Off the record, the coach was confused.
This is a coach who has seen the Toronto Maple Leafs a lot this season. Seen them score a ton of goals. Seen how Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner have worked their magic on a line together, how William Nylander has rebounded after a miserable season and how Sheldon Keefe has freed the team offensively.
He’s seen them dominate. But at the same time, he’s also seen them grossly underachieve.
This could be a Stanley Cup winner, said the coach. Well, if they can reach the playoffs first.
“I actually don’t mind their team,” the Eastern Conference coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said of the Leafs during the All-Star break. “I can’t say that it’s a bad team. It’s a weird team.”
He then added: “I still wouldn’t want to face them in the first round.”