Saturday, March 29, 2008

A few more 'whatever' games for the Leafs before golf season

The Toronto Maple Leafs were officially eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week, and fans at tonight's Montreal/Toronto game were seen wearing bags on their heads.

Here's a stat that rubs salt into Leafers' wounds: this is the first time in 80 years that Toronto has failed to qualify for the playoffs for a third consecutive season.

It should be interesting to see how the home crowd reacts to the Leafs.

It should also be interesting to see whether this will be Mats Sundin's last Hockey Night in Canada at the ACC.

Richard Peddie, the CEO or whatever of the Leafs, talked to Elliotte Friedman for his Inside Hockey segment on HNIC and seemed thoroughly pissed off with how things are going. He even acknowledged that this team is so far from even thinking of the Stanley Cup because they don't have any stars in their system to feel good about.


I wonder how this frame of mind will influence what happens this summer. The Leafs are still in the market for a GM, and I wouldn't be surprised if they blow up the team this summer, à la Philadelphia '07.

One bright spot in the Leafs' future (well, as bright as it can get for the Leafs) is Toskala, who is making his 30th consecutive start tonight. I guess that means Raycroft is a bit expendable.

As for Mark Bell, the other half of the deal that brought Toskala to Toronto, I feel bad for the guy. He's facing a crappy off-season in jail - which he deserves - and he has played the season as well as anyone could have hoped. He broke his orbital bone in a fight with Ryan Malone just after New Year's and was out a few months. He's now back and wearing a mask, and tonight he got a puck in the neck just after the opening faceoff, thanks to a pass from McCabe. He's back on the ice, but what rotten luck.

It's hard to truly feel hate or even dislike for the Leafs this season - not that I typically do, anyways. I'm a Montreal fan that makes fun of the Leafs in a joking way, like one would joke around with a sibling, but things have been so sad for the Leafs this year. I truly hope things are better in the fall.

Several months ago, Bob McCown said that the Raptors will win an NBA championship than the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup. I think you could add the Jays to that, too, and I don't think that's a good thing.

One of the reasons why people hate Toronto is because they have the attitude that they are the centre of the hockey world. CBC's HNIC always shows a Leafs game on Saturday night. TSN also contributes much air time to what's going on in Toronto. Well, what do you expect when Canada's most popular hockey team is the Maple Leafs? They are considered to be 'Canada's Team', and now they are faltering.

The Leafs have the opportunity to make so much money, and they are screwing it up. They have, arguably, the largest fanbase in the entire NHL, yet they are alienating that fanbase. It is nearly impossible to get a ticket to see the Leafs live at the ACC, and those tickets cost an arm and a leg and a kidney. Add to that a team that underperforms year after year after year, and you have a lot of fans choosing to spend their hard-earned money on things that are not Leafs merchandise. All of this means less money for the NHL.

If the Leafs make the playoffs and actually have a shot at the Cup, the NHL can only benefit. Imagine the revenue from ticket sales and merchandise - it would beat the revenue pulled in by any of the teams that have won the Cup in the last decade.

Like them or hate them, the NHL needs the Toronto Maple Leafs to succeed.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...