"Why not us?" - Leafs should not fear Lightning

On the latest episode of In the Mentions, Omar implores Leafs fans not to buy into the fear-mongering after an 8-1 loss to the Lightning.

Video Transcript

- I have a question for you. Where were you when the Leafs lost 8-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning? It was a huge event. Everyone was upset. Everyone was angry and frustrated. So I have a question. How does this affect the team? It doesn't. It doesn't at all.

And I know-- I've seen a lot of tweets and messages like this, of people saying, like, oh, the Leafs want Tampa in the first round. Oh, do they still want them now after this 8-1 loss? Oh, the Leafs can't-- they can't handle Tampa. They can't play with this team-- completely forgetting that this same Leafs team that was more healthy, actually, beat Tampa 6 to 2. Completely forgot about that.

That's what frustrates me. I don't like how [? we ?] can-- how we're picking and choosing narratives that when the Leafs beat the Tampa Bay 6-2, oh, it's just a regular season. It doesn't matter. But when we lose 8-1, which, for all intents and purposes, is a pretty bad loss, right? Despite all the funny things that took place. I mean, Corey Perry getting hit in the head with [INAUDIBLE] Clifford and then having this hilarious reaction. [LAUGHS] It still makes me laugh.

But all kidding aside, the double standard is very frustrating. Yeah, I get it. We are closer to the playoffs now. But like, why can we praise that one game [? or ?] disregard what took place in that one game and only hyperfocus on this one? Because it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. And yes, maybe, you know, once the playoffs hit, I might be regretting these words. But again, this team has proven that they are different.

And everyone says that in the playoffs, things are different. And yes, Tampa is going into the playoffs as the defending back-to-back champion. It's a pretty, you know, steep mountain to climb. But why can't it be the Leafs? Why can't it be us? Why can't we have the possibility? Or why can't there be a potential scenario where the Leafs walk into that series, play well, and win?

Yeah, sure. It's not going to be perfect. It's not going to be easy. That's for sure. I mean, that's a series that I can see going to game six or even game seven. And game sevens, yes, are a little, you know, tricky for us [INAUDIBLE] deal with. But I just-- I don't like that narrative. I don't like the message that because the Leafs [INAUDIBLE] 8-1, that automatically means that they're going to lose in the playoffs.

The playoffs are different. And this team understands that. This team understands what they need to do. Like, they didn't take that loss lightly. Yeah, they just said, OK, sure. [? It's ?] just one game. But they know. They understand. They know what they have to do. They also know that regardless of who the opponent is, they have to win that series.

So do I think there are going to be any games where the Leafs are just going to, you know, coast and not skate well and not try? No. I think what we're going to see in the playoffs is that team that beat Tampa 6-2. Not saying that every single game is going to be won 6-2. But that same level of intensity, of physicality, of attention to detail, and of offensive skill-- I think that's what we're going to see.

So don't write the Leafs off just yet. It's going to be a difficult, difficult series, for sure. But if there is ever a team that could beat a team like Tampa in the first round, again, something feels different about this squad.

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