Spring and the Maple Tease are out
By MIKE STROBEL, Toronto Sun
Last Updated: March 31, 2011 7:13pm
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The Leafs are like that girl in high school. You know the one. You had a name for her.
Rhymes with hawk tease.
And what a tease. She tossed her curls, undid her top button, flashed a little thigh, wiggled a little tush — then flounced off, giggling.
Drove us nuts. And speaking of blue testicles...
The Leafs are pushing their playoff mirage to the hilt. The annual Maple Tease.
The hard truth: If they win all their games, the Rangers and Sabres lose all theirs, the Hurricanes tank, the Montreal Maroons come back from the dead, the swallows take a pass on Capistrano, someone finds Amelia Earhart alive, and God comes down to play centre...then the Leafs are in the playoffs.
That has not happened since the spring of 2004 and is damn unlikely now.
But, they’ve had faux playoff races nearly every year since the 2004-05 lockout.
In that stretch, they’re a combined 60-44-9 in March and April, excluding Thursday’s game.
I counted it up twice, in disbelief. And they never once made the post-season?!
Play at that clip all year, and you’re in the thick of it _— instead of clawing up from the basement after Christmas because you started 1-9.
“Same old crap,” says Joe Robb, 31, the Waffle Guy, who is banned for life from the Air Canada Centre for using Eggos to express his ire.
“Every year, we think they’re getting better at the end, and they’re not. It’s just a smokescreen.
“And we reward them by getting all excited. What are we rewarding them for, not making the playoffs?”
You’re right, Waffle Guy. The Maple Tease is fun the first time, like the first bat of that high school siren’s eyes.
But by the time your palms are sweaty, your tie’s askew, you can’t sleep, and you’ve wasted your paycheque on flowers and chocolates...you’re feeling kind of used.
That’s where we’re at. So I get letters of anger and anguish. I get one from Lawrence Berk, 54, whose “greatest passion after my family has always been as a Leafs fan.”
Ah, the passion and the fury.
“Montreal, Detroit, Philadelphia come to mind, to name a few, as cities whose hockey teams would have cleaned house long ago if they were even remotely playing the way the Leafs have for more than 40 years.”
Well, GM Brian Burke and coach Ron Wilson are back next year, so....
“I don’t see anything changing,” says the Waffle Guy. “Especially if James Reimer isn’t the real, real deal.”
But what’s with this Maple Tease?
The obvious answer is the Leafs play well in March because they have nothing to lose. Pressure’s off.
And we lap it up like puppies, we’re so desperate to love our team.
“This is our only hockey of importance,” says Matteo Codispoti, 39, whose fan movement, wewantacup.com, I told you about in February.
“This is our playoffs?” says Matteo.
“All of a sudden, they give us 10, 15 great games and the city falls in love again, there’s energy, kids know who all the players are, there’s street hockey.”
So Codispoti’s group has postponed pickets at the ACC — “we don’t want to come across as haters” — until next fall, the Leafs traditional swoon season.
Meantime, I guess we settle. It’s hard not to, when I see forward Clarke MacArthur’s call to action as reported by our Rob Longley:
“Be a team where you are fighting to get to fifth or sixth place rather than trying to sneak in.”
Fifth or sixth? Hell, we want guys fighting to get to Number 1. If fifth or sixth happens, fine, we’ll take it, grudgingly.
But, please, no more Maple Tease.
Time to put out. Go all the way. At least get to third base. Speaking of which...
the Blue Jays open Friday night at Rogers Centre.
Let them mess with our heads for while.
|Scott has been introduced to the rave scene, and Ecstasy, by Craig. The two of them go out on the weekends, with some of Craigs friends, and stay up all night, dancing in a drug-fueled trance. |
Last edited by Moral Hazard on Apr-26-2011 at 07:48