If you ever wonder why blogging has taken off, just read the mainstream media every now and again and you’ll realize why. Some of the stuff they write is amateurish. Today’s target: Lance Hornby. Mr. Hornby wrote an article today titles “Maple Leafs do the math” which is all about what the Leafs current position in the standings and looks at what the Leafs might have to do to make the playoffs. Since the whole basis of the article is about math, is it too much to expect that one might be able to take an accurate and objective look at the numbers? Apparently not. Clearly the focus is on downplaying the Leafs chances at making the playoffs and not at taking an accurate look at the facts.
First, Mr. Hornby projects that the Leafs would need to go 18-12 over their last 30 games to reach 92 points and a playoff spot. Now, it may take 92 points to make the playoffs in the east, but the current math does not suggest that. As it stands now, the current 7th place Tampa Bay lightning project to just 90 points if they keep their current pace over the remainder of the season and the 8th place Carolina project to 88 points. Maybe it will take 92 points, but there is a reasonably good chance it won’t and that 89 or 90 points will earn a playoff spot in the east.
Second, Mr. Hornby says the Leafs are outside of the top eight and “waiting nervously for teams to make up their games in hand.” Well, that may be true but a) even if the teams behind them with games in hand (Rangers, Islanders, Bruins) win all their games in hand, the best any of those teams could do is tie the Leafs and b) The Leafs have games in hand on 7th place Tampa (one) and 8th place Carolina (two) which Mr. Hornby conveniently overlooked that. In fact, if Toronto wins their games in hand they would tie Tampa and pass Carolina.
I know some of you are going to think that I am an apologist for the Leafs but I am not really. I am just annoyed that most of the mainstream media see the Leafs as a horrible team destined to miss the playoffs. Far too many of them take the pessimistic view and not the realist view because the reality is that as of today the Leafs are the 8th best team in the east based on winning percentage. The other reality is that if the Leafs beat Ottawa on Saturday and win their game in hand they have on Ottawa they will only be a measly 2 points behind Ottawa. Will that happen? I have no idea, but that is just an indication of how close the standings are in the east and it is irresponsible by the main stream media to only focus on worst case scenarios. I am not looking for optimism or homerism, just realism. And that is why I blog: to present a realists view to the equation.