Toronto Maple Leafs

Dion Phaneuf Leafs Captain: Sounds Good to Me
Published by Toronto Mike on June 12, 2010 @ 10:57 in Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsIt's no surprise our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs are about to announce Dion Phaneuf will don the C next season in our newly designed sweaters. Heck, even I tweeted about this last week.

phaneuf

I sense Leafs fans are split on this one. It's a classic case of a player's reputation preceding him, and some fans are buying the crap spewing out of Calgary that Phaneuf was a problem in the dressing room and not a team leader. To borrow a phrase by Flava Flav, don't believe the hype.

I was pleased as punch to see Phaneuf come to town and upon further reflection, shocked at the deal Burke managed to pull off that day. I was in the third row for his Leafs debut and I've read just about everything I could find about Phaneuf's attitude with the Leafs, his leadership skills and his approach to the game. I'm convinced Dion Phaneuf should be the Leafs next captain, and I'm glad it's being announced Monday.

Phaneuf is our guy, Barilkosphere. There's no other player on this team right now capable of doing the C proud. We're going big or going home.

DionPhaneuf_wallpaper1680x1050

Comments 5 comments
Farewell 1961, Hello 1967
Published by Toronto Mike on June 7, 2010 @ 14:42 in Toronto Maple Leafs

stanley cupThis Maple Leafs fan is rooting for Chicago. The Blackhawks are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup since 1961. This Leafs fan couldn't be happier.

It's time to say farewell to 1961 and hello to 1967. 1967 is the last time my team won the Stanley Cup, and we'll soon be the proud owners of the longest drought in the NHL. The Barilkosphere is ready.

When we do win, and we will win, I want it to be all that much sweeter. This record and the 1967 cross we bear guarantees maximum satisfaction and optimal relief. Your chants of "1967" don't humiliate us, it fuels our passion.

1967-toronto-maple-leafs

Comments 11 comments
Why This Leafs Fan Is Rooting For Chicago
Published by Toronto Mike on May 26, 2010 @ 13:36 in Toronto Maple Leafs

Stanley CupYou've no doubt heard that the Chicago Blackhawks haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1961. That's significant because it's the longest current drought in the NHL.

You've no doubt heard that the Toronto Maple Leafs have the 2nd longest current Stanley Cup drought in the NHL. My Leafs haven't won it all since 1967. If the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers in these Stanley Cup finals, my Toronto Maple Leafs will be the answer to that old bar trivia favourite.

Maple Leaf haters, namely Habs fans without a rooting interest, are cheering for the Blackhawks for this very reason. They think it will hurt us to hold this streak of futility. They think it will crush our spirit and break our hearts. They think it will sting.

I'm a lifelong, loyal and devout fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and I want the Chicago Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup. I want my team to hold this record. I want it to feel all that much better when we finally do win it all and hoist Lord Stanley's mug.

Go Blackhawks Go!

Related:

Comments 8 comments
For Cheryl as Her Habs Are Eliminated
Published by Toronto Mike on May 24, 2010 @ 21:39 in Habs Suck, Toronto Maple Leafs

puckThe Habs have just been ousted from these Stanley Cup playoffs. They won exactly nine more games than I thought they would, but ding-dong the witch is dead.

I'm not going to gloat... my Leafs didn't make the playoffs, and I'd give anything right now to witness 9 playoff victories in one post-season, so I'm going to collect all the comments left on this blog by a Habs fan named Cheryl.

First there was my appearance on The Team 990 where I made a bet with Metric Julie. Cheryl didn't like that.

Right on.  Go Habs go.  I didn't like that thing.  I'm a Habs fan.

No no, Leafs have no chance.  Go Habs go.

No no, the Leafs won't win the cup.  The Leafs are not the best.  Go
Habs go.

I lost that bet with Metric Julie. Cheryl chimed in again.

I'm from toronto, but I'm a Habs fan.  Go Habs go.  Habs will win.
Habs and Coyotes to the finals.

Even if I wrote about going to a TFC match, she was there.

Yes, Habs in DC.  Habs will win.  Washington isn't that good at all.
Habs all the way.  Habs and Coyotes to the finals.

I then wrote about the Sens being eliminated, and she was ready to pounce.

No, the Habs do not suck.  The Habs are great.  The Sens may suck, but
not the Habs.  Habs and Coyotes to the finals.

An entry I wrote about the final four series was blessed with four visits from Cheryl.

Habs all the way.  Yes, they lost yesterday, but they're going to win
it in six or seven.  My habs will win the cup again.  Just wait.  Go
Habs go.  My Coyotes are out.  Who cares about the rest.

Habs are going to win.  Halak is unbeatable.  So they lost on Friday,
but they will win today and win the series in six or seven and then no
more Penguins.

I told you so.  habs won.  Habs in six or seven if it goes that far,
but maybe Habs in five.  Penguins have no chance.

Of course, the Habs are going to win.  So they had a bad day last
night.  Tomorrow they'll win and they'll win on Saturday and monday.
Halak is going to be unbeatable again.  you'll see.  Go Habs.

I wrote an important message to Habs fans from Leafs fans, and Cheryl was there.

The Habs are going to win.  This is it.  They're going to win the cup.
Sid the Kid isn't that good honestly.  The Pens have no chance.  The
Habs are really going to win the cup.  There is no way anyone can stop
them now.  Go Habs go.  Just get used to saying that.  They are really
going to win.

Well, I told you so.  Habs all the way to the cup.  They are going to
win it.  The Flyers or Bruins have no chance at beating the Habs. Habs
all the way.

The Habs will win the cup.  Halak is that good.  The Flyers have no
chance.  Nobody is going to beat Halak.  Go Habs go.  Get used to
saying that.  The Leafs won't win the cup any time soon.  I hate the
Leafs.

Finally, I had enough and wrote If You Love The Leafs, You Hate The Habs.

Well, this year a Canadian team will win the cup, the Habs. I am a Habs
fan, but I live in Toronto.  I've been a Leafs hater for life and that
will never change.

As I said, I'm a Habs fan.  I've always been a Habs fan.  I live in
toronto, but have always loved the Habs for years.  This blog may be a
nightmare, but the Habs won't choke.  Just wait and they'll beat the
Flyers.  Halak is so good.  He won't allow the Flyers to score, not
even on the power play.

If we bet on it, I would win.  The habs are that good.  I am going to
cheer for my Habs.  You'll see.  They'll win tonight.  Just wait.
Halak will stop every Flyer he sees.

I'm not happy.  My Habs lost.  This sucks, but this is just one game.
I have faith.  The Habs will win the next one.  They'll come back.  I
know they will.  The flyers had their win.  Habs in six or seven.
Trust me.  Go Habs go.

Habs are going to win.  Trust me.  The game last night was a real
fluke.

Another fluke game last night and the Habs lost again.  Trust me.  The
Habs are going to win the cup.  They'll win the next four.  It will be
Habs in six or seven.

A follow-up call to arms resulted in a similar barrage of Cheryl comments.

I am cheering for my Habs.  Yes, my wonderful Habs.  They are going to
win tonight.  I am not a Leaf fan.  I never was and never will be.  The
habs will win this round in six or seven.  The Flyers won't win
tonight.  There's just no way.  Get used to it.  Halak will be on his
game again.  The Habs will win big time and if you don't like it,
that's just too bad.  Go Habs.

I told you the Habs would win.  Leighton has come back to life.  See,
he's not so good and neither are the Flyers.  They're going to be
toast.  Habs all the way to the cup.  Yes, they're going to win the cup
so get used to it.  Go Habs go.

Habs are going to win to even the series.  Just wait.  The Flyers are
out of gas.  Go Habs go.  On the way to the Stanley Cup.

Well, the Habs got shut out.  This sucks.  This was another fluke game.
 It won't happen again.  Habs in seven.  They will win the next two to
get to game seven and win game seven.  Honestly, the Habs won't go
away.  They're going to win the cup like it or not.  The cup is theirs.

Habs in seven.  Like it or not and I am not doing your crazy bet.  No
thanks.  I just know that the Habs won't win the cup.  See, afterr
Washington was winning three to one, the Habs come back.  After
Pittsburgh was winning, the Habs come back.  The Flyers will be toast.
They got lucky so they won yesterday.  It won't happen again because
Halak will shut the Flyers down.  Trust me.  The Habs are going to win
the cup, like it or not.

Habs are going to win tonight.  Just wait.  Habs all the way to the
cup.  They will win the cup.  Now the Flyers fans can cry because they
are going to lose.

Cheryl, I'm going to miss you.

Comments 10 comments
Reminder to Leaf Fans Still Cheering for Montreal
Published by Toronto Mike on May 20, 2010 @ 15:47 in Habs Suck, Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsIt's a gorgeous day in Toronto, and I've got a ball game to play, but I understand there's a hockey game tonight.

This entry serves no purpose except to tell everything a very interesting discussion has emerged in my If You Love the Leafs, You Hate the Habs: It Is Written entry. You might want to click on over and throw your two cents at it.

Also, I did a little interview on this subject with OpenFile. You can read their article here.

Go Flyers Go!

Comments 28 comments
If You Love the Leafs, You Hate the Habs: It Is Written
Published by Toronto Mike on May 15, 2010 @ 09:40 in Habs Suck, The Best of Toronto Mike, Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsIf another supposed Leafs fan tells me they're cheering for the Habs, I'm going to blow. The commonality amongst the people I'm hearing this nonsense from is that they're all young. It seems our youth thinks it's okay to love the Leafs and root for the Habs.

When I ask these young Leaf fans why they're cheering for Montreal, they give me the same two reasons:

  1. They're a Canadian-based franchise, and we should root for a Canadian team
  2. They're underdogs, and we should root for the plucky underdog

Kids, let me be clear: under no circumstance is it okay for you to cheer for the Montreal Canadiens if you love the Toronto Maple Leafs. There are no exceptions. Should Montreal face Ottawa in the conference finals, you cheer for an influenza outbreak that suspends the season.

Luckily, Montreal isn't facing Ottawa in the conference final. Montreal's facing Philadelphia, and that means for the next couple of weeks I'll be rooting with all my might for the Philadelphia Flyers. Normally, I strongly dislike the Flyers, but in this situation, as a die-hard Leafs fan, the choice is clear. Actually, it's not a choice at all.

If you know a young, ignorant, misguided Leafs fan who has decided to cheer on the Habs during these playoffs, please direct them here. We need to put an end to this despicable nonsense. Again, so there's no misunderstanding: If you love the Leafs, you hate the Habs. There are no exceptions.

habssuck

Comments 62 comments
Important Message From Leafs Fans to Habs Fans
Published by Toronto Mike on May 12, 2010 @ 11:18 in Habs Suck, Toronto Maple Leafs

stanley cupI don't have to tell you about the hockey game tonight. You already know it's the Penguins vs. Canadiens, game 7 of the conference semi-final. I'm playing a slo-pitch game at 6:30, but immediately following the final out I'm directing all my energies and vibes to Sid the Kid and the Pens. I passionately want the Habs to end this ridiculous playoff run.

I tweeted as much this morning, and started getting offers from Habs fans to join them.

tweet

Here's an open and important message to all Habs fans from yours truly.

leafs

Comments 18 comments
One Down, One To Go (Or Why the Sens Suck)
Published by Toronto Mike on April 25, 2010 @ 11:35 in Toronto Maple Leafs

stanleycupThis has been a rather gruelling stretch for us Leafs fans. The last fun playoff moment for my team was April 20, 2004. Here's my recap of our easy 4-1 win over the Senators in game 7.

Go Leafs Go!I would like to bottle this euphoric feeling I have right now in order to preserve it for moments in the future I'm feeling less joyous. What a fantastic night. For the fourth time in five years, the Ottawa Senators are going home early from the Stanley Cup playoffs thanks to my beloved Maple Leafs. Ottawa is 0-4 in series against Toronto and 0-4 in Game 7s overall.

Lest we forget Daniel Alfredsson's promise to win this series tonight at the ACC. Alfredsson, like the rest of his teammates, were all but invisible tonight. They have proven time and time again that they aren't built for the playoffs and can't win when it matters most. At the trade deadline, there was much speculation the Senators would upgrade between the pipes as Patrick Lalime was showing himself to be rather inconsistent. Staying with Lalime would prove to be their downfall. Tonight, in the most important game of the season, Lalime was horrible while Maple Leaf goaltender Eddie Belfour shone bright. Belfour was brilliant throughout the series and is the biggest reason I'm sitting here right now with a huge smile on my face.

Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!

Toronto wins series 4-3

The next day, I collected the reaction from the Ottawa press. The Sens had choked once more, and proven they can't beat the Leafs when it matters most. It was another collapse for a franchise with a rich history of collapses.

Fast forward to last night... I watched every second of the Pens vs. Sens, wondering when the Penguins would start trying. It looked awfully bad for Leafs fans, who root as passionately against the Sens and Habs as they do for the blue and white. But, the world reset itself, as it's apt to do. The Pens started trying, came back to force overtime, and ousted the Sens in six games.

When Pascal Dupuis scored 9:56 into overtime, eliminating the Senators from the playoffs, I cheered at the top of my lungs. In essence, it was a Leafs victory. When the Leafs aren't around come spring time, we root for ABO and ABM: Anybody But Ottawa and Anybody But Montreal. The Sens are done, and tomorrow I'll be a Caps fan cheering passionately for a Habs loss.

We're six years removed from our last playoffs, but there's still plenty to cheer about in the Barilkosphere. The Sens still choke.

Happiness

Comments 18 comments
Ned Turofsky, His Graflex Camera, and a Frozen Legend
Published by Toronto Mike on April 22, 2010 @ 12:24 in Bill Barilko, Toronto Maple Leafs

LeafsI just read a piece by James Marsh for the National Post that gave me shivers.

James was in Maple Leaf Gardens that April 21, 1951 night Bill Barilko scored in overtime to win the Leafs the cup. Here's an excerpt from his article.

Foster Hewitt, broadcasting to three million listeners on the radio, described what happened at 2:53 of the aptly named sudden-death overtime: “He shoots, he scores! Barilko! Barilko has won the Stanley Cup for the Leafs!” Ignoring his coach’s constant imprecations to stay back and keep his position, Barilko had pounced on the centering pass, tripped over teammate Cal Gardner (who might have scored with the same loose puck) and backhanded the puck over the sprawling McNeil.

“You see! You see! Barilko!” I shouted to Granny. She was quiet. For her, the thrill of victory was always far less pervasive than the relief of not losing.

How much of the enduring appeal of that goal is owing to the subsequent tragedy is hard to say. The following summer, on Aug. 26, 1951, Barilko and a friend took off in a fish-laden, single-engine bush plane and disappeared into the tangled forest of northern Ontario. I was devastated. How does a seven-year-old sort out the mythic implications of the death of a hero? Barilko’s number five was etched onto my heart and even today is the nearest thing I have to a superstition. The site of the crash was not discovered until 1962, supposedly lifting a curse and allowing the Maple Leafs to win another Cup, as they conveniently did that year.

More certain is the effect on memory of the astonishing photograph of the goal snapped by Ned Turofsky on his Graflex camera, with such exquisite timing that he caught the puck in the net before the goal light had flashed. McNeil is planted on his seat, having stumbled trying to follow Meeker’s antics behind the net. Richard waits for a pass he will never get. Meeker will never see the moment of glory, as he is plastered against the boards by Tom Johnson.

Bill Barilko, my hero, is suspended in mid-air, frozen in time. Forever elated, forever young.

That was 59 years ago yesterday. I'm less than 59-years old, but I feel as if I saw that game. I've been enamoured by Bill Barilko for as long as I can remember.

I've got an online tribute to Bill Barilko here that I've maintained for a great deal longer than I've had this blog. I own a custom-made vintage white Maple Leafs jersey with Barilko and #5 on the back that I wear to every Leafs game and Tragically Hip concert I attend.

Next year, Bashin' Bill's goal turns 60. Let's do something special.

bill

Comments No comments
We Suck
Published by Toronto Mike on April 14, 2010 @ 22:33 in Toronto Argos, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto FC, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Marlies, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus, Toronto Raptors

CN TowerIt seems like we were just talking about the Raptors gunning for fourth in the conference and a home court advantage for their first round in the playoffs. For those who don't follow the Raps, we finished ninth in the conference and that means we missed the playoffs for the second season in a row.

At least the Raptors played a playoff game three seasons ago. Our Leafs haven't played a playoff game since 2004. That's five seasons ago and six years. My daughter's about to turn six and she's not been alive for a single Leafs playoff game.

Of course, if we're talking playoff droughts in this city, the Blue Jays are the top dogs. The last Blue Jays playoff game ended with Joe Carter touching them all, and that was back in 1993. What's that, 17 seasons ago? Do we count the year they cancelled the World Series? Is it really 18 seasons ago?

At least it's tough to make the playoffs in baseball. Our Argonauts play in an 8 team league in which 6 teams make the playoffs, and they haven't qualified since 2007. It's not looking good for next season, either.

I could drag Toronto FC into this mess, but they're only in their fourth season. We'll excuse their three years of missing the playoffs. And the Marlies missed the playoffs, but they were there last year, if we're desperate for a silver lining.

Who am I kidding... there's no silver lining. The three teams with the largest fan-base, the Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays, have collectively been absent from the playoffs since the Raps lost to Orlando in the first round back in the spring of good 'ol 2008.

We suck.

Comments 15 comments


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