I’ve been writing this in my head for a day or so and thought maybe I’d share it. An attempt at humour. My grandmother was a huge Leafs fan so it is meant lovingly.
The Leafs didn’t choke.
I know it looks that way. 4-1 up with about 2 minutes to go in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs and somehow they lost.
But the Leafs didn’t choke.
They got carried away and then realized at the last minute and saved their Plan A.
No one joins the Leafs expecting to win a Stanley Cup. If you can remember a time when the Leafs hoisted the Cup, you are way too old to play hockey in the NHL.
No, the attraction of playing for the Leafs is you get to play for one of the oldest franchises in the league in a real hockey town. The stadium is always packed. Your fans will travel to games in Detroit, Ottawa and Montreal and plenty of Leafs fans winter in Florida so even away games often have a sea of blue and white in the stands, madly cheering for you.
They don’t stop coming to games if you lose. And boy, do they get excited when you win. Who wouldn’t want to play in front of a crowd like that?
The NHL season is pretty gruelling. It takes a toll on your body. The guys who get into the playoffs top that off with an even more gruelling and intense playoff season extending into June.
Golf courses in the Greater Toronto Area open sometime in April. The Toronto Maple Leafs is one of the richest teams in the league. They don’t need playoff hockey revenues, ticket sales and so on to keep the books balanced.
Leafs players get to play hockey in a great environment all winter and then when spring comes along they get to play golf. The way it was meant to be.
Now this year, the regular season was shorter. And spring was late so when it ended the golf courses weren’t open yet and the weather wasn’t really calling out “Let’s play golf.” They got into the playoffs.
They won 1 game away early on and then went down 3 games to 1. The weather was still not calling out “Let’s play golf.” so they picked up their came and came back to force a 7th game.
They were now on a roll. They were winning. They’d come back from 3-1 down to tie the series. People were excited. They kept playing well. They went 4-1 up. It looked like they were going to get through to the 2nd round.
And then someone — I have no idea who — realized what this would mean. They’d be playing hockey in the last half of May! The weather is now rather nice for golf. There’s a long weekend coming up. HOLD ON!!!
And they let a couple of goals in to tie it up and then lost it in overtime.
Phew. That was close!
Someone ought to handsomely reward whoever noticed and congratulate the team on figuring out how to lose a 3 point lead with 2 minutes left on the clock. Because that folks, takes real talent.
The Leafs didn’t choke. They realized, almost too late, that May is not a month for hockey.
The sun is shining. The grass is green. They are golfing. They way it should be.