I have been a man of allegiances for many years now. I cheer for Vancouver, Bosaton and Dallas. There are other teams I root for when the playoffs get going, but I have always cheered for those three teams.
I have always had a healthy hatred for the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs. I live. I breathe. I hate the Maple Leafs.
Something has happened to me this year. Amidst me laughing when the Leafs get slaughtered, I have started to fell bad for them. The Leafs are the cat in the rain, the unfed and poor cat who needs a good meal. This week has been another gong show. MLSE is responsible for this. JFJ was a lame duck GM before the season started and that is a horrible position to be in.
During the summer, I predicted that the Leafs would be where they are right now, close to but not in the playoffs. Somewhere along the way I started cheering for them to turn it around. Maybe it's the part of me that cheers for the underdog, but I feel for the team.
The tricky thing for the Leafs is deciding which route to follow. Can they beef up and make a run this year? That's unlikely, but that's what they try to do every trade deadline. The best thing to do is blow it up. In the new NHL, a 3-4 year cycle isn't necessary. If they ditch some of their high priced guys and the new GM signs the right people to replcae them and drafts well, things could be a lot brighter than they are right now.
Maybe after 15 years of mocking the Leafs, I finally feel sorry for them. As a Canucks fan who remembers the teams we had in the 80s, I can totally relate.
Oh well, at least I still hate the Wings.