They managed to hold out till February, but it's time to add the Maple Leafs to the "Dead" list.
Wednesday's brutal 5-0 whipping by the Sabres was the last nail in the coffin for Toronto, who now sit 11 points out of the playoffs with 30 games to play. The Leafs would need to go 22-8 over that stretch in order to reach 91 points, the bare-minimum threshold for making the playoffs since the introduction of the shootout. Considering they only have 19 wins to date, that seems like too tall an order for this gang.
The season won't get any easier for Brian Burke, who is poised to be a seller at the trade deadline. Leading scorer Nik Antropov and top defenseman Tomas Kaberle are the most frequently-cited items on the trading block, though it's hard to imagine any of the Leafs are truly untouchable. Dark days ahead for a franchise that is lacking in leadership and direction.
Perhaps the worst part of their demise is the anitclimax of Curtis Joseph's career. Vesa Toskala has been arguably the worst #1 goaltender in the league, with a .883 save percentage, and young Justin Pogge has been shelled behind an uninspired defense. Yet the once-mighty CuJo will still be the odd man out in Toronto, watching from the press box as his career dies a slow and silent death.
Updated Dead List:
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