The Toronto Maple Leafs did not get the result they wanted in Game 7 of their first round series against the Boston Bruins in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. As you would expect in a hockey market like Toronto fans of the Maple Leafs were not very pleased with the outcome after the Leafs entered the third period with a one goal lead over the Bruins, who were favorites in this series and a lot of the blame seemed to focus on one player.
Fans and pundits alike took to social media after the game was all said and done and everyone seemed to want to blame Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner. Even TSN's Nabil Karim wrote "Jake Gardiner should turn off his mentions tonight..." However, it does not prevent fans for firing shots and even starting a brutal campaign against the Leafs blue liner.
Late last night after the 7-4 loss to the Bruins, Leafs fans started a GoFundMe account to buy out Gardiner's contract following his name 7's debacle. The description of the objective reads: "Worst player on the ice, single handedly costed the leafs the series. Could put the extra cap space towards signing a real defenceman."
You can see the GoFundMe page and campaign if you click here.
To his credit though Gardiner came out and faced the cameras after Game 7, a contest that some have called one of the worst of his career, and he completely owned his poor performance. There was an emotional tone to his words when he spoke to the media and in fact Sportsnet described him as "a man who was fighting back tears".
"It was not the way we say it going," said Gardiner. "Personally I gotta be better, a lot of this game is one me and it's just not good enough, espcially in a game like this."
"It was the most important game of the season," said Gardiner with a tremble in his voice before adding "and you know I didn't show up. There's not much I can say really."
Gardiner was asked if he there was anything ailing him during the game or if the physical play in the series had taken a toll on him, and again he took full responsibility for his play.
"No there's really no explanation and I felt fine. It just seems like everything I was doing it ended up in the back of the net."