TORONTO -- There's something troubling about the Toronto Maple Leafs apparent lack of discipline, but in classic, centre-of-the-hockey-universe fashion the problem is being blow out proportion.
Does yapping at the referees have to stop? Are certain individuals costing the team more than others? Have the Leafs been victim to some smelly calls? Does Toronto have to play with emotion to be successful? Yes on all counts.
To suggest though that the Leafs will continue to rip the officials in playoffs is almost as stupid as the penalties themselves. This is a veteran-laced team, which really isn't playing for much right now other than home ice in the first round, and those experienced player's aren't going to let that happen.
Proof positive was a toned down version of the Leafs, who looked terrible for two periods Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres, but escaped with a 3-2 OT victory. Special thanks go out to Mats Sundin and his three-point night for the win. An honourable mention to Bryan McCabe, who buried Sundin's feed for the winner just 36 seconds into the extra frame.
| Bryan McCabe played tough hard game and even pulled out the old can opener. |
Graig Abel Photography
All fingers pointed at McCabe this week after two profanity-filled tirades. The first was directed at the NHL for adding him to the new diving list and handing him a $1000 fine. The second one was for being penalized already down a man during Thursday's game against the Blue Jackets. That one cost him $200 and gross misconduct at the final buzzer.
"I got it all out of my system the other night," McCabe said. "You guys got enough quotes out of me for the year. You're not going to hear another peep out of me about the referees this year."
The outburst did nothing for the Leafs' cause with the League or the officials, but a change in the team's demeanour was reflected each time the ref whistled down a Toronto infraction against the Sabres. Five times minors were called and all five times not even sour look came from the blue and white offender.
"We stayed off the refs, no one was yapping," McCabe said.
Mats Sundin knows breaks won't be given to his team, especially if it continues to be perceived as a bunch of whiners and complainers.
"We've been talking about it for a long time," Sundin said. "It been a problem not just for the last couple weeks, but for a long time."
Sick and tired of answering questions on the subject Pat Quinn's has politely declined to comment on it any further. It's probably a smart decision since the more hype to surround an issue; the more it snowballs into a mess.
The problem with the Leafs media circus is whatever happens to be the issue of the day is always the difference between winning the Stanley Cup and losing it. Some topics have more merit than others, but this one has none, simply because players will not be putting the team in jeopardy by complaining come playoffs.