Kukla's Korner

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All Eyes On The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet, The joy of the greatest regular season in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 105 years of existence will not be poured neat.

No, sir. The intoxicating cocktail of this record-breaking 54-win, 115-point romp will be spiked with doubt and laced with fear, sprinkled with regret, and served by a ghost that’s been haunting the mecca for 55 years. It’ll be the kind of drink that requires a chaser. Maybe two.

Some will say club president Brendan Shanahan and handpicked general manger Kyle Dubas have doubled down. Nah. They’ve sextupled down on this talented core of five — Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander and Morgan Rielly — who, you may have heard, play for a team that has lost five consecutive first-round playoff series. Set their Stanley Cup ambitions aside for a second. These bright stars, most firmly in their primes, represent a proud organization that hasn’t celebrated a single series victory since Toby Maguire was the only Spider-Man of cinematic record. These Leafs, man. They’re either doomed or due. Destined to be demonized or determined to become dragon slayers.

And there is zero doubt where Dubas, the stubborn/steadfast architect of the roster, lines up on that debate, set to be settled beginning Monday against the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning. “For better or worse, I believe in this group. I believe that they are going to get it done and that they are going to win,” Dubas stated over the summer, the sour taste of another Game 7 loss still on his lips. “I understand that this comes with certain doubts because we have not broken through in the playoffs. But it is my belief that they will. I believe in them as players. I believe in them as people. I know that the decision lies on me and the risk is for me in going ahead that way.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink


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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com