Toronto Maple Laffs -opps, Leafs – fans across the nation are in mourning once again as their beloved team failed to make the NHL playoffs for a franchise record sixth straight year.
While it’s hard to comprehend how or why those fans root for the same team year after year after year after year, once has to admire the loyalty and devotion of Leafs fans to their team.
Why do hockey fans root for the same losing team all the time? In 2009 I was a Penguins fan when they won the Stanley Cup. Last year I switched my allegiance to the Black Hawks who won the Cup. This year I’m rooting for the Capitals as I think they’re going all the way in 2011.
It’s easy to do – just pick a new team each year! Why put yourself through the agony, the pain, the torment, the torture, and the anguish each year?
I have a son who has been living in Edmonton for the last 10 years, and I thought he’d morph into an Oilers fan.
But, no sir! He was a Leafs fan as soon as he was old enough to become interested in hockey and he’s still a Leafs fan. I’ve tried to counsel him in this but to no avail. He simply won’t listen to me.
He’s seeing a lady-friend from Alberta who is a staunch Oilers fan. She’s tried hard to get him to see the light, but he’s still in the dark about the whole situation.
The point is that these Leaf fans are everywhere; they start at a young age and keep their loyalty throughout life. Amazing!
And maybe that’s one key problem with the Leafs. Maybe their fans are so loyal that management doesn’t work hard enough to put a better team on the ice.
But you have to give the 2010-2011 Leafs team some credit. They were 12 points out of a play-off spot immediately following the all-star break and battled back to come as close as three points out. Three points may not seem like a lot of ground to make up, but in the tough NHL Eastern Conference they were very elusive.
The teams in front of them played hard too and will now try for Lord Stanley’s Cup while the Leafs begin an early season on the golf rounds.
Will any good come from all of this?
If the Leafs keep James Reimer, who was really good in goal for them towards the end, and pick up another scorer or two, well, maybe next year they can crack the top eight in their division. Reimer’s .922 save percentage was listed as the best by Leaf goalies in the 30 years since the stat has been kept.
Anyway, the team’s management will have a long summer to try and make the squad better come the 2011-2012 season. And, oh yes, they have another year to plan that big Stanley Cup parade down Yonge Street, the parade they’ve been planning since 1967.
Should be a great party!