As many of you out there who know me, know Im a big Leafs fan. I’ve talked about them ad nauesem with everyone over the last little while, especially since the beginning of the season.
Let me give you a bit of history. I was once a Habs fan!
Yes indeed. In my younger years I was what you called a Habs fan. My dad grew up watching the Montreal Canadiens on CBC week after week playing against his HATED Maple Leafs. Yvon Cornoyer, Serge Savard and other Habs were heroes in our house. My dad grew up on Rocket Richard and other all time greats and his enthusiasm was infectious to say the least.
My favourite Hab at that time was Guy Lafleur. Number 10 could do no wrong. He bolted up the ice on the right wing so fast, the defensemen didn’t see him coming. Goal after goal I was impressed by both him and other players like Larry Robinson and Steve Shutt.
I don’t really know when it happened or what game it was on Hockey Night in Canada but they were playing the Leafs and I happened to notice this amazing goaltender by the name of Mike Palmateer.
Now, at that age having someone famous named “MIKE” was pretty darned cool, so I watched the game intensely. Save after save he made had me open my eyes. Ian Turnball and another all time Leaf fave of mine Daryl Sittler caught my eye and before I knew it…I was a LEAFS FAN!
To my fathers dismay I made immediate demands for a Leafs jersey with the number “29” for my Christmas present, and with the help of my aunt who worked at Maple Leaf Gardens (God I miss that place) Santa had one under the Christmas tree that year. I was a convert.
Now with my criticism of the team in the last few years, and my growing admiration of the Vancouver Canucks (my west coast fix for hockey) I’ve been asked, am I going to convert from a Leafs fan to someone else.
Let me tell you I would have to put aside a fair amount of money for therapy if I was going to do that. Good or bad, I cheer them on. Sometimes quite loudly as my screams of horror and dismay were heard throughout the house with the game against Atlanta earlier this week. Pat had to call down at times to tell me to keep it down as I grumbled and groaned at each missed play and even worse when I saw Pavel Kubina jump out of position YET AGAIN which leads to the oppositions goal scoring totals.
It’s not as bad as that … yet.
I feel that given the Leafs ownership situation and their apparent inability to do ANYTHING about the current state of the team, I need to do something. Goal tending isnt really an issue here. Toskola is a good goaltender and so is Raycroft. Im one of the few fans out here that think Andrew Raycroft should be given more of a chance than he has. Instead the braintrust at the Leafs Nation HQ decide by coin toss it seems, who is to go in net on a nightly basis. No chance of building momentum is there. Bryan McCabe isnt the problem either. Sure hes overpaid. $7 million plus a year? Who’s to blame for that? Surely McCabe isnt. Oh ya, like anyone out there would turn down that salary.
“No really John Ferguson Jr….I’m not worth that. Please pay me $2 million.” You would accept it and you know it.
Defense is the problem. Its inconsistent and at times, non existent. Players are out of position, they seem tired and run down and God forbid they have a lead going into the 3rd period as the gas tank seems to be on “E” at the start of the 3rd.
So what does a fan do?
I don’t buy tickets to games…that’s a fact. I cant afford to take a mortgage payment to take the family to the ACC for overpriced beer and bad seats to cheer them on. The odd time I buy some merchandise for Anthony or get it as a gift. So I cant really hurt them in the pocket book now can I?
I could call all the radio call in shows and complain but when the topic of discussion is the Leafs the lines are full and everyone squaks ab0ut them anyways…so I cant help out there.
I can do something though. I can say, enough is enough. Why should I as a Leafs fan put myself through 60 minutes of hockey that only ends up in heartbreak at the end of the night. Why should I take the time out of my night, sit back and watch Kubina run around the ice like a moron, get out of position and give the other team a chance for a goal?
So I think I’ve decided to stop watching the games until they give me a reason to watch them. I picked a hard night to do it, what with the Leafs playing Pittsburgh and who doesnt want an opportunity to see the best player in the NHL in Sidney Crosby play.
I had thought about it long and hard after the last Atlanta game that saw the Leafs fall in a shoot out loss. They did, to their credit, keep the game close. But in order for them to be a playoff contender, they need to win those games. Ottawa has a tendency to either kill their opponents or at the last second pull out a victory and get TWO points instead of settling for ONE point with a tie or an overtime loss.
Last year the Leafs missed the playoffs by one point. That one point could have been earned on a number of occasions in games that they were supposed to win or should have won.
They seem to be falling into the same trap this year with their record so far.
So, I dont know if I will be able to hold off tonight and NOT tune in. We’ll have to see. It’s hard to go cold turkey, but I’ll give it a try.
Im NOT resigning my Leafs fan membership just yet. It would take a bit more of this to get me to think about that. Until then, I just plan on watching hockey, with my focus going to the Vancouver Canucks. We’ll see about that team. SOMETHINGS gotta give here.