Dear Toronto Maple Leafs, nobody likes you. Here are four examples
It takes a special kind of sports team to have a bad week even when there aren’t games on the schedule. Well, it just so happens that the Toronto Maple Leafs are an extra special kind of team. In the span of just three days, Phil Kessel was selected dead last by his peers in the all-star draft, bench boss Ron Wilson was voted the coach NHL players would least like to play for, Toronto was deemed the fifth-least desirable city in the league to play in and the team’s comic book avatar just plain sucks. Last night’s win was a high point, but it doesn’t overshadow the density of dislike the Leafs faced just prior. Here, a round up of the events that made for one lousy weekend.
1. Phil Kessel: nobody likes you
Kessel was the only Maple Leaf selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game last weekend but ended up being the last man standing when the Detroit Red Wings’ Nicklas Lidstrom and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Eric Staal took turns drafting their sides, playground-style, on Friday. The Globe’s Darren Yourk wondered if the “snub” by his fellow players might ignite a fire under the Leafs’ supposed sniper, but he got a quick answer when the cameras cut to a yawning Kessel. Nice one, Phil.
2. Ron Wilson: nobody likes you
In a poll released on Sunday and conducted by the NHL Players’ Association and Hockey Night in Canada, Wilson was named as the current coach players wanted to play for the least. Of the more than 300 players surveyed, nearly one-quarter of them listed the Leafs bench boss as public enemy number one. Nobody else was even close. Not even John Tortorella.
3. Toronto: nobody likes you
The same poll revealed that five percent of the players surveyed picked Toronto as the franchise they would least like to play for, meaning they came 25 out of 30. The Leafs were behind only the New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres and Atlanta Thrashers. Likely reasons players don’t want to come here: constant media presence, instant local celebrity and rabid fan base. Oh, and virtually no chance of winning the Stanley Cup.
4. The Toronto Maple Leaf: nobody likes you
Fans of both hockey and comic books were abuzz when the NHL announced it would partner with comic legend Stan Lee to create a superhero for every team (see them all here). Lee’s creations, dubbed the Guardian Project, were unveiled at the all-star game last weekend, and though the quality is all over the map there is one undeniable certainty: Toronto’s Maple Leaf is the worst of the bunch.