Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Manifesto, Or Something

Sometimes you just have to get angry. If ever there was a time to get angry dear Leaf fans, it is now. This isn't about 40 years of no Stanley Cups. Most Leafs fans weren't old enough, or alive enough, to appreciate that last one. This wouldn't matter if the drought was ten years, or a hundred years. I don't care about Howard Ballard, Punch Imlach, I'm not angry with them. I'm angry, and so too should you be, frail reader, at the current cacophony of clowns running this team.

There is a sentiment out there, I think, that says that the Leafs many sins this year have been absolved, forgiven and forgotten for the last minute effort and grit they've shown over the last month. Maybe, maybe if this was your first time cheering for the Leafs, maybe if you weren't here last year, the year before that. Remember J.S Aubin and the undefeated run to the end of the season? What good did that do us? And now we're being treated to a redux, an encore performance, because gosh if we all didn't enjoy it last time. It pisses me off ok, watching this team bumble and stumble all season long, and then now, all of a sudden, with their playoff hopes essentially dead, now they decide to show up, now they play hard, now they want to be taken seriously. All too late. It's nice that Pavel Kubina has rediscovered his ability to score, but where was that in December? Back when it counted this team folded, but when the games stopped mattering, suddenly they start winning. Nuh-uh. Sorry if I'm not impressed.

So much about this team is frustrating; so much about this team makes me want to give up and cheer for Montreal. A good fan should support their team through thick and thin, but that doesn't mean we can't look critically, can't pause to re-evaluate whether our loyalty is being well spent. No where in our contract does it say we need check our heads at the door, only heart past this point. It's not about winning and losing; if the Leafs were the worst team in the league (and who's to say they aren't already?) I could still cheer for them, if I thought there was at least some design to it, that there was a plan in place, that there was some sort of hope for the future. But here we are, three years removed from the lockout, and witnessing our third straight thoroughly mediocre team. The Leafs will miss the playoffs again, pick 12thish again. Barring miracle trades by our as yet unnamed future messiah/GM, the roster will still be built around the same stiffs that pretended to give a crap for the first four and a half months of this season.

I wish more Leaf fans would try to hold this organization responsible for the inbred sense of complacency that pervades this team. There are no excuses why a hockey team in Toronto should not be consistently at the top of the standings. This is not an organization that ever has to worry about it's next dollar, and yet we continue to settle for mediocrity.

Our only gem of hope is this white knight general manager who will soon come riding into town. We've heard that this man will have only the highest pedigree, that this man will be a guy who understands hockey, who can make tough decisions, who won't have to listen to advice from a board of governors adept at making money, but useless at winning hockey games. If it wasn't for this prospect, I probably wouldn't be writing any of this, because I would have already given up. I'm writing this because I care. I want to see this team do well.

The Blue Jays start next week. You'll excuse me if I don't feel like thinking about the Leafs for awhile.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

God we're all the loser here

Good good good. The Boston Bruins ended this still born playoff run before it got too silly. I'd like to hope that this loss will finally shut people up and that the Leafs can now get back to losing games like they should have been doing for the last month. It won't shut every one up - I know the headlines tomorrow won't play this as the deathblow, just another "setback" for the Leafs' "slim" hopes.

But what else is new. I've been keeping a low profile here while the Leafs have been winning because I just didn't know how to spin it. I knew deep down that they weren't going to make the playoffs and I was damn sure not going to repeat last year's heartbreak - last year when I put my heart on my sleeve, gave them all my faith and hope until that very final day. Once burned, twice shy, you know. Though strictly speaking this will be three straight burns, unconscionable for any team, but quadruple so for a team that likes to pretend it plays in the hockey capital of the world.

So jaded Jason has been keeping his eyes of the games, confused and battered and hurt and almost so willing to jump back on the Leaf bandwagon, but here we go, 6-2 loss to Boston, the team currently in eighth. If the Leafs had beaten Boston in both games, I probably would have thrown my hands up in resignation and started cheering. That won't be necessary now. Now I can sit back and feel smug and superior that I didn't get sucked into beleafing again, lord it up over every one silly enough to put any faith back into this sinking stock.

Yeah being right is great and whatever, but we're all still losers here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pre-Game For the Last Game

Just going to make a prediction for the next two games, the games that will hopefully finally shut up anyone who is still telling that old story about a team named Toronto and their run for the playoffs. They're home and home with the Flyers, the team in eighth place, the team that Toronto
is going to have to surplant if they are going to do this. Lost in that though, is the Leafs' current place in the standings, 12th in the East.

If you've been following the Leafs at all, you'll already know exactly what is going to happen over the next two games. The Leafs will do just enough, just barely enough, so that their playoff hopes come out the other side tarnished, battered, but still in existence. I don't know what that means in wins-losses. Probably a win and a loss, maybe two OT wins, two OT losses even? Whatever, I'm not expecting this to be the last time somebody mentions Toronto and playoffs is all. Even if their playoff run died back in January. Hopefully Phillie will run Toronto over, sweep the two games, knock them around a bit and then maybe we can start seeing Andrew Raycroft in net

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

There Are Still Some Things You Can Rely On

It's comforting to know that as uncertain our Maple Leafs are, no matter how flaky, shaky they may be, no matter how inconsistent their play is game to game, we can always rely on Martin Brodeur to put them in their place. Thanks Devils.

Monday, March 03, 2008

So uhh, We Doing This?

C'mon Leafs, be serious. Are you guys actually aiming for the playoffs? It was cute a few weeks ago when you guys were losing 8-0 to bad teams while still talking about the post season, but now that you're backing it up with wins, it more annoying than anything.

8-4-1 over the last stretch and you've managed to gain, what? One point on eighth place? And Philadelphia has games in hand. Everyone knows where this is heading. We've seen it enough before to smell a ninth place finish a mile away.

I read somewhere that the Leafs need to go on some sort of magical 12-3 run from here on to have any chance at this. Hah hah hah aha hah, chortle guffaw.

I'd advocate putting Andrew Raycroft in net to insure more losses, but I think by this point, having watched this team do their thing all season long, the most likely result would be Raycroft winning games, because that is exactly what we don't need.

It's nice to see to Mats Sundin put his money where his mouth is and everything, and it's nice that Vesa Toskala is a legit starting goalie, but it would be a hundred times nicer to see Steven Stamkos playing in Toronto next year, you know? None of this will end well.