions to get sound bites out of them.
So, the motivation should be there (if it wasn’t already) to show up and shut up the LA Kings. The up and down month of October has the Leafs pegged as a middle of the pack team, and that is completely correct based on their play. The offense hasn’t been clicking, special teams are inconsistent, and team defense needs to improve before this team gets recognized as a legit contender.
November is the perfect time for the team to reassert themselves. They’ve started off the second month of the season with a gritty, adversity filled win over Philadelphia in a marathon shootout. With 17 points from 15 games played the Leafs need to be more consistent. The effort they put forward against Philadelphia could and should be a jumping-off point for this assertion.
The Kings have allowed five or more goals in seven games this season, meaning the opportunity is there for the Leafs to get on a heater and bury this team early and often. Marner had a solid wraparound, Mikheyev is continuing to contribute, Spezza chipped in regardless of his frustrating game, and Kapanen tallied two points in the eventual game. With Rielly also getting an assist top and bottom of the lineup was producing against the Flyers in all situations.
The Leafs’ players need to start believing in their own talent. Not getting cocky, not looking past opponents, but taking chances and making plays that they know they can make. The Kings are a proverbial doormat and if the Leafs flub this opportunity for lack of effort at both ends of the ice it would certainly be time for a change.