The biggest losers: Maple Leafs can finally boast about winning a title at the end of the playoffs
For the first time in 43 years, the Toronto Maple Leafs can walk away from the Stanley Cup playoffs with a unique distinction. Sure, the Blackhawks took the actual cup last night, but the Leafs now get the dubious title of “NHL team with the longest Stanley Cup drought.”
If nothing else, the end of the season means that Toronto’s sportswriters can go back to doing what they do best: being manic with the Maple Leafs. Bash them one second, search for a shred of hope the next. Over at the Star, hockey writer Damien Cox hosted a liveblog that had devolved into “how can the woeful Leafs ever win?” by its second question: “The Hawks won with offence, and the Leafs are trying to establish an attacking style… So maybe Chicago’s triumph suggests the Leafs are on the right track.”
Cox’s morning chat went far lighter than another Star story, where the claws came out of the hockey gloves. Lauding the Chicago and Philly arena culture, Kevin McGran wrote:
Atmosphere matters… At the Air Canada Centre, any attempt at cheering—especially that ‘Go Leafs Go’ chant after a whistle—is immediately interrupted by an in-game advertisement or some lame promotion that basically sucks the life out of the building… The Leafs tried a theme song this past season—‘Free to Be,’ by Alan Frew, the former front man for Glass Tiger—but it was kind of slow and kind of preachy.
Ah, so it’s the advertisers’ fault. Or the fans’. Or Alan Frew’s.
Over at the Globe, Eric Duhatschek provided a lovely line of context sure to soothe the hearts of Leafs fans: “No other Original Six team, not even the Toronto Maple Leafs, had found so many unique and desultory ways to come up short for so long—almost half a century.”
Duhatschek was just stoking the glow of the Hawks’ win, but here in Toronto, how could that line mean anything other than “It could be even worse”?