The Toronto Maple Leafs late season push has come right on queue again for the 2010-11 season. They're 6 points behind 8th place Carolina today with a game in hand. Toronto fans are hopping on the ol' perverbial bandwagon faster than a Mike Komisarek tape to skate pass (but that's another discussion altogether).
Can we really be blamed though?Abosoutely not! Heck I'm the first guy on the wagon! What else does this city have to be happy about...Travis Snider hitting off a tee in spring training?
We know the truth deep down...or do we? Here is my take on what Leaf fans should quickly come to terms with so that they avoid the seasonal depression come early April .
Fact 1-the Toronto Maple Leafs are not a good hockey team. They may be playing like they are right now but i can assure you this is nothing more than an illusion. Phil Kessel has 6 goals in the last 5 games..that is an illusion in itself.
Kessel is a classic case of a streaky scorer getting hot for a few games en route to scoring 30-35 goals for a bad team. This is the same guy who did not score a goal in the 10 previous games leading up to it. Like a blue chip stock, Kessel will have many dips and surges throughout a full year but his annual yield is readily predictable. He is not as bad as the numbers will show during those 10 game scoring lulls, but not nearly as good as his totals will show during the hot scoring spikes. It has taken him almost two seasons to realize that its pretty hard to deke through an entire NHL hoceky team. Maybe and hopefully h'ell understand that passing a puck to another player does not mean he won't get it back...time will tell.
Here is another fact. For the most part in the NHL, bad teams traditionally do not make the playoffs...for the most part. It has happened before and with a little luck it can happen again but I warn you to proceed down that path with great caution.
Fact 3-The Toronto Maple Leafs for the first time in over 2 years are playing meaningful and exciting hockey games and there's no good reason why we can't get excited about it.
Watching the game Thursday night against Montreal was probably the most I've been emotionally invested in a sporting competition since the Winter Olympics a year ago. I was on the edge of my seat, biting my nails, and felt those butterflies in my stomach that are usually only reserved for playoff games. I am not going to lie, it felt great and I'm ready to do it again tonight against Pittsburgh!
So my advice to you Toronto fans is this; throw away all logic and rationale out the window and just let yourself go....you deserve it. Although chances are you'll probably end up with heartbreak...it's better to have love and lost than to not love it all. Well you will have to wait until April to ask me about that.
In the meantime lets enjoy the ride...but please utilize your cautious optimism.
Go Leafs GO!