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Dubas deems criticism of Marner 'idiotic'

Chase Agnello-Dean / National Hockey League / Getty

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas came to Mitch Marner's defense during Wednesday's season-ending press conference, insisting the incessant criticism facing the star forward isn't warranted.

"I don't get the criticism of Mitch Marner one bit," Dubas said, according to TSN's Kristen Shilton. "I really struggle with it. Everything that he does wrong, people jump all over him about it. I don't know how or why it's that way. It's among the most idiotic things I see done here."

Marner posted 67 points in 59 regular-season games in 2019-20 after a highly publicized offseason contract negotiation netted him the seventh-richest contract in the NHL.

The 23-year-old added four assists in Toronto's five-game elimination at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets but is facing plenty of heat as a core player of a club that has failed to win a playoff round in each of the past four years.

Marner himself said his game during this postseason didn't quite meet his standards.

"The first game, I wasn't engaged at all, in the physicalness of play at all," he said. "And then from that point on, I felt like I got a lot more engaged and playing as my old self ... but zero goals isn't going to get the job done."

Teammate Auston Matthews said earlier Wednesday that the Maple Leafs' consistent inability to progress past the first round is "embarrassing."

Despite Toronto's yearly playoff struggles, there doesn't appear to be wholesale changes on the horizon, as club president Brendan Shanahan stated he has complete faith in Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe to get the Leafs over their postseason hump.

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