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“You’ll never win the playoffs with Auston Matthews” – Tim Peel

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ shameful annual elimination came last night, as the Panthers ended the series after just five games.

The elimination may not have come in the first round (often in a Game 7), as has been the case since 2004, but it’s still an elimination that hurts Toronto very much, and is likely to have far-reaching consequences.

Once again, the Leafs had a team on paper capable of taking top honours, but once again found a way to disappoint, even though they made it through one round.

The Leafs’ big guns got their fair share of points, but only in the first round.

Against the Panthers, they were completely absent.


Two players stood out in particular: John Tavares and Auston Matthews.

In Matthews’ case, he was once again the focus of criticism during the playoffs, and will be for the rest of the summer in Toronto.

And why?

Because, once again, the Leafs’ star has fallen apart in the playoffs, as soon as it’s time to take his game up a notch and show more intensity.

Former NHL referee Tim Peel was quick to say what many are thinking.

You’ll never win with Austin Matthews on your team. He doesn’t have what it takes to play in the playoffs. He’s too soft. – Tim Peel on Twitter

That’s very raw coming from a former NHL referee, but it’s also very true.

How is it possible to win in the playoffs with a player like Auston Matthews?

The Leafs’ number 34 will always find a way to get his team into the playoffs by having an excellent regular season (with 60 goals, for example), but then he’ll always disappoint in the spring tournament.

His lack of intensity and commitment was obvious against the Panthers.

He never seemed to mind losing or getting a goal.

Yes, Matthews is known as a player who shows little emotion, but there’s a limit.

He really seems more like someone with an “I don’t care” attitude than someone who’s simply low-key.

It’s no longer a surprise to anyone, even in Toronto.

Matthews isn’t a playoff player, and he never will be. He lacks that something that makes Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Leon Draisaitl and even Matthew Tkachuk such playoff performers.

They’re able to take their game to another level, something Matthews just can’t do.

I know you’re going to tell me that Matthews has 11 points (five goals and six assists) in 11 games.

That’s more than respectable on paper, but when you look at the overall body of work, Matthews really isn’t giving enough.

In short, it will be really interesting to see which heads roll in Toronto over the course of a summer that is likely to be decisive for what happens next.

It’s probably the beginning of the end in Toronto for this team, and Matthews could very well leave.

He doesn’t look like a guy who will re-sign with the Leafs a year from now when his contract expires.

So, if the Leafs don’t want to lose him on the free-agent market for nothing, trading him this summer could be an option.

We’ll keep a close eye on the 25-year-old American.

In a gust

– Indeed.

– Read more.

– What’s on our minds from Game 1 of the QMJHL Finals?

– Not to be missed today.

– Tony DeAngelo exchange update.

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