Toronto Maple Leafs
I'm an unabashed Toronto sports fan. I've been root, root, rooting for the home teams for as long as I can remember.
This past month has reminded me of the three-tiers of pro-sports in Toronto. There's group A, consisting of the Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors, and group B, composed of TFC and the Argos. There's also a group C, which includes the Marlies and Rock.
When a team in group A makes the playoffs, it's a big deal. Most of the city gets incredibly excited and rallies behind our boys. I personally won't miss a minute of Leafs, Blue Jays or Raptors playoff action if I can help it.
When a team in group B makes the playoffs, you're happy, but there sure isn't a buzz in the city. TFC recently played their first playoff game ever, and if you weren't paying attention you likely missed it. I actually tuned into 3 minutes of this game before realizing we were getting trounced and I didn't really care. The Argos played a semi-final game yesterday, and if it wasn't for a few tweets I saw, I still wouldn't know what happened.
And don't get me started on group C. I'm mildly curious about the Marlies because I'm interested in how Leafs prospects like William Nylander are performing, but I couldn't tell you how many titles the Rock have won or when they last won without Googling it.
So yes, TFC and the Argos recently lost playoff games, but this city barely noticed and hardly cared. But when one of the big three make it, you won't be able to ignore it.
Typically, I'm all over the Leafs in the preseason. This year, it's a different story.
This year, I've been so consumed by the Blue Jays I haven't had the time or desire to watch the Leafs. I saw ten minutes of a preseason game against the Red Wings, was reminded of how awful we'll be, and decided to watch an episode of Shameless with my wife instead.
Tonight, however, I'll be watching my Leafs. It's opening night vs. the Habs and the Jays don't start up again until tomorrow. Here's another brilliant montage by Tim Thompson set to the sweet sounds of Lowest of the Low lead singer Ron Hawkins. If this doesn't get you in the mood, nothing will.
Brendan Shanahan, President and Alternate Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced today that Lou Lamoriello has been named the 16th General Manager in the Club’s history. Lamoriello joins the Leafs after previously spending the last 28 years in the New Jersey Devils organization.
I didn't see this coming, did you?
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Way back in 2009, Brian Burke pulled the trigger on a trade with Boston that scored us Kessel a 1st and 2nd round draft pick in 2010 and another 1st round pick in 2011. That 1st rounder ended up being Tyler Seguin, who finished fourth in points last season. The price was steep, but he did average 30 goals a season over his six years here, and that includes the shortened 2012-13 season.
Coming to Toronto are forwards Nick Spaling and Kasperi Kapanen, defenceman Scott Harrington and a 1st and 3rd round draft pick.
Heading to PIttsburgh, in addition to Kessel, is forward Tyler Biggs, defenceman Tim Erixon and a 2nd round pick. We'll also retain 15% of Kessel's salary. Gulp.
With the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs have drafted Mitchell Marner of the London Knights.
I've had this feeling since April. This past season he tallied 44 goals and 82 assists to amass an astounding 126 points across 63 OHL games.
He's not big, but he's got boatloads of skill, and I'm glad he's a Maple Leaf.
My oldest son thinks he's Bob McKenzie. Yesterday I got a passionate and detailed analysis as to who the Leafs might draft fourth overall and why. Some scenarios have Noah Hanifin dropping to fourth, others have us picking Dylan Strome or Mitch Marner and then there's the Ivan Provorov wildcard. My son heard an analyst calling Ivan Provorov the best defenseman in the draft and now he's preparing me for a surprise.
Clearly, after the top two picks, it's up for grabs. It sounds like a tremendous top six, and since we're drafting fourth, we're unlikely to screw this up. Friday night, my boy will have us glued to
TSN Sportsnet to find out who it'll be. I'll admit, he's got me pretty excited.
In April, I hoped we'd draft Michell Marner. I still do, but I could live with Dylan Strome.
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...
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