#1 gh the cons." For Reimer, the issue von lebaobei123 15.04.2019 04:47

SUNRISE, FLORIDA - There is a sense that nobody is safe with the Toronto Maple Leafs these days - from management to the coaching staff to the players. An epic collapse - 10 losses in 12 games - in Canadas largest market is not going to simply fade away. "When something is as fresh as this is right now you always think theres going to be a lot of change," defenceman Cody Franson said on Wednesday, "and sometimes when time goes by a little bit and you sit back and evaluate [with] cooler heads I guess and, you know, there might not be as many changes as you think." "Weve learned our lesson," said centre Nazem Kadri, "and you almost want next season to start right now." Yes, it will be a long off-season in Toronto where the questions about the future are flying fast and furious right now, including in the dressing room. The Leafs pending unrestricted free agents, include: Mason Raymond, Nikolai Kulemin, Paul Ranger, Dave Bolland, Jay McClement and Troy Bodie while four players are headed toward restricted free agency: James Reimer, Jake Gardiner, Carter Ashton and Franson. Meanwhile, management may look to shake things up via the trade route with Kadris name usually front and centre in the chatter. So do the players see big moves on the horizon? "Yeah, I mean, you would think so," said Gardiner, "but you never know whats going to happen. Management here expects a lot out of us and knows we can succeed, its just, I dont know what it was this year." REIMER ON THE WAY OUT Reimer certainly seems destined to leave town after watching Jonathan Bernier steal away the No. 1 job this season. It has been reported by TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger that Reimer plans on respectfully asking for a trade once the season ends. Reimer let out a sigh of exasperation before breaking into a huge grin when questioned about that on Wednesday. "Lets wait a couple of days before we talk about that," he pleaded. "Obviously, its a fair question. Honestly, I know my agents been thinking about things and stuff, but I havent been thinking about it. Ive just been trying to get this team to the playoffs." The Leafs have two games left on the schedule: Thursday in Florida and Saturday in Ottawa. The players will likely clean out their lockers and have exit interviews on Monday. "Right now, I let my agent worry about those things and I worry about stopping that little black thing," Reimer quipped showing that while he may have lost the starting gig he hasnt lost his sense of humour. Reimer seems torn. He has so many good memories from his time in Toronto, but he believes he can be a starter and he wants that chance badly. "Just the atmosphere," Reimer said when asked what hes enjoyed most about life as a Leaf. "Its arguably the best franchise, best organization in the world so to have the opportunity and privilege to play, I mean, to put on that sweater its special, especially our run last year. Just the excitement and the buzz, thats why you play the game and it was a real honour." That sentiment is echoed throughout the dressing room. THIS IS MY DREAM COME TRUE "Its been great," said Franson, who was late arriving at training camp due to a contract dispute and now is once again facing some uneasy negotiations. "Toronto was my favourite team growing up. This is my dream come true so Im hopeful that I get to stay and that everything works out, but that is the business. At the end of the day, theyre going to do what they feel is best for the team and hopefully Im in that plan." "I love it," said Kadri, a player who craves the spotlight. "I love Toronto. I love our fans and how passionate they are. I love playing at the ACC for our home games. Ive cherished my time here and hopefully it continues." "Im happy to stay with one team for six years," said Kulemin, the longest-serving Leaf. ?"I like the team. I like the city, the fans, everything. Well see." The players seem to still be in a state of shock. On March 13, after an impressive win in Los Angeles, the Leafs appeared a safe bet to make the post-season. The rest, as they say, is history. Another collapse. The third in three years following the 18-wheeler driven off a cliff by Ron Wilson and last Springs Game 7 meltdown in Beantown. Teams that dont learn from mistakes are doomed to repeat them so, yeah, changes seem inevitable. But the players are pleading for patience. PLEADING FOR PATIENCE "We are a young team and this is an experience we can definitely learn from," said Kadri. "Its definitely leaving a bitter taste in our mouth. Its only going to help us, because this is an experience we never want to go through again." So why are the Leafs wilting when the season is on the line? Certainly, their slack defensive play seemed to be exposed down the stretch as the games and playoff races got tighter. But what about the theory that the pressure of playing in a hockey-mad market contributed to the demise? Reimer, who was embroiled in a controversy after head coach Randy Carlyle deemed a recent performance as "just OK," admits the so-called white noise created by the teams bloated media corps does indeed have an impact. "Oh, 100 per cent yeah. Its something that you have to do," said Reimer, who almost always talks to reporters on game days, which is something many goalies will not do. "Its something you think about, but at the same time what you guys do creates such a hype around the game itself so there might be more pressure, because of it, but I think theres more excitement, because of it as well and playing hockey when there is that excitement, that atmosphere, thats what makes it fun. "Some days its tough, but at the same time the pros outweigh the cons." For Reimer, the issue with the team this year is the same one that all non-playoff teams deal with whether they play in a Canadian market or sunny ice-averse Florida. "As a guy and as a team you look in the mirror and you just have to accept that we werent good enough," Reimer reasoned moments after the Leafs were officially eliminated on Tuesday night in Tampa. "A wise man once said that the playoffs dont let you in unless youre good enough. You dont sneak in unless you deserve it." The NHL can scratch another upcoming arbitration hearing off their list. The Boston Bruins and restricted free agent defenceman Matt Bartkowski agreed to a one-year, $1.25 million deal Monday, making him the second RFA to sign before his arbitration hearing.dddddddddddd Nashville Predators defenceman Mattias Ekholm was the first. Bartkowski, 26, recorded 18 assists in 64 games with the Bruins last season. For his career, the former seventh-round pick has 20 assists in 84 games. ' ' '

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