Dominic Moore and Kris Newbury were providing the electric charge but the Leafs failed to capture lightning in a bottle as they watched their playoff hopes fade.. again.
The dream is over. Although most true Leafs fans knew in the back of their minds it was a hill that was likely way to steep for the boys in blue to climb, still, they rooted, fought, argued and denied.. did anything they could to keep hope alive. And the team on the ice, although 4 or 5 months too late, they showed some fight that has been missing since the pre lockout days. Or at least missing until the final month of the season (3 straight years). Without Sundin and Antropov, their two top scorers, the Leafs were written off. Still against all odds they put together yet another thrilling run and made everyone stand up and take notice. And they set all their fans up for, or Leaf fans set themselves up (either way you want to look at it) for the inevitable 'I told you so' that was being heard across the country this morning. It was hard to watch. Still, until the final buzzer fans sat on couches, bar stools, red, green and purple seats remained occupied. It was over but not without a fight. The undermanned, undertalented Leafs have once again, fallen in the final week of the regular season.
As the mourning subsides here are the burning questions, will Mats Sundin be back for another round in 08/09? Will the overpriced defensive corps be dismantled and sold as spare parts? Will Fletcher (or whoever takes his position) make a splash in the free agent market? Will the powers that be attempt to trade up for a better draft pick? There are certainly lots of things to occupy the minds of Leaf followers but as Leaf Nation looks back on the many losses that COULD have been the extra point needed, the shoulda been coulda beens..
It makes me drift back to another place in time.. I remember the game seven losses against the Flyers, the hard fought series' versus the Devils, including the 6 shot debacle of a few years back.. I remember the excitment in the air just before the opening faceoff of game 1 of the post season, the electricity of an overtime goal in a deciding game of a playoff series.. I think of the days when the Leafs were on top of the East and manhandled teams with their skill and experience.. The days when you didnt even look at the standings between November and February because you knew you were the leader of the pack and nothing mattered except how you were going to celebrate a Senator shalacking on Saturday night...
Its a hard day in this mans world.. Its a hard day in Leafs Nation.. It's a hard day because everyone is planning their cup runs, making plans for parties and get togethers to watch the first rounders duel.. meanwhile.. under the banner of the blue and white maple leaf, we are checking on early prices for Blue Jay games.
You heard it here!