• By: Dave Gross

Leafs house in disrepair

ABOVE: Sheldon Keefe, head coach of the Leafs. (courtesyNHL.com)

Supposing you bought a house and decided to invest millions of dollars into upgrades.

A few months into renovations you discovered there were enormous cracks in the foundation and all that money you’d shot into the home were wasted.

Then supposing you decided to sell that house and discovered – not surprisingly – the market value had dropped considerably, and the home in essence was unsaleable.

Well then, if we’re going long with this metaphor, your name would be Kyle Dubas. And that home was your hockey team.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, God bless them, are in desperate, desperate circumstances. This is a renovation that’s fallen squarely, flat on its face.

If it wasn’t clear the current roster didn’t have the cojones to create noise in the playoffs before this past weekend, we’re here now. And don’t give me that “it’s only one game” nonsense. This storyline has been gaining steam for years.

Saturday was a microcosm.

Toronto was visiting a Pittsburgh team without all of its stars – no Crosby, no Malkin, no Letang. No problem for the Pens as they rolled to a 7-1 whipping. As Lance Hornby put it in Sunday’s Sun: “Six games in, there has been a major disconnect between the coach, his unproductive stars and even the foot soldiers.”

I am not for a second putting this on Sheldon Keefe who has proven to be a very good coach through junior, the AHL and at times the NHL. Keefe coaches as he played, with skill and sandpaper. He’d certainly like his front-line stars, who excel at skill (in addition to making tons of money), to display a little bit of that sandpaper.

Let’s face it, when the only guy overly pissed off at losing convincingly to an American Hockey League club is your 33-year-old fourth-line grinder, you got problems in Three Rivers City.

For a relatively young team (at the top), the Leafs look stale. But how can you be stale if you’ve never been taken out of the freezer? That’s the real truth behind the problem – Toronto just does not have the makeup upstairs in the head to turn this organization’s fortunes around.

So, what is the answer? I mean, there’s gotta be a solution, right?

As one former NHL scout put it to me this weekend, “You think they’d be like this if Lou (Lamoriello, as Toronto’s general manager) was still around?”

Unfortunately there is only one day that counts, and that’s today. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. Yep, yesterday is gone and so is Lou.

I feel your pain Toronto, I really do.

THOUGHT, SEEN AND HEARD: Usually you hear all the assorted bad news revolving around San Jose and the Sharks. So far this season? Just the opposite. The Sharks, led by a rejuvenated Erik Karlsson (six points in five games), former 67’s Logan Couture (eight points in five games) and Jacob Middleton and another pair of former Senators in Rudy Balcers and Jonathan Dahlen (three goals) are roaring with four wins in their first five games . . . If Kanata is deemed Ottawa West is San Jose then Ottawa Really West? . . . Chance to see a little history Monday night when Alex (I’m chasing Gretz doncha’ know) Ovechkin brings his Washington Capitals to town . . . There’s few things that really cheese me off in life but guys talking during my backswing is one of them . . . Fore! . . . Don’t know the fella, but doesn’t Nick Paul just look like he’d be a really nice guy . . . Enjoy Mike Johnson’s analysis on TSN. Brings a strong perspective and doesn’t play favourites . . . I’d surmise that both Paul and Johnson would refrain from nattering during my backswing . . . Wouldn’t want to face the NY Rangers in the post-season. This is a big, hard-skating, talented troupe with world-class netminding . . . Barclay Goodrow could play on my team any day . . . Same with Ryan Reaves, although I think Reaves would be the kind to talk through my backswing.


Monday, Oct. 25: Washington at Ottawa (7 pm)

Friday, Oct. 29: Ottawa at Dallas (8:30 pm)

Monday, Nov. 1: Ottawa at Chicago (8 pm)