The playoffs have started, the weather outside is warm, the Blue Jays have started playing, and there is no Maple Leafs hockey. "The Dream" ended on April 12th with a 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators, resulting in the Leafs picking 8th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. So as the 16 playoff contenders get their series started, the Maple Leafs are looking to "change their culture" and end the Stanely Cup drought, by first bringing in Brendan Shanahan to be the team president. It is going to be a long summer than earlier anticipated, so the management has loads of time to decide what to do to improve the Buds.

We already know that the Leafs lost 8 straight games and with a 6-14-2 record following the Olympic break, it put an end to a once promising season. But, if the Leafs were so close to playing right now not so long ago, what the heck happened? In order for me to explain it, I will take you down memory lane through all of the months. Hang on to your jerseys, it's gonna be a long ride.


(10-4-0; 20 points)

This season started the same way it did in 2011: the Leafs got off to a hot start. For a majority of the month, the Leafs were one of the hottest teams in the league. Bernier was playing great, Kessel was scoring, and everything seemed to click. Heck, even Bolland was playing well. Sure, Clarkson was suspended for the first 10 games because of a pre-season brawl, but life was great in this month. Both Bernier and Reimer managed to snag a shut-out at one point, and the power play was almost unbeatable. Nothing seemed to slow down the Leafs, until...


(4-6-3; 11 points)

The Leafs seemed to hit a brick wall as soon as the calender turned to November. It all started with a 4-0 loss to the Canucks, where Bolland was serious injured as Kassian scored. Things did not look bright this month considering that only two wins came in regulation against the lowly Sabres and Islanders. On top of Bolland being injured, other players were being swapped in and out of the line-up, including Peter Holland being the number one centre for two games, McClement playing on the third line, and Lupul disappearing every now and then. It seemed like things could not get any worse. Fortunately, it didn't...


(6-6-2; 14 points)

At first, many would think that this was an average month, with an average record. But, if you look deeper into the score sheets, it shows that the Leafs won 4 out of the 6 games in extra time, three of which were in the shootout. Considering how gimmicky the shootout has become, it means December wasn't that great. Fortunately, it kept the Buds above .500, and Rielly and D'Amigo scored their first ever NHL goals. So it wasn't a terrible month after all. And so it goes...


(9-5-1; 19 points)

While the Leafs did manage to win the Winter Classic, the victory followed with a 4 game losing streak. After 4 games, the Leafs were sitting outside the playoffs for the first time all season. To try and bring stability to the defense, Tim Gleason was acquired, and results were sort of slow at first. Then, all of a sudden, the Leafs just exploded (in a good way). A 6 game winning streak and a 12-2-1 record before the Olympics not only brought them back into playoff contention, but also the Leafs managed to enter the top 3 in the Atlantic. Things were looking up...


(3-1-1; 7 points)

This doesn't fully count as a month, as the Olympics interrupted a majority of it. Nevertheless, the Leafs were on Cloud 9. A 12-2-1 record heading into the Olympics gave fans every reason to believe that this team was capable of doing wonders. Sure, the Leafs lost in the first game following the break against the Islanders, but things would be fine... Right?


(4-10-1; 9 points)

WRONG! The Leafs in March were anything but fine. Following an impressive run through "Death Valley," (2-1-0 against the Ducks, Sharks, and Kings) things took a turn for the worst: AN EIGHT GAME LOSING STREAK!!!1!!! To make matters worse, all of the loses came in regulation, so the Leafs could not gain any ground. It made their playoff chances go from 95%, to a heart-stopping 15%. By the time the Leafs lost to the Red Wings 4-2, it unofficially put an end to their season. But, games still needed to be played...


(2-4-0; 4 points)

And games they did play. Mostly terribly, but somewhat entertaining. The Leafs started the month with some hope by winning 2 games ( I know right?), one of them being against the Bruins! Maybe this season could be salvaged. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, they go on to lose to the Jets 4-2 in a disappointing fashion, before being "officially" eliminated from the playoffs in a loss to Tampa Bay. So, that ended any chance to see more playoff action in Toronto this spring. Once the Leafs lost 1-0 in the season finale, it put an end to a depressing 30 days (between March 13 to April 12).

In summary, the Leafs were a streaky team all year. It seems that the last three seasons have been exactly that. No one in the Leaf locker room has anyone to blame but themselves. It won't be a good time for the next 6 months as I try to erase the memories of this lost season. One more thing, it is worth mentioning the final stats for the Leafs as a team this year:

POINTS: 84 (22nd)
GOALS PER GAME: 2.71 (14th)
POWER PLAY: 19.8% (6th)
PENALTY KILL: 78.4% (28th)
SHOTS PER GAME: 27.9 (25th)
ROWS: 29 (23rd)
VALUE OF TEAM: $1.15 Billion (1st)

Hope to see you all at the draft and also during the playoffs, because I will write more blogs. But still, see you all in June!



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