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Take Solace, Leafs Nation!

Friday, 11.01.2008 / 4:01 PM / Mike Ulmer's Blog
By Mike Ulmer  - Mapleleafs.com commentator
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Take Solace, Leafs Nation!
Hey, we here at mapleleafs.com are not insensitive to the trying times that sometime come with being a Leafs fan.

You think we don’t get an earful from friends and relatives as we go about our daily rounds? I have civil servants in my family. When people from the federal government mock your employer’s performance, well that stings. How many people pick up the paper and say, “Wow, the federal government really had a good day, yesterday.”

There is, if you look, some solace to be taken, even in these dark days. Here’s 10 kernels of consolation.

Take two every night before you go to bed and you’ll guaranteed to sleep like a baby: doze for two hours, cry, go back to sleep, doze for two hours, cry, go back to sleep….
  1. Wendel Clark still lives in the area. He has been known to drive a tractor to his neighborhood Tim Hortons. Look for him.
  2. They say suffering is good for the soul. I’m no expert, but I think we may be talking big-time afterlife points here. At the very least, no pain at death.
  3. Those new jerseys sure are light. Who knew getting rid of one stripe would make such a difference?
  4. All the people hassling you at work would take your tickets in a heartbeat.
  5. Buffalo is out too.
  6. Vesa Toskala will be in top shape in no time.
  7. While the Leafs have not won the Cup in 41 years, the lifespan of the average Canadian is on the rise. That evens things up…kind of.
  8. There is a cachet in being the team that hasn’t won in several generations. I watched a replay of the 1993 Kings-Leafs game in which Wayne Gretzky cut Doug Gilmour with a high stick and then scored the overtime winner. The play drew only a minor ripple originally. Time has transformed Kerry Frazer to a Bill Buckner in a striped shirt. Just think, of Steve Bartman, a computer geek who inadvertently cost the Chicago Cubs an out in a playoff game against Florida. The Marlins scored eight runs, won the game and the series. Now, when you go to Wrigley Field, you ask to see the Steve Bartman seat.
  9. Local colour is always good. We can show out-of-towners the exact spot on the ice    where Darcy Tucker creamed Sami Kapanen who wobbled to the Flyers bench and was fished home by Jeremy Roenick who, eh, jumped on the ice and scored the goal to end the 2004 conference semi-final. Good times.

The Leafs won the Cup in 1967. The Montreal Canadiens won their most recent championship in 1993. In 1967, 50 million people went to Expo, the Beatles released Sgt. Peppers, Muhammad Ali refused military induction, Aretha Franklin recorded Respect, Elvis married Priscilla, Go Transit ran its first train, Israel won the Six Day War, Karol Wojtyla was ordained a cardinal, rioters burned down large swaths of Detroit and Charles DeGaulle shouted “Vive Le Quebec Libre.” Go ahead, name me one thing that happened in 1993.

The Leafs have employed free spirits like Eddie Shack, King Clancy, Jim McKenny, George Armstrong and Mike Palmateer. They’ve had the teutonic Darryl Sittler and the glacial Borje Salming. There have been Tigers, Cujos and Cats, statesmen in Syl Apps and John Bower and a parade of unforgettable journeymen, from Al Iafrate to Tie Domi.

In defeat or in victory, this is the team you watched as a kid. In their qualities, in their faults, they are like every other team, only more so.
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