There aren't many things we can rely on for consistency these days, but we can rely on the Toronto Maple Leafs for that stability. The Leafs, for the fourth consecutive year, made the postseason and failed to advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The team has not won a playoff series since 2004.
If you're wondering if it gets easier for the Leafs and their fans, Toronto center Auston Matthews has your answer. The short answer is: No.
He had strong words for the frustration he felt. Matthews said (via Toronto Sun):
"Having a good regular season isn't cutting it anymore. We have to figure out the playoffs. Four years in a row is a little bit embarrassing."
The Leafs fate this year was handed to them by the Columbus Blue Jackets. They were eliminated as the eighth seed in the qualifying round, following a shutout loss in Game 5.
While there is disappointment from Matthews, he has not lost hope in the team.
"This core believes we're right there," he said. "We don't really care what other people think, or how far away other people think we are. ... We're going to power through this adversity and we'll break through eventually."
Despite being seen as contenders most years thanks to top-tier talent, and putting money towards star players, the pieces have not fallen into place for Toronto.
They have offensive talent that would seemingly make them successful, but this year the lack of being able to finish strong and a matchup not particularly in their favor got the best of them.
But as we say every year Leafs fans, there's always next season.