John Tavares, Leafs finally refuse to be pushed around

John Tavares' slash on Edmonton's Vincent Desharnais earned the Leafs captain a $5000 fine, the maximum allowed under the CBA but for some Toronto fans, it's a sign that the team is finally pushing back against physical aggression from the opposition, even when referees are not calling penalties.

Video Transcript

OMAR: Want to hear something that I really liked? This, John Tavares got fined. It was awesome. It was sweet. He got fined $5,000 for slashing.

Now, you might be thinking, Omar, what are you talking about? Why would you be happy with Tavares slashing someone? Because here's the thing, all right? The Leafs have always been a team that just always takes the punishment and never fights back.

Yeah, and Habs fans love to bring up that image of Matthews getting rag-dolled, getting thrown around. And he's just laughing and smiling and stuff, because at that point, the power play was the toughness. That was the belief. Yeah, sure, do whatever you want. You take the penalty, we get the power play, and we try to score, right?

But now what we're seeing is we're seeing the players getting a little fed up. I like Tavares doing what he did because he was fed up. And I don't like what he said afterwards about he apologized, he shouldn't have done that, emotions get high or whatever. No, John, no. Embrace those emotions. Embrace that anger because that is the difference between this Leafs team and Leafs teams in the past.

Leafs teams in the past would just say, you know what, fine, do whatever. Maybe we'll huddle you. Maybe we'll hug you a little bit and separate players. No, now they are fighting. And they're pushing back. You have Jake McCabe that is literally grabbing players who are trying to mess with TJ Brodie. You have Noel Acciari that's adding some toughness to the team. And you have more players who just seem angry. William Nylander literally went for almost a cross-check high-stick thing in one game a couple of months ago. And it's like, who even is this player?

So yes, take the fine, John. Take the fine, whoever needs to take the fine because I think it's time for the Leafs to change the notes when it comes to other teams. Other teams think that they can run through us or they can push us around. And you know what? I'm tired of it. I'm sick of it.

There's been a lot of narratives that have been changing about different players and systems and such this season when it comes to the Leafs. And I hope one narrative that they continuously try to crack at is that you can do whatever you want to them, and they're not going to push back.

Before, it was only Bunting. And now Bunting's in the doghouse with the refs. But I hope, as time goes on, that more of the Leafs decide to push back. And if the captain's pushing back, then I think it's fair game for other people on the Leafs to start to push back a little bit too.