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.

Silver lining from horrid Cali swing the Leafs can build on

The playoffs are coming, but so too are the Florida Panthers. Just one point off the Leafs pace, Florida is surging but the Leafs can take solace from one aspect of their bad California road trip.

One point from three games from teams out of the playoff race in a weak Western Conference (if you’re not St. Louis or Colorado). Not a great return for the Leafs, but despite the genuinely poor effort from the team offensively, there is still an aspect of their game that can be built upon as a positive.

In these three games, the Leafs only allowed eight goals over that stretch, keeping pace with their GAA from the previous three games. This is an extremely small stat and one many may not see value in, but for a team that is so heavily criticized for their defensive play, reliability and predictability is something that cannot be overstated enough.

Simply put, when you know what you’re going to get from your defence, it’s easier to game plan around it.

This stat also suggests the goaltending has stabilized for the team. Frederick Andersen and Jack Campbell were fine, if not great, over the Cali road trip which is a net positive (no pun intended) based on Andersen’s play recently. If he’s got his groove back and Campbell is still firing on all cylinders as he showed in Anaheim, the Leafs are in a good place.

The issue was the offence. Unusually quiet over the West Coast swing, the Leafs young guns put up just four goals against sub-par teams. Please note, this is UNUSUAL. The Leafs are not a team that is hamstrung offensively. They score goals, they produce offence, it’s their identity to attack with speed and efficiency.

With the Leafs averaging 2.66 GAA in their last eight games, if the Leafs get back to their usual, standard offensive production of 3.42 goals per game, they will make the playoffs comfortably. They are third in goals for, have Morgan Rielly on his way back, Ilya Mikheyev returning, and Jake Muzzin on the mend. Things, despite a bad trip to California, are still fine in Leaf land. Forget about Florida until we play them, the Leafs are the masters of their own destiny.

Kyle Clifford absolutely correct in assessment of Leafs firestarter

The acquisition of Jack Campbell saw Stanley Cup winning enforcer Kyle Clifford jump ship to the Leafs. While his effort and bodyguard presence on the ice has been greatly needed, he’s also inspired more from his teammates.

With a goal and a fight on Thursday night, Kasperi Kapanen has turned into a bit of a bulldozer for this Leafs team. His greatest aspect of play is his insane speed. When he takes off through the neutral zone there aren’t too many defensemen who can catch up to him, showing this in Sunrise this week.

His goal was greatly needed against the Panthers, showing off his sniping ability, albeit on a should-have-been-saved chance. You can’t complain about pucks on net in the NHL and Kapanen has deserved more scoresheet credit in recent weeks.

Finishing the game an assist shy of the Gordie Howe hattrick, Kapanen drew the admiration of his team’s enforcer, Kyle Clifford. Kapanen dropped the gloves on the 20th of February in the 4-0 win over Pittsburgh earning this praise from Clifford:

Kapanen is likely known as a skill guy with his speed and shooting ability, but now dropping the gloves twice in a week, on top of scoring in both games he fought in, shows there is an edge and much-needed different dimension to Kapanen’s game.

As a versatile forward who moves up and down the Leafs lineup as needed, Kapanen needs the physical edge to make an impact on the bottom six and needs the finesse and skills to fit in alongside Auston Matthews or John Tavares.

There is some subtext to Clifford’s comments, which he doubled down on after the win over the Panthers. Clifford, 29, has seen what it takes for a team to go deep into the playoffs and succeed. Maybe his comments on Kapanen’s development into a Swiss Army Knife on the ice suggest the Finnish forward has what it takes to make an impact on the Leafs postseason hopes.

On Par To Start In 2018 – Who Is Par Lindholm?

May 17th, 2018 the Toronto Maple Leafs announced the signing of Pierre Engvall, Jesper Lindgren, Igor Ozhiganov and Par Lindholm. The last name may be the most interesting as the Leafs are shallow when it comes to centre prospects.

Lindholm however, is 26 years old and has spent his last four years developing in the Swedish Hockey League. His age and experience are certainly pluses to the Maple Leafs at this time as they could see an easier transition to the North American style of play for the centre ice senior prospect.

At 5’11”, 187 lbs Lindholm has good size and uses it well; a quick youtube search shows that he knows how to throw his weight around. As a potential fourth line centre for Toronto, Lindholm promises to bring some solid hands along with a good physical, energetic play style to the bottom unit.

Noted via eliteprospects.com as a versatile player who can play in all situations, Lindholm could factor into the Leafs penalty kill unit. The leafs notoriously used 4-man pk units with speedy wingers and stout defencemen to add counter attacking pace to their penalty kill. Lindholm offers good speed and aggression on the PK, while adding considering value to the unit with his face off abilities.

Lindholm is coming off a great season in Sweden, one of the reasons the Leafs tendered him a one-year contract a few months back. He was the 4th highest scoring player in the SweHL last season with 47 points, netting 19 goals with 29 assists in 49 games for Skelleftea AIK. His contribution helped his team to a fifth place finish, and a loss in the playoff finals. Hopefully he can add his Swedish experience in the playoffs to the growing playoff status of the Maple Leafs now.

A potential line for Lindholm is flanked with quick right winger Connor Brown and physical left winger Carl Grundstrom. Brown is coming off a down year with 28 points (14g, 14a) following his first full season in the league where he put up 36 points in 82 games (20g, 16a). However he has good speed, is a top penalty killer, and wins a lot of puck battles with his aggressiveness.

Grundstrom had a real coming out party this for the Marlies during the playoffs this post-season. Before joining the Marlies for two regular season games (3 points) and their championship winning playoff run (14 points in 20gp), Grundstrom spent his season at Frolunda in the SweHL where he put up 24 points in 35 games. Grundstrom, 20, is a very highly rated prospect for his physical play and ability to convert like an archetypal power forward. He and Lindholm could have some Swedish based chemistry this season, and with Brown mixed in that could be a tough energy line for other teams to match up against.

For Leafs fans a player like Lindholm should be viewed with optimism and understood as the new normal for the foreseeable future. If Tavares signs with Toronto look for the remainder of the roster to be highlighted with young and older prospects filling out the lines at minimal cap hits. Even if he doesn’t, the Leafs’ top young players will need to get paid and when they do international players on the cheap will be more and more common. For Lindholm he is making $925,000 on a one year contract but obviously could be extended should he see success under Babcock.

So, will Par take his chances with the big team? I bet yes. What I do not want is another Miro Aaltonen; comes, makes a small splash and when it came his time, he left. Lindholm is a great centre option for Leaf fans to get excited about for the upcoming season, even if he isn’t named Tavares!