I'm sorry Leaf Nation, but for anyone remotely as passionate about the game of hockey, and a fan of the Leafs for over 30 year, you can see the writing all over the wall. This team is about 2-3 weeks away from being 5-7 points out of a playoff spot, and even if they do squeak in, they're out in the 1st round with this heart-less, identity-less squad.
So the question is...when are they gonna do the ONLY thing that makes sense...and start a fire sale? This HAS to happen in one of two ways. A complete change of leadership behind the bench and FO is the first option...new GM, head coach, assistants. Whatever game plan Carlyle and his staff is preaching, his team is either not listening, or just not capable of executing it. He consistently is unable to motivate this team or find ways to play to their strengths.
The 2nd option is a MAJOR shake-up with the roster...get rid of the guys that don't have heart, character, or the competence of compete. Guys like Kessel, JVR, Lupul and Kadri have ZERO heart...3 of them worry more about fashion and Twitter than hockey...and Kessel is a ZERO compete guy. Watching the HBO 24/7 documentary you could see that Kadri and Kessel are about as bright as a tarnished $1 flashlight lens. Dion shows no visible signs of leadership, and it almost seems that the core of the team don't even really like him.
This squad makes the same mistakes over-and-over...it was kind of comical and frustrating at first...but now it's just really sad and depressing. There will be some hard decisions, but management has to bite the humble bullet and admit this roster is spiraling downward at warp speed with no brakes in sight.
The need to get whatever they can for Kulemin and Raymond before they lose whatever little value they have now. The David Clarkson experiment may be one of the 10 worst NHL signings in the past 10 years...I'd be happy with a 3rd round pick for him right now. As a 3rd liner he's a great character team guy...grit...occasional offense...but as a 5+ million dollar player on the 3rd line, you just gotta admit the mistake, get what you can, gain the cap space back and plug in Ashton, Leivo, Holland or Broll on that 3rd line for now.
They also have to get what they can for Reimer...this guys deserves a shot somewhere, and they've handled him VERY poorly this year. Obviously with the re-signing of JVR, Kessel and Dion, there's little chance of ridding ourselves of them, but those are definitely 3 cancers on this team. Maybe not dressing room distractions, but definitely not leaders with heart and passion for the game...guys that are going to lead a team in anything other than highest salary.
So there's my most recent rant. Many of you will respond to me with some rhetoric in regards to overreacting, not having patience, etc... But mark my words...if major changes do not occur, this team will finish in 10-12th place in the weak East this year. Someone please quote me!!!