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How do you blow a 4-1 lead with a little over 10 mins remaining in Game 7? Just ask the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Yes… after 9 years of waiting for their triumphant return to post-season play, the Leafs are once again practicing their golf swing. And Leafs fans everywhere are trying to answer that seemingly unanswerable question… HOW?!?
It may have only been Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but any Game 7 involving the Maple Leafs is bound to stir up a lot of excitement in Leaf Nation.
And so it was last night, as I watched my dreams of a second round playoff series slowly implode before my very eyes, I could feel the collective weight of Leafs fans everywhere bearing down on me. It was painful.
I personally don’t feel that the Leafs are guilty of sitting back and trying to protect their rapidly dwindling lead. I think that it was simply their inexperience that left them unprepared (and scrambling) when the Bruins Juggernaut finally got rolling at full speed. They panicked. They fell apart. They choked.
This Toronto team is young. As heart breaking as last night was, I think that there is a good lesson to be learned here. I predict that this small taste of Stanley Cup playoff success (Hey, they did better than Montreal or Vancouver) will light a fire inside of those young players, and the experience will translate into greater confidence and winning.
For now I’m forced to pin my hopes on the Ottawa Senators.
I’m pretty sure that I can just go back to last year and copy the same post… or the year before that.. or even the year before that… It’s not that the Leafs’ season has come to an end… but their playoff hopes certainly have. (OK, let’s be honest… any chance of the Toronto Maple Leafs making the playoffs died long before they were “mathematically eliminated from playoff contention”)
It’s not to say that there haven’t been sparks of hope at various points throughout the season. I can remember the day that I exclaimed to anyone who would listen “Toronto is #1 in the League! Toronto is #1 in the League!” Yeah… that was a good day. I should have taken a screenshot of those standings. As I look at the standings now, I see that Toronto is second last in the Eastern Conference.
The only consolation is that the Montreal Canadiens are in last place!
It’s the time of year again! Stanley Cup playoff time! And once again, I am going to have to enjoy the annual ritual without my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs in the running. I know… I know… how long has it been since they’ve even made the playoffs? I’m too lazy to go look it up, but I know that it’s nearing 10 years.
Actually, this year it’s not only the absesnce of the Maple Leafs that is troubling. There is a very noticeable lack of Canadian teams in the playoff hunt. Ottawa was worse than Toronto this year! Edmonton was just as bad as they were last year. Even Calgary, which normally is fairly strong, is practicing their golf swing early. That leaves Montreal in the east, and Vancouver in the west. It pains me to cheer for the Habs, but I will. My real hope, though, is on the Vancouver Canucks… they’re a very strong team this year, and finished at the top of the standings.
Maybe this is their year?
Go Canucks, Go! (and yeah.. the Habs too…)
Of everything on my list, I realize that this may be the one thing that you can not deliver. The holy grail of Christmas wishes…
But Santa… please… 1967 is a long time. I’m a patient man, but that’s even before my time. I continue to say “This is our year”… and I believe it… year after year… yet by the end of each NHL hockey season, I’m left sitting there feeling empty. And I’m not alone! The entire Leaf Nation… our collective wish is this:
A Stanley Cup.
I think we’ve paid our dues.
As a Toronto Maple Leafs’ fan, I’ve had to get used to a little playful teasing, especially this season. Most of the time, it comes from my friends who cheer for the Montreal Canadiens. Yeah yeah yeah… I know… they won the Cup in ’93… I remember…
I did get a laugh when one of the guys at work sent this to me.
Is there anything more heart-wrenching that getting your hopes up for your favourite hockey team, only to be let down yet again!? OK, sure.. there are a hell of a lot of worse things than that… but for us Leafs, the proverbial kick in the balls year after year doesn’t get any easier.
This year, we’re in solid last place. Not last in our division. Last in the entire league. But that’s fine… we’ve got nowhere else to go but upwards! It’s a long season, and surely there’s gotta be a team out there that we can beat! Right?
Until that happens, I have to wear my thick skin, while listening to the Canadiens fans babble about how much less they suck than the Leafs!
Here’s a little something floating around the office…
Championship Sports Rings:
Toronto Maple Leafs:
Thick skin… must wear the thick skin…