Almost 36 hours after the end of the Senators loss to the Maple Leafs, and I am still fuming. It wasn’t because of the loss, because they happen over the course of a season. It wasn’t because of the Leafs’ fanes, because as annoying and obnoxious as they were, I have been there & done that before. It was Nazem Kadri‘s hat trick or Joffrey Lupul‘s handing of it to him that pissed me off. It wasn’t because the Senators only had 2 quality scoring chances in the entire 60 minute game. Perhaps it was a combination of all of the above, or perhaps the tipping point came in the last couple of shifts.
I don’t usually get angry over Senators’ losses. As (what I think anyways) a level-headed fan who likes to analyze the game while still enjoying it, I like to delve into the why’s rather than the what’s.
And I can’t understand why Randy Carlyle had Frazer McLaren and Colton Orr out in the last minute and a half of a 4-0 game. The guys who played 5:32 and 4:16 respectively had no business whatsoever to be on the ice at that point of the game except to intimidate and possibly start to stir up stuff.
In my mind, Carlyle tried to send a message to the Senators that were already beaten down and just playing out the string. With Ottawa having last change, Paul MacLean had no choice but to send out Chris Neil, Matt Kassian and Zack Smith to answer the Toronto line, and the stupidity that happened with just under a minute left was the obvious result. Three guys who don’t have much to do with the actual playing of the game beefing up their penalty minute totals along with Neil, who spent the entire shift chasing McLaren around trying to get him to fight.
So in my mind, why does Carlyle throw out his tough guys and then have them back down from a challenge? If it was just to piss of the Senators, then I guess it was mission accomplished. It at least pissed off one Sens fan.
I relayed my anger towards Carlyle’s actions to a friend, (who also happens to be a Leafs fan) and he said “Who are they supposed to put out? Not time to put out the stars”. A I responded that there were plenty of non-star players on the roster that could play the last two shifts of the game without loading up a goon squad. He then responded “Nuclear deterrent…You have last change, your building, 4-0, make sure nothing happens.” This angered me even more, because Ottawa had long ago given up any hope and were playing out the string already thinking about the 7 game, 2 week marathon road trip they were about to embark upon. So I responded that his thinking was “backwards. Toronto put their guys out first, trying to send a message. Ottawa had no choice but to respond with their guys. “ To which he responded “Toronto can’t take the chance on who Ottawa was putting out”. I have now told him we are dropping the gloves when I see him on Tuesday.
So who is right? Am I wrong, or is he? Let me know, I can take it. Either way, in my mind, that last minute changed the Battle of Ontario back to what it was, and the Leafs are back up to public enemy #1 in my book. And my respect for Randy Carlyle has fallen close to the Pat Quinn level. I would have more respect if he had put those players out, but had answered the initial challenge. They definitely weren’t out there to score the 5-0 goal. You would think that the former teammates would have a little more respect for each other than that.
So what is the “code” for that situation?