The Boston Bruins still remain as a stumbling block for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
That’s as undeniable now as it’s been for the last handful of years even if the Leas are running roughshod over a soft North Division where defense is only optional most nights, and those teams are not playing a playoff-style grind like the teams in the East Division are engaging in on a nightly basis.
So, for all the Toronto Maple Leafs fans chest-thumping right now as they pile up gaudy offensive stats with Auston Matthews leading the NHL with 18 goals, former NHL tough guy John Scott is among those that isn’t all that impressed.
Scott mentioned on his “Dropping the Gloves” podcast that he thinks the North Division is all “smoke and mirrors”, and that teams like the Bruins, Golden Knights, Blues and Avalanche will end that dream really quick once Toronto is playing outside their division in the playoffs.
— Dropping the Gloves (@dropping_gloves) March 1, 2021
“The North Division is just being smoke and mirrors, it’s just the Wizard of Oz where everybody thinks it’s this great show, and all these teams are great,” said Scott. “But the more we see them play and we see behind the curtain we see that these guys aren’t that good. This division is run and gun. All they try to do is score goals. It’s fun and it’s great and entertaining, but once you get to the playoffs and you get to the final four? If you’re Toronto, what are you going to do [in the playoffs] when you’re not used to being played that hard?”
It’s certainly something to think about for the Maple Leafs as they have opened up an eight-point lead in their division and lead the entire NHL with a 17-4-2 record and 36 points thus far this season. It feels like they are going to be in for a rude awakening in the final few rounds of the playoffs if they get that far, and there’s really nothing they can do about it while playing in the NHL’s “defense optional” North Division this season.
Now on to the puck links:
*Speaking of the North Division, what in the wide, wide world of sports was going on with the Calgary Flames during pregame warm-ups on Monday night?
What in the world was happening with the Flames during warmup? 🤨 pic.twitter.com/RdNdvApUdM
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) March 2, 2021
*With the COVID-19 issues seemingly in the rear-view mirror, the Flyers players talk about the toll it took on their team while they were going through it last month. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
*Could Trent Frederic become a trade chip after getting onto everybody’s radar as an effective Tom Wilson-type player? Interesting premise posed by my partner-in-crime Jimmy Murphy. (Boston Hockey Now)
*Good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Harrington in Buffalo about the credibility problem the Sabres now have with head coach Ralph Krueger. Much of it centers around Jack Eichel and that’s a big-time red flag for a coach. (Buffalo News)
*Patience is working for the New York Islanders as their young players are blossoming under Barry Trotz, and part of a team gelling in the East Division. (NYI Hockey Now)
*Grant Fuhr joins Anson Carter on “Hockey Culture” to talk about his role as a trailblazing, highly successful goaltender for the Edmonton Oilers during their golden, dynastic era.
Hall of Fame netminder Grant Fuhr joins @AnsonCarterLA to discuss his time with hometown Edmonton during their Stanley Cup reign, his experiences as a Black player in the NHL and more on #HockeyCulture.https://t.co/BTLbtn4tXa
— NHLonNBCSports (@NHLonNBCSports) March 1, 2021
*Who are the trade targets for the Pittsburgh Penguins? FOH Dan Kingerski has three candidates to dissect. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
*For something completely different: It sounds like there is going to be another re-enactment play in the new Thor movie, and I am here for it. (Screen Rant)