Monday, October 26, 2009
Generally speaking I like to keep the topics here on the blog related either directly or indirectly to triathlon. However, I feel that I must comment on the start of the hockey season for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Yes, I am a fan. Not a fanatical fan and perhaps not part of the "Leaf's Nation" but, nonetheless still a fan. There is a family connection that goes back several generations. My great uncle Harold, "Baldy" Cotton played for the Leafs in the late 1920's and early '30's. He played on the Maple Leaf team that won the Stanley Cup in the spring of 1932 - the first season that the leafs played in Maple Leaf Gardens. I have made a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame to see "H. Cotton" engraved on the Stanley Cup. It's a long ago and distant connection, but it's a strong and emotional one. Few amongst the, "Leaf Nation" I am sure can claim such a connection to the team.
I am old enough to recall the last time the Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1967. It was a big deal. I have vague memories of watching the playoffs on TV that year and the celebration that went on afterward. One of the stars of that team was Dave Keon. He lived in our area of Toronto. In fact, he banked at our bank and my Dad used to point him out for me. You see, back then Hockey players were just regular folk living amongst us - not flown-in multi-million dollar talent that you only read about in the papers.
So, with Saturday night's loss, the Leafs are off to the worst start ever, for the team - a dismal record of 0-7-1. Win-less so far this season. How is it that you can pay all of these people, from the owners of the team, down through the management and all the players so much money, and you get this abysmal level of performance. Crazy. Of course the reason they can, is that the Toronto Maple Leafs Sports franchise is one of the most valuable in all of North America. Forty plus years of futility in trying to win the Stanely Cup and the worst start ever, does nothing to deter people from still cheering on the team. What's that they say about insanity - it's when you keep doing the same things over, and over, and over and expect a different result.
This was supposed to be the start of a big rebuilding process. To make a connection back to cycling and triathlon - Lance Armstrong's Coach Chris Carmichael was brought in to, among other big changes, revamp the Leafs fitness routine and the teams fitness levels. However, it would seem they have taken a giant step backwards! Hard to go further back - the Leafs finished almost dead-last in the standings last year.
I am sure things will turn around at some point. Perhaps they should go back to the old Maple Leaf logo( at top of post). This is what the Leafs logo looked like when they last won the Stanley Cup in '67. Nothing else is working, might as well try this!