TAMPA – The Maple Leafs best player ambled out of the Tampa Times Forum sorting through a gamut of emotions, mostly embarrassment and disappointment for the events of another epic spring of failure. Reggie White Womens Jersey . There will be no playoff hockey in the city of Toronto for the eighth time in the past nine seasons. This 18-wheeler veered off the road once and for all on a cloudy and cool night in Tampa, another stunning late-season collapse destroying what seemed all but certain less than one month earlier. "Obviously, Im disappointed – disappointed for Leafs Nation," said Phil Kessel, thick red stubble dotting his face after the teams 10th loss in the past 12 games. "Obviously its not good enough. I havent been good enough for the last 15 games. I need to be better." Boasting 37 goals and 80 points on the year, the 26-year-old carried the Leafs for the better part of two months in early 2014 – along with Jonathan Bernier – helping to mask the troubles of a flawed club en route to 15 wins in 22 games. He had a mesmerizing 35 points in that stretch – not to mention a dominant Olympics. But when he cooled (which was inevitable given the scorching run he was on) so too did the Leafs. Without Kessel and first-line amigos James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak piling up points on the regular and Bernier no longer performing like a superhero (James Reimers struggles notwithstanding), cracks that lingered beneath the surface suddenly became too glaring to ignore amid a losing streak that hit eight sour games. Worrying defensive issues were unmasked for all to see, an endless parade of breakaways and odd-man rushes highlighting the troubles. A dominant power-play fizzled – one big factor in the top lines slowdown – coupling with a bad penalty kill for unsavoury special teams. Support staff behind Kessel, van Riemsdyk and Bozak failed to emerge. And a team that promised to be harder to play against at seasons open remained mostly the opposite. "Obviously we didnt play well enough," Kessel said. "I think both ends of the rink we didnt play well enough. We obviously didnt get it done." Back in mid-March, after a triumphant victory over the Kings – their second on the daunting California triangle – Toronto sat ahead of every team in the East but Boston and Pittsburgh, icing a three-point lead for that matter on Tampa (who is now 11 points up after Tuesdays game). There was talk of home-ice in the first round of the playoffs and a confrontation with either the Lightning or Canadiens. And then another disturbing swoon, from which they could not escape happened. "After that we never got our groove back," Kessel said. "The last 15 games we didnt get it done and thats why Im really disappointed. We just need to be better. Obviously Im not happy the way this has ended here. I dont think anyone is." Kessel has just three goals and seven points in the past 13 games – just four of those coming during the eight-game slide. Perhaps worn down by heavy minutes in an Olympic year, he could no longer shoulder the kind of burden his club required for survival or maybe the bounces, as he always describes them, simply went the other way. The Leafs are just 7-23-3 when their leading scorer fails to record a point. And yet Kessel still sits sixth in league scoring and fifth in goals, boasting the kind of sterling numbers one would expect of a top flight offensive player. There he was though after the sting of another looming spring without playoffs, bearing more than his fair share of the brunt for the second late season collapse in the past three years. It was the kind of accountability required for growth from this kind of wreckage and a sign of leadership from a player not known for anything of the kind. "Obviously Im really disappointed and I feel like Ive let a lot of people down," he said with some emotion. "(The fans) expect a lot from us. They love us. We need to be better these last 15 games. I think everyones pretty disappointed." Five Points 1. Cloud of Emotions A rarity for the Leafs head coach, Randy Carlyle didnt say a word to his team after the 3-0 loss to Tampa, which sealed their playoff fate in conjunction with a Columbus victory. "Numb and shock" were among the emotions Carlyle was experiencing afterward along with extreme disappointment and embarrassment. Why embarrassment? "Because I think we have more than what we were able to accomplish and thats the most troubling issue here is we just didnt find a way to compete to a level that was necessary and execute to a level [that was necessary]," Carlyle said, looking defeated. "We felt that this group coming into the start of the season would be a better hockey club than we had last year and I dont think we proved that." Carlyle, whose future remains cloudy at best, said plenty of time would be taken in the days ahead to analyze what exactly happened and why. "Theres going to be lots of questions and lots of prodding going on on the answers to that," he said. "We dont have the answers right now as to why it happened, but were all responsible. We win and lose as a team and thats basically the way we have to approach it now." 2. PP Demise One of the more prominent factors in the cooling off of the Leafs top line was their inability to score on the power-play after the Olympic break. Kessel has just one power-play point in the past 23 games and hasnt scored there since Feb. 1. van Riemsdyk, who leads the Leafs with nine power-play markers himself, hasnt scored with the man advantage since Jan. 30 and has gone 24 consecutive games there without even a single point. Torontos power-play went 0-3 against the Lightning and is 8-57 after the Olympics (14 per cent). The unit still ranks fifth overall this season. 3. Not 100% Limited and still dealing with pain in the left ankle which sidelined him for 56 games earlier this season, Dave Bolland did not play Tuesday against the Lightning and may be done for the year. "Whats happened is hes aggravated it and its bothered him," Carlyle said. Carlyle had hoped to employ Bolland more regularly after his return from the injury last month, but the 27-year-old is simply not at 100 per cent. He garnered between 9-13 minutes most nights upon return, even rolling the ankle in some situations according to Carlyle and requiring up to 10 minutes to get back for another shift. Bollands arduous recovery from the severed tendon took longer than was expected, but it appears that even a near five-month absence may not have been enough. The Mimico native is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Its worth wondering whether hell play again for the Leafs with only two meaningless games remaining. 4. Carter Ashton It was more than two years ago that Carter Ashton was shipped from the Lightning organization to Toronto in exchange for towering defender Keith Aulie. And while the 23-year-old has dipped his toes into the NHL waters here and there hes yet to establish himself in any firm capacity. "Its been one of those that when hes come here and played with us his confidence level seems to erode whereas when he goes back to the Marlies hes the best player," Carlyle said of Ashton, a first round pick of Tampa in 2009. Ashton has scored 16 goals and totaled 23 points in 24 games with the Marlies this season, but has yet to score with the Leafs in 47 games, adding just three assists. Part of the disconnect would seem to lie in the opportunity hes been granted under Carlyle. Playing mostly on unskilled fourth lines, Ashton has averaged six minutes per game this season, held under four minutes in nine of 32 games. "We think that we have to bridge some of the opportunity for him and maybe play him a little higher in the lineup versus playing him in the fourth line position," Carlyle said. "Let him play with some skilled players and give him more of an opportunity with minutes in the hockey game." Recalled on emergency status with Joffrey Lupul sidelined for the remainder of the regular season and Bolland sore, Ashton played Tuesday alongside Nazem Kadri and David Clarkson and totaled 12 minutes. "I dont think its a question of my confidence in my abilities," he said. "Its just translating it to the NHL." 5. Check the IR One question rose above all when the Maple Leafs signed Lupul to a five-year extension in Jan. 2013: could the now 30-year-old stay healthy? More than one year later and the answer would be well, sort of. Though hell miss the final the three games of the regular season with a knee injury, Lupul did manage 69 games this season – totaling 22 goals and 44 points – the most hes played in one campaign since 2008-09 when he dressed in 79 games for the Flyers. But over the past three seasons, Lupul will have missed 59 games with a variety of injuries, which include a dislocated shoulder, fractured forearm, concussion, bruised foot, groin tear, and now an injury to the knee. And while well attuned to the maintenance of his body – a transformation that took place as he aged – its worth wondering whether Lupul can stay healthy as he enters his 30s considering the challenge it became in his mid to late 20s. Saturdays game against Winnipeg, which he left because of the knee injury, was the 600th in his career. He underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday. Stats-Pack 8 – Times in the past nine seasons that the Leafs have missed the playoffs. 2-10-0 – Leafs record in the past 12 games. 47 – Career NHL games for Carter Ashton, who still has yet to record a goal. 24 – Consecutive games without a power-play point for James van Riemsdyk. 1 – Power-play point for Phil Kessel since Feb. 1. 0 – Victories in a start for James Reimer since Jan. 21. 8-57 – Toronto power-play after the Olympic break. 3 – Times this season that the Leafs have been shutout. 7-23-3 – Leafs record this season when Kessel fails to record a point. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-3Season: 20.3% (5th) PK: 0-1Season: 78.2% (28th) Quote of the Night "Obviously Im really disappointed and I feel like Ive let a lot of people down." -Phil Kessel, on the disappointment of playoff elimination. Quote of the Night II "Because I think we have more than what we were able to accomplish and thats the most troubling issue here is we just didnt find a way to compete to a level that was necessary and execute to a level [that was necessary]." -Randy Carlyle, on why he was embarrassed by the Leafs late season meltdown. Up Next The Leafs conclude their swing through Florida with a Thursday clash against the Panthers. Andre Dillard Youth Jersey . After losing Brett Cecil to groin tightness on Friday, the Blue Jays watched as R. Tommy McDonald Womens Jersey .J. - Pete Carroll is in support of the NFL looking further into whether medicinal marijuana could beneficial for players. http://www.theeaglesshoponline.com/Youth-clayton-thorson-eagles-jersey/ .Fucale will not only be one of the local boys, he is also a Montreal Canadiens draft pick and will have a huge cheering section when Canada opens the tournament Dec.Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Old Friends, the nonprofit thoroughbred retirement center, has been chosen to receive the Special Eclipse Award for 2014 for its work involving thoroughbreds after their racing careers are over. The honor will be presented during the 44th annual Eclipse Awards on Saturday, Jan. 17 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. Michael Blowen, the former Boston Globe film critic, began Old Friends in 2003 and currently cares for more than 150 rescued and retired horses in Georgetown, Kentucky. This is just unbelievable, Blowen said. We started with one horse just over 10 years ago and now we have 166 retirees. Brian Westbrook Womens Jersey. We have several Eclipse Award winners already at the farm; I cant wait to show them mine! It allows us to take other horses that really didnt do as much but deserve a retirement just as well. I want people to come away with really good feelings about the sport of horse racing because I adore it and weve made some inroads in that direction. Last years honoree was Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance which provides a similar service. The Eclipse Awards are voted on by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. ' ' '
jokergreen0220, 31.07.2019 07:44