SportsTAKEAWAYS: Sparks takes the blame for the Leafs' loss

10:30  31 march  2019
10:30  31 march  2019 Source:   thestar.com

Senators take Battle of Ontario against Leafs

Senators take Battle of Ontario against Leafs OTTAWA - The best thing the Toronto Maple Leafs can say about this week is that it's over. The Leafs lost 6-2 to the last-place Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, concluding a week that saw Toronto lose three of four while giving up 23 goals. With just 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Leafs know they must improve. "A little adversity is not a bad thing," said Toronto defenceman Morgan Rielly, whose team fell four points behind the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division. "We believe in ourselves, we believe in the group, we believe in the structure and right now it's just not going well for us.

OTTAWA – Garret Sparks was among the last to emerge from the Maple Leafs dressing following a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. He strolled slowly to the assembled media, head down. “The only reason I’m down is we played a great game, and we deserved to win,” said Sparks .

Leafs Fan TAKEAWAYS : Sparks takes the blame for the Leafs ' loss By leafs fan 6 hours ago OTTAWA – Garret Sparks was among the last to emerge from the Maple Leafs dressing following a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.He strolled slowly to the assembled media, head

TAKEAWAYS: Sparks takes the blame for the Leafs' loss© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld Garret Sparks returns to then net after the Ottawa Senators score into an empty net to make it 4-2.

OTTAWA – Garret Sparks was among the last to emerge from the Maple Leafs dressing following a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

He strolled slowly to the assembled media, head down.

“The only reason I’m down is we played a great game, and we deserved to win,” said Sparks.

If the pro-Maple Leaf crowd at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre was any judge by their jeering, then it was Sparks who was fully to blame for another frustrating loss to the NHL’s worst team.

That may or may not be the case.

Leafs point fingers after losing to Senators

Leafs point fingers after losing to Senators Losing to Tampa, the best team in the league? Sure. Losing to Chicago and almost losing to Philadelphia, two really hot teams chasing down a playoff spot, OK. But losing to the Ottawa Senators? My oh my. After dropping a 6-2 decision to the worst team in the NHL – their third loss in four games -- the Maple Leafs have started to point fingers. Goalie Garret Sparks blamed a lack of emotion: “We need more emotion. I’m an emotional player. I need more emotion. We need more emotion from everybody. We need people to get angry. We need people to step up and be mad and take it personally. I’m not going to disclose any locker room conversations. We just want to be better as a group.

The Dallas Mavericks fell in a crushing defeat on a last second deep 3-pointer by Rodney Hood last night. Deron Williams takes the blame for the loss , or at least losing in that way. No matter how you look at last night’s game against the Jazz

The Lakers fell to 2-6 on the season after a dispiriting loss to the Jazz, and Lonzo Ball didn't shy away from blame for his poor play following the defeat. The dunk from Mitchell that Ball was referring to was certainly a momentum killer for the Lakers, especially when the Jazz rookie followed it up with a

Certainly Leaf shooters didn’t help the cause, failing to score on multiple high-danger scoring chances. And Leaf defenders didn’t do much, surrendering a two-on-one (Auston Matthews fell on the sword for that one) that led to Ottawa’s first goal by Anthony Duclair, leaving a Magnus Pagaarvi unattended in the slot for Ottawa’s second goal, and surrendering a 4-on-2 for Cody Ceci’s game winner.

A case can be made that each of those shots were stoppable, and that Craig Anderson was doing just that on similar plays in the Ottawa net while Sparks did not.

“I have to make more saves," said Sparks. "We come roaring back to tie the game. Would have been a huge save to make on the third one. Obviously the first two weren’t great either.”

On Ceci’s winner, no one got in his way. Sparks still blamed himself.

Oakville man was watching Leafs game while driving, police say

Oakville man was watching Leafs game while driving, police say Const. Marc Taraso couldn’t believe his eyes. But when the Halton Region police officer pulled over the driver on Dundas St. and Meadowridge Dr. in Oakville, his concerns were realized. Taraso said the driver was watching the Maple Leafs game against the Ottawa Senators on his iPhone just after 7:15 p.m. Saturday. “I wish I was joking,” he said. “I saw the game playing on their dash and thought to myself ‘no way.’ Unbelievable ticket.” The man was charged with distracted driving, a charge which carried a $615 fine, three demerit points and a three-day driver’s licence suspension.

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A number of outraged Bears fans took to Twitter to express their anger at Parkey, with some going so far as to threaten his life and family, however facetiously. Bears tackle Charles Leno had a curt message for those fans when asked by NBC Sports Chicago about the hate directed at the kicker.

“Guy walking down the middle, good shot, but I’ve got to get out more. I’ve got to wear that. I’ve got to find a way to get a piece of it and make a save for the team, because they were playing so well,” said Sparks.

Bad month of goaltending

It was a rare start for Sparks in that it was not the second of back-to-back games. He’s 1-3-0 in five appearances in March – two of them in relief of Frederik Andersen. His goals-against average is 3.13. His save percentage for the month .901.

Andersen has also had a rough month (11-5-2, 3.64, .890).

Overheard in the press box on Saturday: “The Leafs should start Joseph Woll against the Islanders.”

Nyuk, nyuk but it won’t happen. Andersen will get that start on Monday, Sparks on Tuesday at home to Carolina.

Clinching stuff

Next opportunity is Monday against the Islanders, who -- coincidentally? ironically? -- clinched a spot before the Leafs did. Sure the fans in Long Island will inform John Tavares. Leafs need one point. Feels like a turtle race. But let’s say somehow the Leafs go on a losing streak and Montreal gets hot, then, whoa, Saturday’s season finale in Montreal will get real interesting.

Hurricanes continue playoff push, down Leafs

Hurricanes continue playoff push, down Leafs TORONTO - Justin Williams and Dougie Hamilton each banked in goals from behind Toronto's net as the Carolina Hurricanes picked up a big two points in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a 4-1 victory over the listless Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Jordan Staal also scored for the Hurricanes, while Hamilton added an empty netter. Petr Mrazek stopped 22 shots for Carolina (44-29-7), which came in having lost three of its last four in regulation as the franchise looks to make the post-season for the first time since 2009 — currently the NHL's longest streak of playoff futility. John Tavares replied with his 47th goal of the season for Toronto (46-27-7).

Brazil, somewhat cruelly, must now try to regroup before it takes on the loser of Wednesday's second semifinal in the third-place playoff in Brasilia on Saturday. Few teams ever have to deal with the level of pressure and expectations faced by Scolari's men. Ultimately, they were neither good enough nor

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick stood up and took the blame . The 49ers found themselves down 14-0 after the offense had held the ball for just three minutes. That’s how long it took for Kaepernick to throw two interceptions on nearly identical pass plays that resulted in touchdown returns

Time warp

Back when the Leafs were always bad, I used to write a lot about moral victories, about the small things they did that they can build off. I feel like I'm in a time warp now, looking for those aspects of the game they do well. There are plenty -- the way they shoot and control the play, the way they skate, they way they don't give up. The really were the better skaters. But really? Those kinds of conversations shouldn't be had when it comes to a playoff team. But there ya go.

The coach says

“I thought we had lots of looks. We had lots of opportunity. We did lots of good things. In the end, we didn't finish around their net enough. I thought Anderson had a real good night. We had a great look on the 2-on-1 there, we hit some posts and that, but I thought with the opportunity we had we needed to finish more obviously to win tonight.”

Auston Matthews says

“Yeah, it’s frustrating. I thought we played a good first period. I thought we played well for the most part of the game just made a couple mistakes that cost us. I mean that first one is on me, I’ve got to make a better play there and take care of the puck. In the end, we gave ourselves a chance to win and then, obviously, a costly mistake and they come down on a 4-on-2 and they shoot it in our net. All in all, I thought for the most part we played pretty well. Could have maybe done a better job of taking Anderson’s eyes away. He made some good saves but there were times when we could have gotten in front of him, creating a little more havoc but that’s the way it goes sometimes. You make a couple mistakes, some young guys with good skill capitalize on those and next thing you know you’re chasing the game. They’re pretty good playing with a lead.”

Leafs slip against Hurricanes in rough final start for Sparks

Leafs slip against Hurricanes in rough final start for Sparks The Maple Leafs will quickly put this loss in the rearview mirror, but backup goalie Garret Sparks may not hear the end of it for a while. Sparks allowed three goals, two of which caromed in off his equipment, in a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday night. This is how it’s been for Sparks this season since he was named the Leafs backup goalie over Curtis McElhinney. Every time he allows a questionable goal, the comparisons always fly. McElhinney was Carolina’s backup on Tuesday. As it stands, Sparks has likely played his last game of the season, with two games to go until the playoffs. Leafs coach Mike Babcock said No.

Leaf Notes

  • Patrick Marleau skated in the 1,653rd regular season game of his career, moving past Mark Recchi for fifth place on the NHL's all-time games played list.

  • Auston Matthews has scored in two straight games and has a three-game points streak (two goals, two assists) He has 10 goals in 12 career games against the Senators, which is tied for his highest goal total against a single opponent (Detroit, Montreal).

  • Mitch Marner registered the primary assist on Matthews’ power play goal. Marner has six points (1-5-6) over his last five games. He leads the Maple Leafs in power play points (1-18-21). He ranks third among NHL skaters in primary assists (50).

  • Connor Brown has scored in two straight games.

  • Ron Hainsey recorded the lone assist on Brown’s third period goal. Hainsey has registered 13 (5-8-13) of his 23 points on the road this season. He has five points (1-4-5) in 14 games during the month of March, which is tied for his second-highest point total in a single month this season.

Read more

Backup goalie Garret Sparks returns to Maple Leafs for practice.
Backup goalie Garret Sparks returned to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday on the eve of the playoffs, when Michael Hutchinson needed time off for “personal” reasons, the team said. Sparks took his spot with the rest of the Leafs at practice as the team prepared for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs Thursday in Boston. The Leafs had told Sparks to take 10 days to work with the goalie coaches and training staff in an effort to get his game back after he struggled the last month of the regular season. Whether Sparks or Hutchinson is Thursday’s backup for Frederik Andersen remains to be seen. Kevin McGran is a sports reporter based in Toronto.

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