Sergei Bobrovsky, the 34-year-old Russian goaltender for the Florida Panthers, has been a standout player in the NHL playoffs, with a 10-2 record and at least 30 saves in eight of those games. Despite being benched by the Panthers coach in late March, Bobrovsky has become a post-season contributor and is now the betting favourite for the Conn Smythe trophy. His success has sparked some reconsideration of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ playoff exit, with some wondering if the team was simply « goaile’d ». The Leafs’ big four forwards went silent against the Panthers, and while general manager Kyle Dubas received praise for reshaping the roster at the trade deadline, head coach Sheldon Keefe struggled to figure out how to deploy the new players. The Leafs’ off-season is now at a pivotal moment, with changes coming after a decade of steady sailing that hid some chaos below the surface.
The Leafs’ playoff exit has led to the team splitting with Dubas, and rumours of acrimony between Dubas and Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan suggest that the whole operation was knocked off course. The reckoning that has long been resisted is now upon the Leafs, with the changes coming at a pivotal moment. The Florida Panthers, meanwhile, are one win away from a sweep to reach the Stanley Cup Final, with Bobrovsky as one of their playoff run’s biggest heroes. However, he wants to prevent his team from thinking too far ahead. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will meet with Joel Quenneville to review the veteran coach’s status with the league following the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Keywords: NHL playoffs, Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Kyle Dubas, Sheldon Keefe, Brendan Shanahan, Stanley Cup Final, Joel Quenneville.
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