Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews sharing a laugh during a game
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Popular podcast host tears a strip off of Mitch Marner over his dismissive post-game comments

Published January 17, 2024 at 11:48

Last night, following the Leafs' disappointing loss to the Edmonton Oilers, in which they blew yet another lead, Mitch Marner and Sheldon Keefe were among those who spoke with the media. Both Keefe and Marner attempted to appeal to people's reason, with Marner dismissing the idea that the Leafs have anything to be frustrated about. In fact, Marner believes that the Leafs are actually playing "awesome hockey" during their current 4-game losing skid.

"We gotta ignore what everyone else says. We know we're a great hockey team. We show up every night. I mean, this last four games that we've had leads, we've played some awesome hockey, some great hockey." - Marner on how he feels about the team's play during their 4-game losing streak

Obviously, Mitch feeling like the Leafs show up every night is a whole different can of worms that I don't care to open right now. We haven't seen full 60-minute efforts more than a handful of times this season, and really, that's what separates contenders from pretenders. However, it was Marner passing the buck and accusing the media and fans of trying to create a narrative in Toronto that doesn't exist in the locker room that got my blood boiling. I'm not the only one frustrated by Marner's comments either. Sportsnet's JD Bunkis tore a strip off of Marner during a segment of his podcast this morning after Marner

"What about you has proven that you're a great hockey team? The fact that you're now .500? The fact that you're in the bottom half of defensive teams in the NHL? Like, where is the greatness coming from with you guys? What is the great thing about your hockey team right now? What is it? Because there's not a stat that says it.

What is it that says you're a great hockey team right now? Point to those things and people will say them. People will give you the credit you deserve if you're really a great hockey team.

You don't think people here are dying to give you that credit? You don't think people here have been dying for a winner their entire lives, their entire existence as Toronto Maple Leafs fans and media? You think we want to be saying 'oh crap, let's crap on these guys, let's dump on these guys after another blown lead,'? You're not frustrated? You're not frustrated, Mitch? You feel like you're playing some great hockey? You're doing moral victories this many years into it? I get it, he's trying not to pile on, but this is only making it worse. This is what I hate about this group. They don't hate losing. They don't. They don't hate losing and there is a lack of accountability with the core... But these guys, it's always somebody else. It's always something else. It's always someone that's against them, and, God, if they didn't have all that to overcome, they might just be able to do it... it's tiresome and it needs to stop one way or the other."

Bunkis hit the nail right on the head. For as many years as this fanbase and the Toronto media have had to endure underachiever after underachiever, this market has every reason to be upset. Yes, this team is "trying" to turn things around, but they also shouldn't be defending mediocrity either. They need to turn the mirror on themselves, Marner especially, and admit that it isn't good enough - and it extends far beyond Marner as well. Sheldon Keefe, Brad Treliving and even Brendan Shanahan should also shoulder a lot of the blame, and if it truly is not good enough, do something about it.

January 17   |   1315 answers
Popular podcast host tears a strip off of Mitch Marner over his dismissive post-game comments

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