Are Maple Leafs fans on social media the worst people? Yes, yes they are.

Entitled, cocky, loud, uneducated, all with zero humility. The Toronto Maple Leafs may be one of the most storied franchises in major league sports, but the loudmouth fans ruin it for everyone else.

*The loud minority really makes the quiet majority look bad. If you’re not one of these people, you probably know it, but if the title got you triggered… I’ve got some bad news for you.

It takes about three seconds into a daily Facebook browse to see just how ignorant Maple Leaf fans are on social media. Any post in the major Leafs Facebook groups like Maple Leafs Central, Leafs Nation, or Maple Leafs News 24/7, is littered with comments that are usually factually incorrect and populated with insults, spelling mistakes, and awful takes.

Now imagine you wrote the content that spurred 300 guys with names like Rick, Steve, or Dave (yes, there is a certain demographic we’re talking about here) to call you a moron or something more colourful and less intelligent? Not fun.

But I’m not here to white knight for bloggers like myself. Instead, I’m here to call out the losers who comment on Leafs content with blatantly stupid takes that make every hockey fan in the world hate Leafs Nation with a passion. Not because the team’s good, but because the fans are so god damn insufferable.

What spurred this on was some cracking commentary on a great blog on NHLTradetalk.com about the Leafs connection to KHL Russian forward Alexander Barabanov. The article breaks down the link between the player and team with sources and succinctly contextualized how he could make an impact with the Leafs.

As of writing this, there is one comment on the post… “small forward…need D.”

What a piece of shit!

Did the braindead moron who wrote that somehow think the title was “the Leafs are only after small forwards” or “Russian forward the only player Leafs to sign”? probably not. What’s more likely is that they googled the player’s name, saw his height, thought back on hockey when helmets weren’t required and xenophobia about the Red Enemy was never more present and opened his mouth (or in this case, typed unintelligently into a keyboard, which should require a breathalyzer).

It’s something so small that pisses me off so much. Since when is a player who can score goals a bad thing? Consistent offensive production throughout the lineup has been an issue this season for the Leafs too, so wouldn’t more goalscorers help? It’s honestly too stupid of a comment to try and throw logic at.

It’s a microcosm for Leafs fans on social media, though. The loudest, most incorrect douchebags tend to taint whatever it is they’re commenting on, and colour the rest of the fanbase as loud pricks too. Maybe the guy who wrote the comment above has never commented on any other Leafs posts before (unlikely) but an army of people like him keep this narrative rolling.

So, if you’ve made it this far you’re probably not part of the problem. Reading why Leafs fans suck isn’t something some Facebook troll would want to do; self-reflection probably isn’t their M.O. But, again, if you’re at this point in this blog you’re probably in agreeance that you’re not an asshole but everyone thinks you are because you’re a Leafs fan. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do, so why not call out these tools together?

Leafs forever.

Leafs must rely on new-found offensive juggernaut to beat Kings

The California road trip isn’t what it used to be, but the Leafs proved in San Jose that if you don’t show up you’ll still get slapped. However, can leaning on a new offensive beast be the key to success vs. the Kings?

So who is this new juggernaut the Leafs can lean on? Is it Auston Matthews? Nope, while he’s the best 5-on-5 scoring forward in the league, this isn’t new and he’s hardly a secret. Is it Tyson Barrie? Nope. Sure, he’s been trending up in recent weeks with more assists and playing time, but that’s been his game for all of his career!

So, who is it?

Pencil in a point for ya boy Marty Marincin, because this Slovakian king can’t keep his name off the scoresheet! If the three-game point streak for Marincin is proving anything it’s that if you give anyone enough opportunity something eventually will happen.

The saddest part about this three-game point streak is that it pushes his season (24 games) total to four points, spread out with one goal and three helpers. His other point not included in this streak came in the loss to Pittsburgh on the 18th of February, breaking an 18 game pointless streak prior to that game.

His goal against Vancouver was a very nice play to be fair to the player and showed some hustle as Marincin followed up his shot on goal pot his own rebound past Thatcher Demko. Okay, to be fair the goal itself is a comedy of errors from the Canucks defence just letting him stroll in and shoot, and Demko getting beat twice by Marincin.

Still, Marincin is a key player in this replacements level defence for the Leafs right now. With Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci on the mend and Jake Muzzin right behind them, the D-core will be back up and running at full capacity soon, eventually reducing his role.

This will end the spell of greatness for Marincin as an everyday starter, but we can all look back fondly on his one goal and three-game (plus?) point streak with loving adoration of what was, and thankfully look at our roster and appreciate that is isn’t any longer.

Plus, he’ll be a key player (unfortunately) for the Leafs in Hollywood tonight, and is PRIMED to stay in the points and extend the most unlikely streak in the NHL.

Mitch Marner pushes blame on Leafs teammates in bad loss to Sharks

The Leafs forced me to stay up past midnight only to watch them fall apart in the third period against the Sharks. To make things worse, Mitch Marner decided to sound off on his injury-ridden defence core as a scapegoat.

The loss to the Sharks was unacceptable. Unbelievable goaltending from Jack Campbell goes wasted, Auston Matthews’ 46th goal of the season is overlooked, and a highlight-reel goal from Marner is overshadowed, all by this loss.

The last aspect, Marner’s through-the-legs ridiculous backhand goal being overshadowed is now all of his own doing:

Yup, the same player who has just three goals in his last fifteen games has decided to call out his teammates, including an injury-ridden D-core, after that bad loss to the Sharks. The very same player that crippled two powerplays with his poor puck control, as well as the 6-5 to end the game because he couldn’t receive a pass.

Marner wasn’t asked who is to blame for the Leafs loss in his post-game press conference, but he could have taken the opportunity in breaking down the loss (where he sewered his teammates) to put the blame on himself as a leader. Marner should have challenged himself and stuck up for his teammates ahead of a hugely crucial stretch of games in this playoff push, proving he is a team leader in an attempt to inspire some fight.

Again, after his summer hold out which led to an overpayment from Leafs management, Mitch Marner, the lauded hometown kid, is proving more than ever he is disconnected from the team, the fans, and everything Leafs Nation with his blame pushing.

Losses should be galvanizing, not polarizing for a team as young and promising as this iteration of the Leafs is. Marner is proving at an increasing rate that when you buy your own hype, you become deluded, and his lack of awareness around the team is becoming shockingly tone-deaf.

Super Sunday for TWO Leafs prospects’ career games

No Leafs hockey on Sunday? No problem! The prospect camp had all the excitement you could need with two up-and-comers lighting the lamp repetitively and filling the boxscore at a relentless pace.

Nick Robertson – Peterborough Pete’s

The latest high Leafs prospect has followed up a great World Juniors tournament with team USA by continuing to light the OHL on fire! The 18-year-old left-winger netted a hattrick on Sunday against the Barrie Colts, scoring three goals in differing situations in the game.

His third goal of the game, a shorthanded tally off of some point pressure, was his 50th of the season. He’s managed this feat in just 43 games, bringing him to 76 points on the season. As shown above, his 50th of the season was a result of high-pressing penalty-killing much like how Mitch Marner plays for the Leafs now, finished with a quick release.

With Sandin and Liljegren up with the big boys and Jeremy Bracco away on personal leave from the Marlies, just one year after getting drafted, Nick Robertson is the Leafs crowning jewel in their prospect system. Exciting times lie ahead for this kid and the Leafs!

Justin Brazeau – Newfoundland Growlers

The over-ager the Leafs scooped up at the end of last OHL season, Justin Brazeau, was an absolute goal-scoring machine in the minors. His last season of OHL play saw him net 61 goals and 113 points in 68 games, so the contract made a lot of sense for the Leafs, could he translate it to different levels though?

Showing up Nick Robertson by a goal, Brazeau netted four in this routing of the Jacksonville Icemen. The Newfoundland Growlers have been uber-competitive since their inaugural season, and as reigning champs are doing everything in their power to run it back for the 2019/20 season, as well, with Brazeau stepping up huge for the team.

His 25 goals and 26 assists in 53 games this season show that the elite scorer is able to share the puck as well as smash it home. At 22 he’s adapting just fine to the ECHL level of play and looks primed to step up to the AHL hopefully next year. Much like Ilya Mikheyev who made an impact as a 24-year-old rookie, it may be a little while yet before Brazeau steps up to the big club, but if and when he does, his natural goal-scoring ability should take care of him.

Maple Leafs conjure up bigger underdog story than David Ayers in “replacements” win

Move over EBUG controversy, the Toronto Maple Leafs just put together a huge effort to protect their playoff spot and star goalie with a bunch of defensemen who shouldn’t even still be on the team.

For a team that couldn’t beat a Zamboni driver in goal on Saturday, the Leafs looked potent offensively, sound defensively, and motivated to take two points from an equally lopsided Panthers squad.

The only problem for the Buds was their defensive pairings. Reminiscent of a split-squad team that was clearly the B team, the crew’s depth was on display here:

Dermott – Holl
Sandin – Barrie
Marincin – Liljegren
Rosen

The seven-man core consists of the injury-prone next big thing (Dermott), our should-be seventh defenseman (Holl), our best Marlies D (Sandin), should-have-been-traded guy (Barrie), Shouldn’t-have-a-contract-guy (Marincin), our second-best Marlie (Liljegren), and a member of the Colorado Avalanche (Rosen). What a team.

To compound issues, Frederick Andersen had one of the worst periods of hockey in his life. With awful rebound control, less-than-usual edge work, and uncharacteristic swimming in his crease, Andersen channelled prime James Reimer with similar results.

A vote of confidence from the head coach to start him in the second (not a popular opinion) saw Andersen settle eventually, but not without near-constant bailing out by his rag-tag group of defensemen. Yes, the replacements showed up and actually looked like a solid group of players.

The biggest improvements in the D-core were their patience on the puck, willingness to turn back and retain possession, and ability to work with their backchecking forwards to section off any Panthers pressure. Timely pinching was also on display regularly, with extra motivated teammates coving back and offensive zone possession limiting defensive zone time.

Capped off with an empty-net goal by newly crowned shutdown defender Justin Holl, the wobbling puck that somehow tracked into the vacant goal showed that the Hockey Gods don’t fulfill lofty wishes, but rather guide justified results from ice level for hardworking efforts.

Honestly, the Leafs getting any sort of performance from these players tonight was unlikely, but keeping Florida to under 30 shots on a night where Freddy didn’t have it? It’s a narrative so unlikely the David Ayres story will drift into oblivion. Move over, Zamboni EBUG, the replacements are here, and they’re aiming for the playoffs.

No deadline moves means Leafs in for summer blockbuster

Kyle Dubas made a few minor league deals on trade deadline day, but with elite help coming to the blueline, the Leafs have all but ensured they’re in for a summer blockbuster to shake up the roster.

Disclaimer: The proposed trade has no substantiation, however seeing as how the Leafs are cap-crunched, this move would help alleviate pressure and spread cap money out, as well. Also, a playoff push and post-season performance could quell all this talk.

To Toronto: Drew Doughty (2m retained), Adrian Kempe

To LA: Mitch Marner, 3rd round pick.

*a third team and deeper draft picks may come into play regarding cap/retained money

Why this trade makes sense for Toronto:

The team is heavily lopsided on top-6 offensive talent. They have also invested wisely in Alex Kerfoot ($3.5m), Kasperi Kapanen ($3.2m), and Andreas Johnsson ($3.4m) to immediately impact their center and wing depth. Mix in Adrian Kempe, a player who brings more skill and physicality to the ice and you have a solid core to make Marner’s loss feel less impactful.

As well, Egor Korshkov, Pierre Engvall, Jeremy Bracco, and the likely re-signed Ilya Mikheyev will all factor into the future of the Leafs winger depth, bringing youth and skill.

Mitch Marner is a generational talent and a hometown kid who has immense skill and vision on the ice. Why would Toronto want to get rid of him? Well, they wouldn’t, but when you include the addition of proven winner and leader (not to mention right-shot D) Drew Doughty, things change.

Doughty brings a lot of what Toronto is lacking on the back end and would be the perfect partner for Morgan Rielly, now and after he signs a long-term extension. He is 30, which gives pause considering his $11m cap hit extends through 2025, but elite defenseman can be serviceable into their mid to late 30s and beyond.

The case for LA:

Defence may win championships, but offence fills the seats. The hockey following in LA is pretty huge and loyal, but after a few seasons of underperforming, playoff-missing hockey hurts a team in a market that has multiple NFL teams, NBA teams, and MLB teams. Bringing a talent like Marner to the West Coast could kick start a rebuild for the Kings in a regressing Pacific division.

With Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter eating up over $11m of caps space and both players sitting at 35-years-old, there could be a pending retirement (likely for Brown over Carter) in the next few seasons which would free up some substantial cap space to make the retention as well as large Marner cap hit fit with total ease.

With Anaheim and San Jose both not looking all too exciting, LA has could springboard forward with the Marner acquisition by sacrificing their captain for his offensive pop. Doughty brings an edge to Toronto, Marner brings excitement to LA. Win-win, right?

This is the most unlikable, embarrassing Maple Leafs team

The Leafs just lost a home game to the Carolina Hurricanes with a 42-year-old AHL Zamboni driver in net for the Canes. This is a new rock bottom for the team, after the most embarrassing regular-season loss, maybe ever.

The Leafs weren’t playing good enough after the first period in this game. A lucky bounce found Alex Kerfoot backdoor for a sneaky goal, but with starter James Reimer out and Petr Mrazek coming in cold off a back-to-back, things were looking up.

Fast-forward and now, Mrazek gets decked by Clifford and is knocked out of the game, Brett Pesce is also knocked out of the game, and AHL Zamboni driver, David Ayers is now in goal for Carolina. The Hurricanes pushed their lead to 4-1 on a remarkably quick burst in the second, but back-to-back shots from Tavares and Engvall went in on Ayers putting the Leafs back within one heading into the third.

What followed was the biggest pants shitting I’ve ever seen. Put every player out to face the media as well as the coach because the Leafs genuinely failed to put together a genuine effort in a game that was more than in-hand DEEP in a playoff race.

No shots, no chances, no effort, no puck battling, no anything. This team sucked in HD tonight and allowed, and I absolutely do mean to be repetitive here, a 42-year-old Zamboni driver shut them out in the third period.

Two goalies down, a top-defenseman out injured mid-game, and the Leafs couldn’t muster enough presence to hold possession and get shots on net. The embarrassing third period was punctuated with the world NHL powerplay I’ve ever seen. Four Hurricanes players standing on the blueline completely shut down the PP in this game, but legitimately sacred the Leafs into tripping and falling over themselves in the third period.

Good lord, this team tests me. I will be a Leaf fan for the rest of my life and will never give that up. That being said, this group of players lacks character, hard-work, and any sort of leadership. That includes John Tavares who, alongside Mitch Marner, has been an absolute zero this season.

This team deserves every boo they get after this. They aren’t good enough in any way and this embarrassing loss highlights why. They deserve the boos, they deserve the eventual playoff miss, they deserve the criticism over their play, and they deserve the speculation of a roster blow up in the offseason after this exposing, unacceptable loss.

Three Leafs perfect in bounce-back win over Penguins

Effort should always be there at a minimum, but the Leafs have shown recently that effort isn’t a given. Thankfully, thanks to performances by three players, the Buds rebounded and are aiming to keep momentum moving forward.

Kasperi Kapanen

Don’t put Kappy in a corner. With trade speculation including his name (and Andreas Johnsson’s prior to his injury), Kapanen put in a marquee performance against the Pens. Yes, he scored the third goal, his twelfth of the season, on a second period breakaway but his general effort levels are what caught my eye.

Kapanen was in on every puck battle, was using his straight-line speed to his advantage, and wanted in on every opportunity to break the puck out or pin the Pens deep on the forecheck. The goal was the cherry-on-top to an inspiring effort that pushed the team forward.

Frederick Andersen

No one needed a win, let alone a shut out, more than Frederick Andersen. Not up to his generally Vezina-quality form in the past month, Andersen has also been feeling the pressure of a motivated Jack Campbell pushing him from the backup goalie spot.

Andersen is obviously the way forward for the Leafs when it comes to individual performances. Of course, everyone needs to pitch in for success, but Andersen has the ability to steal games for the Leafs and shutting out Malkin, Crosby and the Penguins will do wonders for his confidence.

Campbell will still factor in down the stretch with back-to-back duty as well as scheduled rest regardless of the Leafs clinching or fighting for the playoffs. Still, Andersen is obviously a lynchpin in the Leafs success this season and will take this resounding win and move forward.

Jake Muzzin

The best is left for last as Jake Muzzin had arguably his best night as a Leafs last night. He scored, he assisted, he shut down an elite offence, and he threw his weight around. It was the perfect night for Muzzin, and this type of performance is exactly what he needed especially after his recent comments.

You better be the one propelling the team forward when you’re demanding more effort from your teammates, and Muzzin did just that. He was right to call out the team (likely including himself) because every player on the roster can and should be playing better.

With a pending contract extension for Muzzin on the books after the trade deadline, it’s clear he’s a locker room and on-ice leader for the Leafs, regardless of jersey lettering or not. With huge hits to the back end, Muzzin has been a rock and will be relied on to continuously be one for the remainder of the season.

It’s early, but the Leafs may really have something here…

The sample size is small, but the Leafs’ acquisition of Jack Campbell to solve their backup goalie issue may already be a home run and could be a grand slam in the future.

We all knew the Leafs would need an upgrade on the backup goalie this season, despite Michael Hutchinson’s brief revival under Sheldon Keefe. Was Hutchinson really playing better with a new coach, or is it more likely that the team was playing on their own strengths, shoring up team-play, opposed to playing in a system that didn’t work?

I would guess the latter, which means that Jack Campbell was walking into a better system than Hutchinson did when he joined the Leafs. Regardless, Campbell is proving through three games that he has the ability to give a save when the team needs it, and will the Leafs to at least a point.

Stats wise, it’s a solid start for Campbell. In his three games with the Leafs, his GAA is 2.52 and he’s posted a save percentage of .918%. These are both improvements on his stats from his 20 games played for the Kings – 2.85 GAA, .900 sv%. For reference, league average GAA and sv% are 2.83 and .909% this season.

The most important stat, though? The 2-0-1 record he’s posted – all games going into overtime with two wins secured. The overtime loss came at the hands of Toronto’s poor defensive play, and if you’ve watched any of the Leafs overtime performances this season it’s an understatement to say they gamble and hang their goalie out to dry pretty regularly.

With his contract at $1.2m for two more seasons after 2019/20, Campbell, 27, could be a massive asset to the Leafs as tough decisions loom on two “A” goalie prospects in Joseph Woll and Ian Scott, and more importantly with the contract of Frederik Andersen expiring after the 2020/2021 season.

At the worst, Campbell provides the Leafs with contract term and value, stability in his play, youth (for a goalie), and team chemistry, as all reports would suggest. He’s young, hungry, and able to step in to take starting minutes should Andersen need time off. It’s early, yes, but the Leafs may really have something with Jack Campbell.

Fill your woeful Leaf-less schedule with Marlies appreciation

Forget the team that seemingly always lets you down and breaks your heart with the playoffs on the line. It’s time to focus on Toronto’s real team – the Toronto Marlies. But seriously, these kids are good…

The next generation of Maple Leafs talent is excelling in the Calder Cup playoffs. And, while there may not be an Auston Matthews or Mitch Marner in that group, there are a few gems who will make an impact on the Leafs in the future.

On Defense

There is nowhere else to logically begin other than with Rasmus Sandin. The AHL rookie out of the Soo Greyhounds has had a lights-out season with the Marlies. 28 points in 44 games played is remarkable for a defenseman, let alone a 19-year-old in his first season.

With the playoffs well underway, Sandin has kept the pace with his 7 points in 5 games. At 5’11”, 183lbs. Sandin isn’t going to bowl anyone over with physical play. Instead, his vision and ability to pick a pass opens up the game for his teammates. This kid is serious.

The Leafs added wisely with the signing of NCAA defenseman Joseph Duszak. Like Sandin, Duszak brings skill and speed over size on the back end and elite level production at the college level. In three seasons with Mercyhurst College, he had 79 points in 103 games played, including this season where he scored 47 points in 37 games played.

Lastly we’ll focus on Timothy Liljegren, the Leafs first round pick in 2017. While he hasn’t taken off offensively like many would have hoped (15 points in 43 games this season), Liljegren has been the perfect defensive partner for Sandin. More of a stay-at-home defender, there is a lot to like about Liljegren and his potential impact on the Leafs in the near future.

Forwards

It’s Jeremy Bracco’s world, and we’re all just living in it right now. The dynamic playmaking winger has a Calder Cup playoff leading 10 points through just five playoff games so far. This matches his regular season production where he put up 79 points in 75 games this year.

While technically “undersized”, Bracco is as close to elite as you can get for an AHL prospect. The right winger is as adept at scoring goals as he is creating them. He will be a Maple Leaf sooner rather than later, but as for now, enjoy the Calder Cup run with what may be the best player in the league.

Don’t tell him his age, but Chris Mueller is 33 years old and is producing like he’s chasing an ELC in the NHL. The journeyman center has been imperative in the Marlies sustained AHL success and this year has been no different. He centers the first line with the likes of Bracco on the wing and benefits from his line-mates’ skill but also makes the most of his chances with his experience.

Lastly, we need to talk about Dmytro Timashov. The 22-year-old has seemingly always been on the precipice of taking the next step. He was eventually passed by Nylander, Johnsson, and Kapanen to the big club. I have complete faith that he’ll eventually be an effective depth winger for the Leafs, but when? Anyways, Timashov looked great this season with 49 points, and he’s added 4 points in 5 playoff games, too.