The Toronto Maple Leafs are the latest in a string of powerhouse teams, to shock the sports betting world with an epic collapse. Despite not making the playoffs for a record six consecutive years, the Maple Leafs, similar to the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves of a year ago, appear destined to miss the playoffs thanks to a giant collapse. In an effort to stem the tide, Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke has changed coaching staffs mid slide, but as we’ve seen over the last week, it may not be enough. As the March Madness betting tournament gets ready to begin, fans and sportsbooks alike, are curious as to which powerhouse program, will pull a Toronto Maple Leafs, and suddenly fall from grace.
While the last 16 games have essentially defined the season, one can make the argument, that this year’s Toronto Maple Leafs, were the best in the last seven years. After all, up until last night’s two to nothing defeat at the hands of rival the Washington Capitals, the Leafs had been above 500 in their win loss and tie record all season. As well, finally in the four years that former Head Coach Ron Wilson was the boss, the Leafs had created an impressive power play unit, ranking eighth in the NHL. With this being the case, fans and sportsbooks alike, couldn’t have seen the team with the biggest fan base, suddenly experiencing a bookie software slide of insane proportions.
Over the last 16 games, Toronto has two wins, 12 losses and two overtime losses, in other words, in the last 16 games, the Leafs have only four in which they have recorded a point. The drastic drop off in production has fans and sportsbooks at a loss for words as to why the team suddenly stunk. In fact, since the NHL lockout in 2004 – 2005 only six teams have had as meteoric or worse a collapse then what Toronto is currently going through. In other words, to accumulate such a terrible record is a feat in itself. As we quickly approach the NBA trade deadline, fans and bookies alike, wonder how GM Brian Burke could stand pat at the deadline, while his team went into a downward spiral.
After all, if anyone is to blame for the Maple Leafs collapse, it should be a combination of the players and the Management team. As we noted earlier, Burke fired former Head Coach Ron Wilson, but you can argue that may have come to late. In the five games that new Head Coach Randy Carlyle has taken over, the Leafs look like the same Leafs of the past six weeks and not the team of the first four months of the season. On the other hand, the players deserve some of the blame, as they went from playing above their ceilings to maxing out. The blame on the players has us wondering, did Burke over estimate each guy’s talent level?
But as we made reference to earlier, Brian Burke and his management team deserve the most blame for this collapse of insane proportions. As the Toronto media likes to poke fun at, if Burke made as many strides acquiring players as he did building up his management team, the Leafs would have won a Cup by now. You can have all the scouts and knowledgeable hockey minds in the world, but at the end of the day if the team isn’t winning, everyone is to blame. Look for the Leafs to go into a rebuild this offseason, one in which it can be said is long overdue.