Leafs Reverse Mailbag: From MNM to Mamalander, readers have all the good lines
The Reverse Mailbag did the trick, got the juices flowing again and my inbox filled.
Some variation of MNM was the most popular of the choices of a nickname for when William Nylander forms a line with Maple Leafs teammates Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. I’m still partial to Power Line.
But now my money is on what Ken R. and Tim M. suggested: Using first initials instead of last initials. W-A-M. Out they come and — WAM — a goal. Reminds me of WAMCO, for those who know their Blue Jays history.
Anyway, as always, if you have a question email me at [email protected] and I’ll answer it in the next Mailbag.
This week, though, I posed a few questions. You offered your answers. Here we go.
1. Do you believe in this team or have you chosen a “Show me in the playoffs” stance?
Unfortunately, yes, we’ve been down this road before as recently as last year … They dominate in regular season, but until they figure out the way to find success in the playoffs, I’m in a wait and see mode … My son and I even considered jumping ship and starting afresh with the Kraken. But with West Coast game times and most of my adult life having followed the Leafs, we just couldn’t change gears that drastically. — John L., Kingston
Ultimately, the one game that counts is winning the last game of the playoffs. Let’s wait and see. — Claude G.
I do not believe they are tough enough for the playoffs. We all see it every year. Playoff time rolls around and the refereeing changes, the hockey becomes tougher and getting to the net is like running the gauntlet. The Leafs are not built for that kind of physical grind. Part is their mental toughness, and that has to translate into the toughness on the ice. To me, the Leafs are at times the most frustrating team in the league. They play like they don’t care and then they bring you back with their great play. The ultimate tease. — Dirk H.
After five years of this, I think it is only natural to have a “show me in the playoffs” stance. The trade for Kyle Clifford is another sign they want to toughen up for post- season (although I don’t know what this means for Ritchie, because they now have to keep him bumped up in the lineup, presuming Clifford plays on the fourth line). — Steve J.
The Maple Leafs need to show us in the playoffs. — Scott Y.
I believe in this team, but I wont be satisfied until they get out of the first round. — Scot in Norway
Absolutely the latter. I used to salve myself with “they need to lose before they learn how to win” (see ’90s Red Wings, the Caps) but it’s maybe too late for that. Conference final or bust for this group. — Mike B.
Show me the playoffs. Not only because of the last several years, but because of the frustratingly inconsistent play. One game they’ll spend almost the whole time swarming in the opponent’s end, and the next they’ll fail to show up on time or give up a multi-goal lead or something like that. — Steve D.
Hell no; not until they prove they can get past the first round. — Tim R.
2. How good do you think the Maple Leafs are?
I’m going to reserve judgment as that is the true litmus test of how good a team is. — John L., Kingston
I think they’ll be in a dogfight for a playoff position. — Paul B.