Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, May 13, 2024

The Place Where Dreams Go To Die

Leafs Nation In Collective Mourning; Rest Of World Shrugs And Moves On

Toronto (CP) It's been a few days since the Boston Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, sending the Leafs packing early yet again. A game 7 finale which went to overtime saw the Cup drought in Toronto extend now to 57 years. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth, questions being asked, blame being laid in Leafs Nation. Bars are doing a brisk business soothing the pain of the fans. Leafs management and players are wondering who among them will take the fall this time.

The game in Boston saw the Bruins win in overtime and advance to the next round. Thousands of fans gathered in Maple Leaf Square in Toronto watched and had their hearts dashed to pieces yet again as their Leafs blew it. Again. Generations of fans saying, 'next year' will continue unabated, though perhaps a few might take the hint and realize that next year will never come. Their team is cursed, and the curse is not getting lifted anytime soon.

"For lack of a better term, it's a collective delusion," sports psychologist Warren Alliston told this reporter. "People conditioned for decades, by their parents and grandparents, into believing that this year could be their year. That the Leafs would rise to the occasion. Instead of dealing with reality, which is that the Leafs suck."

When asked if that was a professional opinion, Alliston shrugged. "Not at all. I'm an Edmonton fan."

Wreaths have been placed around Maple Leaf Square, along with hats, t-shirts, and even jerseys in a state of mourning. People in familiar blue and white attire have been seen crying and holding each other for support in the downtown streets near the arena. Some of the more bitter have been seen burning a  Leafs jersey and vowing that they've had enough- though in fact they did the same last year, and will be replacing that jersey over the summer and giving their boys one more chance.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe was fired in recent days, part of the fallout of yet another broken season. "These things happen," he told reporters with a dismayed shrug afterwards. "It's part of the game. Nobody lasts forever in one team. I'll move on, do other things.... say, is anyone hiring?"

Team president Brendan Shanahan, who's been part of the Leafs for a decade with little to show for it, is under pressure from Leafs Nation to do something. "I know it's hard for the fans to have hope, but things will get better," Shanahan told reporters after the Keefe firing. "We're going to get the guys out on the ice next year and they'll play better and everything will be just as you dreamed of all those years when this team was floundering. I promise."

The fact that he's been saying pretty much the same thing in post-season press conferences for years is another matter entirely.

"We're doing great business," bar owner Ted Davis said from his downtown watering hole, The Penalty Shot. "Yeah, folks are feeling down about the guys losing like that, but that's what alcohol is for. It soothes the pain you're feeling in your heart and tells you that everything is going to get better. It's the best thing for you."

"Are you taking money from the liquor companies for saying that?" this reporter inquired.

"How did you know that?" Davis asked, heading back inside to feed the misery of a horde of Leafs fans.

"It's not fair!" one fan told this reporter afterwards, in the company of two friends. "That Cup belongs to us! It belongs to our boys! And we keep getting robbed of it. There's this great big ****in' conspiracy to keep the Stanley Cup out of the hands of the Leafs. And that ****er Bettman is right at the heart of it. He ****in' hates Toronto. Me and Harry and Jack, we're the biggest fans of the Leafs. Ever. And it breaks our hearts every year seein' this happen. Again and again and again. Our boys deserve this win. They deserve it! Am I right, boys?"

Harry and Jack nodded. This reporter inquired if they had considered that it might be time to give up on the team. "**** that! And what, root for the Jets?" 

It seems there is no reasoning with Leafs Nation. The grieving process continues. Some have channeled their pain in healthier ways and have moved on to root for the Blue Jays, since their season is just getting underway. But the pain for many continues to be drowned by alcohol, and punctuated by denial and bargaining. They continue to feed themselves the lie- that next year will be a better year, that all of this will be forgotten. And come October, they'll be back, crowding the Scotiabank Arena, earning their reputation as the most hated fans in the NHL all over again.

The last word goes to a man who seems to be the very definition of a Canadian. A legendary Mountie who's among the most formidable, dangerous, and grumpy people walking the earth today. RCMP Inspector Lars Ulrich was found by reporters at his detachment in the foothills of the Rockies in Alberta. The Inspector, whose low opinion of entertainment reporters is well known, was reassured that they were well aware that he was not the other Lars Ulrich. This seemed to lighten his mood. He was asked how he felt about the entire matter.

"I find it amusing. I'm an Oilers fan myself," Ulrich admitted. "And watching a bunch of Leafs fans tie themselves into knots of agony every year... well, it's hilarious."  

"Lars! Lars!" a voice called out from the back of the crowd. Reporters turned and saw a fresh faced entertainment reporter coming along, followed by a camera. "Lars, good to see you. Brad Bradley, Entertainment Tonight. What everyone wants to know, Lars, is why Metallica didn't attend the Met Gala. Any comment on that?"

The real reporters backed off to give the Inspector plenty of room. Ulrich glared at Bradley. "I am not that Lars Ulrich."

Bradley laughed. "Oh, such a kidder, Lars!"

What followed next was one left hook from the Inspector that sent Bradley flying forty meters. Ulrich was already pursuing him before Bradley even hit the ground. Bradley got up, with the Inspector hot on his heels in what became an epic chase all the way to Cemetery River. It ended with Bradley in a body cast in hospital, groaning incomprehensibly. 

This is what happens when you insult the world's grouchiest lawman.


  1. The Leafs can't ever win. I look forward to these posts every year!

    Good to see you, Lars. You're not here nearly enough!

  2. On a serious note ... I just don't get it. What a disappointment year after year.


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