Toronto Maple Leafs
Firstly, this entry is about NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB championships. I realize Toronto has had great success in lacrosse and has won Grey Cups recently, but with all due respect, I'm not counting them as major championships. For Toronto, I'm only counting the Maple Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors.
That means Toronto hasn't won a championship since 1993. That's a 22 year drought. As bad as that sounds, many cities have it worse.
Let's start with San Diego. The Chargers haven't won since 1963, the Padres have never won a World Series, and even their former NBA teams (Rockets and Clippers) didn't win a thing.
52 year drought
I'm rooting heavily for the Cavaliers in this year's NBA championship and they're currently tied 1-1 with the Warriors. The Cavs have never won a title, the Indians haven't won since 1948 and the Browns haven't won since 1964.
51 year drought
Buffalo only has the two teams, but that's enough to count. The Sabres have never won a Stanley Cup and the Bills haven't won since 1965.
50 year drought
Kansas City also only has two teams, but they did have a short-lived NHL and NBA franchise. Neither won a thing. The Chiefs haven't won the Super Bowl since 1970 and the Royals haven't won a World Series since 1985.
30 year drought
The Golden State Warriors haven't won since 1975, the Oakland Raiders haven't won since 1983, and the A's haven't won since 1989.
26 year drought
The Bengals have been consistently brutal throughout the years, never winning a title. Meanwhile, the Reds haven't won a World Series since 1990.
25 year drought
The Vikings have never won a Super Bowl, the North Stars and Wild have never won a Stanley Cup, the Timberwolves have never won and the Twins haven't won a World Series since 1991.
24 year drought
The Bullets / Wizards haven't won since 1978, the Capitals have never won, the Nationals have never won and their NFL franchise hasn't won a Super Bowl since 1992.
23 year drought
The Toronto Maple Leafs have won the bidding war for Mike Babcock with a monster $50 million deal over 8-years.
There's plenty of work to do before this team is competitive again, but this is a solid start.
The Toronto Maple Leafs hold the fourth overall pick in this year's NHL entry draft. Will they select London Knights center #93 Mitchell Marner?
What an awful, awful, awful, awful, awful 2014-15 season that was for our Leafs.
So little passion, so little skill, so little entertainment... For the first time I can remember, I stopped tuning in. It's never been this bad, this early. But there are a few positives from this horrific season.
We Fired Randy Carlyle
He wasn't a very good coach and we finally parted ways. Sure, things were worse with the replacement coach whose name I never bothered to learn (just kidding... his name is Peter Horachek and he's getting fired Monday), but Carlyle still had to go.
We Traded David Clarkson
Yes, that actually happened. We managed to trade the untradeable. That was very, very good.
We Finally Learned How To Lose Right
I was so sick of the Leafs finishing somewhere between playoffs and draft lottery. That was our specialty, finishing 9th or 10th in the conference. Finally, in a deep draft year in which we own our own first round pick, we figured out how to suck properly and will draft no worse than fifth.
Ok, there's one other positive takeaway from the 2014-15 Leafs season...
This has been an awful season for us Leafs fans. It's certainly the least amount of Maple Leaf hockey I've watched since I was a youngin, and I've been rooting for losses most of this calendar year.
But last night, I enjoyed the in-game experience through my daughter's eyes. It was her first game, and she excitedly donned her Leafs jersey and took in the spectacle. We had a blast.
It helped that our Leafs played well, even scoring three goals, and our favourite goaltender James Reimer was spectacular earning the first star.
So yeah, this season sucked, but last night I remembered it's just a game and left feeling thoroughly entertained. My daughter will never forget it, and neither will I.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded forward David Clarkson to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Nathan Horton. This is not a joke. This is the real mofo deal.
Horton has not played this season due to a back injury, and may never play again. He is in the second year of a seven-year deal he signed with the Blue Jackets prior to the 2013-14 season worth an average annual value of $5.3 million.
The Leafs, a much richer team than Columbus, can afford to pay Horton to be on the long-term injured reserve. As long he's on it, there isn't a cap hit. Shanny might just be the executive of the year.
When the Leafs traded Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators, I felt the first flame had been sparked in operation Scorched Earth. Since then, I've readjusted my expectations. I no longer believe the Leafs will be able to trade anyone beyond the expiring contracts.
Daniel Winnik signed a one-year deal with the Leafs last summer, and he was definitely going to be dealt to a playoff-bound team. That happened today when he was sent to Pittsburgh for forward Zach Sill, their second round pick in 2016 and fourth round pick in 2015.
Now, the hard part begins. The trade deadline is Monday and so far Operation Scorched Earth is really more lit tinder.
If I'm available to watch a Leafs game, I always tune in. This is even true for preseason games, and has been the case for as long as I can remember. I have always thoroughly enjoyed watching my hockey team, regardless of quality. This has always been the case, until now.
I tuned in the other day and watched Tyler Bozak score an early goal. I instinctively cheered, and then realized it was better if we didn't win. That's no way to watch a game.
Since I want my team to lose, and don't wish to root for the opposition, it's best I stop watching for a while. I'm going to take a break until I can cheer for Leafs wins again.
We've been pretty bad for a while now, so how is this the first time I've chosen to stop watching? As I ponder this question, a few reasons bounce around my head.
- We typically don't nosedive this hard, this early. In the past, there always seemed to be a chance we'd go on a run and finish 8th in the conference. There was always a sliver of hope.
- We actually own our own first round pick. There's finally a good incentive to tank. This is completely different from the year Boston owned our fist round pick and chose Tyler Seguin second overall.
- I'm getting old and am awfully busy. If it ain't fun viewin', I've got better things to do.
I'll still be reading about my team and hoping for more trades, but for the very first time in my life, the Leafs game won't be appointment viewing for me. It's no fun rooting for losses.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators for Nashville’s first-round selection in the 2015 Draft, and forwards Brendan Leipsic and Olli Jokinen.
Operation Scorched Earth has begun...
An ongoing inside joke between me and my pals is my constant defense of David Clarkson. I'll even tweet after every goal he scores with an emphatic "DAVID CLARKSON SCORES!", something I haven't had to do in quite some time. The origin of this David Clarkson defense is twofold:
- Clarkson grew up in nearby Mimico, rooting for the Leafs, and I would never fault him for getting a monster contract from Dave Nonis
- From certain angles, Clarkson looks an awful lot like me, particularly when I was his age and 30lbs heavier
Truth be known, the David Clarkson we see this season is David Clarkson. He's not under performing, he's pretty much playing his best. He was never worthy of the contract he received, and now he's a prime target of disdain.
Peter Horachek made Clarkson a healthy scratch against the Oilers, and we won big. It was only our second win of 2015. Clarkson will likely be a healthy scratch tonight, too.
As one doppelgänger falls, another rises. I received this tweet the other day from @kewl75.
We'll see how this works out...
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