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Canadian Press
Dec 10, 2006, 1:07 PM EST


DETROIT (CP) - The battle is between the ears right now for the free-falling Toronto Maple Leafs.

"We work hard, give it all at practice, it seems like everything is coming together, the game comes and we can't seem to get past the mental part of it right now," said star Leafs winger Darcy Tucker. "We need to find a way to do that."

Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin says there's lots of hockey left in the season and he's confident his team will turn it around, but he didn't sugar-coat the cold, hard truth.

"Right now we're a fragile group," Sundin said. "We're not scoring and not creating enough chances. We're taking penalties and doing all the things that make you lose hockey games."

Hockeytown was no place to end their season-long funk Saturday night, the Leafs waxed 5-1 by the Detroit Red Wings to extend their winless streak to seven games (0-6-1). They've won only twice in their last dozen (2-8-2).

But rock bottom it was not, said head coach Paul Maurice.

"No, I thought the other night was," Maurice said, referring to Thursday's 4-1 loss at Boston.

Maurice insists that Saturday' game, despite the score, gave him some hope, beginning with what he believed was a strong game from defenceman Pavel Kubina.

"Kubina, that's the player that we signed," said Maurice. "I liked Chad Kilger's game, I liked the captain blocking shots. Tomas (Kaberle) was vocal on the bench. ...

"There was some competitiveness."

But once again there were too many passengers, although Maurice wouldn't single them out.

"I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus," he said. "I'll make my points directly to them, they don't have to read it in the paper or turn on the TV to find out who I'm not happy with."

A loss Tuesday night against the Lightning and the Maple Leafs will find themselves under .500 for the first time since an opening-night loss to Ottawa.

"We have a huge home game on Tuesday," said Sundin. "We have time to turn this around but we all have to be better than we are."

Just three weeks ago the Leafs were six games over .500 and sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference. Now they're 10th.

"We're all down, any time you lose a game you're down and any time you're in a slump like we are, you wonder what's going on," said Sundin. "At the same time you don't have time to feel sorry for yourself or bang your heads. You don't have time to think you're not good enough because if you do, you're not going to win a lot of games for the rest of the year.

"There's a lot of hockey to be played and we have to get that mindset back that we had three weeks ago that if we play like we can we'll win games."

FULL STORY
 

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Canadian Press
Dec 10, 2006, 1:07 PM EST


"We work hard, give it all at practice, it seems like everything is coming together, the game comes and we can't seem to get past the mental part of it right now," said star Leafs winger Darcy Tucker. "We need to find a way to do that."
It's mental alright. The laziness out there draws a close comparison to the way things were in at Quinn's tenure. Win or lose, the team never seemed to play a full 60 minutes.

The team has come close a few times, but the laziness is still quite evident when players are skating bacl into their zone to retrieve the puck with little enthusiasm, most notably Ian White and Bryan McCabe. Their jobs are just too secure.

"Right now we're a fragile group," Sundin said. "We're not scoring and not creating enough chances. We're taking penalties and doing all the things that make you lose hockey games."
Glad to see some players are straight up this year. No more cliches. Sundin has been earning my respect big time this season, and he continues to do so.

Hockeytown was no place to end their season-long funk Saturday night, the Leafs waxed 5-1 by the Detroit Red Wings to extend their winless streak to seven games (0-6-1). They've won only twice in their last dozen (2-8-2).

But rock bottom it was not, said head coach Paul Maurice.

"No, I thought the other night was," Maurice said, referring to Thursday's 4-1 loss at Boston.
He may be right, but who know. I also thought that 6th loss was a low as this team could go... we'll see. :dunno:

Maurice insists that Saturday' game, despite the score, gave him some hope, beginning with what he believed was a strong game from defenceman Pavel Kubina.

"Kubina, that's the player that we signed," said Maurice. "I liked Chad Kilger's game, I liked the captain blocking shots. Tomas (Kaberle) was vocal on the bench. ...

"There was some competitiveness."
I didn't see the game, but I hope it's true that Kubina's finally starting to come around.

But once again there were too many passengers, although Maurice wouldn't single them out.

"I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus," he said. "I'll make my points directly to them, they don't have to read it in the paper or turn on the TV to find out who I'm not happy with."
I wish he would (though I doubt many of them are much of a surprise), but that's obviously not going to happen. In all honesty, I don't think it's most of the team.

More like close to half.

Then there are also some underachievers in there.

A loss Tuesday night against the Lightning and the Maple Leafs will find themselves under .500 for the first time since an opening-night loss to Ottawa.

"We have a huge home game on Tuesday," said Sundin. "We have time to turn this around but we all have to be better than we are."
Just three weeks ago the Leafs were six games over .500 and sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference. Now they're 10th.

"We're all down, any time you lose a game you're down and any time you're in a slump like we are, you wonder what's going on," said Sundin. "At the same time you don't have time to feel sorry for yourself or bang your heads. You don't have time to think you're not good enough because if you do, you're not going to win a lot of games for the rest of the year.

"There's a lot of hockey to be played and we have to get that mindset back that we had three weeks ago that if we play like we can we'll win games."
And it's not secret that they can play better than they have.

"Obviously you give up five power-play goals, you've been in the box too much," said Peca
Though that's not entirely true, I'll take it that he's knows what he 's talking about.

The referees aren't to blame, the Leafs are. And they'll have to figure this out on their own.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves," and goalie Andrew Raycroft, pulled after giving up four goals in two periods Saturday. "No one in this country will feel sorry for us. ...

"We know we have the team in here," he added. "A few weeks ago everything was great. We just have to get back to what we were doing ... One of these games we're going to come out and look like the '80s Oilers."
So true.

Not about the Oilers of the 80's part :)laugh: ), but about not feeling sorry for themselves.

They are better than this.
 

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Damn 7 games now. It has felt alot longer then that. I just keep crossing my fingers that they can get out of this rutt. But, like I said before, this may be the team most everyone was expecting at the beggining of the year.
 

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TMLBLUE said:
Damn 7 games now. It has felt alot longer then that. I just keep crossing my fingers that they can get out of this rutt. But, like I said before, this may be the team most everyone was expecting at the beggining of the year.
Before too long we're going to have to see some personal changes. But more importantly if this team doesn't get back into playoff contention, and not just scrapping by, I think Turd Ferg is going to have to make some changes.
 

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shookem said:
Before too long we're going to have to see some personal changes. But more importantly if this team doesn't get back into playoff contention, and not just scrapping by, I think Turd Ferg is going to have to make some changes.
I think he already had to make changes. That's why I didn't want him back.

Who knows, maybe the flaws of this team are finally catching up to them now that the rest of the league's better teams are more organised. :dunno:
 
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