If the Leafs did not have these glaring issues, we would not have had a Game Seven. The team would have knocked the Bruins off in six. So, while I was disappointed and upset with the loss (because, let's face it, theoretically, you should not blow a 4-1 lead with 10 minutes left in the third period), it did not come as a surprise. The Leafs players made the same errors I saw them make all year and all series long in the second half of the third as well as Monday's overtime period.
This is a young team. What more can we expect? What more should we expect? A straight shot to the Stanley Cup Finals in its first post-season appearance in nine years. Becoming a seasoned and confident playoff team is a process; it takes time. It comes with experience. With having been there before. Boston has. Toronto hasn't.
As much as I despise Milan Lucic (though I would love him if he was on "my" team), I saw it in his eyes when he rallied the troops in the third period. That was a veteran player rallying a veteran team that responded. The Leafs aren't there yet. And it's unfair to expect them to be.
But Toronto has an excellent coach. A strong core. A few pieces away from going deep into the playoffs. A top-tier centerman. Another big body on defense. The team will be better off for what happened Monday night because, as Joffrey Lupul said on Twitter after the game:
That hockey game will haunt me until the day I die...— Joffrey Lupul (@JLupul) May 14, 2013Nobody feels worse about what happened than the players. They don't need an irresponsible media that neglects context and perspective to tell them how bad they blew it. They know. And they won't soon forget. Plus, it really is, after all, only a game. If you want context and perspective, watch this and be grateful you're able to "wait till next year." Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.