The Toronto Maple Leafs are coming off a very frustrating loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, a game in which they gave up a two-goal lead in the third period.
The tying goal was shorthanded - something that the team simply cannot accept.
Frederik Andersen lit up social media with a poignant quote following the loss.
“We’ve got to figure out who wants to commit to playing for the team.”
That line resonated across the hockey world, but the players in the locker room didn't make nearly as much of a big deal of it as the media did, with several players openly saying they agree with him, appreciate him speaking out, and taking responsibility for their poor play which has resulted in only 5 regulation wins in their last 20 games.
One player who has been on the wrong end of a play leading to a goal more than once recently is Mitch Marner.
He was found practicing on the fourth line on Friday afternoon next to Matt Martin and Frederik Gauthier.
"It sucks," Marner said following the loss to the Flyers, according to TSN's Mark Masters. "Freddie has been unbelievable every night for us and those mistakes, it’s not on him at all. The last two have been on me so I’m not happy about it and I know I’ve got to be better with it."
Mike Babcock sat down with Marner the following day, and gave him some interesting advice, comparing his struggles to something Nicklas Lidstrom went through in his time with the Detroit Red Wings.
"The next day Babs called me in and told me a pretty good line. One of the best defensemen he ever got to coach was (Nicklas) Lidstrom and he said when (Lidstrom) would occasionally make a mistake and throw one up the middle and get scored on he wouldn’t think about it. He would just go out and play the next shift. That’s what I try and do. I thought our line played well (Thursday). It was just that one costly mistake, which gave them a little bit of motivation and it sucks. We’ve got to start winning these games for Fred."
Obviously, Marner wants to and needs to start making smarter decisions with the puck, but an important factor of bouncing back from an error is to put it behind him, just like one of the best defensemen to ever play the game did.
Marner follows William Nylander's path from earlier this season, when he was entrenched on the fourth line for a period of time after some subpar performances. The move won't come without it's criticism, but it will be interesting to see how long this plays out for.