I woke up this morning slightly surprised that the Earth hadn’t been thrown slightly off its axis, or the weather patterns changed, or some other global-plus shift, by the entire Toronto area sinking into the core of the Earth at some point last night. And I’m sure the greater Toronto population was even more surprised the world kept spinning despite their demands that it stop to observe the collapse of the Leafs.
What shouldn’t have been surprising is how any of it went down. This is how it was going to be, and the more I think about it given how much the world’s troll Boston sports is, they gave us Barf-Fucking-Stool after all, I become more and more confident that the Bruins did this on purpose. They could have wrapped this up in five. They could have blown the Leafs out in the 1st period of Game 7. But knowing they could score at will against the Leafs defense and especially Freddie Andersen in a Game 7, they probably thought it would most entertaining to do it this way. They even teased it by going down 4-1 in Game 5 and nearly coming back. That’s storytelling at its best, folks.
I never really bought into the whole East Coast bias thing fully, because I figured if it was your job you’d stay up to watch games on the West coast. After all, where the fuck do sportswriters have to be before 10am? But clearly they never did, because the way the entire Leafs Nation tried to sell themselves, and then did, on Freddie Andersen quite frankly wreaks of a cult that should be put on every watchlist by every government in the world. It’s not like there’s a small sample size on this. He’d basically spit it in every playoff series he’d played, including Game 7 meltdowns in ’15 and ’16. And yet there they were on whoever the fuck sponsors whatever the fuck the HNIC pregame show is called telling us everything was right in the world because Andersen was now playing four inches closer to the crease or something. If you watched closely enough you could see Kelly Hrudey’s brain spilling out of his ear while Elliote Friedman wondered what he’d done in a previous life to be chained to this desk of jackasses and nincompoops.
Not that Andersen got any help. Jake Gardiner has always been “a guy,” and if he wasn’t covered by the biggest media group in the league every night you wouldn’t be able to tell him apart from the guy in line in front of you at 7-11. Except that guy would probably stand a better chance of remaining in front of you. Gardiner’s game last night was surrealist performance art to a level that even Dali looked upon it and remarked, “Good God what the fuck is that?” Shockingly, Roman Polak couldn’t clean up the mess either. Is now a good time to mention that Mike Babcock hasn’t won a playoff series in five years? And that one came against the Ducks in a Game 7, so does that even count? No, it doesn’t. But hey, give him miles the best roster in either league or international play and there’s at least a decent chance he won’t fuck up royally while boring the ever loving shit out of you.
But in the end, this is really what Leafs fans and media want. You can’t find a group that desires more to be both the pre-2000 Yankees and Red Sox. They demand you pay attention to them at all times, while also feeling sorry for them. They must have you recognize they are the smartest fans in the league while also acting like the dumbest and most deranged. This is a fandom that launched a nutcase filming videos in front of jars of his own piss into a cult hero. They want you to recognize their history while also bemoaning it as the reason they’ll never be happy. They have Canadiens fans’ smugness without any of the success (even if the Habs’ success is mostly bullshit as well, as a majority of their Cups came when they gamed a system in a league comprised of six teams that were 90% drunk truck drivers that simply got lost and they tossed sticks and gear at).
Leafs fans demand you witness their blood-letting, which I assume was the only purpose of Maple Leafs Square. Whereas the Jets used to have a portrait of Queen Elizabeth in their arena, the Leafs should hang one off a Vietnamese self-immolating monk. Except the only thing Leafs fans are protesting is their own stability. To hear them tell it they’re the love children of Job and Sisyphus.
They get no help from their media, a group of idiots convinced of their superiority simply because of where they live. By the time you read this, or not too long after, you can bet some columnist will have connected last night’s loss to the atrocity in the Toronto burbs on Monday. Speaking of which, someone should have told that misogynistic, twisted, deranged fucko before he got in that van that if you can’t get laid in Toronto all you have to do is film a bunch of videos in front of all your toys, or ones of you showcasing your “NHL-level” ball-hockey skills on some playground while children who just wanted to get on the swingset that you closed off cry in the background, or produce a chart that shows how in fact Frank Corrado would have won a Hart by now and the strangest women in the world will write fanfic about you. Better yet, introduce all of Incel Toronto to Freddie Andersen and tell him it’s Game 7. Everyone scores!
The question is really how they got this way, because it’s not like they do this every year. Caps fans may be intolerable vampire-goths now but at least they snuff it to the team they hate most every goddamn year. The Leafs do this like a couple times a decade. There is no long stretch of heartbreak here, but you can bet Gardiner’s abstract pigeon pose leading to the winner last night will have yearly columns written about it until we all spin off into the sun.
None of this will change, given that Leafs media and fandom alike would show up with various clubs and spikes if their beloved William Nylander was traded for any d-man that doesn’t asphyxiate himself. Actually, they’d just show up with giant print-outs of graphs and spreadsheets they made up themselves while their spouses pack up their belongings.
The knives have come out for Auston Matthews, as if he didn’t have Krejci and Bergeron and Chara up his ass all series. We can only hope that he signs exactly a four-year deal when his ELC is up and then hightails it for the border the exact minute he becomes a UFA. You know he already wants to.
Actually, no, that’s what THE NATION wants. They want to drive all their starts out of town so they have more excuses to try and pierce their own nipples with an ice pick in public. And they should never get what they want. And then they can retire #34 and put it next to #17 and #13 and #93 and have a nice grouping of players who never played in a Final while wearing blue.
Good riddance. And oh, the Raptors are going to get just far enough so that LeBron can once again waltz in to the ACC, lay it across your forehead while singing, “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head?” and walk out before you even know what happened. Go ahead and pretend to care about TFC. We know the truth.