February 06, 2008


It's one thing to lose 8-0. It's another for it to happen on home ice and to the Florida Panthers. I'm not sure why it took so long, but I'm waving the white flag. Like George Costanza, I'm offering up the white cashmere sweater, with the red dot, in defeat. It's over.

What an absolutely pathetic performance by the Maple Leafs last night. They played with no energy, no emotion and no heart. It was a disgrace. To be humiliated like that in your own building is disgusting. The fact that it has happened on numerous occasions already this season makes it even tougher to swallow.

The Maple Leafs talk a good game. They have been for a while. Guys like Sundin and Stajan keep looking into the cameras telling people the Leafs are a playoff team. Yeah, and I'm the Queen of England. I'd like to ask that Sundin and Stajan please not insult me, and just keep it real. The Leafs are what they are, and that's one pathetic excuse for a hockey team.

Prior to last night's shallacking, the Leafs had been embarrassed three times on home ice. Two 7-1 throttlings at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals, and one 6-1 rape-age thanks to the New York Rangers. After each of those beatings, the Leafs promised it wouldn't happen again. Especially not on home ice.

Well, it sure as hell happened again, and yesterday's defeat was the worst of all. The Leafs made the Panthers look like the god-damn Oilers of the 80's and Richard Zednik like Wayne freakin' Gretzky. As the Globe's Dave Shoalts put it, the Leafs reached a new low last night.

I felt for coach Maurice yesterday. Big time. After Florida made it three-nil, he called a timeout. It was a good timeout call. I've been all over Maurice and his timeout selection but last night's was a beauty. Anyways, he ripped into the team on the bench. His face was as red as I've seen it all year, and I was able to read his lips: "Show some god-damn fucking emotion out there!" No shit, eh? The yelling fest didn't work, although it would have made my father proud. A few minutes later it was four-nothing for the Panthers. Maurice tried. He simply didn't have a prayer because his players sold him, and Vesa Toskala, out last night. And shame on them.

It's officially over. While many had already resigned the Leafs to their fate, I for some reason still believed. Yes, I truly believed. I really did. What can I say? I'm a lunatic. Want proof? I've got it for you. Here's a copy of an email I wrote to my boy Winson yesterday while I was at work, at 2:16 pm in the afternoon:

"We’re 8 points out going into tonight. But we’re going to make the playoffs. Mark my words, today, on this 5th day of February in 2008. The Toronto Maple Leafs will make the NHL playoffs."

I wish I could tell you I was drunk. I wish I could offer some explanation as to what the hell I was thinking. Unfortunately, I can't. All I can say is that I am, clearly, a moron. I've got to take another line from my hero, George Costanza: "For I am Vaswani, lord of the idiots!" I truly believed that the Leafs' win over Ottawa on the weekend would be the start of a run towards the playoffs. I don't anymore. Not after watching that game last night, no sir.

Greg Millen said it best during the third period of the broadcast - if Cliff Fletcher needed any indication of what he's got to do with the team he just inherited, he got it last night. In resounding fashion. Trade them. Trade them all.

One of my boys who I play hockey with every Sunday was at last night's game. My heart goes out to him. What a joke. This time, however, the fans didn't boo the Leafs (except for Andrew Raycroft, but he deserves it anyways). Instead, once the Panthers made it 6-0, they cheered on the visitors from Florida. It was something else, and added to the humiliation of the evening. But no doubt every fan in attendance last night at the Air Canada Centre was deserving of a full refund, no questions asked. Only one team showed up to play hockey yesterday, and it sure as hell wasn't the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Speaking of a refund, I've got a friend, Kunal, who lives out in Minnesota and who is a die-hard Leafs fan. His formative years were spent in Toronto, hence his unfortunate allegiance to the blue and white. He paid $170 this season to order the NHL Centre Ice package so he could catch all the Leafs games on the tube. Big mistake. He wants his money back, as it has been one of the most blatant wastes of money of all time. I can't really argue with him. I find it difficult enough to watch the Leafs on cable, but imagine paying to watch this team play on television?!? Ouch. That's a nightmare, and my friend Kunal is living it. Think about it, he could have fed an entire African village, or two or three of them, at that price. Sorry, hungry African children. We all only have the Leafs to blame.

As for Mats Sundin, while I'm torn and my insides churn every time I think about it, I really do believe he needs to go. My heart wants him to stay, but jeez, after last night, Mats, get out while you can, my dear. Why would he want to remain a Maple Leaf? It doesn't make sense. Fly away, Mats. It's time to leave the nest, and make it on your own. Go and win a Cup. Even if it is as a rental player. Go. Go as far away from here as you can. We're only holding you back. Fly away, Mats, my love. Fly away...

It's time to look forward to a lottery pick in the draft. PPP at Pension Plan Puppets is right, it only makes sense for the Leafs to tank the rest of the season. It's for the betterment of the franchise. Dave Perkins at the Star put it best - if the Leafs really want the number one pick this summer, they've got to play Andrew Raycroft more. It's nothing against Toskala - I love the guy - but the Leafs need to lose, and nobody does losing like Razor.

Trade Kilger, Sundin, Tucker, McCabe, Kubina, Gill, whomever. Any veteran Fletcher can trade, he should do it as soon as possible. The deadline is only mere weeks away.

For the love of Christ blow this team up, Fletch.