spezza and babcock

Toronto Maple Leafs fans are really upset despite opening night win

Last night was the Toronto Maple Leafs' home opener, and the team is off to a great start so far. 

They beat the Ottawa Senators 5-3, so you'd think Toronto hockey fans would be on cloud nine.

But despite the win, many fans are less than pleased with coach Mike Babcock over his decision to keep veteran player Jason Spezza off the ice during last night's game. 

Spezza's at the twilight of his career. He was the former captain of the Sens, and he's played over 1,000 games within a 16 year period. 

He accepted a minimum salary to play for the Leafs in order to work in his home town and potentially win a Stanley Cup. 

Babcock said he chose to seat Spezza to give him more time to get comfortable killing penalties, but it seems nobody is buying it. 

Fans are particularly angry with Babcock's decision to seat him during the home opener in Toronto, saying he could have done it during any other game. 

Some are also saying his decision to do so seems more like a statement to management than anything else, as they were the ones who signed Spezza in the first place and Babcock was not on board. 

And many are saying the decision was outright disrespectful. 

Some are even calling for Babcock to be fired. 

Even former Leafs players are outraged by the decision. 

"I quite frankly think it’s a joke," former Toronto Maple Leafs player and TSN 1050 OverDrive co-host Jeff O'Neill said on Leafs Lunch according to TSN.

"I mean Jason Spezza signed for peanuts to play here. He shows up early to help out with the young guys and then you put that in his face."

Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo and TSN 1050 host also said he disagrees with the decision. 

"I think we can all agree how Mike Babcock feels about Spezza," he said.

"We knew it was going to be a rocky relationship. And that's fine, that happens. Don't make it an example on the first game of the season, especially the home opener. Just let the guy play and then you worry about everything else after."

The Leafs are playing their next game in Columbus tomorrow night, and Spezza will get to play this time ⁠— so hopefully the drama won't get in the way of another win for the team.

Lead photo by

Toronto Maple Leafs


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