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Ferguson: Looking For Shootout Solutions

by John Ferguson / Toronto Maple Leafs
No one has to remind us about the problems we have encountered in the shootout. How well you perform in extra time is critical to your success and we are 7-17 since the advent of the shootout.

It’s a puzzle. It comes down to execution and we are very confident with the goaltending we bring to overtime and the shooters we can line up for the shootout.

Part of executing is doing things the right way and being confident in finishing. Has it become a mental issue with our team? I don’t think you can ever separate the mental aspect from the physical in any professional sport but then again, I know if we find some success in extra time, our troubles will be quickly forgotten.

That’s how the game is. In tying Montreal in regulation, our team responded very well after an unacceptable effort in Phoenix which followed a tough home loss to Boston and a very good effort in Dallas. All that came after a solid home effort against Ottawa. This has been reflective of our season so far. We’ve had real good efforts followed by sub-par and average ones.

I know this sounds trite, but with the amount of parity in this league, momentum belongs to whoever scores the next goal.

I have been asked many times about the perception of pressure that comes with working in Toronto. There has been a lot of criticism of our club and much of that criticism has been directed at management.

But pressure is not necessarily a negative thing. No one puts greater expectations on us than we do. Whether you are in hockey’s biggest market or any other market, the challenges remains the same.

The attention is at a level in our market that is probably unequalled in the hockey world, but we are nowhere near the only club that faces constant attention and external pressure from our fans and the media.

We are very fortunate for that. The desire to win comes from a passionate, loyal fan base. We have a sold-out building every night.

The benefits of playing in Toronto far outweigh any of the challenges.

Nothing is a distraction unless you let it become one.

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