So as hopefully everyone in Toronto knows, the Leafs lost on Monday in overtime against Boston in game 7. Everyone got depressed. People got angry. Some people even wanted to riot. Reasonable response when you're team loses a 3 goal lead in 9 minutes and loses in overtime in our first playoff series in 9 years, right?
No one thought we'd make it into the playoffs. I saw on a Facebook page someone posting "The Leafs are officially out of the Playoffs." the day the lockout was lifted. Even before, when people thought the season was over they were saying "At least the leafs won't be the only team to miss the playoffs." And the worst part is, these are the people who claimed to be die hard leafs fans.
I can honestly say I always believe in them, every year I believe there's a chance. This year was no different, I thought we had a chance, but because of the shortened season, I had a bit more hope.
You see, every year, the leafs play really well, right up until the 35 game mark, then they become the leafs many people see as the normal leafs. I don't know why this happens, might be lack of fitness, might be lack of experience, lack of skill, anything. It just happens. And I thought this year, with a 48 game schedule, it could be our year. Not to win the cup, although I'd be lying ifI said I didn't make a couple bold statements saying it was our year... But it was our year to get back into contention. Of course everyone believed that they had no chance, but a couple people did. And they did it, they made it into the playoffs. And the amazing thing was, which many people have failed to notice, is we did without arguably our second best winger, and one of our best leaders: Joffrey Lupul, who had suffered a broken arm, courtesy of a Dion Phaneuf clapper. The fact we landed in 5th(!!!!!) without Lupul for 32 games is amazing! People who will say "Lupul's not even that good." Yeah he got 18 points in 16 games.... Thats not too shabby, and in the playoffs got 4 points in 7, which still is good, considering it's playoff hockey.
But as all sports go, the regular season is kind of like a Round Robin. Once it's over, none of it matters, anything can happen. Up until the last day of the regular season, we were scheduled to play the Habs. I don't wanna drone to long on this, but if we had played the Habs, Toronto would be celebrating a sweep of our rivals. Honestly they played so well up until March, and they played awful every game after that up until the game they got eliminated, when they lost 6-1 to the Ottawa Senators. No seriously. But Torontonians didn't seem to care, or as I think didn't know that the Habs were playing so awfully, because they were ranked ahead of us, and to some, rank means everything. But everyone wanted that matchup, it would sell crazy tickets, would get crazy fans on the street, would have been a fantastic series. But then Boston ruined it by losing their last two games of the year, and the Habs beating us, although we weren't really a NHL team that game. We consisted of about 10 regular players, all of which played under 25 minutes, so I don't think it really reflected us, but kudos to the Habs, they played decent. Anyway Boston came 4th, Habs 3rd, and Toronto 5th, which meant we had a date with the Bruins. Or 7.
Right away, every person I talked to said "GO LEAFS! But lets be honest we have no chance." and I kept thinking "What?" We have as much of a chance as they do, but no one ever gave us a chance. They thought we were done. Even when we were down 3-1 in the series, all people said were "Boston's just to good." We fought back valiantly, and lost game 7 in overtime.
I don't want to discredit the Bruins. They're a great team, and from what I saw, apart from a rat and Andrew Ferrence, they seemed like generally great players and sportsmanlike players. They beat us, fair and square, in game 7. The fact that it was such a comeback makes no difference.
I am ranting a little, because I am a die hard leafs fan. No one in Toronto cares anymore. I still love my boys in blue, I still love the blue and white sweater, and if someone gave me the option of 1 million dollars or meeting Joffrey Lupul, I'd be hugging Lupul in seconds. Toronto loves their leafs, and it was amazing to see the city come together, but for people to just drop them on their heads after is just unacceptable in my opinion. We had a great season, and it came to an unfortunate end, just like it will for 29 other teams. But honestly, for a team with an average age of 25, and for our first playoff appearance since Reimer was my age, not too shabby.
There's my rant, no doubt there will be at least another.
GO LEAFS GO