Toronto Maple Leafs

Stop Effing With My Saturday Nights!

NHLI'm sure I've bitched about this before, but I'm going to do it again. It's my blog, you'll just have to deal with it.

It's Saturday. On Saturday nights during hockey season, I go on autopilot and naturally tune in CBC at 7pm for a Leafs game. The Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada was always a slam dunk. There was a solid stretch of 15 years there where the Leafs were featured every Saturday night on HNIC, so you can see how this muscle memory evolved.

So it's Saturday, and I'm already planning my day around the Leafs game tonight, except there's one tiny problem with that... The Leafs don't play today. That's right, it's Hockey Night in Canada without the blue and white.

I don't get it... sure, there are more competitive teams this year, but there are no teams with as big a fan base. Without a doubt the CBC takes a ratings hit every Saturday night they don't feature the Leafs. Why screw with my sacred Saturday night ritual?

I'm not exactly sure where the blame lies. The NHL makes the schedule, but I'm fairly certain the CBC has been able to demand Saturday night Leafs games. I'd love to know if this is the CBC saying they don't need the Leafs every Saturday night or if this is the NHL schedule makers dealing shitty cards.

A Saturday night in January without a Leafs game is like certs without the retsyn. What the hell am I supposed to do tonight?

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The China Wall Sings Honky The Christmas Goose

MP3Johnny Bower didn't just help lead the Leafs to Stanley Cup wins in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967, he also recorded a local holiday classic. Sung with Little John and the Rinky Dinks, Johnny Bower's "Honky the Christmas Goose" was released in 1965 and enjoyed a significant amount of airplay, making it to number 29 on our Canadian music charts.

play Johnny Bower - Honky The Christmas Goose

The China Wall didn't need no auto-tune.

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Joseph Robb, We Thank You (Or Why We Need the Waffle)

WafflesIf you follow this blog, you know I'm pro-waffle. From the moment the first waffle hit the ACC ice, I saw it as the perfect symbol of our discontent. It's become the waffle that unites us all.

During our last game against the Thrashers, Joseph Robb hurled waffles during another mediocre effort by the home team. Here's what Joseph Robb did.

We know it was Joseph Robb because the Toronto Star caught him waffle-handed. Here he is, making a statement on our behalf.

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We know our hero's name because he's been charged with mischief.

The Toronto police, meanwhile, charged 31-year-old Joseph Robb with mischief (interference with property). He has a court date on Jan. 27.

Robb has been banned from the Air Canada Centre for all events as well as other Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment events at BMO Field and the Ricoh Coliseum.

The Star spoke with Robb.

Robb, who intends to fight the charges from Monday night, said he was not the original waffle thrower but just a copycat expressing his frustration with the Leafs. He says "real fans" can't even afford game tickets - his ticket was a gift - and they are tired of empty promises from management.

"I didn't mean to cause no trouble."

Robb tossed the waffles - which were thawed and soft - "just to say ‘wake up' or something. Stop treating your fans like Eggos."

As a fellow die-hard Leafs fan who's had enough, I have one thing to say... thank you. Thanks for having the courage to throw a waffle at this under-achieving, over-priced product. Thank you for taking one for the Barilkosphere, for getting the media's attention, and hopefully MLSE's.

Toronto FC fans got MLSE's attention with chants and protests during home games. After missing the playoffs four years in a row, they'd had enough. Our Leafs are about to miss the playoffs for the sixth time in a row. It's about time the waffles showed up.

We must continue to throw waffles at Maple Leafs home games, for Joseph Robb and the rest of us who are suffering. I do hope we do it after the whistle, and not during play, but I do hope we continue to do it.

Joseph Robb, we thank you.

The Waffle

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The Green Men vs The Maple Leafs

leafsNot sure how I missed this, but the green men got us good on Saturday night.

Did somebody say waffles?

Thanks to Jensen for the clip.

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A New Annual Tradition: Cox and Berger of the Bells

christmasThe first time I heard of Bloge Salming was about a year ago when I watched Damien Cox and Howard Berger perform their version of Carol of the Bells for the first time.

It's now an annual tradition.

No final since '67.... no final since '67.

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Waffles (But Were Afraid to Ask)

infoThe Waffle That Unites Us All is sure to catch on. It is the symbol of our discontent. Puck Daddy just wrote about it and it just appeared on Deadspin. This thing has gone well beyond the Barilkosphere and I'll be thoroughly disappointed if I don't see a few waffles tonight against the Habs.

waffle_assn

If you're going to the game tonight, please... bring waffles. We need this. We need something... anything. Waffles are perfect.

making_waffles_old_school

But really, what do we know about our new tasty hope? From Wikipedia, here's everything you wanted to know about the waffle (but were afraid to ask).

A waffle is a batter- or dough-based cake cooked in a waffle iron patterned to give a distinctive and characteristic shape. There are many variations based on the type and shape of the iron and the recipe used.

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Other waffle-shaped foods exist, and are sometimes referred to as waffles because of their shape. Most are actually potato products.

Eggo Waffles

Waffles are eaten throughout the world, particularly in Belgium and the United States. Common toppings are strawberries, chocolate, sugar, honey, syrups, ice cream and more. Waffles can be desserts and breakfasts.

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Waffles are also traditionally thrown at Toronto Maple Leafs home games by fans fed up with 43 years without a Stanley Cup. This tradition began following a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on December 9, 2010.

Ladies and gentlemen, pelt the ACC ice with waffles!!!

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The Waffle That Unites Us All

The Waffle

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Waffles: The Symbol of our Discontent

leafsWaffles. Detroit can have their octopus, we have our waffles. A week after I wrote this, following a couple of big losses against the Pens and Flyers, I finally have a symbol of our discontent.

It's perfect. Perfectly tragic and sad, but perfect nonetheless.

pumpkin-waffles

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The Leafs vs. Rob Ford: Which is The Greater Embarrassment For Toronto? Vote Here

voteYesterday I ranted about the Leafs and Rob Ford. As a proud Torontonian, both embarrass me. I'm just not sure which embarrasses me more.

Please take a moment out of your busy Friday to cast a vote below. Simply leave a comment telling me which is the greater embarrassment for Toronto: the Maple Leafs or Rob Ford.

ford-v-leafs

For those of you who read but never comment, this is your chance. Don't worry, your email address isn't published on the site and I'm totally fine with you using an alias.

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Bad As It Seems: A Leaf Fan Laments

leafsI was certain we hit bottom last October. Hell, that was a good rant... here it is again in its entirety.

It's never been easy being a Leafs fan. I discovered the team in the early 80s and endured some painful seasons when I was too young to expect any better. One of my best early memories of the team was a first round sweep of the Chicago Black Hawks. We were forced to make a lot out of very little.

Six and half years ago, I was using this blog to ask God "Why?".

What exactly do you have against my Toronto Maple Leafs? Why to you use your omnipotent power to crush us at every opportunity? You tortured us with the Harold Ballard regime, forcing me to grow up in a decade almost completely void of playoff victories. Then, when everything lined up perfectly for a Habs-Leafs Stanley Cup Final in '93, you gave The Great One yet another break and used your mighty power to blind the refs as Gretzky clearly high-sticked Gilmour. We deserved to win that night. You made sure it didn't happen.

I follow my Leafs today as closely as I ever did. You could argue I follow them closer than ever, because I now follow their AHL affiliate quite closely. I don't miss a game, I blog about every significant Leaf-related event and not a day goes by that I don't read about my team and think about my team. It's never been particularly easy to be a Leafs fan, but I don't think it's ever been harder than it is right now.

My daughter is just about five and a half years old. The Leafs haven't played a playoff game in her lifetime. This is an unprecedented streak of failure for a team that hasn't won the Stanley Cup in 42 years.

When Brian Burke came on board, we were given something we haven't had in quite some time. We had hope. I'll never forget his quote following the 2008/2009 campaign. "We require, as a team, proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence." During the off-season, Burke made several moves to increase our levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. During the pre-season, I'm sure we led the league in fights. We were told that we may not win the Stanley Cup this season, but teams weren't going to look forward to playing us.

I'd argue that teams are looking forward to playing us. It's the surest thing to a guaranteed two points there is in today's NHL. In seven games, every team we've face has earned their two points, and most of them have done it rather easily. We've been outscored 11-2 by opponents in first periods and the average score in our games has been 4.57 - 2.

We're 0-6-1, our goaltending has been brutal, our lack of offensive skill has been exposed and our abundance of tough defensemen have failed to gel. There's talk of making our greatest prospect a healthy scratch, our coach is unfireable and we've traded away our next two first round picks. Don't ya see! In any other season, we'd get behind a "Let's Finish Last" campaign in the hopes we'd score our first first over all selection since Wendel Clark. But in Leafs Nation, we don't figure out how to lose properly until it benefits a division rival.

I've been a massive fan for about 30 years, but now I'm stuck watching a terrible team with little hope. With a healthy Monster and Phil Kessel, our best hope is that we actually win a handful of games, maybe make our Saturday nights a little brighter by being somewhat competitive. After 30 years of investing blood, sweat and tears, I think I deserve better. I think we deserve better.

Brian Burke, this is your team. I don't believe pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence is enough. We're going to need some skill. We're going to need true leadership. We're going to need real hope.

Fix this mess before we jump ship and raise our kids to be Penguins fans.

Then, just last January, I did it again. That was another sweet rant, I'm pasting it down.

I thought I hit the bottom last October. I had just come to the realization that my five and a half year old daughter had not been alive for a single Leafs playoff game. We Leaf fans are enduring an unprecedented streak of failure for a team that hasn't won the Stanley Cup in 42 years.

standings

Four months later, it's gotten worse. For the first time since I discovered the team in the early 80s, I hate my Maple Leafs. We've been this bad before, we've even been worse, but as a wise man once tweeted, the 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs "have no redeeming qualities whatsoever".

radio-raheem-do-the-right-thing

It's okay hating your favourite team. I feel I've earned the right. After 30 years of investing blood, sweat and tears, I know I deserve better. And in lieu of better, I'm going to do what feels natural, and that means hating this hateful, brutal team.

I knew we found a new bottom when I got free tickets to next Tuesday nights game at the ACC and I didn't feel the excitement I've felt every time prior. I'm not even looking forward to watching my team live and that scares saddens me.

The Passion That Afflicts Us All

It's bad, folks. I hate my favourite team. I can't stop watching them, or reading about them, or writing about them, but I sure as hell can hate them. And I do.

I just finished watching the Leafs completely mail it in against the Edmonton Oilers. We were blown out 5-0, but more concerning than that, we didn't seem to care. I don't remember this team quitting like that before, and if Ron Wilson isn't gone tomorrow, he's never going anywhere.

Again, we're 28th in the NHL, without a first round pick in the draft next June, without a bona-fide blue chip prospect in the organization and with absolutely no hope.

I watched the entire game, but it wasn't fun. It was painful. It was depressing. It's as bad as it seems.

And it's only going to get worse. Sigh.

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