Last Chance

Last ChanceLater today, right here in Toronto, the NHL Players' Association will meet with the NHL armed with a new proposal. The two sides haven't met since September and it's fairly clear these meetings will be the last opportunity to salvage this season.

Every stitch of logic and business intelligence in my body tells me no deal will be struck. The NHLPA's offer won't connect player costs to league revenues and without a cap it's unlikely the NHL will get on board. It's most likely a big tease, giving hockey fans just a little bit of hope so the inevitable cancellation of the season hurts just a little bit more.

I miss hockey. I miss watching the Toronto Maple Leafs, I miss reading about the Toronto Maple Leafs, I miss following every minute statistics about the Toronto Maple Leafs and I miss writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs. It's my religion, my passion, my game. I miss that rush after a big Leafs win. I miss that buzz after a three game winning streak. I miss settling in every Saturday night a bit before 19:00 to watch my team on Hockey Night in Canada. I miss telling James the names of the players and a little about each one. I miss hearing his little voice chant "Go Leafs Go!" while he watches the first period with his Daddy. I miss explaining to my mom why this year is our year. I miss the passionate discussions with my brothers about how Belfour is playing, the progression of Matt Stajan or the sheer talent of Alexander Mogilny. I don't want to miss the exhilarating march to the playoffs, our playoff pool, gathering for each playoff game, the Maple Leaf flag on my car, the pure joy after each Leaf win, the ecstasy after each playoff round victory and the twinkle of hope each spring that Stanley is coming home where he belongs.

Mr. Goodenow, Mr. Bettman, I implore each of you to salvage this season. To cancel the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring would be to break the collective heart of a nation. Save the season and bring hockey back, please.

I miss it.

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