Leafs', Caps' collapses linger as 2nd round begins | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaLeafs', Caps' collapses linger as 2nd round begins

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | 03:47 PM

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Boston’s epic Game 7 comeback win has raised questions about some of the Leafs' key players. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Boston’s epic Game 7 comeback win has raised questions about some of the Leafs' key players. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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Even though the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is underway, there is plenty of fallout from the first round to discuss and debate.

Some good storylines are shaping up early in the second round of the NHL playoffs:

  • A Canadian team is still in the mix with the Ottawa Senators.
  • When will Senators star Jason Spezza return to action? The short answer there is he's still back in Ottawa skating with the extras and won't be ready for Game 2 on Friday.
  • Can Jarome Iginla find success with his new teammates in Pittsburgh? Iginla the sniper has turned into an assist machine with eight helpers in seven playoff games for the Penguins. Then again, he did assist on that epic Sidney Crosby Olympic goal three years ago.
  • The defending champion Los Angeles Kings have put together a five-game playoff win streak and look poised to beat the San Jose Sharks.
  • There are two Original 6 matchups with Detroit vs. Chicago as well as Boston vs. the New York Rangers.

Still, in some circles there is plenty of fallout from the first round to discuss and debate. There are too many leftovers to snack on.

Leafs' collapse lingers

In Toronto, the Maple Leafs' monumental collapse in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins still is being debated and deconstructed. The chatter will continue for days, especially with Toronto players expected to assemble to clean out their dressing room on Thursday morning.

Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle and general manager Dave Nonis will provide their season-concluding dissertations, too.

For some in Leafs Nation, the pain still lingers 72 hours later. There are more questions than answers. Haven't these poor Maple Leafs fans suffered enough?

It seems three different players have been blamed. Goalie James Reimer couldn't control rebounds. Mikhail Grabovski committed a turnover. So did young defenceman Jake Gardiner.

But this simply was an inexperienced team not ready to win. After nine years without a playoff date, the learning curve was too steep.

Not-so Great Eight

Meanwhile in Washington, Alex Ovechkin made a hasty exit before jetting off to Helsinki to help Russia defend its title at the 2013 world championship. The not-so Great Eight, whose team failed to muster a goal in the final two games of their series against New York, left tracks with remarks that there was an NHL conspiracy to make sure the Rangers were the victors.

"I am not saying there was a phone call from [the league], but someone just wanted Game 7," Ovechkin told Russian sports daily Sport Express after the 5-0 loss on Monday.

"For the ratings; you know, the lockout, escrow, the league needs to make profit."

In the seven-game series, the Rangers had 28 power-play opportunities to the Capitals' 16.

Rangers coach John Tortorella couldn't resist bringing up Ovechkin's sour grapes on Wednesday.

"I like where our team is as far as how they handle themselves," Tortorella said. "We've got everybody and their brother whining up there in Washington about what happened in that series, and I think that's a big reason why they lose that series.

"So I just think our mindset is very good, as far as not letting anything bothers us, just getting ready to play each day. Play the game, practice the next day and just go about our business."

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